An Uncommon History of Common Things - download pdf or read online

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 cut up stick—and presto! The awl used to be born. Our inquisitive species simply loves tinkering, checking out, and pushing the bounds, and this delightfully assorted publication is a freewheeling connection with hundreds and hundreds 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 factors hundreds of thousands of colourful illustrations, timelines, sidebars, and extra because it explores on the subject of each topic lower than the solar. 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 while? Or that historical squaddies 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 anything interesting, awesome, or serendipitous. a full of life, incomparably browsable learn for heritage buffs, popular culture fanatics, and somebody who relishes the extraordinary and amazing info hidden within the daily, it is going to tell, amuse, astonish—and modify how you take into consideration the smart creatures we name people.

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The funny material—which could be formed into a ball that would bounce higher than any other and could also be flattened over the Sunday comics to take up a colorful image of whatever it touched—was the result of a wartime quest for a cheap substitute for rubber. Although Nutty Putty did not find its way into military use, the more innocently named Silly Putty became a great hit with children. Among my favorite essays in this book is the one on blue jeans. ” I learned that 16th-century sailors bought “thick cotton indigo-dyed cloth” in the vicinity of Mumbai (Bombay), near a fort called Dongarii.

Wine production dates back about 6,500 years in Greece, and both red and white wine were important in ancient Egypt. Wine became a commodity in ancient Rome, where barrels and bottles first were used for its storage. The oldest existing bottle of wine is from a Roman colony near what is now Speyer, Germany. That bottle contains some olive oil, an early method of preserving the fermented grape juice, before corks came into use. After winemaking spread from the Roman Empire throughout western Europe, wine became a preferred beverage in nearly all of those countries, with regional types like sherry (from the port of Jerez), Riesling (grown along the Rhine), and Tokay (a sweet Hungarian varietal) gaining favor, too.

The entry on “crossing your fingers” is a wonderful little essay on one of the most widely practiced gestures in the Western world. How interesting then to learn how it may have evolved from pagan practices that predate the Christian cross. The origins of more modern practices make equally interesting reading. 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.

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


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