Happy Birthday to the Dow. (Not Tony Dow, While he did play big brother Wally on Leave it to Beaver, his birthday is April 13, 1945)   In this case the Dow is the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  It has been used of late as a barometer of the nation's economy as we move through the Coronavirus pandemic.  The economy is much more than the Dow but it is a convenient yardstick for many.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a stock index comprised of 30 "blue-chip" US stocks meant to be a way to measure the strength or weakness of the entire US stock market.

The Dow began in 1896 with 12 industrial stocks, 11 of those were railroad stocks..

Wikipedia says the Dow, "is the best known of the Dow Averages, named for Charles Dow and Edward Jones.  Dow was widely known for being able to break down and convey what's often very convoluted financial information to the general public. Jones was one of Dow's business associates & statistician Edward Jones.

The industrial average was first calculated on May 26, 1896.

According to CNN, here are a few landmark dates in the history of the Dow.

Timeline

May 26, 1896 - The first index, made up of 12 industrial companies, is published and the Dow opens at 40.94 points.

January 12, 1906 - The Dow closes at 100.25, the first close above 100.

October 24, 1929 - The Stock Market crash of 1929 begins which leads to the Great Depression of the 1930s. It takes 25 years for the Dow to regain its September 1929 high of 381 points.
November 14, 1972 - The Dow closes at 1,003.16, the first close above 1,000.
March 29, 1999 - The Dow closes at 10,006,78, the first close above 10,000.
July 19, 2007 - The Dow closes at 14,000.41, the first close above 14,000.
September 29, 2008 - Worst single-day point drop in history at the time, plunging 777.68 points - the same day the US House rejects the $700 billion financial bailout package.
October 6-10, 2008 - Worst weekly point and percentage decline finishing at 8,451.19, or down 1,874.19 points and 18.15% for the week.
February 21, 2012 - The Dow crosses the 13,000 level for the first time since May of 2008.
January 7, 2016 - The Dow drops 5% in its first four days of the year, the worst four-day percentage loss to start a year on record.
January 25, 2017 - The Dow hits the 20,000 milestone for the first time in history.
.January 4, 2018 - The Dow closes at 25,075.13, the first close above 25,000.
January 15, 2020 - The Dow closes above 29,000 for the first time, at 29,030.22.
March 16, 2020 - The Dow records its worst one-day point drop in history, 2,997.1 points, and its worst performance on a percentage basis since October 19, 1987, also known as "Black Monday."
March 24, 2020 - The Dow closes with a 2,112.98-point gain, to become the biggest one-day point gain in history.