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Saturday, July 09, 2005
** The Microwave was bornwhen an engineer testing a magnetron tube notices that the radiation leaking from it had caused the chocoltate bag in his pocket to melt.

** Following the sales success of his disposable ballpoint pen in Europe, French businessman Marcel Bich was ready to take on the international market. He had named the product after hmself, but realizing that Americans would incorrectly pronounce the name spelled Bich as Bitch, he smartly dropped the H and called his pen BIC.

** From Russia with Love was chosen as the second James Bond novel to be adapted as a film after President John Kennedy listed it as one of his ten favorite books of all time.

** In 1899, pharmacist George Bunting blended his own cold cream, which, in addition to removing makeup and relieving sunburn, gained popularity for its ability to cure eczema. The "No Eczema" claim not only became the product's major selling point, it also gave it its name: NOXZEMA.

** In 1903, s applaud of coffee consigned to European businessman Ludwig Roselius accidentally got drenched during a storm at sea. Since the beans were no longer fit for commercial sale, Roselius used the cargo for research purposes, eventually discovering that soaking coffee beans in water was the key to decaffeination. When further experimenting proved that he could remove practically all the caffeine, but not the flavor and aroma, he decided to market his invention. He called the product, Sanka, a derivation of the French phrase sans caffeine.

** Because the studio expected it to be bomb, the budget of Casablanca, was so low that the plane used in the background of the final scene was a small cardboard cutout. To give it the illusion of being full sized, the producers hired midgets to portray the crew prepairing it for takeoff.

** Tip is an acronym for "to insure promptness" -- and once upon a time was given in advance.

** X's symbolize kisses because in ancient days, when few people knew how to write, they would simply sign an "X" to show their agreement, then kiss the mark to emphasize their sincerity.

** 7UP included lithium carbonate in its original recipe.

** McDonald's milkshakes contain seaweeed -- in the form of an extract called "carrageenan", a thickener and emulsifier that keeps the butterfat in the shake from separating out.

** The biggest menu flops at McDonald's include Kolacky, a Bohemian pastry that had been founder Ray Kroc's mother's specialty, and the Hula Burger, which was aimed at vegetarians (as well as Catholics who didn't eat fish on Fridays) and consisted of two slices of cheese and a grilled pineapple ring on a toasted bun.

** McDonald's teaches its employees that the fastest way to put out a shortening fires is to dump frozen french fries on it.

** In 1853, George Crum, the head chef at Moon's Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York, was insulted when hotel guest Cornelius Vanderbilt, the well-known railroad tycoon, sent back his dish of French fries, demanding that they be cut thinner and friend longer. In anger, Crum decided to teach the commodore a lesson and shaved off paper thin slices of potatoes, threw them into a tub of ice water, let them soak, and dropped them into a vat of boiling grease. When they came out curled and fried crisp, he sprinkled salt on them and sent the potatoes back to the Vanderbilt table. Crum was bowled over when the guest sent back their compliments and requested another order. Soon, "Saratoga chips" (later to become simply "potato chips") were a featured item on the hotel's menu.

** In 1891, Philadelphia inventor James Henry Mitchell revolutionized the packaged-cookie business by building an apparatus that could combine a hollow cookie crust with a fruit filling. The machinery was quickly bought by the Kennedy Biscuit Works in Boston, which had established the tradition of naming their cookies and crackers after towns in the immediate area. Since the company already had the Beacon Hill and the Brighton, this fruit filled number was christened the Newton. And although it was originally manufactured with a range of jam centers, fig quickly proved to be the most popular, hence the cookie officially became known as the Fig Newton.

** In 1880, the flour produced by Wahsburn, Crosby and Co., a Minnesota miller, took first place at an international exhibition held in Cincinnati, Sensing the public relations potential in their victory, company officials decided to start marketing their award winning product under the name Gold Medal. But when an avalanche of mail poured in from housewives requesting recipes (or asking about baking problems), the men who ran Washburn, Crosby felt the responses they sent back should come from a woman. So Betty Crocker was born. The name "Betty" was picked because it was familiar and friendly; "Crocker" was chosen to honor William Crocker, a former director of the company.

** At the St.. Louis World's Fair in 1904, Ernest Hamwi opened up a concession to sell zalabia, a crisp, wafflelike Persian pastry baked on a flat waffle iron and topped with sugar, fruit, or other sweets. The stand next to Hamwi's offered ice cream in five and ten cent dishes. When one day business was extremely brisk and the ice cream vendor ran out of glass cups, the quick thinking Hamwi rolled one of his wagers into a cornucopia, let it cool, and then scooped the ice cream into its mouth....the first ice cream cone.

** Bank was commonly shaped like pigs because in the 18th century frugal people saved their money in earthenware jars made of dense range clay known as Pygg.

** The paper used to make money is composed of linen and several types of cotton, including denim -- which gives it its unique fabriclike feel and durability.

** When the gray exterior of the Presidential Mansion was painted white to cover the fire damaged by British Forces in the War of 1812, the change in color brought along change in the name: the White House.

** The Pentagon,one of the largest office building in the world, has twice as many bathrooms as is necessary, because when it was built Virginia laws still required separate toilet facilities for blacks and whites.

** While his wife spent long hours posing for the figure, the model for the face of the Statue of Liberty was Charlotte Bartholdi, mother of the French sculptor, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, who designed it.

** Big Ben is not a clock, but the thirteen-ton bell inside the clock tower of England's House of Parliament.

** Sunglasses date back to 15th century China, where they were worn by judges to conceal their expressions while presiding over court.

** The idea of painting fingernails originated in China, where the color of someone's nails indicated their social rank.

(abstracted from the book: WHO KNEW??? by David Hoffman)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:28 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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