1793 – Jean-Pierre Blanchard made the first successful balloon flight in the U.S.
1799 – British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger introduced income tax, at two shillings (10p) in the pound, to raise funds for the Napoleonic Wars.
1848 – The first commercial bank was established in San Francisco, CA.
1861 – The state of Mississippi seceded from the United States.
1894 – The New England Telephone and Telegraph Company put the first battery-operated switchboard into operation in Lexington, MA.
1902 – New York State introduced a bill to outlaw flirting in public.
1905 – In Russia, the civil disturbances known as the Revolution of 1905 forced Czar Nicholas II to grant some civil rights.
1929 – The Seeing Eye was incorporated in Nashville, TN. The company’s purpose was to train dogs to guide the blind.
1936 – The United States Army adopted the semi-automatic rifle.
1937 – The first issue of “Look” went on sale. Within a month, “Look” became a biweekly magazine.
1940 – Television was used for the first time to present a sales meeting to convention delegates in New York City.
1951 – The United Nations headquarters officially opened in New York City.
1961 – The play, “Rhinoceros,” opened on Broadway.
1969 – The supersonic aeroplane Concorde made its first trial flight, at Bristol.
1972 – The ocean liner Queen Elizabeth was destroyed by fire in Hong Kong harbor.
1972 – British miners went on strike for the first time since 1926.
1981 – Hockey Hall of Famer, Phil Esposito, announced that he would retire as a hockey player after the New York Rangers-Buffalo Sabres hockey game. The game ended in a tie. (NHL)
1984 – Clara Peller was first seen by TV viewers in the “Where’s the Beef?” commercial campaign for Wendy’s.
1986 – Kodak got out of the instant camera business after 10 years due to a loss in a court battle that claimed that Kodak copied Polaroid patents.
1991 – U.S. secretary of state Baker and Iraqi foreign minister Aziz met for 61/2 hours in Geneva, but failed to reach any agreement that would forestall war in the Persian Gulf.
1995 – Russian cosmonaut Valeri Poliakov, 51, completed his 366th day in outer space aboard the Mir space station, breaking the record for the longest continuous time spent in outer space.
1997 – Tamil rebels attacked a military base in Sri Lanka. 200 soldiers and 140 rebels were killed.
2000 – ABC-TV began airing “The Mole.”
2002 – Yasmine Bleeth was sentenced to two years of probation, regular drug tests, 100 hours of community service and pay the court costs in connection to a cocaine-possession charge.
2002 – The U.S. Justice Department announced that it was pursuing a criminal investigation of Enron Corp. The company had filed for bankruptcy on December 2, 2001.
2003 – Archaeologists announced that they had found five more chambers in the tomb of Qin Shihuang, China’s first emperor. The rooms were believed to cover about 750,000 square feet.
2006 – Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane received stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a dual ceremony.