Today in history: December 2
• 1795: Death of Josiah Wedgwood, English inventor, artist, and potter who began a new branch of pottery industry in the early 1760s. He founded the potteries of North Staffordshire and invented a pyrometer. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society. Wedgwood's daughter Susannah was the mother of Charles Darwin.
• 1868: In an event that heralded the birth of modern Japan, patriotic samurai from Japan's outlying domains joined with anti-shogunate nobles in restoring the emperor to power after 700 years. Known as the Meiji Restoration, the young Emperor Meiji moved the royal court from Kyoto to Tokyo, dismantled feudalism, and enacted widespread reforms along Western models.
• 1892: Birth of J(ohn) R(onald) R(euel) Tolkien (1892-1973), the British philologist and novelist who is famous for The Hobbit and the epic The Lord of the Rings. It is said of the LOTR, “There are two kinds of people in this world, those who have read the Rings trilogy, and those who haven’t.”
• 1926: Birth of Sir George Martin, record producer and arranger, and so called 5th Beatle who produced all but one of The Beatles albums as well as working with comedy acts The Goons and Beyond The Fringe.
• 1969: Birth of Michael Schumacher, German racing champion who holds the record for the highest Grand Prix wins in Formula One racing.