Momentous or merely memorable
25 YEARS AGO:
CROSSING THE POND
Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman complete the first transatlantic balloon flight August 17, 1978, in the helium craft Double Eagle II. Departing from Presque Isle, Maine, the Americans land near Paris after five days and 17 hours aloft. Their flight home on the supersonic Concorde jet takes 3 1/2 hours.
40 YEARS AGO:
ROAD TO PEACE
In Moscow on August 5, 1963, officials of the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union sign the first nuclear test-ban treaty, agreeing not to test nuclear devices in the air, in space or underwater. It’s a "first step on the road to a secure and peaceful world," says Secretary of State Dean Rusk. Two months later, President John F. Kennedy ratifies the treaty, a high point of his administration.
75 YEARS AGO:
In August of 1928, after months of experimenting, Walter Diemer, an accountant for a chewing gum company, invents an especially elastic gum that won’t stick to skin. Dubble Bubble will soon burst onto the scene—the first bubble gum ever marketed. Once penny candy, bubble gum is now big business, with annual sales approaching half a billion dollars.
120 YEARS AGO:
The eruption of Indonesia’s Krakatau, among history’s most notorious catastrophes, spews steam and rock 50 miles into the air and rains ash for thousands of miles. Tidal waves devastate coastal Java and Sumatra, killing more than 36,000. Krakatau dust long reddens sunsets worldwide.
130 YEARS AGO:
WE HAVE CABLE
The world’s first cable car eases down a San Francisco street August 2, 1873, in a test devised by Englishman Andrew Hallidie, a wire rope maker. Today, 40 cars, which grip a cable coursing beneath the pavement, run on the city’s three cable lines.
225 YEARS AGO:
One of the world’s preeminent opera houses, La Scala, opens in Milan August 3, 1778, with Salieri’s L'Europa riconosciuta. Among the enduring works that will premiere there are Verdi’s Otello and Falstaff, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Bellini’s Norma. The neoclassical building, damaged in World War II, is once again undergoing renovations.