1798 – The U.S. Congress passed the Sedition Act. The act made it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the U.S. government. Can we amend this to exclude statements that lead to the price of gas going down?
1834 – Lord Napier of England arrived in Macao, China as the first chief superintendent of trade. He failed in his attempt to trade steak-and-kidney pie for sweet-and-sour pork.
1848 – Bloomers were introduced at the Women’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Fall, NY. If you ask me, workers at Victoria’s Secret should get this day off.
1868 – Alvin J. Fellows patented the tape measure. After measuring his waist, he invented the sit-up.
1868 – Legislation was passed ordering U.S. tax stamps to be placed on all cigarette packs. The stamps said: “Warning: The Taxation General has determined that smoking is hazardous to your budget.”
1901 – Over 74,000 Pittsburgh steel workers went on strike. On the following day, Pittsburgh suffered a beer shortage. Coincidence?
1935 – Oklahoma City became the first city in the U.S. to use parking meters. Unfortunately, their primary use was for target practice.
1936 – The first Oscar Meyer Wienermobile rolled out of General Body Company’s factory in Chicago, IL. It came in two colors: ketchup and mustard.
1968 – Commercial air travel began between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., when the first plane, a Soviet Aeroflot jet, landed at Kennedy International Airport in New York. It was the first “red-eye” where the red eyes were caused by too much vodka in the cabin.
1981 – After 23 years with the name Datsun, executives of Nissan changed the name of their cars to Nissan. They had another name in mind, but “Stick-it-to-GM” was taken.
1995 – The Nasdaq composite stock index rose above 1,000 for the first time. Geeks with stock options in dot-com companies celebrated by buying new clip-on ties.
1997 – After 117 years, the Woolworth Corp. closed its last 400 stores. Woolworth was the original “five-and-dime,” which is what we now refer to as a gumball machine.