Steamboat-Ben Campbell-Mississippi River-1920


On this day in 1791, John Fitch was granted a United States patent for a boat propelled by steam power. Working on lakes and rivers, at first with the use of paddles, these boats would eventually revolutionize the commercial transportation of passengers and freight, particularly along the Mississippi River, as described by Mark Twain in his books.

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • Michelangelo was commissioned to carve the Pietà (1498)
  • The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was approved by the Constituent Assembly as the founding document of the French Revolution, stating, like the US Declaration that came before it, “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights” (1789)
  • Liberia was proclaimed an independent republic (1847)
  • Albert Sabin, the Polish-American doctor who developed the polio vaccine that would block the virus from the bloodstream and break the chain of transmission, was born (1906)
  • Mother Teresa, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Albanian Catholic nun who made it her life’s work to care for the sick and poor in India, was born (1910)
  • The 19th amendment to US Constitution took effect, giving women the right to vote (1920)
  • Major league baseball was televised for the first time, a game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field on W2XBS (1939)
  • Sigmund Jähn became first German cosmonaut, on board Soyuz 31 (1978)
  • In a pioneering operation in Britain, the world’s first battery-operated ‘bionic’ heart, a titanium and plastic device manufactured in America, went to a 62-year-old who had only months to live (1994)
  • Russia recognized the independence of the former Georgian breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia (2008)