8 Inventions That Make Life More Fun | COLOSSAL QUESTIONSJul 08, 2022
questions. Who invented stuffed animals? The first dolls of the ancient world were made of hard materials such as wood or clay. But the stuffed animal as we know it today really began with the invention of the rag doll about 2,000 years ago. The oldest rag dolls ever found were stuffed with rags, papyrus, or hay and usually woven with colored threads and trinkets, such as beads. For the next thousand years, rag dolls remained a very popular toy for children around the world in different cultures and classes. Finally, at the beginning of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution began in England.
And before long, rag dolls went from being handmade to being mass produced in factories, just like tons of other toys and products. Innovations, but the ability to print colorful or patterned fabrics, allowed companies to
makedolls that were super vibrant and super quick to
make. Well, this is how the old wooden dolls were transformed into soft and squishy rag dolls. But when did the stuffed animal appear? When did stuffed animals give way to stuffed animals, like the teddy bear? Well, it all started in the late 19th century, when a German woman named Margarete Steiff invented the first known stuffed animal, an adorable little elephant that was intended to be a pincushion.
But a couple of years later, Richard, Margarete's nephew, took her idea and turned it into a children's toy, a teddy bear. His novelty doll hit stores a few years later, in 1902. Around the same time, a Russian immigrant named Morris Michtom, living across the Atlantic in the United States, came up with his own design for a teddy bear. stuffed Michtom based his design on a famous cartoon he saw in the newspaper. The drawing shows President Teddy Roosevelt hunting bears with a group of his friends. Roosevelt was known as an avid hunter, but he didn't feel good taking down a defenseless animal.
He then told his men to release the bear. The artists made the cartoon bear look adorable. And Morris Michtom knew it had to be a toy. He sent a prototype of his inspired invention to Teddy Roosevelt himself and obtained the president's permission to use his nickname on the toy. And thus the legend of the teddy bear was born. Both versions of the teddy bear were instant big hits in Europe and the United States. So whether your favorite stuffed animal is a bear, bird, badger, or any other type of creature, you can thank the good old teddy bear and the president for inspiring it for your furry friend.
Who invented superheroes? You may be surprised to know that superheroes have been around for much longer than you think. Superhero stories are so old that we've been telling them for as long as we've been telling stories. You can find them in all cultures, all over the world. Some people like to call Gilgamesh the first superhero. The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient story about a king named Gilgamesh, who was two-thirds god and one-third human. He regularly rescued people in need and battled monsters that could resurrect the dead on his epic journey to find the key to eternal
He sounds a lot like a superhero, huh? And Gilgamesh wasn't the only ancient superhero. In Scandinavia, Beowulf was the superhero of choice. In the epic story, he saves the people of Denmark from one monster, then another,
moreterrifying monster, and even has to return as an old man to defeat a giant dragon. Okay, so those are our old superheroes. But what about our
moremodern costumed caped crusaders? Robin Hood is an early folk hero known for his distinctive costume and weapon of choice. Like any good superhero, Robin Hood has an archenemy in the Sheriff of Nottingham, his team of allies called the Merry Men, and his one true love in Maid Marion.
Ancient and medieval heroes such as Beowulf and Robin Hood were inspiration for characters such as Popeye and Zorro in the 1920s. Comic book writers in the 1930s began combining costumed characters with characters who had superpowers and eventually began creating some of our favorite superheroes today, like Superman. Since then, hundreds of iconic heroes have been invented, reinvented, killed, resurrected, turned evil, traveled through time, redeemed, traversed universes, killed again, and resurrected again. Who invented chewing gum? Chewing gum is nothing new. In fact, it is at least 6,000 years old. The oldest wad of chewed gum ever seen on Earth was found in Finland and even included teeth marks.
Old rubbers were made from local plants, such as birch bark tar that was used in Finland to make the cue. The Greeks chewed the bark of the mastic tree. The Chinese used ginseng roots. And the Mayans chewed gum, which comes from the sapodilla tree. Cocoa leaves, nuts, and even fat have also been used as chewing gum in the past. But the modern chewing gum we know and love today really has its roots in the United States. The First Nations people living in North America chewed their own form of gum made from the sap of spruce trees.
