Invention Trivia

The first plastic ever invented was celluloid in 1868. It's still used today to make billiard balls.

Electrical stimulation of certain areas of the brain has been proven to revive long-lost memories.

The Sumerians invented writing.

Roulette was invented by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal. It was a by-product of his experiments with perpetual motion.

It is estimated that a plastic container can resist decomposition for as long as 50,000 years.

The first computer, the steam-driven calculating machine, was built in 1823 by Charles Babbage. It failed to work due to poor workmanship in the intricate parts. When rebuilt by the London Museum of Science in 1991, it worked.

98% of the weight of water is made up from oxygen.

Paper was invented in the early second century by a Chinese eunuch.

Pedals were added to the bicycle in 1839.

Sugar was first added to chewing gum in 1869. Ironically, a dentist named William Semple was behind the decision.

Victor Mills, an inventor with Proctor & Gamble, invented the disposable diaper in 1961 because he didn't want to deal with his daughter's soiled (crapped) diapers. You know them as Pampers.

Brigham Young invented the department store. Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI as it's known to those in Utah) is still in operation in Salt Lake City.

While fighting with the French underground during World War II, Jacques-Yves Cousteau invented the aqualung, the self-contained device that supplies air under pressure for underwater divers.

The name of the Russian space station, Mir, means "peace."

Waldo Hanchett invented the modern dentist's chair in 1848.

In 1938, Hewlett-Packard became the first corporation to move to Silicon Valley.

The abacus was not an Asian invention. It originated in Egypt in 1000 BC, almost 1,000 years before it reached the Orient.

The width of a bolt of lightning is only about six inches, on average.

Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in 1846.

James Ramsey invented a steam-driven motorboat in 1784. He ran it on the Potomac River in an event witnessed by George Washington.

The drug thiopentone can kill a human being in one second if it's injected directly into the blood stream.

The first U.S. patent for an animal was issued to Harvard University in 1988 for an oncomouse, a genetically engineered mouse that's susceptible to breast cancer. It's used to test anti-cancer therapies.

The computer programming language ADA was named in honor of Augusta Ada King. The U.S. Defense Department named the language after the Countess of Lovelace and daughter of Lord Byron because she helped finance and program what is thought to be the first computer, the “analytical engine” designed by Charles Babbage.

Pearls melt in vinegar.

According to an Old English system of time units, a moment is considered to be one and a half minutes.

Boiled grape juice was the fluid used as a lubricant for the first contact lenses. Eugene Flick, who invented contact lenses in 1887, chose boiled grape juice over sugar water to lubricate the thick glass lenses that covered the entire eye.

Anthropologists use a standard height of 4 feet 11 inches to determine if a group of people are pygmies. The average adult male must be less than 59 inches in height.

Johnson & Johnson created the Band-Aid in 1899 because Robert Wood Johnson attended a lecture concerning the prevention of infection in wounds during surgical operations.

Marie and Irene Curie are the only mother and daughter to win Nobel prizes with their husbands. Marie and Pierre Curie won the Physics prize in 1903. Irene and Frederic Joliot-Curie won in 1935 for chemistry. Incidentally, Marie Curie also won the 1911 Nobel Prize for chemistry.

The average marathon runner's heart beats about 175 times per minute during a race. A typical adult's heart beats 68 times a minute at rest.

Aspirin was the first drug offered as a water-soluble tablet in 1900.

Minus forty degrees Celsius is exactly the same temperature as minus forty degrees Fahrenheit.

The first flight of the Wright Brothers was a distance less than the wing span of a Jumbo Jet.

The wind must be below one mile an hour in order for the National Weather Service to rate the weather as "calm."

An artificial hand , with fingers moved by cogwheels and levers, was designed in 1551 by Frenchman Ambroise Paré. It worked so well that a handless cavalryman was able to grasp the reins of his horse.

Joseph Priestly is credited with discovering oxygen, ammonia, carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, sulphur dioxide, and nitrous oxide. He was also the first to isolate chlorine.

In July, 1950, a patent was issued for an automatic spaghetti-spinning fork.

Balneology is the science of swimming pools. Balneologists study problems of heating, cleaning, maintenance, and construction.

Blaise Pascal's father was a French tax collector who had trouble keeping track of his collections. So in 1642, young Pascal designed and built a mechanical adding machine to help. It was the first mechanical calculator in history.

Cornelius van Drebel, a Dutch physician, built and successfully demonstrated the first submarine in 1620. It was a wooden framework covered with greased leather. The propulsion was provided by oars worked from the inside. It was tested in the Thames River in London.

Vaseline was created by Robert Chesebrough in 1870.

The Sumerians, who lived in the Middle East, invented the wheel in about 3450 BC.

Detroit policeman William L. Potts is credited with inventing the modern street traffic light in 1920. He worked out an electric light system that allowed him to control three street intersections from one tower He picked the red, yellow and green because railroads used them.

The works of Gregor Mendel, father of the science of genetics, went undiscovered for sixteen years after his death.

Gottfried Daimler of Stuttgart, Germany, is generally regarded as the father of the automobile because he was the first to come up with a workable gasoline engine.

Humphrey O'Sullivan invented the rubber heel because he was tired of pounding the pavements of Boston looking for a job.

Joseph Priestley not only discovered oxygen, but he also discovered ammonia, carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, sulphur dioxide, and nitrous oxide. He was also the first person to isolate chlorine.

The rapid rate of expansion of gas is what gives steam its power. One volume of water, at normal atmospheric pressure and at the boiling point, yields 1,670 volume of steam.

Even when all the molecules in a single breath of air have been dispersed evenly in the earth's atmosphere, there will still be one or two of the same ones taken into the lungs with every subsequent breath. Every time you breathe in, you inhale one or two of the same molecules that you inhaled with the first breath you took as a baby.

Thomas Jefferson invented the dumbwaiter.

The highest man-made temperature - 70 million degrees Celsius - was generated at Princeton University in a fusion-power experiment.

Close to two million people who go to hospitals in the United States for one ailment wind up catching another.

Ketchup was once sold as a patented medicine. In the 1830s it was marketed in the United States as Dr. Miles's Compound Extract of Tomato.

The electric automobile self-starter was invented to make it possible for women to drive without a companion, who was previously needed to crank the engine.

There are only 81 stable chemical elements. Rhenium was the last one to be found in 1925. Fifteen other elements have been discovered since then, but they are all radioactive.

Lee De Forest, the inventor of the radio tube, was tried for fraud in 1913.

Joseph Swan invented the light bulb in 1879, one year before Thomas Edison did.

It was the Romans who made the first popsicle. They took some ice and added flavour to it and then licked it.

A device invented sometime around the time of the birth of Jesus as a primitive steam engine by the Greek engineer Hero is used today as a rotating sprinkler.

Whitcomb L. Judson, the inventor of the zipper, originally intended his invention to save people the trouble of buttoning and unbuttoning their shoes every day. He named it the "Clasp locker and unlocker for shoes."
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