February 21, 1804
Richard Trevithick’s steam locomotive makes the first railway journey. The first commercial steam engine was available about 1712. Starting shortly after, mobile versions were sought after by inventors. Since the size of an engine was large, the first mobile models were built for the railroad. Several small model versions were achieved, but no full size working models. Trevithick’s in the United Kingdom was the first.
The first locomotive to run in the United States was the engine named Tom Thumb in 1829, and the following year in 1830 the first steam railway started up in South Carolina.
February 21, 1947
Co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation, Edwin G Land first developed polarizing filters for sunglasses and photographic filters. These filters quickly spread to be use for many other applications. He also worked on projects during World War II, such as target finders, and ways to find camouflaged enemy positions.
On February 21, 1947 he demonstrated his instant camera, where pictures were available after just one minute. It went on sale less than two years later. The company made just 60 to start, thinking that would be enough until the next batch were made. All were sold the first day.
February 21, 1958
The USS Gudgeon left Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on July 8, 1957 to cruise around the world. She participated in exercises at Yokosuka, Japan, then hit ports in Asia, Africa and Europe on her way. She put back into Pearl Harbor on February 21, 1958. The voyage took eight months and covered 25,000 miles. This made the USS Gudgeon the first American Submarine to circumnavigate the Earth.
The USS Gudgeon served in several different capacities until September 30, 1983, when she was decommissioned. At that time, she was leased to Turkey, and sold to them in 1987. She was renamed the TCG Hizirreis and served until 2004. She is now a museum ship in Izmit, Turkey and open to visits by the public.
February 21, 1975
Former United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are sentenced for their part in the Watergate Scandal.
All three men had been convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury. They were sentenced to between two and a half and eight years, and on appeal the sentences were halved. Mitchell served 19 months and the other two were out after 18 months. All three have since died.
February 21, 2003
Michael Jordan leads the Washington Wizards to a win against the New Jersey Nets. This is significant because Jordan scores 43 points, and in doing so becomes the first player over 40 to score 40 or more points in a game. This was his second return to the game after retiring, and 2003 would be his final year to play Pro Basketball. In all, Jordan had three games over 40 points that season. Unfortunately, the Wizards did not make the play-offs, a sore point with Jordan, who criticized his team mates about their play.