Samuel Colt patents the revolver. In the patent, Colt describes “the many advantages in the use of these guns,” including “the great rapidity in the succession of discharges, which is effected merely by drawing back the hammer and pulling the trigger,” “the facility in loading them,” and “the weight and location of the cylinder, which give steadiness to the hand.” Read more about the history of Colt at the Web Archive.
Thomas Davenport, a Vermont blacksmith, patents the first practical electrical motor as “an application of magnetism and electro-magnetism to propelling machinery.” (US No. 132) The rotating electromagnets have cores of soft iron, wound with copper wire insulated with layers of silk. The wires from the coil run parallel down the shaft to touch copper contacts on the base. These wires make contact with different plates at each half-turn. When the contacts are connected to opposite poles of the battery supplying current, provision is made to reverse the direction of the current in the rotating coils at each half-turn such that magnetic repulsion is maintained between the rotating coil and the pole of the fixed magnet they face at that point in the shaft’s rotation. Read more about the Electric Motor in the Mechanical Engineering article, “The Blacksmith’s Motor. Electricity, magnetism, and motion: A self-taught Vermonter pointed the direction for lighting the world” by Fran Wicks at the Mechanical Engineering archives.
The first car accident fatality involving a vehicle powered by a gasoline-fueled engine occurs in Grove Hill Harrow, England. The accident occurs while the car, a Daimler Wagonette, is being demonstrated for Major James Richer, Department Head of the Army & Navy Stores. Mr. Sewell, the driver, is killed on the spot, but the passenger, Major Richer, won’t die until four days later, without regaining consciousness. Richer will be Britain’s first vehicular passenger fatality. About a year earlier, on February 12, 1898, Henry Lindfield will become the first person to die in a collision.
A conversation between San Francisco, California and London, England establishes a new telephone long distance record of 7,287 miles.
The Federal Radio Commission (FRC) issues the first television license in the US to Charles Jenkins Laboratories for experimental station W2XCR in Washington, DC. The first commercial television license won’t be issued until 1941.
The first bank check photographing device patent is issued in the US to its inventor, George Lewis McCarthy, who called it the Checkograph. (US No. 1,748,489) The machine photographs checks onto 16mm motion picture film using a conveyor belt.
The Windscale plutonium plant at Sellafield, on the Irish Sea coast in Cumberland, England, goes into operation. It wasn’t public knowledge that Britain was developing nuclear weapons until Winston Churchill announced plans to test the first British-made atomic bomb on February 17, 1952. The first British test of an atomic bomb will be conducted in the Hurricane project on the Monte Bello Islands off the northwest coast of Australia on October 3, 1952. Read more about the Hurricane project at the Nuclear Weapon Archive.
The Automatically Programmed Tools (APT) language is first demonstrated. APT is an high-level language for conveying instructions to machine tools used in computer-assisted manufacturing.
The first unit of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, Canada’s first commercial nuclear power station, goes online.
Soyuz 24 returns to Earth.
Apple Computer looses its sense of innocence on what many will later refer to as “Black Wednesday” when Michael Scott lays off 1,500 employees (including half of the Apple II team) and terminates a number of hardware development projects. After the dismissals, he assembles the remaining employees and explains, “I used to say that when being CEO at Apple wasn’t fun anymore, I’d quit. But now I’ve changed my mind—when it isn’t fun any more, I’ll fire people until it’s fun again.” The layoffs and subsequent restructuring will prove to be so popular among the company’s remaining employees that Scott will be removed to Vice Chairman of the company, and on July 10, 1981, he’ll leave the company. Read a first-hand account of the incident at Folklore.org.
According to Twin Galaxies, Kevin Leisner scores a record-setting 809,990 points playing the Sega arcade game Pengo at the Mission Control arcade in Racine, Wisconsin. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
Craig Neidorf, better known by the web handle “Knight Lightning,” publishes documentation for Bell South’s Enhanced 911 system (E911) in Phrack electronic newsletter number twenty-four. The documentation was stolen from the BellSouth AIMSX computer network in September 1988, and they appear in an article entitled, “Control Office Administration Of Enhanced 911 Service by The Eavesdropper“. Neidork will be indicted for the theft and publication in early 1990. Phrack is co-published by “Taran King”. Read archived issues of Phrack online.