1896 – Gugliemo Marconi applies to patent the radio

Although there has been considerable controversy over the years regarding who actually invented radio – controversy not helped by Marconi himself being at times over-willing to claim credit for the work of others – it is now generally agreed that it was Marconi himself who first invented radio. (The disputes mostly revolve around who invented various later refinements of Marconi’s original patent.)

That patent – British Patent 12039 “Improvements in Transmitting Electrical impulses and Signals, and in Apparatus therefor” – was applied for on June 2 of 1896, with the complete specification being provided on March 2 of the following year, and the patent as a whole being accepted on July 2, 1897.

Unfortunately for Marconi, Tesla had been granted similar patents in America, and the two men would spend decades locked acrimonious dispute over the matter. In fact, in America it would only be resolved by a court decision after both men had died – the court found in favour of Tesla. But perhaps Marconi won anyway – it’s his name, not Tesla’s, which is used as a synonym for ‘radio’ even today.

Referenced in:

We Built This City — Starship

1953 – Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

Technically, Elizabeth Windsor became the Queen of England as soon as her father, King George VI died on February 2 of 1952. But until her actual coronation – a lengthy religious ceremony held in Westminster Abbey – took place more than a year later.

This was necessary for political and religious purposes – without this apparently meaningless ceremony, the divine right of kings (well, queens in this case), would fall by the wayside, and that would just be unacceptable. Elizabeth has now been the Queen long enough to have become the third longest reigning English monarch.

Referenced in:

We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel

1985 – Leonard Lake arrested

Leonard Lake was an American serial killer who often killed working with another man, Charles Ng. It is unclear how many people they abducted and killed – often also including rape and torture – but it is generally assumed to be 11 to 25 people. They were eventually caught when Ng was arrested for shoplifting, and Lake for driving a car with plates registered to a different car.

In custody, Lake revealed the truth about himself and Ng, then swallowed cyanide. He died four days later, and a police search of his ranch in Calaveras County, California, found a custom-built dungeon, the remains of at least a dozen people, and extensive journals and video records incriminating himself and Ng. Ng remains on death row at the time of this writing.

Referenced in:
The Ballad Of Leonard And Charles — Exodus