Who Invented The Party Balloon

Who invented the balloon

balloonsWhen 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…

Balloon – Wikipedia

Who Invented The Wig

To many, an important accessory and to others a complete joke. The wig has always been an important device for those that want to conceal their lack of hair,

wire_wigstand_bigTo many, an important accessory and to others a complete joke.  The wig has always been an important device for those that want to conceal their lack of hair, although it can be difficult to make your new ‘head of hair’ look authentic, and the look crosses the line of embarrassment when it falls off or out of place. But who invented this phenomenon of appearance risk?

The early use of wigs date back to the ancient Egyptian times, when fake hair was used to protect people with bald heads from the hot sun, and was used in a similar manner by Romans, Greeks, and Assyrians, amongst others. The look never really caught on, though, until the ‘Tudor period’ in English history, where royalty using wigs to display extravagant ‘tall’ or long hairstlyes (and to protect from headlice) prompted many male members of the public to follow suit, with the term ‘wig’ added to the English language in 1675. Over the years, the use of wigs and hairpieces worldwide would then develop with the styles of the times, eventually reaching the modern approaches and uses that we see now.

rainbow-afro-wigToday, wigs have developed not only into a means for people with a lack of hair to look as though they have some, as part of a job (e.g. acting or ‘traditional’ court judges) or even as a fashion accessory, like ‘extentions’, but also as a means of fancy dress at parties, leading to ‘party wigs’, that are generally much more colourful and bizarre, and are often used to help ‘complete a look’, with costumes such as ‘Elvis’ or ’70’s Afro’.

A concern for some wig-wearers, though, whether serious or recreational, is what they are made of, as it can be a big issue for those that only want ‘nice’ materials touching their body. Although modern wigs are made to begin life clean and usable, some potential wearers could be put off by the fact that to be made to look realistic, their wig is likely to have been made out of one of, or a combination of, the following materials: 

– Wool

– Feathers

– Recycled Human Hair

– Synthetic Materials

– Animal Hair (Horses or Buffalo)

– Yak Hair (most commonly used)

As an example of the potential embarassment that having a wig could cause, please observe this clip of a startled Japanese news reporter, who unknowingly seems to lose his hairpiece whilst bowing….

Wigs – Wikipedia

Who Invented Coffee

History of Coffee

Its hard to believe that at one time you could not wake yourself up with a strong cup of stimulating caffeine filled coffee. So where does coffee come from?

cupcoffeeDating back to the 15th century in the far east are legends that say coffee was first discovered by a goat herder in the Yemen. He noticed that after eating the red fruit of the coffee bush his goats stayed awake all night.

Expresso Machines
In 1822, the first espresso machine was made in France. In 1933, Dr. Ernest Illy invented the first automatic espresso machine. However, the modern-day espresso machine was created by Italian Achilles Gaggia in 1946. Gaggia invented a high pressure espresso machine by using a spring powered lever system. The first pump driven espresso machine was produced in 1960 by the Faema company.

Coffee Filter
Melitta Bentz a housewife from Dresden, Germany invented the first coffee filter. She wanted to brew the perfect cup of coffee without the bitterness caused by overbrewing. She decided to invent a way to make a filtered coffee, pouring boiling water over ground coffee and having the liquid be filtered, removing any grinds. Melitta Bentz experimented with different materials, then used her sons blotter paper from school worked best. She cut a round piece of blotting paper and put it in a metal cup.

On June 20th, 1908, the coffee filter and filter paper were patented. On December 15th, 1908, Melitta Bentz and her husband Hugo started the Melitta Bentz Company. The next year they sold 1200 coffee filters at the Leipziger fair in Germany. The Mellitta Bentz Company also patented the filter bag in 1937 and vacuum packing in 1962.

James Mason
James Mason invented the coffee percolator on December 26, 1865.

Instant Coffee
Probably best known around the world is instant coffee which is easier to dissolve in hot water. This was invented in 1901, by Japanese American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago. In 1906, English chemist George Constant Washington, invented the first mass-produced instant coffee. Washington was living in Guatemala and at the time when he observed dried coffee on his coffee carafe, after experimenting he created “Red E Coffee” – the brand name for his instant coffee first marketed in 1909. In 1938, Nescafe or ‘freeze dried’ coffee was invented.

Decaffeinated Coffee
Some wonder what the point is of taking the caffeine away but decaffeinated coffee was invented in 1903 by German coffee importer, Ludwig Roselius, who turned a batch of ruined coffee beans over to researchers. Although not the first to remove caffeine, they perfected the process of removing caffeine from the beans without destroying any flavour. He marketed the coffee under the brand name ‘Sanka’ (a contraction of ‘sans caffeine’). Sanka was introduced into the US in 1923.

coffeeplantCoffee Facts

Coffee is the second most traded product in the world after petroleum. World wide coffee production tips the scales at about 6 million metric tonnes.

It takes five years for a coffee tree to reach maturity. The average yield from one tree is the equivalent of one roasted pound of coffee.

People who buy coffee primarily at drive through windows on their way to work will spend as much as 45 hours a year waiting in line.

Of the various botanical species of coffee trees in the world, only two are extensively cultivated commercially; Arabica and Robusta.

The first coffee house in Europe opened in Venice in 1683, while coffee was available in Europe as early as 1608, mostly for the rich.

The largest coffee producing nation is Brazil, responsible for 30 to 40 % of total world output.

The history of coffee video

Wikipedia Coffee Page