Category Archives: History

From a Handmade Present for the Creator’s Daughter to a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry- The Story of the Troll Doll

troll-dolls

Thomas Dam was first and foremost a father, striving to financially provide for his family in the Danish town of Gjøl. His work experience ranged from such things as baker to fisherman to bricklayer before he finally became a woodworker. Despite his best efforts, his family spent their early years living in poverty. All that changed when he surprised his […]

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Changing the World Twice- The Story of Eli Whitney

cotton-gin

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader When you hear the name Eli Whitney, you probably think of his invention, the cotton gin. But you may not realize how profoundly it (and his other inventions) changed the world. Here’s the history they never taught you in school. LOOKING FOR WORK In 1792 a 27-year-old Massachusetts Yankee named […]

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Who Started the Red Carpet Tradition?

red-carpet

David asks: When did the tradition of rolling out a red carpet for celebrities start? Throughout history, red carpets have led luminaries to momentous events, both good and bad. Aeschylus (525 BC – 455 BC), the “father of tragedy,” wrote various plays where his heroes fell from grace due to a combination of unwinnable circumstances, arrogance and/or simply stepping on […]

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Dustbin of History: Aero-Nuts

crossing-the-channel

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader From our “Dustbin of History” files, here’s the harrowing tale of a little-known milestone in aviation history. LOADED It was January 7, 1785, and two men were preparing for the first ever balloon crossing of the English Channel. The one who financed the adventure was John Jeffries, a well-to-do American […]

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A Historic Defecation: The Curious Case of the Lloyds Bank Turd

viking

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader It may sound gross, but it’s real and it’s considered a national “treasure.” And although we might wish we did, we didn’t make up the name—that’s really what it’s called. Get ready to learn about bathroom archaeology. BEAUTY, SKIN DEEP If you’ve ever been to the English city of York, […]

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That Time Sweden Changed Its Traffic Direction in a Single Day- Dagen H

Kungsgatan_1967

Meaning literally, “right traffic day,” Dagen Högertrafik, or “Dagen H” (H day), was the day in 1967 that the country of Sweden managed to successfully switch from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the right. Not a spur of the moment decision, the Högertrafikomläggningen (“The right hand traffic diversion”) had been planned for years prior to implementation, […]

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A Capital Idea- How a Pile of Unpaid Bills Led to Washington, D.C.

Washington DC Skyline

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader You probably know that the “D.C.” in Washington, D.C., stands for “District of Columbia” and that the district is not part of any state. But do you know why America’s Founding Fathers placed such importance on creating a capital outside of any state? We owe it all to piles of […]

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That One Time a Parachuting Soldier Took Down a Zero Fighter Plane With Nothing But a Handgun

Zero

If you take a peek at a list of pilots who were considered flying aces during WW2, you’ll notice that the top of the list is dominated by Luftwaffe pilots, some of whom scored hundreds of aerial victories during the war. While their skill and prowess in the air is undeniable, it’s arguable that the finest display in aerial combat […]

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