Did you know that most of the products that are part of our lives are inventions that happened by chance?

Behind all of these inventions are incredible stories. Let's take a look at some of these inventions that eventually became an integral part of our lives. Here we trace the story of products from lab to lifestyle!


Nothing is as ubiquitous as plastic. In fact, this man-made material has become so ingrained into our lives that we interact with one or the other form of plastic every day. But how did its journey begin? It all started with polyethylene, which is more familiar to us as polythene. It is one of the first plastics that was ever used. It was discovered by chance not once, but twice! The first one was sometime before 1900 when German scientist Hans von Pechmann came across a residue in his test tube. He thought that the waxy resin couldn't have any practical applications and failed to check further. The second time was when scientists Eric Fawcett and Reginald Gibson came across this by accident in 1933. When experimenting with ethylene, one of the vessels leaked. The presence of oxygen led to it acting as an initiator, leading to the formation of a white, waxy residue. Thus polythene came to be. The company the duo worked with saw the immense potential of the product and patented it. However, it took a few years until they were able to produce it with perfection. The first product they created out of polythene was a cream-colored walking stick. It was later used widely during World War II as an insulating material for radar cables. The low cost and highly versatile nature of the material were tapped into and the innovation turned into something that permeated into every walk of our lives. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Sticky notes

These canary yellow notes have been around for the past several years. They are universal products and indispensable in offices. Available in a multitude of shapes and colours, these notes are used by not just office-goers but students as well. So how did these sticky notes come to be? This office organising tool was discovered by chance. Spencer Silver was a scientist at the company 3M. He researched adhesives in the laboratory. Over the process, he discovered an adhesive that would stick lightly to surfaces but it wouldn't bond tightly. Silver was trying to develop new adhesives that were stronger and tougher. But this new adhesive was anything but strong or tough. What Silver had discovered was microspheres that would retain their stickiness but had the characteristic of removability. Meanwhile, there was another scientist going through a dilemma. During his practice at the church choir, Art Fry, another 3M scientist, would use little bits of paper to mark the music notes because they would always fall out of the hymn book. He was in search of a bookmark that would stay but not damage the pages. And once he attended the seminar on Silver's microspheres, he had his "Aha" moment. The two scientists partnered and began developing a product. The new adhesive notes proved to be helpful in communication and they could see its immense potential. The notes were supplied to the staff at the company and were later launched to the masses. Thus was born the sticky notes. With it, the duo had forever changed the way people communicate!

Corn flakes

What's for breakfast? Is it corn flakes? It is quite likely that you would have had cornflakes at some point in your life. The Kellogs corn flakes is a known breakfast brand. Did you know that the cereal was developed accidentally? It was in the 1890s that the com flakes were designed. The story starts at the Battle Creek Sanitarium health spa in Battle Creek, Michigan. It was run by brothers John Harvey Kellogg, a doctor, and Will Keith Kellogg who wanted to provide healthy food to the inmates. One night John Kellogg accidentally left a batch of wheat-berry dough midway. This was normally used to produce a type of granola. Rather than throwing it out the next morning, the dough was sent through the rollers. Instead of normal long sheets of dough, they obtained delicate flakes. These were then baked and they discovered a new type of cereal. Will Keith saw the potential of this new cereal and started his own company although John Harvey, who was a proponent of biologic" living, was not interested in making it a business. The Kellogg Company started producing corn flakes for the wider public. It was the start of a whole new cereal breakfast industry.

Lab-grown meat

What's on your plate? Soon it can be lab-grown meat! The farmed meat is getting replaced by meat from the laboratory as meat products are grown from animal cells for human consumption. Recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared lab-grown meat for human consumption as safe. Here, instead of meat reared from livestock, meat is grown in a sterile environment in a laboratory. The living cells from chicken are first taken and then grown in a laboratory. Thus the required meat product is created. Cultivated meat is dubbed green meat as it does not lead to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. The absence of the use of antibiotics in animals and a humane way of growing meat are some of the pros of lab-grown meat over traditional livestock production. Seen here is a cooked piece of cultivated chicken breast.


