Who Invented The NFL

NFL logoThe NFL, one of the best-attended sports leagues in the world, features 32 franchises looking to go all the way to win the Super Bowl trophy, and as the best-known (and possibly one of the only) leagues for american football (a sport which incidentally, excluding one or two specific players on a team, does not use the foot) take to drawn-out battle, some people may ask the question: who invented this league?

The NFL (National Football League) was originally formed in 1920 (as the American Professional Football Confrence (APFC), the name would change to NFL two years on) by a collection of local professional teams across the country looking to play in an organised format and for a champion to be found each year. The league would expand and develop over the next few decades. In the 1960’s the NFL was in competition with rival league the AFC, but after several contract disputes the two organisations decided to merge in 1966, with the teams all under the same league, which keep the NFL name and basic rules, but introduced several of the AFC’s innovations (mostly cosmetic). The next year, the first championship game was played, and named the Super Bowl, with the annual fixture, and the league, being the clear strongest in its sport ever since.

Today, the NFL is the most popular of the top 4 American sports leagues in terms of average spectator numbers, and although it is only really popular in the USA, the annual Super Bowl event still manages to attract a global television audience of over 100 million.

NFL players are generally seen as having to only do very short bursts of activity (with much longer breaks) due to the nature of the sport, but there can be some huge hits and tackles in the NFL from both offence and defence during their attempts to win. Below is a video of some of the big hits involved when the action does comes around in american football.

NFL – Wikipedia

History of the NFL – Wikipedia

Who Invented The USB Memory Stick

Who Invented The USB Memory Stick

USB-Memory-Stick_0The USB ‘memory stick’ (or ‘flash drive’, as it is commonly known) is a small storage device used for computers that implements ‘flash memory’ technology, and connects to computer systems via a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port. A flash drive is designed to be both portable and rewritable, with very large storage capacities considering their size. A primary purpose of the memory stick is that they can transferring data between two different computer system. But who created this innovation of technology?

The need for the flash drive came about after the computer developed to the extent that the original method of portable storage, the floppy disc, was seen as too slow and small (file size (up to 1.44MB of data)) for modern machines.

In 2000, IBM, together with Trek Technology, invented and sold the first-ever USB flash drives. Trek Technology, a Singaporean company, named their product the “thumb drive” due to its physical size.

Although the first memory sticks had a storage capacity of only 8MB (still a large improvement on floppy disks), the product would develop into an even more functional piece of technology, with storage sizes now as high as 258GB.

With a huge marketing potential, and by being sold in different shapes and sizes for novelty value, it is fair to say that the USB memory stick is one of the most important accessories to a modern computer system today. For the more confused customer, though, this video helps to explain further aspects of the device, and what ‘type’ is suitable for different people:

USB Flash Drive – Wikipedia

Who Invented Toilet Paper

ToiletpaperwhitebgIt is one of the items in any household that is taken for granted…. until it runs out. It is also an item which few sane people want to discuss in detail, for obvious reasons, which could be a reason as to why the answer to the interesting yet disturbing question of ‘Who Invented Toilet Paper’ is not widely known.

The sole inventor of the product could probably not be singled out, but it was the ancient Chinese (around 14th century), who would first manufacture paper as an alternative to less convenient methods from around the world, such as grass or leaves, a corncob stick (America), or a person’s own hand (Middle East). The use of paper would be adopted the Americans and other developed areas in the next few centuries, but this would come from old and unwanted newspapers or catalogues.

The use of tissue paper for the toilet-based purpose did not come around until 1880, by the Scott Paper company in the USA. The use of it would eventually catch on furhter afield, with other companies beggining to sell their version, and the product would develop in stages to the version seen today.

The market for the product is a large one, with it being sold on the basis of being a near necessity to avoid embarrassment. This has led to companies attempting to make memorable innovations or adverts to attract customers, as seen in this attempt from 1994, featuring the famous ‘Andrex puppy’:

Toilet Paper – Wikipedia

Who Invented The Thermos Flask

Who Invented The Thermos Flask

thermosflaskgreenA relatively unnoticed or unused item in many of today’s insulated and heated homes, but for people in lesser-equipped houses, colder climates, or outdoor activities in the winter months, a thermos flask can be key to keeping that refreshing hot drink at a toasty temperature, and keep cold drinks… not frozen, with any drink now able to be taken in as fresh as when it was made. Who came up with this small and portable, yet powerful insulator for liquid?

The answer is James Dewar, a physicist and chemist from Scotland, first came up with the idea of the ‘vacuum flask‘ (also known as the ‘Dewar flask’ at the time) in 1892. After a German scientist Reinhold Burger made a similar discovery, that it could keep hot drinks warm, he created a company to sell the flasks (it would be sold on a few years later) starting in 1904 under the company name of Thermos GmbH, the only trader of the device at the time. The business soon took off with the public, and due to its unique brand name, adopted the flasks to be known as ‘thermos’.

