This Day In History : December 17

1935 United States

Douglas DC-3's 1st Flight

On December 17, 1935, the Douglas DC-3, one of the most iconic and influential aircraft in aviation history, made its maiden flight. Known for its reliability, range, and passenger comfort, the DC-3 revolutionized air travel, setting new standards for commercial aviation and military transport during World War II.

Also on This Day in History December 17

Discover what happened on December 17 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, December 17
  • 1937 Kerry Packer

    Australian businessman who founded World Series Cricket

  • 1913 Burt Baskin

    American businessman who co-founded Baskin-Robbins

  • 1778 Humphry Davy

    English chemist, invented the Davy lamp

  • 1797 Joseph Henry

    American inventor and pioneer of electromagnetism

  • 1908 Willard Frank Libby

    American chemist who developed radiocarbon dating, Nobel 1960

Deaths on This Day, December 17
  • 1998 Alfred Wolf

    American nuclear and organic chemist

  • 1973 Charles Greeley Abbot

    American astronomer (Solar Constant)

  • 1964 Victor Francis Hess

    Austrian-American physicist who won Nobel Prize for Physics in 1936 for his discovery of cosmic rays

  • 1907 Baron William Thomson Kelvin

    Irish-Scottish mathematical physicist (Kelvin Scale) and engineer (transatlantic telegraph)

  • 1892 George Brayton

    American engineer who invented the first commercial gas internal combustion engine


Aztec Calendar Stone Discovered at El Zócalo, Mexico City

On December 17, 1790, the Aztec Calendar Stone (also known as the Sun Stone) was discovered buried at the main square, El Zócalo, in Mexico City during renovations of the Mexico City Cathedral. This monumental stone artifact, weighing over 24 tons, is an iconic symbol of Aztec civilization and their advanced astronomical knowledge.

Wright Brothers Made First Controlled Powered Air Flight

On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright successfully conducted the first controlled powered air flight in their aircraft, the Wright Flyer, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. This historic event marked a significant milestone in aviation history, demonstrating the feasibility of powered flight and pioneering the development of modern aircraft.

Edison Electric Illuminating Company Incorporated

On December 17, 1880, the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York was incorporated for the purpose of providing electric light to New York City. Founded by Thomas Edison, this marked a pivotal moment in the history of electric power distribution and urban electrification.

First Issue of Vogue Published

On December 17, 1892, the first issue of Vogue, an American monthly fashion and lifestyle magazine, was published. Founded by Arthur Turnure, Vogue quickly became a leading publication in the fashion industry, known for its influence on style trends, haute couture, and cultural sophistication.
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