Today in History
1910: Pilot Philip Parmalee, ready for take off in a Wright Model B.
1492 – The Ensisheim meteorite, the oldest meteorite with a known date of impact, strikes the Earth around noon in a wheat field outside the village of Ensisheim, Alsace, France.
1665 – The London Gazette, the oldest surviving journal, is first published.
1811 – Tecumseh’s War: The Battle of Tippecanoe is fought near present-day Battle Ground, Indiana, United States.
1837 – In Alton, Illinois, abolitionist printer Elijah P. Lovejoy is shot deadby a mob while attempting to protect his printing shop from being destroyed a third time.
1874 – A cartoon by Thomas Nast in Harper’s Weekly, is considered the first important use of an elephant as a symbol for the United States Republican Party.
1908 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are reportedly killed in San Vicente, Bolivia.
1910 – The first air freight shipment from Dayton, Ohio, to Columbus, Ohio.
One day in 1910, Orville and Wilbur Wright received an unsolicited letter from Max Morehouse, a Columbus, Ohio department store owner inquiring “How much will you charge to bring a roll of silk ribbon from your city to our establishment?”
This led to a contract between Morehouse and the Wright brothers to fly 200 pounds of silk worth $800 from Dayton to Columbus. For this, their first commercial transportation job, they wanted to get it right. They used the latest version of their Model B plane that included a significant design change of moving the vertical stabilizer from the front of the plane to just behind the tail. Powered by a 40 horsepower engine (think late 1950’s VW Beetle for power output comparison) and like the Beetle, the Model B had wheels instead of a sled design landing gear. Its wingspan was 39 feet.
They chose their best student, 24 year old Philip Parmalee arming him with a map and instructions to follow the railroad track to Columbus.
His destination was a racetrack 65 miles away marked with white flags for better visibility. He touched down 66 minutes after lift off, setting a new world speed record.
Morehouse, the department store owner, not only received worldwide publicity, but also made a profit on his $5,000 investment. In addition to selling tickets to the thousands of racetrack attendees, he sold swatches of the silk on a post card for five cents a card as well at lengths of silk for $1.35 a yard.
Philip Parmalee went on to fly the U.S. Mail and eventually piloted Wright Model Bs conducting Army experiments dropping live bombs from aircraft. A year later, his plane crashed and he perished in Yakima, Washington
1914 – The first issue of The New Republic is published.
1929 – In New York City, the Museum of Modern Art opens to the public.
1933 – Fiorello H. La Guardia is elected the 99th mayor of New York City.
1940 – In Tacoma, Washington, the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses in a windstorm, a mere four months after the bridge’s completion.
1941 – World War II: Soviet hospital ship Armenia is sunk by German planes while evacuating refugees and wounded military and staff of several Crimean hospitals. It is estimated that over 5,000 people died in the sinking.
1944 – Franklin D. Roosevelt elected for a record fourth term as President of the United States of America.
1967 – Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967,establishing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
1973 – The US Congress overrides President Richard M. Nixon’s veto of the War Powers Resolution, which limits presidential power to wage war without congressional approval.
1989 – David Dinkins becomes the first African American to be elected Mayor of New York City.
1996 – NASA launches the Mars Global Surveyor.
1728 – James Cook, English captain, navigator, and cartographer (d. 1779)
1832 – Andrew Dickson White, American historian, academic, and diplomat, co-founded Cornell University (d. 1918)
1879 – Leon Trotsky, Russian theorist and politician, founded the Red Army (d. 1940)
1903 – Konrad Lorenz, Austrian zoologist, ethologist, and ornithologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1989)
1926 – Joan Sutherland, Australian-Swiss soprano (d. 2010)
1962 – Eleanor Roosevelt, American humanitarian and politician, 39th First Lady of the United States (b. 1884)
2011 – Joe Frazier, American boxer (b. 1944)
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