Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
September 2 is the 245th day of the year (246th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 120 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1969, America’s first automatic teller machine (ATM) makes its public debut, dispensing cash to customers at Chemical Bank in Rockville Center, New York. ATMs went on to revolutionize the banking industry, eliminating the need to visit a bank to conduct basic financial transactions. By the 1980s, these money machines had become widely popular and handled many of the functions previously performed by human tellers, such as check deposits and money transfers between accounts. Today, ATMs are as indispensable to most people as cell phones and e-mail.
Several inventors worked on early versions of a cash-dispensing machine, but Don Wetzel, an executive at Docutel, a Dallas company that developed automated baggage-handling equipment, is generally credited as coming up with the idea for the modern ATM. Wetzel reportedly conceived of the concept while waiting on line at a bank. The ATM that debuted in New York in 1969 was only able to give out cash, but in 1971, an ATM that could handle multiple functions, including providing customers’ account balances, was introduced.
ATMs eventually expanded beyond the confines of banks and today can be found everywhere from gas stations to convenience stores to cruise ships. There is even an ATM at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Non-banks lease the machines (so-called “off premise” ATMs) or own them outright.
44 BC – Pharaoh Cleopatra VII of Egypt declares her son co-ruler as Ptolemy XV Caesarion.
44 BC – The first of Cicero’s Philippics (oratorical attacks) on Mark Antony. He will make 14 of them over the next several months.
31 BC – Final War of the Roman Republic: Battle of Actium – off the western coast of Greece, forces of Octavian defeat troops under Mark Antony and Cleopatra.
1649 – The Italian city of Castro is completely destroyed by the forces of Pope Innocent X, ending the Wars of Castro.
1666 – The Great Fire of London breaks out and burns for three days, destroying 10,000 buildings including St Paul’s Cathedral.
1752 – Great Britain adopts the Gregorian calendar, nearly two centuries later than most of Western Europe.
1789 – The United States Department of the Treasury is founded.
1792 – During what became known as the September Massacres of the French Revolution, rampaging mobs slaughter three Roman Catholic Church bishops, more than two hundred priests, and prisoners believed to be royalist sympathizers.
1807 – The Royal Navy bombards Copenhagen with fire bombs and phosphorus rockets to prevent Denmark from surrendering its fleet to Napoleon.
1833 – Oberlin College is founded by John Shipherd and Philo P. Stewart.
1856 – Tianjing Incident in Nanjing, China.
1859 – A solar super storm affects electrical telegraph service.
1862 – American Civil War: President Abraham Lincoln reluctantly restores Union General George B. McClellan to full command after General John Pope’s disastrous defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run.
1864 – American Civil War: Union forces enter Atlanta, Georgia a day after the Confederate defenders flee the city.
1867 – Mutsuhito, Emperor Meiji of Japan, marries Masako Ichijo. The Empress consort is thereafter known as Lady Haruko. Since her death in 1914, she is called by the posthumous name Empress Shoken.
1870 – Franco-Prussian War: Battle of Sedan – Prussian forces take Napoleon III of France and 100,000 of his soldiers prisoner.
1885 – Rock Springs massacre: In Rock Springs, Wyoming, 150 white miners, who are struggling to unionize so they could strike for better wages and work conditions, attack their Chinese fellow workers, killing 28, wounding 15, and forcing several hundred more out of town.
1898 – Battle of Omdurman – British and Egyptian troops defeat Sudanese tribesmen and establish British dominance in Sudan.
1901 – Vice President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt utters the famous phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” at the Minnesota State Fair.
1925 – The U.S. Zeppelin the USS Shenandoah crashes, killing 14.
1935 – Labor Day Hurricane of 1935: a large hurricane hits the Florida Keys killing 423.
1939 – World War II: Following the start of the invasion of Poland the previous day, the Free City of Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland) is annexed by Nazi Germany.
1945 – World War II: Combat ends in the Pacific Theater: the Instrument of Surrender of Japan is signed by Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and accepted aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
1945 – Vietnam declares its independence, forming the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
1946 – Interim Government of India is formed with Jawaharlal Nehru as Vice President.
1957 – President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam becomes the first foreign head of state to make a state visit to Australia.
1958 – United States Air Force C-130A-II is shot down by fighters over Yerevan, Armenia when it strays into Soviet airspace while conducting a sigint mission. All crew members are killed.
1960 – The first election of the Parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration, in history of Tibet. The Tibetan community observes this date as the Democracy Day.
1963 – CBS Evening News becomes U.S. network television’s first half-hour weeknight news broadcast, when the show is lengthened from 15 to 30 minutes.
1967 – The Principality of Sealand is established, ruled by Prince Paddy Roy Bates.
1970 – NASA announces the cancellation of two Apollo missions to the Moon, Apollo 15 (the designation is re-used by a later mission), and Apollo 19.
1990 – Transnistria is unilaterally proclaimed a Soviet republic; the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev declares the decision null and void.
1991 – The United States recognizes the independence of the Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
1996 – A peace agreement is signed between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front in Malacanang Palace.
1998 – Swissair Flight 111 crashes near Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia. All 229 people on board are killed.
1998 – The UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda finds Jean Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of a small town in Rwanda, guilty of nine counts of genocide.