1782 - George Washington invented the Honorary Badge of Distinction.
1791 - Samuel Briggs and his son Samuel Briggs, Jr. received a joint patent for their nail-making machine. They were the first father-son pair to receive a patent.
1824 - In New York City, Fifth Avenue was opened.
1858 - In Boston and New York City the first mailboxes were installed along streets.
1861 - The United States Congress passed the first income tax. The revenues were intended for the war effort against the South. The tax was never enacted.
1876 - "Wild Bill" Hickok was killed (shot from behind) while playing poker in Deadwood, SD. Jack McCall was later hanged for the shooting.
1887 - Rowell Hodge patented barbed wire.
1892 - Charles A. Wheeler patented the first escalator.
1921 - Eight White Sox players were acquitted of throwing the 1919 World Series.
1922 - Alexander Graham Bell died.
1938 - Bright yellow baseballs were used in a major league baseball game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. It was hoped that the balls would be easier to see.
1939 - Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Roosevelt urging the U.S. to have an atomic weapons research program.
1939 - U.S. President Roosevelt signed the Hatch Act. The act prohibited civil service employees from taking an active part in political campaigns.
1983 - U.S. House of Representatives approved a law that designated the third Monday of January would be a federal holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The law was signed by President Reagon on November 2.