Incan soldiers invented the process of freeze-drying food. The process was primitive but effective — potatoes would be left outside to freeze overnight, then thawed and stomped on to remove excess water.
The first wooden shoe comes from the Netherlands. The Netherlands have many seas so people wanted a shoe that kept their feet dry while working outside. The shoes were called klompen and they had been cut of one single piece of wood. Today the klompen are the favorite souvenir for people who visit the Netherlands.
When airplanes were still a novel invention, seat belts for pilots were installed only after the consequence of their absence was observed to be fatal - several pilots fell to their deaths while flying upside down.
Limelight was how we lit the stage before electricity was invented. Basically, illumination was produced by heating blocks of lime until they glowed.
False eyelashes were invented by the American film director D.W. Griffith while he was making his 1916 epic, "Intolerance". Griffith wanted actress Seena Owen to have lashes that brushed her cheeks, to make her eyes shine larger than life. A wigmaker wove human hair through fine gauze, which was then gummed to Owen's eyelids. "Intolerance" was critically acclaimed but flopped financially, leaving Griffith with huge debts that he might have been able to settle easily - had he only thought to patent the eyelashes.
On November 29, 1941, the program for the annual Army-Navy football game carried a picture of the Battleship Arizona, captioned: "It is significant that despite the claims of air enthusiasts no battleship has yet been sunk by bombs." Today you can visit the site—now a shrine—where Japanese dive bombers sunk the Arizona at Pearl Harbor only nine days later.
Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time.
During the California Gold Rush of 1849 miners sent their laundry to Honolulu for washing and pressing. Due to the extremely high costs in California during these boom years it was deemed more feasible to send the shirts to Hawaii for servicing.
According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Egyptian men never became bald. The reason for this, Herodotus claimed, was that as children Egyptian males had their heads shaved, and their scalps were continually exposed to the health-giving rays of the sun.
In 1893, Chicago hired its first police woman. Her name was Marie Owens. While the city was progressive in its hiring practices, Chicago's female police officers were not allowed to wear uniforms until 1956.
In ancient times, any Japanese who tried to leave his homeland was summarily put to death. In the 1630's, a decree in Japan forbade the building of any large ocean-worthy ships to deter defection.
The Ramses brand condom is named after the great pharaoh Ramses II who fathered over 160 children.
England's first great industry was wool. Its export had become the nation's largest source of income by the late Middle Ages.
The British once went to war over a sailorís ear. It happened in 1739, when Britain launched hostilities against Spain because a Spanish officer had supposedly sliced off the ear of a shipís captain named Robert Jenkins.
Alexander Hamilton and his son, Philip, both died on the same spot, and both during duels. Philip went first, 3 years before his father would be killed in that same field by Aaron Burr.
Florence Nightingale served only two years of her life as a nurse. She contracted fever during her service in the Crimean War, and spent the last 50 years of her life as an invalid.
Emir Beysari (1233-1293), an Egyptian of great wealth, drank wine from gold and silver cups, yet he never in all his life used the same cup twice.
The first European to visit the Mississippi River was DeSoto.
Human skulls had been used as drinking cups for hundreds of years. The muscles and flesh were scraped away, the bottom was hacked off and then they were suitable to hold any beverage.
The first Bowie knife was forged at Washington, Arkansas.
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