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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