This Day in Geek History: May 3
The first regular steam train passenger service in the U.S. is launched.
The very first patent for a machine for mowing lawns is granted to Edwin Beard Budding.
Johnson William Richardson sets out on the first successful Pony Express run between Saint Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California at about 7:15pm. He will arrive in Sacramento on April 14, at 1:00am.
Lieutenants Oakley Kelly and John Macready complete the first nonstop coast-to-coast airplane flight from New York to San Diego after twenty-six hours and fifty minutes.
Famous Funnies, the first comic book to go on sale in the United States, hits newsstands.
Television station W2XBS in New York broadcasts the first book review program in the U.S.
A ski-modified U.S. Air Force C-47 becomes the first airplane to land at the North Pole. Aboard are pilots Lieutenant Colonel William P. Benedict of California and Lieutenant Colonel Joseph O. Fletcher of Oklahoma.
The TV Guide magazine debuts. For years, it will be the most read magazine in the United States.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announces that it will defend poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the proprietor of City Lights Bookstore against obscenity charges brought against him for allegedly promoting obscene material by the sale of the book Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg. Ferlinghetti will later be found not guilty.
Dr. Denton Cooley of the Texas Heart Institute performs the first successful heart transplant in the United States on Everett Thomas, whose heart was damaged by rheumatic heart disease. The patient will survive for 204 days with a heart harvested from a fifteen year old girl.
The Sears Tower in Chicago becomes the tallest building in the world when it is topped out at 1,451 feet (442 m), surpassing the World Trade Center. The building was designed by Bruce Graham.
The first unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail is sent by Gary Thuerk, a marketing representative of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) to all 393 users of ARPANET on the west coast of the United States. The e-mail is an invitation to a demonstration of DEC’s new Decsystem-20 computer. The message took several day to prepare, as all of the address had to be typed in manually, and the message was carefully composed. It elicits an immediate and negative reaction. Thuerk will receive a torrent of complaints and an official reprimand from the administrators of the government-run network. Read more about the first spam in the article “Reaction to the DEC Spam of 1978″.