Today in 1836, Samuel Colt patented the first revolving barrel multi-shot firearm. He lost his business and patents in 1842, but regained them in 1846 when the U.S. Government ordered 1,000 revolvers.
Today in 1863, President Lincoln signed the National Currency Act – which established a single, national currency.
Today in 1919, Oregon became the first state to tax gasoline by the gallon. The one-cent per gallon tax was to be used for road construction.
Today in 1940, the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens played the first hockey game to ever be aired on television in the U.S. It debuted on W2WBS in New York with one camera. The Rangers defeated the Canadiens six to two.
Today in 1983, a special commission of the U.S. Congress released a report that condemned the practice of Japanese internment during World War II.
Today in 1989, the Dallas Cowboys fired coach Tom Landry after a 29-year run.
Today in 1993, the federal trial of four police officers charged with civil rights violations in the videotaped beating of Rodney King began in Los Angeles.
Today in 1997, documents revealed that President Clinton endorsed rewarding Democratic contributors with such perks as golf games with him or overnight stays in the White House.
Today in 1998, a man who ran onstage and danced interrupted Bob Dylan’s GRAMMY performance. He had the words “Soy Bomb” written on his bare chest.
Today in 1999, Israel's Supreme Court blocked the extradition of American teenager Samuel Sheinbein to the U.S. to face charges stemming from a grisly slaying in Maryland, a move that threatened to revive a strain on U.S.-Israeli relations. The reasoning behind their decision? That he would have faced the death penalty here in the States. Sheinbein was later sentenced to 24 years in prison by an Israeli court. In 2014, he was killed by police in a prison standoff, after he shot six officials and another prisoner.
Today in 1999, a jury in Jasper, Texas sentenced white supremacist John William King to death for chaining James Byrd Jr., a black man, to a pickup truck and dragging him to his death.
Today in 2000, a jury in Albany, New York acquitted four white New York City police officers of all charges in the shooting death of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo.
Today in 2001, Scott Waddle, the commander of the Navy submarine USS Greeneville that had struck and sunk a Japanese fishing vessel off Hawaii, killing nine people, expressed his "most sincere regret" over the incident. Even so, he stopped short of an apology.
Today in 2005, Dennis Rader was arrested for the BTK serial killings in Wichita, Kansas (which had taken place from 1974 to 1991). He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 life prison terms.
Today in 2007, during the 79th annual Academy Awards, Forest Whitaker won the award for Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in “The Last King of Scotland” and Helen Mirren was named Best Actress for her role in “The Queen.” Jennifer Hudson – who had risen to fame on “American Idol” just three years earlier – walked away with the trophy for Actress in a Supporting Role for her part in “Dreamgirls.”