The year was 1955. Ray Kroc opened his first McDonalds restaurant, a Swiss engineer patented Velcro, the U.S. added the words, "In God We Trust" to paper currency, and Michigan's 15th district elected Rep. John Dingell, a Democrat, to Congress. He was just 29 years old.
A lot has changed in the ensuing decades, but one thing hasn't: Dingell is still a member of the U.S. House, at least until November. Affectionately dubbed "the Dean," Dingell, 87, is officially Congress' longest-serving member. During his 58-year tenure on Capitol Hill, 11 presidents delivered 51 State of the Union addresses and 23 justices were named to the Supreme Court.
But Dingell, who cast more than 25,000 votes in the House Chamber, is finally calling it quits. He announced his intention to retire today in Michigan.
Here's a glimpse at how the world has changed since he first took office:
|Congress||84 th||113 th|
|House majority party||Democrats||Republicans|
|Cost of a gallon of milk||92 cents||$3.65|
|President||Dwight. D. Eisenhower||Barack Obama|
|Speaker of the House||Sam Rayburn, D-Texas||John Boehner, R- Ohio|
|Number of U.S. states||48||50|
|Number of bills passed during first session||390||58|
|Key pieces of legislation||Air Pollution Control Act, Formosa Resolution of 1955||Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013|
|Number of Dingell staffers||1 (according to The New York Times)||18|
|House voting method||Roll call, teller votes||Primarily electronic voting (implemented 1973)|
|US population||165.93 million||316.99 million|
|TIME Person of the Year||GM Executive Harlow Herbert Curtice||Pope Francis|
|Most popular baby names||Michael, Mary||Jackson, Sophia|
|Most popular car||Chevrolet Bel Air||Ford F-series|
|FLSA minimum wage||75 cents (amended to $1 later that year)||$7.25|
|Major events||Warsaw pact, US Military Intervention in Iran, Hurricane Diane, Flight 629 explosion, UK National Rail Strike||Typhoon Haiyan, Syrian chemical weapons, U.S. government shutdown, Boston Marathon Bombing, Nelson Mandela death, Nairobi mall terror|
|Political issues||Civil rights, nuclear missiles, pollution||Healthcare, immigration reform, gun control, gay marriage, abortion|