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Moments in Time

 

 

• On Aug. 24, 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces overwhelm American militiamen and march unopposed into Washington, D.C. Most congressmen and officials had already fled. The British officers dined that night at the deserted White House as the British troops began setting the city aflame.

• On Aug. 25, 1835, the first in a series of six articles announcing the discovery of life on the moon appears in the New York Sun newspaper. “The Great Moon Hoax” described evidence of life forms including unicorns and winged humanoids resembling bats.

• On Aug. 20, 1911, a dispatcher in The New York Times office sends the first telegram around the world via commercial service. The message was relayed by 16 different operators and came back to the original dispatcher 16.5 minutes later.

• On Aug. 23, 1904, Harold Weed of Canastota, New York, is issued U.S. Patent No. 768,495 for his “Grip- Tread for Pneumatic Tires,” a nonskid tire chain to be used on automobiles in order to increase traction on slick roads. He drew inspiration from the habit of local motorists who wrapped rope around their tires.

• On Aug. 26, 1959, the British Motor Corporation launches its newest car, the small, affordable $800 Mark I Mini. The diminutive Mini went on to become one of the best-selling British cars in history.

• On Aug. 21, 1987, “Dirty Dancing,” starring Patrick Swayze, opens in theaters. The film was a surprise boxoffice hit and turned Swayze into a Hollywood star.

• On Aug. 22, 1992, in the second day of a standoff at Randy Weaver’s remote Idaho cabin atop Ruby Ridge, an FBI sharpshooter wounds Weaver and Kevin Harris, and then kills Weaver’s wife, Vicki, who was in a doorway holding her infant daughter.

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