And before long, European settlers in New England began munching on the stuff, too. As demand grew, the first commercial gum called The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum was sold in 1848. Wrigley's chewing gum hit the shelves in 1892. And Chiclets appeared seven years later, in 1899. Modern chewing gum finally gained enormous popularity around the world after World War II. American soldiers received a ration of gum as part of their food supply and often traded sticks with locals, spreading modern gum throughout the world. After the war, chewing gum became increasingly popular. And a modern and cheaper version was invented.
Although some gums today still use plants, most current recipes use synthetic rubber mixed with sugar and other flavorings. And believe it or not, it can actually be healthy for you to chew gum from time to time. You see, chewing causes your mouth to produce more saliva, which helps keep your teeth clean and safe from bacteria. So the next time you're blowing bubbles at the end of class and the teacher tells you to throw them away, say it's all part of your dental hygiene. Let's see how that goes. Who invented toys? Children have played games for as long as we know.
But the first toys were a little different than the ones we have today. For most of the time, children have made toys out of whatever they can find, like sticks, stones, clay, whatever. But man-made toys have been found from ancient civilizations all over the Earth. In India, experts have excavated toys that are more than 4,500 years old: clay animal figures with wheels, small carts, bird-shaped whistles and toy monkeys that could slide on a rope. Many of the world's most classic toys come from ancient China. The kite was invented there and was very popular at least 3,000 years ago.
The Chinese also invented another all-time toy, the yo-yo. These ancient yo-yos were made of wood, metal, or painted terracotta clay. Ancient Egyptian children even had dolls with wigs and movable limbs. In ancient Greece and Rome, children also played with dolls, yo-yos, balls, wooden swords, bows, and figurines. And get this: When Greek children became adults, it was tradition to burn all their favorite childhood toys in sacrifice to the Greek gods. So who invented toys? It's impossible to say for sure. But we do know that a small set of toys have been around almost as long as humans.
So the next time your yo-yo string gets tangled and ruined, remember that it's a story as old as time. Who invented emojis? Let's start with the basics. An emoji is different from an emoticon. Emoticons are images made up of normal keyboard characters, while emojis are real images. The fact that the word emoji sounds like emotion is just a coincidence. The word actually comes from the Japanese word for image, e, and character, moji. This is because they were invented in Japan by a man named Shigetaka Kurita back in 1998. He was working for a company that was at the forefront of text messaging technology at the time.
But since this was 1998, that meant there were only enough computer characters to send 250 characters per message. This made Shigetaka Kurita think: What would happen if we used single-character images instead of words? That would allow people to write longer messages without running into character limits. His first emoji collection had 176 simple, small, pixelated images of all kinds of basic everyday things, such as hearts, moods, weather, food, and entertainment. Immediately, emojis were a huge hit in Japan and quickly became a regular part of communication. But it would be a few more years before this new Japanese texting trend reached other parts of the world.
Emojis took off in the United States primarily because they were included in Apple's new iPhone in 2007. Since smartphones became the must-have device, millions of Americans discovered emojis at the same time. And just like that, no text, tweet or comment section was ever the same. Who invented the guitar? The exact origin of the guitar is a mystery. But his story is a little easier to follow. Guitar-like stringed instruments have been around since at least ancient times and possibly even longer. The oldest known guitar-like instruments are at least 4,000 years old and come from ancient Egypt. They are called bowl harps.
And they were made of a turtle shell, a wooden stick bent as a neck, and silk cords. By the time the Greeks arrived a few thousand years later, they had invented their own version of the bowl harp called kithara, which is probably where the word guitar comes from. A kithara had a square wooden body and two arms coming out of the sides connected by a cross bar. It could have up to 12 strings and was even played using an ancient version of a guitar pick and slung over the shoulder like a modern guitar. From there, the guitar evolved into two different types of guitar-like instruments, the oud in the Arabian Peninsula and its descendant, the lute in Europe.
