1791 – John Stone patented the pile driver on this day.
1849 – Abraham Lincoln of Springfield, IL applied for a patent for a device to lift vessels over shoals by means of inflated cylinders. He received the patent in May, 1849.
1876 – Alexander Graham Bell sent the first clear telephone message – into a nearby room – to his assistant, Mr. Watson. “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you,” were the first words spoken into the invention that Bell had created.
1903 – Harry C. Gammeter of Cleveland, OH patented the multigraph duplicating machine.
1906 – A mine explosion in Courrieres, France killed 1,060 workers.
1941 – The Brooklyn Dodgers announced that their players would wear batting helmets during the 1941 baseball season. General Manager Larry MacPhail (he started the Dodger dynasty in the 1930’s) predicted that all baseball players would soon be wearing the new devices.
1948 – The communist-controlled government of Czechoslovakia reported that Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk, a non-communist, has committed suicide, an announcement greeted with suspicion in the West.
1969 – James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the year before and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
1985 – Dick Motta of the Dallas Mavericks became the fourth coach in the National Basketball Association to win 700 games in a career as the Mavs defeated the New Jersey Nets 126-113.
1998 – The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) announced that food stamps were issued to nearly 26,000 dead people in 1995 – 1996; food stamps valued at $8.5 million were issued to 25,881 deceased people during that period.