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Inventions Trivia

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Barbie® and Ken® Dolls are named after Mattel founders Ruth and Elliot Handler's son and daughter, Barbara and Ken. Barbie's® full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts, and she is from Willows, Wisconsin. First sold in 1959, Barbie® wasn't given bendable legs until 1965.

Bavarian immigrant Charles August Fey invented the first three-reel automatic payout slot machine, the Liberty Bell, in San Francisco in 1899.

Before bath tissue was introduced in the United States in perforated form in 1884, a number of outhouses in America were stocked with dried leaves.

Before the invention of mass-marketed hair care products, households were pretty much on their own concocting family shampoos and conditioners. This suggestion was published in The New England Economical Housekeeper and Family Receipt Book in 1847: "Perhaps the best of all shampoos is the yolk of an egg beaten up with a pint of soft warm water. Apply at once and rinse off with castille or other hard white soap."

Belgian driver Jenatzy was the first to reach a speed of over 100 km/h in his electrically powered car La Jamais Contente in 1899.

Boxing was the first sport to be filmed. Thomas A. Edison filmed a boxing match between Jack Cushing and Mike Leonard in 1894.

Britain built a fleet of steam submarines in 1915, dubbed the K-Boat, it proved to be a disaster and never went into action. It took 5 minutes at best to perform a crash dive, and once underwater it was unstable resulting in a a number of accidents.

Britain developed the first Tanks for use during World War I. The word "Tank" was used because it didn't mean anything, and didn't give the Germans a clue as to its possible use.

Camel's-hair brushes are not made of camel's hair. They were invented by a man named Mr. Camel.

Canned food was invented for the British Navy in 1813, but the first practical can opener wasn't invented until 1870.

Carbonated beverages became popular in 1832 after John Mathews invented an apparatus for charging water with carbon dioxide gas.

Charles Ginsberg is credited with inventing videotape in 1956.

Chester Greenwood from the United States was 15 years old in 1873 when he invented earmuffs.

Colgate was the first toothpaste sold in metal tubes rather than jars.

Compact discs, or CDs, were co-founded by a Japanese and a Dutch company in 1979.

Cornelius Swarthout patented the first waffle iron in Troy, New York, in 1869.

Credit for the invention of the parachute goes to Sebastien Lenormand in 1783. In 1495, Leonardo da Vinci designed a pyramid-shaped chute. J. P. Blanchard (1753-1809), a Frenchman, is said to have been the first to use a parachute. In 1785, he dropped a dog in a basket, to which a parachute was attached, from a balloon high in the air. Blanchard claimed to have descended from a balloon in a parachute in 1793.

Denver, Colorado lays claim to the invention of the cheeseburger. The trademark for the name "cheeseburger" was awarded in 1935 to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In. Ballast claimed to have come up with the idea while testing hamburger toppings.

Designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel introduced her first perfume in 1921. She gave it the name "Chanel No. 5." According to Chanel, she jumped straight to number five because it was her lucky number. To add luck to the fragrance, she introduced it on the fifth day of May, the fifth month. Chanel No. 5 became the world's best selling perfume.

Did you ever wonder what the "WD" in WD-40® stands for? Per the company, the product's full name is WD-40® Water Displacer, which was perfected on the fortieth attempt. (Some trivia sources erroneously state the WD is an abbreviation for Water Displacement).

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