1838: Morse demonstrates telegraph
Samuel Morse’s telegraph system is demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. The telegraph, a device which used electric impulses to transmit encoded messages over a wire, would eventually revolutionize long-distance communication, reaching the height of its popularity in the 1920s and 1930s.
Samuel Morse died wealthy and famous in New York City on April 2, 1872, at age 80.
Also on this date
1919: Theodore Roosevelt dies
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, dies at Sagamore Hill, his estate overlooking New York’s Long Island Sound.
1759: Two future presidents marry respective sweethearts
This day in history is a wedding anniversary for two presidents: George Washington and George H.W. Bush.
1996: Blizzard of 1996 begins
Snow begins falling in Washington, D.C., and up the Eastern seaboard, beginning a blizzard that kills 154 people and causes more than $1 billion in damages before it ends
1994: Skater Nancy Kerrigan attacked
Olympic hopeful Nancy Kerrigan is attacked at a Detroit ice rink following a practice session two days before the Olympic trials. A man hit Kerrigan with a club on the back of her knee, causing the figure skater to cry out in pain and bewilderment.
1777: George Washington sets up winter quarters in Morristown, NJ
After two significant victories over the British in Trenton and Princeton, New Jersey, General George Washington marches north to Morristown, New Jersey, where he set up winter headquarters for himself and the men of the Continental Army.
World War II
1942: FDR commits to biggest arms buildup in U.S. history
President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces to Congress that he is authorizing the largest armaments production in the history of the United States.
Art, Literature, and Film History
1975: Two thousand Led Zeppelin fans trash the Boston Garden
A crowd of 2,000-plus lines up outside Boston Garden to buy tickets to the rock band Led Zeppelin. Some in the crowd then entered into to the near-empty arena and caused thousands of dollars in damage.
1975: "Wheel of Fortune" premieres
"Wheel of Fortune," the longest-running syndicated game show in American television, premieres on NBC. Created by television legend Merv Griffin and hosted since the early 1980s by Pat Sajak and Vanna White, "Wheel of Fortune" is one of the most popular television shows in the world.
2001: Congress certifies George W. Bush winner of 2000 elections
After a bitterly contested election, Vice President Al Gore presides over a joint session of Congress that certifies George W. Bush as the winner of the 2000 election.
1912: New Mexico joins the Union
New Mexico is admitted into the United States as the 47th state. Spanish explorers passed through the area that would become New Mexico in the early 16th century, encountering the well-preserved remains of a 13th-century Pueblo civilization.
1798: Mountain man Jedediah Smith is born
Jedediah Strong Smith, one of America’s greatest trapper-explorers, is born in Bainbridge, New York. Smith explored a stunningly large area of the Far West during his short life.
1066: Harold II crowned king of England
Following the death of Edward the Confessor, Harold Godwineson, head of the most powerful noble family in England, is crowned King Harold II.