This week in history, image mattered. John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon in the first televised presidential debate. An Italian ice cream vendor froze himself in time with a patent on the ice cream cone. Learn about these and more events this week in history.
Ice Cream Cone Patent Filed
On this day in 1903, Italian vendor Italo Marchiony filed a U.S. patent for a pastry cone that would become known as the ice cream cone. His patent, No. 746971, was issued in December 1903. Marchiony had been experimenting with different types of cones, such as paper and other forms of pastry before filing his patent. Whether or not Marchiony actually invented the cone concept is debated.
Lewis and Clark Return
After two years of exploring the West, Lewis and Clark returned to St. Louis on this day in 1806. Guided by Toussaint Charbonneau and Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark traversed the Rocky Mountains and reached the Pacific in November 1805. They lost only one member of their 33-member expedition. They were the first explorers to reach the Pacific via an overland route.
Jim Henson Birthday
The deft hand behind the Muppets was born on this day in 1936. Jim Henson earned fame in the Washington, D.C., television circuit, earning an Emmy for his nightly puppet shows. He became associated with “Sesame Street” in the late 1960s and launched “The Muppet Show” in 1976. Kermit the Frog and his pals starred in many movies and appeared alongside Henson on many television programs. Henson, who also worked on the fantasy films “Labyrinth” and “The Dark Crystal,” died in 1990.
William Faulkner Birthday
One of America’s best writers, William Faulkner was born on this day in 1897. A Mississippian by birth, he lived most of his life in the state and helped develop the genre of Southern literature. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, but did not like the praise. His most famous book is “The Sound and the Fury.” Faulkner died in 1962.
First Televised Presidential Debate
Presidential elections changed forever on this date in 1960 as Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy squared off in a televised debate. Kennedy appeared fresh and good looking on camera, while Nixon, who had been released from the hospital for an injured knee two weeks prior, looked tired and sported a five o’clock shadow. Nixon refused the help of a makeup artist. Television viewers thought Kennedy won the debate, but radio listeners felt that Nixon’s answers were more thoughtful. Nixon did not engage in televised debates in the 1968 or 1972 elections.
‘Jack the Ripper”s Letter
On this day in 1888, London’s Central News Agency received a letter supposedly from the killer of many women during the fall of that year. The writer dubbed himself “Jack the Ripper,” and the name stuck. Recent investigations doubt that the actual killer wrote this letter. “Jack the Ripper” has never been caught.
Discovery of California
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer, made history on this day in 1542 when he was the first European to set foot on the West Coast, thus discovering California. Cabrillo’s landing in the ship “San Salvador” is celebrated across California on this day each year. The place he made landfall is a national monument under the direction of the National Park Service.