It powers almost everything. But do you know how it all began? The story behind creating the leakproof battery is quite an interesting one. Back in the day, the battery that was popular was the zinc-carbon battery. But they came with a problem. The zinc would swell and burst. It would cause leakage and short circuits and render the device inoperable. The problem was solved by Herman Anthony, an engineer with the company Ray-O-Vac, which was in the battery business. He used a better grade of manganese in the battery. This reduced the swelling. He then used steel to encase the battery. The battery was the first to solve the problem of leakage. In 1939, it was showcased to the public but the patent was received only in 1940. When World War II happened, batteries were rationed out to civilians. Like most companies at the time, Ray-O-Vac started supplying batteries to the military. The battery sealed in steel was widely used in flashlights, radios, walkie-talkies, mine detectors, and so on. After the war, it was used by the masses to power a plethora of devices.

Strikeable matches

Fire has been humankind's greatest discovery. And so have been the discovery of strikeable matches that we use now. It gave us the ability to light fires quickly and made life easier. But did you know that the strikeable match was invented by chance? The story takes us back to 1826. It was an English chemist John Walker who invented it. He was working on an experimental paste that can be used in guns. He noticed that the stick he was using burst into flames when he scraped it. He observed that it was the coating of chemicals on the stick that led to the wooden stick catching fire. That was how the first friction match was invented. He started selling his "friction lights", which became a huge success. While the first friction matches were made of cardboard, he soon started replacing it with wooden splints. However, he never patented his work and Londoner Samuel Jones copied the idea and launched his own matches as "Lucifers" in 1829.

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What was invented by DF Arago in 1820?

On September 25, 1820, French physicist Francois Arago announced his discovery of an occurrence of electromagnetism. This was just one of Arago's many contributions as he spent a lifetime for the progress of science.

It isn't often that we come across a person who contributes significantly to a number of different fields. Such polymaths - individuals whose knowledge encompasses a wide range of subjects - have always been rare. Frenchman Dominique Francois Jean Arago was one such person in this world, as he donned the hat of a physicist. mathematician, astronomer, and politician in an eventful life.

Born in 1786 in Estagel, Roussillon, France, Arago was one of 11 children. Educated at the Municipal College of Perpignan, Arago was drawn towards mathematics from a young age. He was admitted to the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, where he succeeded French mathematician Gaspard Monge as the chair of Analytic Geometry at the young age of 23.

Love for optics

He made his first major contributions to science in the decade that followed. Working with French engineer Augustin-Jean Fresnel, Arago was able to show that while two rays polarised in a plane can interfere with each other, two beams of light polarised perpendicular to each other cannot interfere with each other. This research led to the discovery of the laws of light polarisation.

In 1820, Arago briefly interrupted his optical work to significantly expand on electromagnetic theories. Having been invited to Geneva to witness the experiments of Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted linking electricity to magnetism, Arago was instantly converted and developed a huge interest in the subject.

Apart from repeating the Geneva experiments at the Paris Academy, Arago also experimented on his own. He was able to demonstrate that by passing an electric current through a cylindrical spiral of wire, it could be made to behave like a magnet. The temporary magnetisation allowed it to attract iron filings, which then fell off when the current ceased. He announced this occurrence of electromagnetism on September 25, 1820.

Electromagnetic induction

Soon after, Arago discovered the principle of the production of magnetism by rotation of a nonmagnetic conductor. He was able to show that the rotation of a nonmagnetic metallic substance like copper created a magnetic effect as it produced rotation in a magnetic needle suspended over it. It was another decade before English scientist Michael Faraday explained these using his theory of electromagnetic induction in 1831.

Arago served as the director of the Paris Observatory from 1830. As an astronomer, he was among the first to explain the scintillation of stars using interference phenomena. He was also able to provide vital stimulus to young astronomers, including Frenchman Urbain Le Verrier.

"With the point of his pen"

In 1845, Arago suggested to his protege that he investigate the anomalies in the motion of Uranus. These investigations resulted in Le Verriers discovery of Neptune in 1846, and Arago best summed it up when he called Le Verrier the man who "discovered a planet with the point of his pen". Arago backed Le Verrier in the dispute between Le Verrier and British astronomer John Couch Adams over priority in discovering Neptune and even suggested naming the planet for Le Verrier.

