First Posted: 3/11/2012
The History Channel
• On March 23, 1836, in hopes of keeping pace with the furious march of technology, the U.S. Mint unveils its first steam-powered press. The new-fangled contraption helped crank out coins more efficiently.
• On March 25, 1911, at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York’s Lower East Side, a fire quickly engulfs the factory and claims 146 lives, mostly young women. Because management had locked the exit doors, many of the garment workers either expired from asphyxiation or leapt from windows — a fatal, 10-story fall. The factory’s owners were eventually found guilty on charges of manslaughter.
• On March 21, 1971, “The Andromeda Strain,” the first movie to use computer animation, opens. The sci-fi thriller, featuring scientists racing against time and an alien virus, was the first of many films to be made from a Michael Crichton book.
• On March 24, 1989, the worst oil spill in U.S. territory begins when the supertanker Exxon Valdez runs aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water, polluting more than 700 miles of coastline.