The product would be the recipient of several innovation-based awards, and the company grew its invention to test new materials, sizes, and purposes (such as a food jar). As well as being a crucial drinks-carrying device for the British military during World War II, the flask would also be used in scientific experiments for atomic energy. The product would continue to grow, and now can be used to maintain the condition of, and transport important medical material, such as blood transfusions, amongst a wide range of uses.

Today, thermos flasks are made from either plastic, metal or glass, and with the use of hollow walls and a vacuum-based insulator, any possible heat transfer is prevented when the cap (which often doubles as a drinking cup) is on. The video below from German TV (audio in English) demonstrates the basic function of the product, and the history of it in Germany:

Thermos Flask – Wikipedia

Who Invented The Coke And Mentos Experiment

coke and mentos did not take off in popular culture until 2006, when two journalists (David Kestenbaum and Michele Norris) released a blog based on it

coke&mentosIt is not normally socially acceptable to play with your food, but in the instance of a ‘coke and mentos eruption’, the entertainment value can throw that perception out of the window. Who introduced the world to this bizzare application of science?

Despite the experiment being shown and explained on a TV chat show in 1999 (by physics student Spencer Tyler), ‘coke and mentos‘ did not take off in popular culture until 2006, when two journalists (David Kestenbaum and Michele Norris) released a blog based on it, and within months video sharing websites such as YouTube were packed with new videos of people trying the creation of a carbonate beverage-based explosion for themselves.

After many tried efforts with a variety of mints (or even fruit-flavoured ‘mentos’) and drinks (such as lemonade) in combination, it is regarded that the combination for a big explosion is to use Diet Coke and Original Mint-flavoured Mentos. This ‘formula’ provides the quickest reaction, and therefore the ‘highest’ explosion, with the Guiness World Record height for an explosion measuring at over 9 meters (with the aid of a nozzle). A testament to the popularity of the ‘coke and mentos’ explosions is that some joke shops now sell mentos with the advertised purpose of causing explosions.

An example of this bizzare experiment can be seen in the video below:

Diet Coke and Mentos Eruption – Wikipedia

Who Invented The Segway

Segway_Polizei_4The Segway is one of the most innovative methods of transportation developed in recent years, but who was it that came up with this odd, self-balancing, and expensive alternative to walking?

The patent of the Segway design and machine will agknowlege American Dean Kamen as its inventor. The two wheeled machine was created by Kamen in 2001 and sales began around a year afterwards. The Segway was also known as Ginger and IT during its development stage. Ginger was in fact a product of the IBOT wheelchair technology that Kamen was working on. The Ginger was developed while Kamen was at the University of Plymouth.

Now being sold as a well-known device around the world, for those that can afford it, the Segway has developed products for more specific uses, such as security / police work, playing golf, and riding over difficult terrain. The company estimates that over 50,000 Segway units (all models) had been sold since the initial release.

Despite criticisms of its nature and price, the Segway has been seen as a marketable device, even if to some it is just for the novelty factor, but it is clear that the creators do take their product seriously, as seen by this extended advertisement:

Segway – Wikipedia

Who Invented Tic Tacs

Everyone knows Tic Tacs as the packet of small flavoured pellets (usually mint) that are good for either a small snack, or for breath refreshment, but a question that will often pass people’s minds is “who was it that came up this product, and when?”

tic tacsEveryone knows Tic Tacs as the packet of small flavoured pellets (usually mint) that are good for either a small snack, or for breath refreshment, but a question that will often pass people’s minds is “who was it that came up this product, and when?”

In 1969, the Ferrero family, owners of the (extremely secretive) Italian snack company Ferrero and famous for other products such as Nutella, Kinder Surprise, and Ferrero Rocher, decided to enter the world of ‘breath mints’, launching with the original ‘Fresh Mint’ flavour, and expanding to include different varieties based on other mints and fruit, along with special editions based on the time of year, and now, ‘mixed bags’, where a pack may contain two different flavours (e.g. ‘Lemon & Lime’). The expansions have seen Tic Tac become one of the most well-known snacks around, especially in the mints department.

Having seen over 40 different flavours come and go over the years, Tic Tacs are still very much a popular snack, with the stand-out features of recent TV adverts further raising their profile. An example of this can be seen below, with the costumed ‘Tic Tac people’ part of the slogan campaign ‘another refreshing little lift’.

Tic Tac – Wikipedia

Who Invented The Pencil

pencilThe humble pencil is, globally, one of the most common tools used to write on paper, and there are a wide range of different types of pencils, but who invented the most widely-seen type of pencil (graphite with wood casing) seen today, and in doing so creating a stereotypical image for a product that is used at home, work, and school?

