On This Day March 30
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1945 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Eric Clapton, born former member of the bands the Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Derek and the Dominos and Cream, and considered one of the world’s greatest guitarists and the only musician to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 3 times.
1858 – The first wooden pencil featuring a built-in rubber eraser on top is patented by Philadelphia inventor Hymen Lipman, who later sells his patent for $100,000 (about $2 million in today’s market). In 1875, The Supreme Court invalidates the patent, ruling that because the pencil combined two existing devices, it was not a legitimate invention. Nevertheless, this is observed as National Pencil Day.
1867 – U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signs a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, the Alaskan purchase is ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s Folly.”
1981 – President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by John Hinckley, Jr., who claims he was seeking to gain the attention of actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a psychiatric hospital until 2016, when he is allowed to live with his mother in her Virginia home. Reagan is released from the hospital less than two weeks after the attempted assassination.
2009 – President Barack Obama issues an ultimatum to struggling American automakers General Motors (GM) and Chrysler: In order to receive additional bailout loans from the government, he says, the companies need to dramatically change the way they run their businesses.
1957 – Buddy Knox becomes the first artist in the Rock ‘n’ Roll era to write his own No. 1 hit when “Party Doll” tops the Billboard singles chart. Knox goes on to score four more Top 40 hits between 1957 and 1961.
1967 – The Beatles pose in costume for the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” cover photo shoot. Designed by British pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, the cover goes on to win a Grammy Award.