First Posted: 8/4/2014
The History Channel
* On Aug. 19, 1812, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution defeats the British frigate Guerrire in an engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia. The British shot merely bounced off the Constitution’s sides, as if the ship were made of iron rather than wood. The bolts fastening the timbers and copper sheathing on “Old Ironsides” were provided by Paul Revere.
* On Aug. 23, 1904, Harold D. Weed of Canastota, New York, is issued U.S. Patent No. 768,495 for his “Grip-Tread for Pneumatic Tires,” a tire chain to be used on automobiles to increase traction on roads slick with mud, snow or ice.
* On Aug. 20, 1911, a dispatcher in the New York Times office sends the first telegram around the world to determine how fast a commercial message could be sent. After it traveled more than 28,000 miles, relayed by 16 different operators, the reply was received by the same operator 16 1/2 minutes later.
* On Aug. 21, 1920, Daphne Milne, wife of writer A.A. Milne, gives birth to a son the couple names Christopher Robin Milne. Christopher Robin was immortalized in A.A. Milne’s books “Winnie-the-Pooh” and “The House at Pooh Corner.”
* On Aug. 18, 1958, Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel “Lolita” is published in the U.S. The novel, about a man’s obsession with a 12-year-old girl, had been rejected by four publishers before G.P. Putnam’s Sons accepted it.
* On Aug. 24, 1969, Company A of the Third Battalion, 196th Light Infantry Brigade refuses the order of its commander, Lt. Eugene Schurtz, Jr., to continue an attack near Da Nang, Vietnam, because they had “simply had enough.” Schurtz was relieved of his command and transferred. Neither he nor his men were ever disciplined.
* On Aug. 22, 1992, the second day of a standoff at Randy Weaver’s Ruby Ridge cabin in Idaho, FBI sharpshooter Lon Horiuchi wounds Weaver and kills his unarmed wife, Vicki, as she holds their baby daughter. In 1997, Horiuchi was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death, but a federal judge dismissed the charge, citing the alleged immunity of federal officers.