THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

August 7

 

1909: Alice Huyler Ramsey and three friends became the first women to complete a transcontinental auto trip, taking 59 days to travel from New York, N.Y., to San Francisco, Calif. “Good driving has nothing to do with sex. It’s all above the collar!”

1947: Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl’s balsa wood raft, the Kon-Tiki, smashed into the reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands after a 101-day, 4,300-mile journey across the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to prove that prehistoric peoples could have traveled from South America.

1974: French high-wire artist Philippe Petit gained worldwide fame after he performed an unauthorized high-wire act between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, 1,368 feet in the air.

1987: U.S. long-distance swimmer Lynne Cox became first person to swim from the United States to the Soviet Union, crossing 2.4 miles from Little Diomede Island in Alaska to Big Diomede Island in the Soviet Union.

2007: San Francisco Giants left-fielder Barry Bonds broke baseball icon Hank Aaron’s record by hitting his 756th home run.

 

August 8

 

1876: Thomas Edison received a patent for his mimeograph, a type of copying machine.

1929: The German airship Graf Zeppelin began its around-the-world flight.

1963: Fifteen robbers led by Ronald Biggs robbed a British mail train of 2.6 million pounds in the “Great Train Robbery.”

2000: Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor near Charleston, S.C., 30 years after it was discovered by undersea explorer E. Lee Spence, and five years after it was filmed by a dive team funded by novelist Clive Cussler.

 

August 9

 

1930: Betty Boop made her cartoon debut in Dizzy Dishes.

1936: At the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal and became the first American to win four medals in one Olympiad.

1944: The U.S. Forest Service and the Wartime Advertising Council released posters featuring Smokey Bear for the first time.

1945: The U.S. Army Air  Corps B-29 Bockscar dropped an atomic bomb named Fat Man on Nagasaki, Japan, devastating the city; 39,000 people were killed outright and many thousands more died of injuries and radiation poisoning in the coming days, weeks and years.

1965: Singapore was expelled from Malaysia and became the first country in history to gain its independence unwillingly.

 

August 10

 

1932: An 11-pound meteorite broke into at least seven pieces and landed near the town of Archie, Missouri.

1948: Candid Camera made its television debut after being on radio for a year as Candid Microphone.

1954: The groundbreaking ceremony for the Saint Lawrence Seaway was held at Massena, New York.

2003: The highest temperature ever in the United Kingdom, 38.5 degrees C (101.3 degrees F) was recorded in Kent, England. It was the first time the United Kingdom recorded a temperature over 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko became the first person to marry in outer space.

 

August 11

 

1934: The federal prison on Alcatraz Island began receiving prisoners.

1942: Actress Hedy Lamarr received a patent for a frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum communication system that later became the basis for modern technologies in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi.

1997: Jack Housel of Libby, Mont., caught the world’s largest wild rainbow trout (33 pounds, 1 ounce) using a pole and line on the Kootenai River near Libby. (The fish is on display at DeShazer-Ryan Realty in Libby.)

1999: A tornado ripped through downtown Salt Lake City, killing one person.

 

August 12

 

30 BC: Cleopatra VII Philopator, the last ruler of the Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty, committed suicide. Tradition says she did it by making a poisonous asp bite her breast.

1851: American inventor Isaac Singer was granted a patent for his sewing machine.

1883: The last quagga—a subspecies of the plains zebra the looked like a small half-zebra, half-horse—died at the Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

1939: The City of San Francisco passenger train from Chicago to Oakland, Calif., derailed while crossing a bridge near Carlin, Nev. (The wreck appeared to have been caused by sabotage, but despite a major manhunt, offers of reward, and years of investigation by Southern Pacific Railroad, the case remains unsolved.

August 13

 

1831: Black slave Nat Turner saw a solar eclipse and thought is was a sign from God. Eight days later, he and 70 other slaves killed approximately 55 whites in Southampton County, Va.

1942: Bambi was released to theaters in America. It was Walt Disney’s fifth full-length, animated film.

2001: The last original episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was broadcast on TV.

2009: The U.S. Mint issued the third of four new Lincoln pennies. This design featured Lincoln as a young lawyer, standing before the state Capitol in Springfield, Ill. It was designed by Joel Iskowitz.