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On This Day: October 10

This is the 283rd day of the year.

Fact of the Day: billiard ball

Inventor John Hyatt patented the billiard ball on this day in 1865. In the late 1860s, while searching for a substitute for ivory for making billiard balls, Hyatt combined nitrocellulose, camphor, and alcohol, heated the mixture under pressure to make it pliable for molding, and allowed it to harden under normal atmospheric pressure. His discovery opened the way for the development of the modern plastics industry.


Feast day of St. Francis Borgia, St. Daniel, St. Cerbonius, Saints Eulampius and Eulampia, St. Paulinus of York, St. Maharsapor, and St. Gereon.

Fiji: Independence Day.

Oklahoma: Oklahoma Historical Day.

Taiwan: Double Tenth Day/National Day.

United Nations: World Mental Health Day.

Japan: Health-Sports Day.

Kenya: Moi Day.


19 - Germanicus, beloved Roman prince, died of poisoning. He accused Piso, governor of Syria.

732 - Charles Martel, the mayor of the palace of the last Merovingian Kings of France, halted the Moslem expansion into Western Europe by defeating Saracen troops at the Battle of Tours.

1733 - France declared war on Austria over the question of Polish succession.

1845 - United States Naval Academy opened in Annapolis, Maryland.

1850 - The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal was completed and opened for business along its entire 184.5 mile length from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland.

1865 - John Hyatt patented the celluloid billiard ball.

1886 - The dinner jacket made its U.S. debut at a ball in Tuxedo Park, New York. It was named tuxedo, after its venue. Griswold Lorillard designed it.

1911 - Revolutionaries under Sun Yat-sen overthrew China's Manchu dynasty.

1913 - The U.S.-built Panama Canal was completed with the explosion of the Gamboa Dike, concluding one of the largest construction projects in history.

1935 - George Gershwin's opera "Porgy and Bess" opened on Broadway.

1943 - Chiang Kai-shek took the oath of office as president of China.

1957 - "Zorro" premiered on television.

1959 - The first global airline service was announced by Pan American World Airways.

1961 - The entire population of the South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha was evacuated to the United Kingdom after a volcano erupted.

1970 - During the October Crisis, Quebec Labor Minister Pierre Laporte was kidnapped by the Quebec Liberation Front, a militant separatist group. He was found dead a week later.

1970 - After nearly a century of British rule, Fiji became independent.

1971 - "Upstairs, Downstairs" premiered on TV.

1973 - Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, accused of accepting bribes, pleaded no contest to one count of federal income tax evasion, and resigned. He was the first U.S. Vice President to resign in disgrace.

2002 - The House of Representatives voted 296-133 to give President George W. Bush the authority to use military force against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, with or without United Nations support. The next day, the Senate joined the House in approving 77-23 the use of America's military against Iraq.


1731 - Henry Cavendish, English physicist.

1813 - Guiseppe Verdi, Italian composer.

1830 - Queen Isabella II of Spain (1833-1868).

1900 - Helen Hayes (Brown), American actress.

1901 - Frederick Douglass Patterson, American educator, president of Tuskegee Institute, and founder of United Negro College Fund.

1917 - Thelonious Monk, American jazz pianist and composer.

1924 - James Clavell, American novelist.

1930 - Harold Pinter, British dramatist.

1974 - Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR driver.


1964 - Eddie Cantor, American star of vaudeville, Broadway, radio, and television.

1985 - Orson Welles, American actor, director, writer and producer.

1985 - Yul Brynner (Taidje Khan), Russian-born American stage and film actor.

2004 - Christopher Reeve, American actor, who became a quadriplegic after a May 1995 horse riding accident, age 52.

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