Today in History – February 1

1788 – Isaac Briggs and William Longstreet patented the steamboat.

1790 – The U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time in New York City.

1793 – France declared war on Britain and Holland.

1793 – Ralph Hodgson patented oiled silk.

1861 – Texas voted to secede from the Union.

1862 – “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” by Julia Ward Howe was first published in the “Atlantic Monthly.”

1865 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed a Joint Resolution submitting the proposed 13th Amendment to the states.

1867 – In the U.S., bricklayers start working 8-hour days.

1884 – The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published.

1893 – Thomas A. Edison completed work on the world’s first motion picture studio in West Orange, NJ.

1896 – Puccini’s opera “La Boheme” premiered in Turin.

1898 – The Travelers Insurance Company of Hartford, CT, issued the first automobile insurance policy. Dr. Truman Martin of Buffalo, NY, paid $11.25 for the policy, which gave him $5,000 in liability coverage.

1900 – Eastman Kodak Co. introduced the $1 Brownie box camera.

1913 – Grand Central Terminal (also known as Grand Central Station) opened in New York City, NY. It was the largest train station in the world.

1919 – The first Miss America was crowned in New York City.

1920 – The first armored car was introduced.

1920 – Canada’s Royal North West Mounted Police changed their name to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The organization was commissioned in 1873.

1921 – Carmen Fasanella registered as a taxicab owner and driver in Princeton, New Jersey. Fasanella retired November 2, 1989 after 68 years and 243 days of service.

1929 – Weightlifter Charles Rigoulet of France achieved the first 400 pound ‘clean and jerk’ as he lifted 402-1/2 pounds.

1930 – The Times published its first crossword puzzle.

1946 – Norwegian statesman Trygve Lie was chosen to be the first secretary-general of the United Nations.

1951 – The first telecast of an atomic explosion took place.

1951 – The first X-ray moving picture process was demonstrated.

1953 – CBS-TV debuted “Private Secretary.”

1954 – CBS-TV showed “The Secret Storm” for the first time.

1957 – P.H. Young became the first black pilot on a scheduled passenger airline.

1958 – The United Arab Republic was formed by a union of Egypt and Syria. It was broken 1961.

1960 – Four black college students began a sit-in protest at a lunch counter in Greensboro, NC. They had been refused service.

1968 – During the Vietnam War, South Vietnamese National Police Chief Brig. Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan executed a Viet Cong officer with a pistol shot to the head. The scene was captured in a news photograph.

1976 – “Sonny and Cher” resumed on TV despite a real life divorce.

1979 – Patty Hearst was released from prison after serving 22 months of a seven-year sentence for bank robbery. Her sentence had been commuted by U.S. President Carter.

1979 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was welcomed in Tehran as he ended nearly 15 years of exile.

1987 – Terry Williams won the largest slot machine payoff, at the time, when won $4.9 million after getting four lucky 7s on a machine in Reno, NV.

1991 – A USAir jetliner crashed atop a commuter plane at Los Angeles International Airport. 35 people were killed.

1994 – Jeff Gillooly pled guilty in Portland, OR, for his role in the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. Gillooly, Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, struck a plea bargain under which he confessed to racketeering charges in exchange for testimony implicating Harding.

1996 – Visa and Mastercard announced security measures that would make it safe to shop on the Internet.

1998 – Stuart Whitman received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1999 – Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky gave a deposition that was videotaped for senators weighing impeachment charges against U.S. President Clinton.

2001 – Three Scottish judges found Abdel Basset al-Mergrahi guilty of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people. The court said that Megrahi was a member of the Libyan intelligence service. Al-Amin Khalifa, who had been co-accused, was acquitted and freed.

2003 – NASA’s space shuttle Columbia exploded while re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. All seven astronauts on board were killed.

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