1794: Cotton gin patent
1879: Albert Einstein’s birth
1883: The death of Karl Marx
1885: ‘The Mikado’ opens
1888: Great Blizzard
1900: US gold standard
1910: Lakeview gusher erupts
1933: Michael Caine’s birth
1948: Billy Crystal arrives
1988: Stephen Curry is born
1994: Linux kernel 1.0.0
1995: 13 people in space
1997: Simone Biles’ birth
2011: Tom Waits inducted into Hall of Fame
Celebrate with salty and sweet
March 14 (3/14) is a day for celebrating the mathematical constant of pi, which starts with the digits 3.14. But the numbering coincidence isn’t the only reason to recognize this day. Join us as we stroll through history to revisit auspicious events that happened on Pi Days past.
Inventor Eli Whitney revolutionized cotton processing with his creation of the cotton gin, a machine that separates usable cotton fiber from seeds. Whitney got a patent for his invention on March 14, 1794. This patent drawing shows an illustration of the gin and includes the date on the right side.
First published March 14, 2017.
Updated March 13, 2018: Adds more March 14 events.
Caption by Amanda Kooser / Photo by National Archives and Records Administration
Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Albert Einstein arrived in the world on March 14, 1879, which probably makes him the most famous Pi Day baby of all time.
Later known for his crazy hair, Einstein rocked the science world with his theory of relativity and his oft-quoted E = mc2 equation. The physicist died on April 18, 1955, but only after making a lasting impression on the world.
Caption by Amanda Kooser / Photo by Orren Jack Turner/Library of Congress
German philosopher and socialist Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818, and died on March 14, 1883. Marx is famous for many reasons, but most people are familiar with his influential 1848 political pamphlet “The Communist Manifesto” and its exploration of class conflicts and issues with capitalist economic systems.
This undated wood engraving of Marx comes from the US Library of Congress archives.
The famous Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera “The Mikado” debuted on March 14, 1885, on a London stage and ran for hundreds of performances. The opera takes place in Japan and centers around a romantic triangle involving a reluctant executioner. You don’t have to be an opera fan to recognize songs from the musical, including “Three little maids from school are we.”
This particular poster dates back to between 1936 and 1941 and advertises a performance of the musical in a high school auditorium.
March 14, 1888, marked the end of a multi-day snowstorm that left New York City covered in over 20 inches (51 centimeters) of snow. The event became known as the Great Blizzard of 1888, though it was also called the Great White Hurricane.
The storm buried most of the East Coast of the US and remains one of the fiercest US blizzards on record. This image shows the storm in action in New York City.
This US presidential campaign poster for William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt dates back to 1900 and highlights one of McKinley’s campaign pillars: the gold standard. This monetary system connects the value of currency to a set amount of gold, meaning a person can exchange paper currency for the precious metal.