Lego, manufactured by the Lego Group, are one of the most well-known and instantly recognisable types of toy in the world, due to their basic concept and potential for seemingly endless possibilities, and have been credited with expanding the ability of imagination and creativity of the children (and adults) that use them. But who brainstormed this product?
Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Denmark, conceptualized and invented the idea of Lego bricks. He came from a poor family and worked as a carpenter to make ends meet, and used his workplace skills to begin to produce toys made out of wood (around 1932). He considered it as his real job during that time, and went further by constructing miniature furniture and houses to sell. By 1934, his company was already addressed as Lego, the name under which the toys were sold.
In 1947, he decided to use plastic to make these toys, and by 1949, Christiansen had already made a total 200 wooden and plastic toys. In that same year, his company started to manufacture toys called ‘automatic binding bricks’, which were comprised of interlocking bricks. Christiansen named this product after his company, Lego, which was derived from the Danish phrase ‘leg godt,’ the meaning of which is to ‘play well.’ He also emphasized on his employees the importance of quality.
In 1954, his son Godtfred Kirk Christiansen assumed the position as Lego Group junior managing director. He was credited for introducing Lego bricks as a more enjoyable and fun toy system. In January 1958, months before Ole Kirk’s death, the patent for the modern version of Lego bricks was approved.
Today, the Lego Group has progressed even further. It has already designed and manufactured thousands of themed sets that are guaranteed to bring fun and enjoyment for everyone, with a monumental range of themes, and licenced special editions based on movies and TV shows. The company has expanded to include movies, books, videogames, clothing, and even Legoland theme parks, and now have one of the most recognisable products in the world, that is still going strong today, with Ole Kirk Christiansen proving that you can be successful regardless of your background or social status, with creativity and imagination, the very things that his product stands for, being a critical factor in his success.
When planning a party or special event, one of the first things that comes to mind is to have balloons as part of the decoration, due to their colourful, simple, and novelty-style appearance. But who came up with the idea to produce these rubbery sacks of air?
The idea of the ‘balloon’ was first proposed in Italy in 1643, when physicist Evangelista Torricalli wanted to prove that air was more than ‘nothing’. Although the theory was correct (how can a balloon, or something similar, have shape with trapped air if it is suposedly nothing?), the first production of the item was by Portugese priest Bartolomeu de Gusmao, who in 1709, first displayed air trapped in a substance, and gave it the name that it is known by today, balloon.
In the 19th century, balloons were developed further, this time in England, when scientists used rubber to store the air, and experimented with ‘lighter than air substances’ such as hydrogen, discovering that it caused the balloon to float upwards. In 1881, these types of ‘balloons’ were made available to the public, and in 1931 the first ‘novelty’ version was produced. From the 1970’s onwards, party balloons have been seen in the variety of colours, designs, shapes, and sizes that we see today, with modern materials including rubber, nylon, or latex, amongst others, and being designed to be filled with water (water balloons), helium/hydrogen (for upwards floating), nitrous oxide, or normal air, allowing for modern balloons to be applied to a wide range of purposes.
One concern about balloons, though, is when they are punctured. If enough pressure is applied to a party balloon that causes a break of the material, it will ‘pop’. It is usually to quick to notice, and it is hard not to feel as though a gun has just been fired, but with slow-motion cameras such as those in the video clip below, you can see just how quickly a balloon will burst, even by comparision to gravity…
Boxing hasn’t ever been seen as a safe sport, and even more so in the periods in history when the use of a boxing glove was uncommon for a person who wanted an organised fistfight. But when were they invented?
The boxing glove, in its earliest form, were basic ‘hand protectors’ for the then-new game of boxing, created as far back as the Ancient Greek times of 3000 years ago, and it was Amycus, son of the God Poseidon, who was credited with the innovation of wrapping leather around fighter’s hands, made to protect the person throwing the punch more than the one on the receiving end, a theory that is employed to this day with modern boxing gloves, as a punch can still hurt the person applying the force.
The Greek invention was expanded on by the Romans, who, always looking for ways to make weapons more painful than normal, added a layer of metal under their version of the glove (the gladiatorial cestus), although it was soon banned, with the sport of boxing also outlawed a few centuries later.
The sport of boxing would make a comeback in 17th century Britain, but almost all fights would be bare-knuckle, until the publication of the Marquess of Queensbury Rules (which are still followed today) in 1867. English bare-knuckle fighter Jack Broughton is credited with the invention of the modern-day version of the boxing glove (then known as a pair of ‘mufflers’) in the late 18th century, and the basic design has been brought forward with the sport as it developed. Nowadays, if you want a legal and official boxing fight, a pair of boxing gloves must be worn, though there is criticism that the padded gloves do nothing other than change the type of damage that could be caused (the most common of these is brain damage over cuts and wounds), but is still seen as a more acceptable alternative to fighting ‘naturally’.
For proof that boxing can be dangerous no matter what you have on your hands, here is a compilation of some of the most famous (and painful) professional boxing knockouts in history. Don’t try this at home!
Like a lot of inventions, Watler Diemer (1904-1998) didn’t get it right on
the first attempt.
In 1928, Walter Diemer who worked as an accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Company in Philadelphia, experimented on new gum recipes in his spare time. But his latest batch was less sticky than regular chewing gum and it stretched more easily.
