• On Sept. 27, 1854, two ships collide off the coast of Newfoundland, killing 322 people. The wooden-hull Arctic slammed into the iron-hull steamer Vesta and was severely damaged. In trying to beach the ship, the Artic’s captain ran over several lifeboats, causing more people to drown.
• On Oct. 1, 1908, in Detroit, the first production Model T Ford is completed. Its 22 horsepower, four-cylinder engine could reach speeds up to 40 mph and run on gasoline or hemp-based fuel.
• On Sept. 28, 1928, a lab accident led Sir Alexander Fleming, a young bacteriologist, to one of the great discoveries of modern medicine. Having left a plate of staphylococcus bacteria uncovered, Fleming noticed that a mold that had fallen on the culture had killed many of the bacteria. He identified the mold as penicillium notatum, similar to the kind found on bread.
• On Oct. 2, 1948, the first American road race since World War II takes place in Watkins Glen in New York. The New York Central railroad agreed to suspend train service so the drivers could safely cross the tracks.
• On Sept. 29, 1969, the U.S. Army drops murder charges against eight Green Berets accused of killing a Vietnamese national, citing reasons of national security after the CIA refused to release highly classified information.
• On Oct. 3, 1981, a hunger strike by Irish nationalists at the Maze Prison in Belfast in Northern Ireland is called off after seven months and 10 deaths. Afterward, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher agreed to several of the protesters’ demands, including the right to wear civilian clothing.
• On Sept. 30, 1999, large doses of radiation are released at Japan’s Tokaimura nuclear plant in an accident caused by a serious error made by workers at the plant. Instead of pouring 5 pounds of powdered uranium into nitric acid, workers poured 35 pounds.
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