Amidst all his scientific endeavours, Arago also found time to back the ideas of others. Even though French photographer Louis Daguerre was struggling to sell his daguerreotype process, he was able to catch the attention of Arago, who served as the permanent secretary of the French Academy of Sciences.

Advocate for photography

Arago arranged for the first public display of daguerreotypes in January 1839 and used the buzz it created for his lobbying. He was able to get the French Parliament to grant pensions to Daguerre and Isidore Niepce, son of French inventor Nicephore Niepce, so that they could make all the steps of the photographic process public. Arago stated that "France should then nobly give to the whole world this discovery which could contribute so much to the progress of art and science" and the technical details were made public on August 19, 1839 (hence celebrated as World Photography Day).

Optics and the study of light remained close to Arago's heart and he devised an experiment to prove the wave theory of light. In 1838, he described a test for comparing the velocity of light in air and in water or glass. The elaborate arrangements required for the experiment and his own failing eyesight, however, meant that it wasn't performed. Shortly before Arago's death, French physicists Hippolyte Fizeau and Leon Foucault demonstrated the retardation of light in denser media by improving on Arago's suggested method.

For a man who spent so much of his time pursuing science, he was also able to devote to other causes as a politician. Following the July Revolution of 1830 and up until his death in 1853, Arago was active as a politician, delivering influential speeches regarding educational reform, freedom of press, and the application of scientific thought for progress. After the February Revolution of 1848, he served as the Minister of War and the Navy and used his power to abolish slavery in French colonies. Arago's influential life highlights the fact that he always possessed the faculty to inspire and stimulate those around him and the public at large, both in the realm of science and in politics.

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Did you know the first antibiotic penicillin was discovered by accident?

Penicillin was discovered by chance by British scientist Alexander Fleming in 1929. Fleming was growing colonies of staphylococcus bacteria, the cause of a number of diseases from boils to pneumonia, in culture plates in his laboratory. One of the plates had not been covered and airborne spores settled in it and formed a mould. Fleming was about to throw away the contents when he noticed that the mould had destroyed the bacteria in the area around it.

He realised that the mould was producing a substance that was lethal to the bacteria. He also realised that the substance could be used to cure diseases caused by the bacteria. As the mould was called Penicillium notatum, he named the unknown substance 'penicillin'. Ten years later in 1940, Howard Florey and E. B. Chaim managed to isolate penicillin in the laboratory and showed that it could be safely administered by mouth, by injection or applied directly to wounds.

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When American Earle Dickson married in 1917, he discovered that his new bride Josephine was so clumsy in the kitchen that she cut herself umpteen times a day. Being a solicitous husband, Dickson I would rush to her aid with gauze and sticking tape. Soon, Dickson thought of a better idea. He placed small strips of gauze in the centre of the pieces of sticking tape and then lined the tape with crinoline (a stiff fabric) so that it wouldn't stick to itself. He re-rolled the tape so that Josephine could unwind and cut off whatever she needed. Dickson worked at Johnson & Johnson, which produced cotton and gauze bandages for hospitals and the military. They were impressed with his idea, but the first versions of the bandage they made did not sell very well because they were too big.

Eventually Band-Aid was popularised by distributing them free to Boy Scouts. The company also began machine-cutting them in different sizes in 1924. By 1939, Band-Aid was sterilised, and in 1958, a completely waterproof version was in the market. Today, the company sells millions of dollars worth of the little sticking plasters every year.

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Who was the first bionic man?

Rex is the world's first bionic man, comprising artificial organs, synthetic blood, robotic limbs and a human face. And as if that's not enough, he can speak and listen, too. In science fiction books or films, a bionic person is someone who has special powers, such as being exceptionally strong or having exceptionally good sight, because parts of their body have been replaced by electronic machinery.

