Download e-book for iPad: An Uncommon History of Common Things by Bethanne Patrick, John Thompson

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By Bethanne Patrick, John Thompson

ISBN-10: 1426204205

ISBN-13: 9781426204203

Someday approximately 30,000 years in the past, a person caught a pointy rock right into a break up stick—and presto! The awl used to be born. Our inquisitive species simply loves tinkering, checking out, and pushing the boundaries, and this delightfully diverse publication is a freewheeling connection with thousands of customs, notions, and innovations that mirror human ingenuity all through history.

From hand instruments to vacation trips to guns to washing machines, An unusual heritage of universal Things positive aspects thousands of colourful illustrations, timelines, sidebars, and extra because it explores with regards to each topic less than the sunlight. Who knew that indoor plumbing has been round for 4,600 years, yet punctuation, capital letters, and the convenient areas among written phrases in basic terms date again to the darkish a long time? Or that old infantrymen baked a type of pizza on their shields—when they weren’t busy flying kites to frighten their foes?

Every web page of this quirky compendium catalogs whatever attention-grabbing, striking, or serendipitous. a full of life, incomparably browsable learn for historical past buffs, popular culture fans, and somebody who relishes the bizarre and outstanding information hidden within the daily, it is going to tell, amuse, astonish—and regulate how you take into consideration the shrewdpermanent creatures we name people.

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Additional resources for An Uncommon History of Common Things

Example text

The story behind the now familiar peace symbol reminds us that all things, whether symbolic gestures or clever toys, have a beginning. This book’s essay on the “ban-the-bomb” symbol is wonderfully specific, telling us the name of the person who designed it and for what particular purpose. Who knew that the symbol was a deliberate superposition of the semaphore alphabet symbols for N and D, standing for nuclear disarmament? Another fascinating story has to do with the discovery of Silly Putty, which engineers at first called Nutty Putty.

Also in 1810, Englishman Peter Durand developed his own way of heating food, then sealing it in unbreakable containers made of tin. For many years, in Europe and the United States, commercial canning methods remained the same (home canners, of course, used glass jars and bottles, sterilizing them in a water bath, as they do today): After preparation, foods would be heated to about 250°F, then sealed into containers. It wasn’t until Louis Pasteur’s experiments later in the 19th century that people began to understand that the heating process killed off bacteria already contained in the food, and the airtight sealing prevented any further bacteria from contaminating the processed edibles.

What garment frustrations or embarrassments led people to discover they could hold their clothes together with a combination of small, flat disks and holes in fabric? Some of these short histories describe necessity as the impetus to invention; other inventions were the result of fortuitous accidents. Some of the descriptions shed light on misconceptions, while others fill in gaps in popular knowledge. Over the course of nine chapters, organized by topic, we explore the earliest known origins and current uses or observances of hundreds of things.

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An Uncommon History of Common Things by Bethanne Patrick, John Thompson

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