A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  Oct. 11, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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Today is Oct. 11.

It was on this date in 1868 that Thomas Alva Edison filed papers for a patent on his first invention: an electrical vote recorder to rapidly tabulate floor votes in Congress. But members of Congress decided not to buy the machine. It was Edison's first financial loss.

Speaking of firsts: on this date in 1811, the first steam-powered ferry in the world started its run between New York City and Hoboken, N.J.

The 21st ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church was convened by Pope John XXIII on this date in 1962 at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. It met in four sessions, ending on Dec. 8, 1965, and ushered in the era known as Vatican II -- which included sweeping changes, such as the use of the vernacular rather than Latin in the Mass.

Financier Marc Rich agreed on this date in 1984 to pay the U.S. government nearly $200 million. It was the biggest tax fraud penalty in American history.

Speaking of money: the appraisal on the late John Jacob Astor's estate was announced on this day in 1912 -- $78 million. And that's back when a million bucks was a million bucks.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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