Unveiled at London's Science Museum as part of the “How Much of You Can Be Rebuilt”? exhibition, the artificial human is valued at a whopping $1 million. Researchers say they wanted to test scientific boundaries and demonstrate how modern science is beginning to catch up with sci-fi in the race to replace body parts with man-made alternatives.

Rex's 6'5" 'body' built with currently available bionic and prosthetic technology, includes a prosthetic face, hands, hips, knees and feet as well as cochlear implants which enable him to hear and retinal implants that allow him to sense objects in front of him. Speech synthesis technology means Rex can make sense of simple statements and even respond to some questions. Artificial blood pumps through his artificial organs, which include a heart, kidney and pancreas. He also has a spleen and trachea.

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Who created the first talking doll?

The first talking doll was made by the acclaimed American inventor Thomas Alva Edison in 1890. It was embedded with a small phonograph enabling it to recite a nursery rhyme.

Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877, and when he imagined the uses for his new machine, he speculated that, beyond serving as a means of preserving dictation, it might animate toys. His idea took form in a talking doll, manufactured briefly in 1890.

In 1887 Edison had licensed W. W. Jacques and Lowell C. Briggs of Boston to make and sell talking dolls as the Edison Toy Phonograph Company. The Edison Phonograph Works, in West Orange, N.J., manufactured the phonographs, inserted them into dolls, and packaged them for sale. The talking dolls work imperfectly, sold poorly, and proved a costly mistake for Edison. By 1896, all remaining unsold phonographs for dolls were reportedly destroyed.

Credit : Smithsonian

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Where were the first scissors found?

The earliest scissors known to exist appeared about 3,000 or 4,000 years ago in Mesopotamia (today's Iraq, mostly, but also parts of modern-day Iran, Syria and Turkey). Known as spring scissors, they consisted of two bronze blades connected at the handles by a thin, flexible strip of curved bronze. This strip served to bring the blades together when squeezed and to pull them apart when released.

The ancient Egyptians used a version of scissors as long ago as 1500 B.C. They were a single piece of metal, typically bronze, fashioned into two blades that were controlled by a metal strip. The strip kept the blades apart until they were squeezed. Each blade was a scissor. Collectively, the blades were scissors, or so rumor has it. Through trade and adventure, the device eventually spread beyond Egypt to other parts of the world.

The Romans adapted the Egyptians' design in 100 A.D., creating pivoted or cross-blade scissors that were more in line with what we have today. The Romans also used bronze, but they sometimes made their scissors from iron as well. Roman scissors had two blades that slid past each other. The pivot was situated between the tip and the handles to create a cutting effect between the two blades when they were applied to various properties. Both Egyptian and Roman versions of scissors had to be sharpened regularly.

Credit : Thought Co. 

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When was snakes and ladders invented in India?

The game Snakes and Ladders was invented in India in the century by the poet saint Gyandev, and was called Moksha Patam. The ladders represented the virtues while the snakes indicated vices. The game was designed around the concept that good deeds take you to heaven while bad deeds take you to hell.

Our favorite Snakes and Ladders was earlier known as Mokshapat, Moksha Patamu, or Gyan Chaupar (the game of knowledge). It was not just a game but a way of understanding life and its values. 

Its origin is still unclear, but some historians believe that the game is as old as the 2nd century BC, while others believe that it was invented in the 13th century by an Indian poet, Saint Gyandev.

The game served as a teaching tool to embrace and reinforce the Hindu philosophies of Karma and Samskara in students. Unlike the snakes and ladders we know now, the original game had squares in the range of 72-124 that symbolized the journey of life. Every square enlightened a positive or negative aspect of life. 

Mokshapat had more snakes than ladders representing various evils on the path to attaining salvation. It also depicted that the path to salvation is more difficult than the path to evil. 

The squares that contained the bottom of the ladder symbolized a good deed or good karma, and the top of the ladder symbolized a heavenly place. The squares where the mouth of the snakes was placed were a sign of evil or bad karma. The goal was to reach the end square that signified salvation or Moksha.

The astounding fact about the old version of the game is that the game focused on developing the necessary values in people rather than focusing on competition.

Credit : ED Times

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Which are the amazing discoveries that were made quite by accident?

Boing boing!