Originally the idea of bubble gum was thought up by
Vincent Geoffion Hughes in 1906. with his assisant, Keegan C. Marr,
they came up with a gum which was too sticky so they gave up as they
had better things to do.
In 1928 Diemar produced a gum which wasn’t
sticky and did not fall apart. He explained that it was an accident and
that he was doing something else when he found something which made
bubbles. He first discover the bubbles when he was 23 years old. When
Diemer first put it on sale in the local shop, it sold out on the first day and was so successful that it sold over a million and a half dollars worth of gum in the first year.
It was first called “Blow Gum” then “Blow Bubble” then “Dubble Bubble”.
The Dubble Bubble gum was not under threat by any competition for years.
Three year later, Bazooka(bubble gum and sweet company) ask Diemar to
join and become vice president. He took the job and it was a great success!
There were at least a dozen chewing gum companies from
the United States, but the industry was relatively undeveloped. William
Wrigley Jr started to sell Chewing gum under his own name. Mr.Wrigley
sold a chewing gum which became the most popular called Juicy Fruit. It
was a big hit in North America.Then Spearmint gum and Dubblemint, which are still a classics favourite all over the world today.
As the company continued to grow, more gum was invented. For example:-
Extra (in different flavors)
and many more….
Amazingly Diemar never received royalties for his invention, his wife told the newspapers, but he didn’t seem to mind; knowing what he’d created was reward enough. Sometimes he’d invite a bunch of kids to the house and tell them the story of his wonderful, accidental invention. Then he’d hold bubble-blowing contests for them.
Facts About Gum
# During WW1, US military personnel spread the popularity of chewing gum by trading it and giving it as gifts to people in Europe, Africa, Asia and around the world.
# The first patent for chewing gum was issued in 1869 to William F. Semple, a dentist from Mount Vernon, Ohio.
# Did you know that their are more than 1,000 varieties of gum manufactured and sold in the Untied States.
# Cinnamon, Spearmint, and Peppermint are the most popular flavors of gum.
# Do you know why gum is pink? The color of the first successful bubble gum was pink because it was the only color the inventor had left. The color “Stuck” and today bubble gum is still mostly pink.
# North America kids spend approximately half a billion dollars on bubble gum every year.
# The largest bubble ever blown was 23 inches in diameter. The record was set on July 19, 1994 by Susan Montgomery Willams of Fresno California.
# Tips for getting gum unstuck from clothing: try scraping off any excess gum with a dull knife and then rubbing the area with ice until the remaining gum rolls off into a ball.
# We’ve done the impossible and now, you can try it to! We’ve done all this while blowing a bubble. Smiling through your teeth, frowning, laughing, out of the bottom of your mouth, side of your mouth, top of your mouth, while kissing something, and while blowing your nose.
How gum is made
* The gum’s ingredients are melted and filtered.
* Powered sugar, glucose syrup, flavoring and the other ingredients are slowly added to the gum base until the warm mix thickness like dough.
* Machines called extruders are used to blend, smooth, and form the gum.
* It’s time for gum to be shaped. Gum can be flattened and cut into sticks, or squeezed into a rope shape and cut into chunks, or molded into shapes, and candy coated.
* After the gum is cut or molded into the appropriate shape, it’s lightly sprinkled with powdered sweetener to keep it from sticking to machinery.
* In carefully temperature controlled room, the gum is cooled for up to 48 hours. This allows the gum to properly set.
* If the gum is candy coated, like most gum balls or pellet gum, it’s sprayed again. This process is repeated several times until the candy shell reaches the proper thickness.
Interesting facts about gum from the past
Ancient Greeks chewed a gum like substance called mastic. Women especially liked gum because it cleaned their teeth and it exercised their jaw muscles.
# The longest gum wrapper chain on record was 7,400 feet in length and was made by Cathy Ushler of Redmond, WA between 1969-1992.
How To Blow The Perfect Bubble Gum Bubble
Some people seem to have the knack to blow huge bubbles with any piece of gum while others never quite get the hang of it. Try following these instructions, but remember not to cheat and use your hands at any time – the preparation of the gum must always take place in the mouth.
1. To begin with, use one piece of bubblegum and work it around your mouth until it is soft. Then roll it into a ball with your tongue and using the roof of your mouth to lean on. Then move this ball of gum so that it is right behind your front teeth, and use your tongue again to flatten the ball into a small, flat, circle. Push it against the back of your teeth to flatten it.
2. The gum should now be behind your front teeth in the flattened shape. Using your tongue, push through this flat piece of gum until your tongue is covered by a thin layer of gum – be gentle, don’t just poke your tongue right through! Then take your tongue out of the layer. If it does burst, you must go back and re-roll the gum and then flatten it out against your teeth again.
3. Now you have got this thin layer of gum. Hold it with your lips and blow from your lungs, and a bubble should appear. Many people make the mistake of blowing just out of their lips but this will not be strong enough to produce a proper bubble. Keep blowing as long as you can, or until the bubble bursts.
4. Once you have done this a few times, try adding to the piece of gum in your mouth and see what sort of bubble you can produce with more than one piece. It definitely passes the time!!