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10 Things that Turn 50 in 2013 (including HNI!)

look whos 50

HNI Marketing Coordinator

This year — 2013 — is a big one for HNIWe mark our 50th year of business October 1!


We have a few other goodies planned for this milestone. In the meantime, enjoy this list of 10 other things that also turn 50 this year. It's grand to be golden!

1.) Cassette tape

Before digital music, there were CDs, and before there were CDs, there were cassette tapes. (Let's not go back any further and embarrass ourselves, OK?) Cassettes gave rise to the art of the mix tape, which was a good thing. Flipping your cassette to keep the music pumping was a bad thing.

2.) "I Have a Dream" speech

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the stirring speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. The estimated audience numbered a quarter of million people, who were participating in the March on Washington for civil rights. Read the speech via the National Archives.

3.) Computer mouse

Douglas Engelbart and Bill English, who worked for a research institute tied to Stanford University, first put the cord toward the rear of the device. Now it's a little easier to see why they called it a mouse. The first prototype was a small wooden box.

4.) Smiley face

You can thank artist Harvey Ball for the ubiquitous, yellow grinning face. He created the icon to improve morale among employees at State Mutual Life Assurance Company. He was paid $45 for the design, and he never applied for a trademark or copyright for the smiley face.

5.) Lava lamp

Would you believe the lava lamp was invented by a British accountant? It's a fact. The "lava" is a wax mixture that becomes less dense than water when heated by the lamp's bulb, resulting in the mesmerizing blobs we've been watching for 50 years. If you don't have 45 minutes to wait for your lamp to warm up, watch this minute-long video instead. Now don't you feel more relaxed?

HNI has a special love of lava lamps. Our special meeting space is called the Lava Lounge, in honor of our resident lava lamp.

6.) Women in space

Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space upon orbiting Earth for three days in 1963. Today Tereshkova says she wants to be a colonist on Mars — and she's OK if the trip is a one-way ticket. The Russian still is reaching for the stars at age 76!

7.) "Doctor Who"

Fifty years of a scripted television drama that's not a soap opera? Who does that? Doctor Who does that, actually. The sci-fi institution controlled by the BBC is filled with time travel, monsters, and an entirely new cast every few years — perhaps the secret to its longevity?

8.) Push button telephone

Bell Telephone offered the first push button system with Touch-Tone dialing to customers in Pennsylvania on November 18, 1963. No word on who made the first call or what it was for. Our money says it was an order for pizza. 

9.) Michael Jordan, Brad Pitt, and Kathy Ireland

Johnny Depp, Julian Lennon, and Jennifer Beals also turn 50 years young in 2013. (It's a little shocking, isn't it?) If you're 50, your age in dog years is about 8. If your birthday is October 1, 1963 (like HNI), you are 18,252 days old as of today.

10.) The Rolling Stones' first single

In 1963, the Rolling Stones added drummer Charlie Watts to the lineup (where he remains today) and released their first single, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On." In other music news, songs that turn 50 this year include "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes and "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash.

How did you celebrate your 50th? If you're not yet golden, how did you celebrate your last landmark anniversary?

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