Have you ever played with a semicircular spring toy that gracefully bounces into position even when it falls down? Navy engineer, Richard James, was seriously engaged in the task of fitting springs on sensitive instruments to prevent them from rocking. When a piece of spring crashed onto the floor, it didn't roll away. Instead, it sprang downward and righted itself back into an upright position. That spring got a cool name - Slinky- and went on to become a popular toy that even found a place in USA's National Hall of Fame.

Magnetron magic

Every anxious 'snacker' who loves to have popcorn or brownies ready in minutes has Percy Spencer and his magnetron-fiddling curiosity to thank. Who would have thought that in 1945, Spencer would be studying microwave radiations from a magnetron while keeping a bar of chocolate in his pocket? A sizzling sound and the melting of chocolate was a dramatic moment for the scientist - he realized that hidden in microwave radiation was the power to bring smiles on food lovers worldwide!

A sweet surprise

In 1879, chemist Constantin Fahlberg forgot to follow every Mom's golden rule: 'Wash your hands before you eat! Had he been handling dangerous chemicals, he might have ended up in major trouble. As it turned out, he'd only been dealing with saccharin and so he was simply in for a pleasant surprise the food tasted oddly sweet. It also opened the door for saccharin, 'an artificial sweetener', to make it into the market.

Vacations are good

How did the most popular antibiotic in the world come to be? It's thanks to the fact that Alexander Fleming decided to go on holiday. When Fleming returned from his holiday, he noticed a green fungal mould growing in one of the unwashed petri dishes in which bacterial cultures were being grown. He was about to throw it away when he noticed something odd: there was a clear circle around the mould where the bacteria didn't grow. Was it some chemical compound in the mould that stopped bacterial growth? You bet! Had Fleming been less excited about going on a vacation, he'd have cleaned the petri dish before making the fabulous discovery. So the moral seems to be: rush, when it's time for your vacation. Everything else can wait!

Make a note of this...

Spencer Silver was asked to make a super-strong adhesive for the aerospace industry. What he invented was a weakling that could barely stay stuck. The only saving grace was that the adhesive was decent enough to work even after peeling and sticking back many times. Nobody seemed to want it until another gentleman, Stephen Fry, cut a bunch of yellow papers and coated the glue at the top and handed out free samples to people - the Post-It sticky notes became an instant hit.

When an idea struck

We will never know who the first person to discover fire was, but we do know that matches made a glowing entry into this world. John Walker was stirring a medley of chemicals in a pot when he noticed a dried lump sticking to the stirring stick. How do you remove dried gob from something? Walker rubbed the stick on a surface, trying to scrape it off when suddenly it ignited. That was all he needed to patent and sell matches in a box along with a piece of sandpaper.

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Which were the clever geniuses who came up with most brilliant inventions?

Empowering your nose

Exactly how important is it for you to type a message when you're in the bathtub? Or to play Angry Birds while holding a cup of coffee in one hand and toast in another? The 'nose stylus', designed by Dominic Wilcox, satisfies the need to go 'hands-free' at the minor cost of looking a little silly. The nose stylus doesn't seem to be on sale, but it's a given that hardcore tweeters and texters would make it a bestseller once it does come into the market.

For those who like a purpose in everything

You may be one of those people who hate going for a stroll on the beach without a purpose. Maybe you need these amazing metal detecting sandals, capable of finding metallic treasures up to two feet below the ground. You may not look utterly cool wearing an electronic unit strapped to your feet but imagine how you could be the most useful person on the beach if you can find out where someone's ring has dropped on the sand...

Now muggles can work magic

How many of us, want to be like those supercool wizards and wave a wand to achieve a wish? How fantastic would it be to control the TV and electronic gadgets at will? Remote controls are old; magic wands are in vogue now. Just because you're a muggle is no reason not to possess a wand. Get your own 'magic wand remote control' that can learn 13 commands from your old remote control and map them to particular motions of your hand. Chuck the remote control, wave your wand and show your gadgets who's the boss!

