July 24 - 1911: Greatest US Naval Fleet ever gathered at Provincetown

1920: Original Ponzi scheme unravels
24-year-old Eugene B. Ely, a civilian barnstormer, became the first pilot to fly off a ship. The takeoff of his Curtiss pusher biplane was made possible from a wooden platform erected over the bow of the cruiser USS Birmingham in VA. USNHC photo.

1911: Up to seventy warships rendezvous in a single armada

War games to commence off Cape Cod next week

On this date over a century ago, the tip of Cape Cod was the scene of the greatest armada of warships ever assembled in one place by the United States Navy.

The armada included everything from the largest dreadnoughts of the era to the latest submarines and experimental attempts to have an airplane take off from a cruiser's deck.

The headline across the land shouted:

GREAT FLEET GATHERS.;
Osterhaus to Command Our
Strongest Armada Off Cape Cod.

PROVINCETOWN, Mass., July 24. -- The greatest naval fleet ever assembled under the American flag and under a single command is now gathering in the Atlantic off this place. There will be between sixty and seventy warships, ranging in size from Dreadnoughts of the Delaware type to the little submarines... 

Read the rest below.

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1920: Charles Ponzi gets nabbed in Boston

The man for whom the term Ponzi Scheme originated, 30,000 people gulled

On this day in in 1920 the Boston Post ran a story that ultimately exposed one of the biggest financial swindles in history. In a series of articles that won the paper its first Pulitzer Prize, the Post questioned the financial practices of Charles Ponzi.

On right is the 1910 police mugshot of Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi, an Italian immigrant with dreams of greatness. Ponzi created a near frenzy in Boston by promising a 50 percent return within 45 days. In seven months, 30,000 people invested more than $10,000,000 in Ponzi's scheme.

His plan to pay off early investors with funds raised from later ones inevitably collapsed. He was convicted of fraud and sent to prison. On his release, he was deported to Italy.

Ponzi did not invent the scheme (for example, Charles Dickens's 1857 novel Little Dorrit described such a scheme),but his operation took in so much money that it was the first to become known throughout the United States.

But he left behind his name as the definition of a certain kind of scam.


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