History: March 14, 2019

1794

Eli Whitney is issued a patent for his invention of the cotton gin.

The contraption quickly and efficiently separated cotton fibers from cotton seeds, which eliminated much of the need for manual human labor.

The textile industry quickly took off following the invention — but the demand for slave labor increased, since there was more cotton needed to be put through the gins.

###
1899

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin receives an American patent for his rigid airship design.

The Zeppelin blimp was first patented in Germany, and called a Lenkbarer Luftfahrzug, or “steerable air-cruising train.”

In World War I, they would become formidable warships for Germany, used for scouting and bombing missions. The most famous Zeppelin disaster was the explosion of the Hindenburg in 1937.

###
1964

The assassin of JFK’s presumed assassin is sentenced to death.

Jack Ruby was found guilty of murdering with malice Lee Harvey Oswald, who was captured following the shooting of President Kennedy.

His sentence was handed down on live TV, a first in US history.

In October of 1966, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed the decision, and Ruby died in prison from lung cancer 3 months later.

###
1990

Mikhail Gorbachev becomes president of the Soviet Union.

He would eventually oversee the Soviet regime’s collapse before the end of the following year.

His election was free compared to the standards of the previous decades. He had been a popular politician whose agenda centered on decentralizing Communist Party control.

He would resign as the Soviet Union dissolved, at the hands of his own reforms.