Take toast to the next level

For some of us, there's hardly time to gulp down a coffee or drain a bowl of cornflakes in the morning. But a lucky few have all the time not only to enjoy a classy breakfast but also prepare an awesome one. We're talking about those who own the 'scan toaster'. Doesn't sound familiar? It's a toaster you can connect to the computer with the help of a cable and burn an image of your choice onto toast! Imagine how awesome it must be to print the news on the toast, read it and then eat it up! That's innovation!

Comfort matters more than looks, right?

Is it a hood? Is it a pillow? Is it a gigantic garlic bulb? Nope, it's the ostrich pillow! This amazing invention was designed to offer quality snooze time to the sleep-deprived souls wandering around in airports or travelling in trains looking for an undisturbed spot to sleep. Many who've used it believe that it has championed the sleep revolution like never before. If ever there's a minus point, it's how people stare at you when you put it on.. Don't worry, it's plain jealousy, nothing else!

The best pets ever!

Last, but definitely the best, meet the 'pet rocks', a bold venture by aspiring advertising executive genius, Gary Dahl. Now what's the number one concern of parents when kids want a pet at home? Cleaning up the mess, right? Which parent is going to say no to a pet rock that's as quiet as a mouse, fit as a fiddlestick (forever!) and maintenance free? A nice cardboard box and a whacky instruction manual on training the pet rock helped Dahl sell a cool 1.5 million pet rocks!

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How did the Teddy Bear get its name?

It might be the perfect cuddle partner and companion for children of all ages; and come in various colours and sizes, but not many know the story behind the Teddy Bear. It is actually named after Theodore Roosevelt, the late United States President.

Roosevelt and the bear

Theodore Roosevelt was a game hunter. One day, he went on a bear hunting trip with a group of people on invite from Andrew H. Longino, the Governor of Missisippi. While others in the group managed to spot bears, Roosevelt did not locate even one.

To ensure the President didn't feel dejected, his assistants cornered and tied an old black bear to a willow tree. They suggested Roosevelt shoot the bear, however, the President refused to shoot the bear as it would be very unsportsmanlike of him to shoot a bear he had not even located.

Newspapers were quick to publish this event and the word quickly spread across the whole country.

A cartoon and an idea

Seeing the detailed pieces in the newspaper, Clifford Berryman, a political cartoonist, decided to create a satirical cartoon of Roosevelt's refusal to shoot the bear. His cartoon appeared on November 16, 1902 in the Washington Post. Then, upon seeing the cartoon, Morris Michtom, a candy shop owner in Brooklyn, had an idea. He and his wife used to make stuffed animals, so Michtom decided to make a stuffed toy bear and dedicate it to Roosevelt. He called it Teddy's Bear.

Michtom then sought permission from Roosevelt for using his name to mass produce the stuffed bears. Once he received the same, he founded the ideal Toy Company and started producing Teddy's Bears that we all fondly call today as Teddy Bear.

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Who invented the Braille writing system for use by the visually-impaired?

Braille, universally accepted system of writing used by and for blind persons and consisting of a code of 63 characters, each made up of one to six raised dots arranged in a six-position matrix or cell. These Braille characters are embossed in lines on paper and read by passing the fingers lightly over the manuscript. Louis Braille, who was blinded at the age of three, invented the system in 1824 while a student at the Institution Nationale des Jeunes Aveugles (National Institute for Blind Children), Paris.

The Frenchman Valentin Hauy was the first person to emboss paper as a means of reading for the blind. His printing of normal letters in relief led others to devise simplified versions; but, with one exception, they are no longer in use. The single exception is Moon type, invented in 1845 by William Moon of Brighton, England, which partly retains the outlines of the Roman letters and is easily learned by those who have become blind in later life. Books in this type are still in limited use by elderly people, particularly in Great Britain.

Writing Braille by hand is accomplished by means of a device called a slate that consists of two metal plates hinged together to permit a sheet of paper to be inserted between them. Some slates have a wooden base or guide board onto which the paper is clamped. The upper of the two metal plates, the guide plate, has cell-sized windows; under each of these, in the lower plate, are six slight pits in the Braille dot pattern. A stylus is used to press the paper against the pits to form the raised dots. A person using Braille writes from right to left; when the sheet is turned over, the dots face upward and are read from left to right.

