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Inventions Trivia

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Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, was originally an instructor for deaf children and invented the telephone to help his deaf wife and mother to hear.

Alfred Nobel of Stockholm, Sweden, patented dynamite in 1867.

Although it took less than a decade of space travel for man to get to the moon, 19th- and 20th-century engineers needed 22 years to design the zipper.

American inventor Peter Carl Goldmark invented the long-playing (LP) record in 1948.

American sculptor Alexander Calder rigged the front door of his Paris apartment so that he could open it from his bathtub.

An angstrom is a unit of length equal to one ten-millionth of a millimeter, primarily used to express electromagnetic wavelengths. It was named after Swedish astronomer and physicist Anders Jonas Ångström (1814-1874).

An Englishman invented Scotland's national dress – the kilt. It was developed from the philamore, a massive piece of tartan worn with a belt and draped over the shoulder, by English industrialist Thomas Rawlinson. Rawlinson ran a foundry at Lochaber, Scotland in the early 1700s, and thought a detachable garment would make life more comfortable for his workers.

Walter Hunt patented a bullet with its own explosive charge on August 10, 1848.

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.

When commercial telephone service was introduced between New York and London in 1927, the first three minutes of a call cost $75.00.

When using the first pay telephone, a caller did not deposit coins in the machine. He or she gave them to an attendant who stood next to the telephone. Coin telephones did not appear until 1899.

Arch supports were invented by Konrad Birkenstock in 1897. He designed shoes that followed the shape of the foot so that comfort would increase. The basic design revolutionized the footwear industry.

Artist Xavier Roberts first designed his soon-to-be-famous Cabbage Patch dolls in 1977 to help pay his way through school. They had soft faces and were made by hand, as opposed to the hard-faced mass-market dolls, and were originally called "Little People."

As an advertising gimmick, Carl Mayer, nephew of lunchmeat mogul Oscar Mayer, invented the company's "Wienermobile." On July 18, 1936, the first Oscar Mayer® "Wienermobile" rolled out of General Body Company's factory in Chicago. Wienermobiles still tour the United States today.

As of 1940, a total of 90 patents had been taken out on shaving mugs.

As World War I raged through Europe in 1917, Ed Cox of San Francisco invented a pre-soaped pad with which to clean pots. His wife named it S.O.S., which, as the story goes, stood for "Save Our Saucepans."

At the outset of the Manhattan Project, Albert Einstein was one of the scientists who forecast that an A-bomb would have to be so large and heavy that it would require a ship to deliver it to its target.

At the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, Richard Blechyden, an Englishman, had a tea concession. On a very hot day, none of the fairgoers were interested in drinking hot tea. Blechyden served the tea cold – and invented iced tea.

At the turn of the century, most lightbulbs were handblown, and the cost of one was equivalent to half a day's pay for the average U.S. worker.

BAND-AID Brand Adhesive Bandages first appeared on the market in 1921. However, the little red string that is used to open the package was not added until 1940.

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