Although there were early attempts at making a pencils from ancient Egyptians and Romans, and also in the 1500’s, where English farmers used plain graphite to mark sheep. Both were reasonable methods for their purpose, the material on its own would leave marks on the user’s skin and were prone to breaking easily.

In 1795, a French officer belonging to the army of Napoleon invented and patented the first quality pencil on earth. Nicholas Jacques Conte (aka NJ Conte) discovered that ground graphite, when mixed with the right kinds of clay, produced the best lead for pencils. A great myth is that pencils are made of lead, but the thin black material in pencils is actually a mix of graphite, carbon, and clay. NJ Conte, managed to turn this graphite into powder, mixing it with moist doughs of clay and then pressing the materials into thin sticks, which were then ‘cooked’ to make the ‘pencil lead’. The modern wooden casing seen in most original pencils today would soon follow, providing a no-mess and more shatter-resistant protection for the product. The Faber family would soon take on this product into mass production, and the rest is history.

To date, there are 350 different types of pencils, used for a variety of purposes, and fitting different budgets. With a variety of shades and new and creative methods being sold for novelty (e.g. giant, twisty, ect.), it is an ever-expanding product, and one that is used in all walks of life, as it is very difficult to live a lifetime without using one.

Pencil – Wikipedia

Who Invented Bop It

bopitBop It is a popular audio-based game that is developed and produced by Hasbro, and has proved to be a popular way for children to pass the time on long journeys, even if it is to the annoyance of the other passengers. But who set off this noisy and repetitive phenomenon?

The inventor of the Bop It was Dan Klitsner, who patented the design in 1996, the year that the original version was released. The basic functions of the original involved three buttons/levers, and the player being instructed to either ‘bop it’, ‘pull it’ or ‘twist it’, with the game speeding up as it goes along, with longer games likely to get a higher score announced at the end. With the aid of fellow designer Bob Welch, the game would develop into more versions, spin-offs (such as Zing It or Groove It), and features (e.g. ‘flick it’ or ‘shout it’), with the game still going strong today.

Different versions released since the original include:

– Bop It Extreme

– Bop It Extreme 2

– Bop It Blast

– Bop It Download

–  Bop It Bounce

– Bop It Minis

An example of the game of Bop It being played can be seen below:

Bop It – Wikipedia

Who Invented Basketball

Who Invented Basketball

438px-Basketball_gameSeemingly second only to football, basketball is one of the most popular team sports played worldwide. Although it has become widely-known for the money-spinning NBA league in America, the sport is played all over the world, with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) contributing greatly with the growth in global popularity of the game. Who was it that set the ball rolling, though?

FirstbasketballAlthough the sport is generally credited as an American creation, it was Dr James Naismith, a Canadian, who designed the first concept of this team sport in December 1891. He was at that time a YMCA Training School instructor in the City of Springfield in Massachusetts (USA, one of the reasons that the sport is seen as American-made). His primary purpose for inventing the game was to give his students an indoor game that offered a good workout, and an enjoyable alternative when the extremely cold weather struck during the winter.

For this reason, the game of basketball was originally played exclusively indoors. The term ‘basketball’ came from the fact that  Dr Naismith first used a peach basket, nailed to the wall at 10ft high. Players shoot (throw) the ball inside the basket in order to score points, though the ball originally had to be retrieved manually, until someone decided to solve this problem by cutting a hole under the basket. The use of peach basket lasted until 1906. After that, it was replaced by backboards and metal hoops, just like in the basketball as it is today, signalling the start of the development into the sport as it is today, with the key rules of the game including multiple-point scoring, and the limit of 5 players on court at a time for a team, with 4 periods of 12 minutes (overtime if needed) deciding the winners.

Legendary NBA players such as Wilt ‘the stilt’ Chamberlin, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan helped the sport gain new levels of popularity, and it is now played on a global scale, with continental and international tournaments, as well as the NBA (and female counterparts such as the WNBA), showcasing the best in the world, with other leagues starting to be held in high regard.

The development of the game of basketball has led to several variations (played either formally or informally),  with historic ones like netball or 1-on-1, or modern slants, such as street, 3-on-3, slamball, or water basketball. The ‘entertainment’ factor of the NBA has also led to skill challenges in special events such as ‘All-Star Weekend’, which include obstacle courses, long-range shots, and the well-publicised slam dunk challenge.

A type of street basketball which has become a big hit for recreation, and internet video viewers, is the trick shot, with one group in particular standing out above the rest. ‘Dude Perfect’ have released a number of entertaining videos, and this one, filmed on a summer camp, shows just how much fun trick shots can be with some creativity:

Basketball – Wikipedia