Braille is also produced by special machines with six keys, one for each dot in the Braille cell. The first Braille writing machine, the Hall Braille writer, was invented in 1892 by Frank H. Hall, superintendent of the Illinois School for the Blind. A modified form of this device is still in use today, as are later, similar devices. One innovation for producing Braille is an electric embossing machine similar to an electric typewriter, and electronic computer processing is now routine.

Credit : Britannica 

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Was the yo-yo invented in America?

The toy came into the USA in the 1920s from the Philippines where the word 'yo yo' means 'come come'. In the Orient and ancient Greece yo-yos had been popular for centuries.

Duncan was not the inventor of the yo-yo; they have been around for over twenty-five hundred years. In fact, the yo-yo is considered the second oldest toy in history, the oldest being the doll. In ancient Greece, the toy was made of wood, metal and terra cotta. The Greeks decorated the two halves of the yo-yo with pictures of their gods. As a right of passage into adulthood Greek children often gave up their toys and placed them on the family altar to pay homage.

Around 1800, the yo-yo moved into Europe from the Orient. The British called the yo-yo the bandalore, quiz, or the Prince of Wales toy. The French used the name incroyable or l'emigrette. However, it is a Tagalog word, the native language of the Philippines, and means "come back." In the Philippines, the yo-yo was used as a weapon for over 400 hundred years. Their version was large with sharp edges and studs and attached to thick twenty-foot ropes for flinging at enemies or prey.

People in the U.S. started playing with the British bandalore or yo-yo in the 1860s. It was not until the 1920s that Americans first heard the word yo-yo. Pedro Flores, a Philippine immigrant, began manufacturing a toy labeled with that name. Flores became the first person to mass-produce toy yo-yos, at his small toy factory located in California.

Credit : Thought Co.

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What is a vacuum?

A space that contains absolutely nothing! Scientists believe that it is impossible to have a complete vacuum-an empty space with no air or substance whatsoever.

So a vacuum as we know it, is an enclosed space from which as much air and matter as possible has been removed.

A thermos flask has a double wall inside, with a vacuum between the two walls. Hot liquid is kept hot because the heat cannot pass through the vacuum by convection or conduction.

First, forget the vacuum cleaner as an analogy to the vacuum of space, Jackie Faherty, a senior scientist in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, told Live Science. The household cleaning machine effectively fills itself with dirt and dust sucked out of your carpet. (That is, the vacuum cleaner uses differential pressure to create suction. Suction cleaner might be a better name than vacuum cleaner). But the vacuum of space is the opposite. By definition, a vacuum is devoid of matter. Space is almost an absolute vacuum, not because of suction but because it's nearly empty. 

That emptiness results in an extremely low pressure. And while it's impossible to emulate the emptiness of space on Earth, scientists can create extremely low pressure environments called partial vacuums.

Even with the vacuum cleaner analogy out, "understanding the concept of the vacuum is almost foreign because it's so contradictory to how we exist, Faherty said. Our experience as humans is completely confined to a very dense, crowded and dynamic fraction of the universe. So, it can be hard for us to really understand nothingness or emptiness, she said. But in reality, what's normal for us on Earth, is actually rare in the context of the universe, the vast majority of which is nearly empty.  

Credit : Live Science 

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What was the world's first postage stamp?

The Penny Black was first used in England in May 1840. Six million were printed in unperforated sheets of 240. Post Office staff had to cut the stamps into strips. It cost one penny to deliver a letter, whatever the distance.

At the time, rumours circulated that the stamp was one of the first Penny Blacks ever printed.

It took three years of research to prove that was true and get official authentication from The Royal Philatelic Society, London, and the British Philatelic Association.

That certification has raised its value significantly and a recent stamp sale has stoked Mr Holyoake's hopes that The Wallace Document would fetch a record-breaking price.

Earlier this year, Sotheby's auctioned a British Guiana One-Cent Magenta for $US8.3 million ($11 million) and Mr Holyoake believes his stamp is worth even more.

Credit : ABC News

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