This Day in History

  • Coca-Cola Hits the Market as a Health Tonic (1886)
    on May 8, 2021 at 5:00 am

    At a time when soda fountains were popular in the US due to the widespread belief that carbonated water was good for the health, American pharmacist John Pemberton came up with his own formula for a health tonic. Among its ingredients were cocaine, derived from the coca leaf, and caffeine, derived from the kola nut, leading to the name Coca-Cola. It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass. What serious ailments did Pemberton claim Coca-Cola had the power to cure? Discuss

  • Suicidal Passenger Brings Down Pacific Air Lines Flight 773 (1964)
    on May 7, 2021 at 5:00 am

    In early May, Francisco Gonzales—a disturbed former member of the Philippine Olympic sailing team—bought a gun and life insurance and began talking about killing himself. He followed through on his threat during a flight to San Francisco, but he did more than just end his own life; he took the lives of all 44 people on board by shooting both the pilot and co-pilot, causing the plane to crash. What cockpit security regulation—adopted before the flight—only went into effect after the tragic crash?

  • Roger Bannister Breaks Four-Minute Mile (1954)
    on May 6, 2021 at 5:00 am

    Bannister was a British medical student when he became the first man to run the mile in less than four minutes—a barrier many experts had long considered unbreakable. His official time was 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds. Australia's John Landy and New Zealand's Peter Snell bettered the record that year, but in August, Bannister defeated Landy at the British Empire Games in Vancouver, clocking 3:58.8 in a thrilling race. For his accomplishments, Bannister became the first to earn what honor?