September 26


1580: Sir Francis Drake returned to London after circumnavigating of the Earth.

1933: Irish-American gangster George “Machine Gun Kelly” Barnes was captured by FBI agents in Memphis, Tenn. When he surrendered he shouted, “Don’t shoot, G-Men!”, which became a nickname for FBI agents. Ten convicts escaped from Indiana State Prison with guns smuggled into the prison by bank robber John Dillinger.

1960: The first televised presidential debate, between candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy, took place in Chicago. Cuban dictator Fidel Castro announced his support for the U.S.S.R.

2008: Swiss inventor and pilot Yves Rossy became the first human to fly across the English Channel wearing a jet-pack. The flight took 10 minutes, during which time he achieved speeds of up to 186 mph.


September 27

1822: Jean-François Champollion announced that he had deciphered the Rosetta stone, providing the key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

1825: The Stockton and Darlington Railway—the world’s first public railway to use steam locomotives—began operating in northeast England.

1908: The first production Ford Model T automobile was built at the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Mich.

1954: The Tonight Show Starring Steve Allen debuted on NBC-TV.

1989: Lincoln County officials and business leaders buried a time capsule beneath a large boulder on the courthouse lawn alongside California Avenue in Libby, Mont., with a plaque indicating it should be opened on Sept. 27, 2089.

1998: The internet search engine Google went online for the first time.

September 28

1867: The United States took control of Midway Island, at the far northwestern end of the Hawaiian archipelago.

1892: The first nighttime football game took place in Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania, between Wyoming Seminary and Mansfield State Normal. (The lighting system turned out to be inadequate. The game lasted only 20 minutes, with only 10 plays. Both sides agreed to end at halftime with a 0-0 tie after several players ran into light poles.)

1924: The first aerial circumnavigation of the world ended in Seattle, completed by a team of aviators in the U.S. Army Air Service, the precursor of the U.S. Air Force. The trip took 175 days and covered 27,553 miles.

1951: CBS made the first color televisions available for sale to the general public. (The product was discontinued within a month.)


September 29

1951: A college football game between Duke and the University of Pittsburgh became the first live sporting event seen coast-to-coast in the United States, televised on NBC.

1966: Chevrolet introduced the Camaro, its answer to the hugely successful Ford Mustang. (Chevrolet originally named the new model the Panther.)

1975: WGPR in Detroit, Mich., became the world’s first black-owned-and-operated television station.

1990: Construction of the Washington National Cathedral was completed.

2002: A record 2 pound 13 ounce southern kingfish was caught near Sandbridge, Va.

2008: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in history.


October 1

1890: Yosemite National Park in California was established by Congress.

1891: Stanford University opened in Stanford, Calif.

1903: The first game of the modern world series was held in Boston, where the Boston Americans played the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1908: Ford Motor Co. put the Model T car on the market for $825.

1946: Mensa International was founded in London.

1957: The phrase “In God We Trust” first appeared on U.S. paper currency.

1958: NASA was created.

1971: Disney World opened near Orlando, Fla. The first brain-scan using x-ray computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) was performed at Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon, London.

1982: Sony launched the first compact disc player for consumers.

1989: Denmark introduced the world’s first legal same-sex civil union, called “registered partnership.”

1992: The Cartoon Network began broadcasting.

October 2

1959: Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone premiered on CBS television.

1980: The U.S. House of Representatives voted 376-30 to expel Rep. Michael Myers, D-Pa., for accepting a $50,000 bribe from undercover FBI agents. Myers became the first member of either chamber of Congress to be expelled since the Civil War.