First Posted: 2/26/2014
The History Channel
* On March 17, 1834, Gottlieb Daimler, who in 1890 founded an engine and car company bearing his name, is born in Germany. In 1885, he and Wilhelm Maybach developed a new version of the four-stroke internal-combustion engine, which they attached to a wooden bicycle, creating what has been referred to as the world’s first motorcycle.
* On March 19, 1842, French writer de Balzac’s play “Les Ressources de Quinola” opens to an empty house, thanks to a failed publicity stunt. Hoping to create a buzz, the writer circulated a rumor that tickets were sold out. Unfortunately, most of his fans stayed home.
* On March 20, 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” is published. The book was so widely read that when President Abraham Lincoln met Stowe, he reportedly said, “So this is the little lady who made this big war.”
* On March 22, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Beer and Wine Revenue Act. The law levied a federal tax on all alcoholic beverages to raise revenue for the federal government and gave individual states the option to impose further regulations.
* On March 18, 1942, the War Relocation Authority is created to “take all people of Japanese descent into custody.” Earl Warren (who would go on to become chief justice of the Supreme Court) claimed that a lack of evidence of sabotage among the Japanese population proved nothing, as they were merely biding their time.
* On March 21, 1963, Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay closes down and transfers its last prisoners. At its peak use in 1950s, “The Rock,” or “America’s Devil Island,” housed more than 200 inmates at the maximum-security facility.
* On March 23, 1983, Barney Clark dies, 112 days after becoming the world’s first recipient of a permanent artificial heart. The 61-year-old dentist spent the last four months of his life at the University of Utah Medical Center attached to a 350-pound console that pumped air in and out of the aluminum-and-plastic implant through a system of hoses.