Today In History...
In 1785 Benjamin Franklin invents the first bifocals.
In 1807 Former vice president Aaron Burr is put on trial for treason in Richmond, VA, but was acquitted in September.
In 1819 The first steamship to cross the Atlantic, the Savannah, departs from Savannah, Georgia, and arrives in Liverpool 29 days later.
In 1843 The first wagon train leaves Independence, MO, for the Oregon Trail.
In 1856 Violence erupts in Congress when Rep. Preston S. Brooks whacks Senator Charles Sumner with a cane.
In 1868 The "Great Train Robbery" takes place in Indiana, when seven men hold up the crew, detach the locomotive and take $96,000 in cash, gold and bonds.
In 1888 Leroy Buffington patents the system for building skyscrapers.
In 1892 Dr. Sheffield, a British dentist, invents the toothpaste tube.
In 1900 Edwin S. Votey patents the pneumatic piano player.
In 1935 President Franklin Roosevelt goes before Congress to explain his veto of the Patman Bonus Bill.
In 1939 Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini sign the "Pact of Steel" committing Germany and Italy to a military alliance.
In 1947 The "Truman Doctrine" is enacted by Congress with economic aid for Greece and Turkey.
In 1961 The Top Of The Needle restauraunt at the Space Needle in Seattle opens as the first revolving restaurant.
In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson introduces the term "The Great Society."
In 1967 Egyptian President Nassar closes the Straits of Tiran to Israel.
In 1967 The TV children's series "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" debuts on PBS.
In 1969 While the astronauts aboard Apollo X orbit the moon, the spacecraft's lunar module separates and flies within 9 miles of the lunar surface.
In 1970 Arab terrorists kill 9 children and 3 adults on a school bus.
In 1972 President Nixon and Soviet leader Brezhnev open a summit in Moscow which results in the first agreement limiting production of of atomic weapons.
In 1972 The island nation of Ceylon becomes the republic of Sri Lanka.
In 1979 Canadians vote to put Progressive Conservatives in power, ending the 11-year tenure of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
In 1981 Soyuz 40 returns to Earth.
In 1983 The death toll climbs to 33 as floods ravage the Gulf Coast.
In 1985 U.S. sailor Michael L. Walker is arrested aboard the aircraft carrier Nimitz and charged with spying for the Soviet Union.
In 1986 The House of Representatives approve legislation calling for major import restraints. (The bill never made it out of the Senate.)
In 1987 A deadly tornado devastates the small West Texas town of Saragosa, killing 30 people and injuring 162.
In 1988 Janos Kadar, head of Hungary's Communist Party since 1956, is replaced by Prime Minister Karoly Grosz.
In 1990 After years of conflict, Pro-Western North Yemen and pro-Soviet South Yemen merge into the Republic of Yemen.
In 1990 Boxer Rocky Graziano dies in New York at age 71.
In 1991 Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born wife of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, is designated to lead his Congress Party through national elections, one day after his assassination. (Mrs. Gandhi turned down the position.)
In 1992 After 30 years as host of "The Tonight Show," Johnny Carson departs and is succeeded by Jay Leno the following week.
In 1994 A worldwide trade embargo against Haiti takes effect to punish Haiti's military rulers for not reinstating the country's ousted elected leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
In 1995 The U.S. Supreme Court rules in a contentious 5-4 decision that states cannot limit service in Congress without amending the Constitution.
In 1995 Astronomers Amanda S. Bosh and Andrew S. Rivkin spot two new moons in Saturn's orbit in photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
In 1995 "The CBS Evening News" resumes a single-anchor format with Dan Rather, after Connie Chung was dropped from the broadcast.
In 1997 Kelly Flinn, the Air Force's first female bomber pilot certified for combat, accepts a general discharge, avoiding court-martial on charges of adultery, lying and disobeying an order.
In 1998 Rejecting special privilege, a federal judge says that Secret Service agents can be compelled to testify before grand jury in Monica Lewinsky investigation.
In 2000 The last Israeli troops and tanks leave buffer zone in south Lebanon that Israel had occupied for nearly two decades.
In 2000 The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down, 5-4, a federal law that shielded children from sex-oriented cable TV channels.
In 2001 Ford said it planned to spend more than $2 billion to replace up to 13 million Firestone tires over safety concerns.
In 2004 Samuel Johnson, who'd built the family's SC Johnson wax company into a consumer products giant, dies at age 76.
In 2011 A deadly tornado ripped through Joplin, MO, resulting in 161 deaths, and injuring more than 1,100 with $2.8 billion in damages.
In 2014 "All My Children" actor Matthew Cowles, who played villain Billy Clyde Tuggle, dies at age 69.