The oud had 10 to 12 strings, no frets, and a thinner neck. Lutes began with between 15 and 24 strings. But as time went on, they became even more complex, often having up to 30 strings. Imagine if Barb and her Hard Rock Trolls band had to get 30 strings instead of just six. Eventually, during the Renaissance, musicians in Europe lost interest in lutes and began using instruments with a curved shape that looked more like a guitar. It's called a baroque guitar. And by the early 18th century, it had virtually replaced the lute in Spain and the rest of Western Europe. Guitars finally took their most modern form in the mid-19th century, when a Spanish musician named Antonio de Torres Jurado built a new style of guitar that we would recognize as a guitar today.
Their subtle design improvements gave the guitars the unique, full-bodied sound they are now known for. Around the turn of the century, as the music industry was beginning to take off, bands and record executives were looking for ways to make other guitars sound louder and louder. Then, some intrepid inventors began designing guitars that could be electrically amplified. By the 1950s, these new electric guitars were common in American music. And before long, the guitar became the iconic instrument we know and love today. Remember that the next time you're rocking out. Who invented skiing? Skiing is one of the most popular winter activities today, and perhaps also one of the oldest.
No one can say exactly how long people have been skiing, but it's clear that it's been a long time. In northwest China, 5,000-year-old cave paintings show people sliding on skis. And the oldest known skis on Earth come from northern Russia and are at least 7,000 years old. But most experts believe people have been skiing even longer. These are just the oldest artifacts we found. In fact, some think the ski might even have been invented before the wheel. In those days, skiing wasn't just something people did for fun on a snowy weekend. It was a way for people to move much more easily and quickly in the snow.
Skiing was also a great way to hunt and even helped Norsemen like the Vikings move their heavy ships over land. There is also a long history of people skiing into battlefrom at least 800 years ago until at least World War II. Okay, so skiing has been around for a long time. But when did it become a popular pastime and not just a useful means of transportation? Well, that was much more recently. You see, it took a long time for skiing to catch on as a mainstream sport because, well, it took a lot of work. Skiers had to walk to the top of the mountain before skiing down.
That meant that even the best climbers could only ski a few runs a day, making downhill skiing a marginal sport for mountaineers. But that all changed in the 1930s, when several novel
inventionswere introduced to try to solve the problem. At first, simple tow ropes pulled people. Then came the chairlift and then the gondola for longer trips that will take you to the top of the mountain. Now that skiers didn't need to climb the hill to get to the slopes, all kinds of new people could try it for the first time. The next big jump in popularity came in the 1950s, when ski events began to be broadcast on television, introducing the sport to people around the world.
Snowy ski resorts began to appear in mountainous and cold-climate countries around the world. And so, skiing finally became the global winter activity we all know today. So who invented skiing? Who knows? But one thing is for sure. Whoever invented it all those years ago definitely knew how to have fun, whether they realized it or not. Who invented comics? Comics may seem like a modern wonder, but it turns out their origins go back much further than you might expect. The first comic book ever printed was published in Europe back in 1837. Scholars say the comic was called The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck and was written by a Swiss author named Rodolphe Topffer.
It read more like an illustrated book than what we consider a classic comic, but it is widely credited with paving the way for newspaper strips and comics, which followed in its wake. Comics didn't come to the United States until 1933. The first one was called Funnies on Parade. And it was composed entirely of reprinted newspaper comic strips from the era. It proved popular and quickly led to the publication of other newspaper comic strips in book form. As public interest and demand grew more and more, writers and artists began inventing characters to star in these newly popular comics.
In 1938, the Golden Age of Comics officially began after two friends named Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created a new character called Superman in Action Comics #1. Superman's popularity made the superhero the defining genre of American comics. And other heroes soon followed. Batman debuted a year later in a 1939 issue of Detective Comics. The Flash burst onto the scene in 1940. And Captain America, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman joined the superhero ranks in 1941. But by the early 1950s, interest in superhero comics began to decline. Television had just been invented and people were switching en masse from reading books and comics to watching television.
But in the 1960s and '70s, a new wave of interest in superheroes called the Silver Age of Comics swept the country. And since then we have never looked back. Nowadays, it's hard to imagine a movie theater or toy store that isn't filled with superhero movies and toys. And one thing seems certain. Comic book superheroes are here to stay.
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