Category Archives: History

Pre-Sliced Bread Was Once Banned in the United States

In 1943, Claude R. Wickard, the head of the War Foods Administration as well as the Secretary of Agriculture, got the bright idea to ban pre-sliced bread in America, which he did on January 18, 1943.  The specific reasons behind this aren’t entirely clear, though it was about conservation of resources, particularly generally thought to have been about conserving wax […]

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Sarah Hale, Author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, Was Largely Responsible for the Establishment of the United States’ Thanksgiving Holiday

Sarah Hale

Today I found out Sarah Josepha Hale, author of Mary Had a Little Lamb, was largely responsible for the establishment of the United States’ Thanksgiving Holiday. Hale, one of the great women in American history, campaigned for nearly 20 years to get Thanksgiving made a national holiday.  It previously was only celebrated, as we think of it, in New England; […]

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How the Black Friday Tradition Got Started

Black Friday Shopping

Today I found out how the Black Friday tradition got started. While it wasn’t called “Black Friday” until the 1960s, and then not popularly called such until the last two decades, retailers have been trying to push people to shop the Friday after Thanksgiving since the late 19th /early 20th century. Around this time, it was very popular for various […]

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John Wilkes Booth’s Brother Saved Abraham Lincoln’s Son’s Life Shortly Before Lincoln Was Assassinated

Robert Lincoln's Mansion, Manchester Vermont

As a general rule, historical anecdotes that seem a little “too perfect,” like “John Wilkes Booth’s brother saved the life of Abraham Lincoln’s son shortly before Lincoln was assassinated,” when researched thoroughly almost never turn out to be true.  This, however, is one of the exceptions to that rule and it was no less than Robert Todd Lincoln himself who, in […]

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The First Known Robot Was Created Around 400 BC and Was a Mechanical Bird

Today I found out the first known robot was created around 400-350 BC by the mathematician Archytas and was an artificial bird. Archytas, who is known as the “father of mechanical engineering,” constructed his bird out of wood and used steam to power the movements of the robot.  This bird was then suspended from a pivot bar. In its best […]

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The Snickers Candy Bar was Named After a Favorite Horse of Creator Frank Mars in 1930

snickers pie

Today I found out the Snickers candy bar was named after one of Frank Mars’ favorite horses. Frank Mars was the creator of the Snickers candy bar and founder of Mars, Inc, originally called Mar-O-Bar Co., which is currently the 6th largest privately held company in the world with annual sales of around 21 billion dollars.  The company is still […]

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The Origins of Wedding Rings And Why They’re Worn On The 4th Finger Of The Left Hand

This post is sponsored by DanforthDiamond.com, providing discount engagement rings and wedding rings online for up to 40% off of retail. Today I found out the history and symbolism behind the tradition of wearing a wedding ring and why, in most western cultures, it’s worn on the fourth finger of the left hand, otherwise known as the ring finger. Wedding […]

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How the Word “Spam” Came to Mean “Junk Message”

Star Wars vs Star Trek

Today I found out how the word “spam” came to mean “junk message” or “junk mail”. While some have suggested that this was because SPAM (as in the Hormel meat product) is sometimes satirized as “fake meat”, thus spam messages are “fake messages”, this potential origin, while plausible enough on the surface, turns out to be not correct at all. […]

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The American Government Once Intentionally Poisoned Certain Alcohol Supplies, Resulting in the Death of Over 10,000 American Citizens

Detroit Police During Prohibition

Today I found out that in an effort to scare people away from drinking alcohol, the American government once poisoned certain alcohol supplies; this resulted in the death of over 10,000 American Citizens. This, of course, was during Prohibition.  The government became frustrated with the fact that despite the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol being banned, the number of […]

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Why Some Countries Drive on the Right and Some Countries Drive on the Left

Driving Map

Today I found out why some countries drive on the right and some countries drive on the left. The origin of this varies based on the time period and country, but primarily throughout history people used the “keep-left” rule.  It has only been very recently that the world has predominately switched to the “keep-right” rule. The first real archaeological evidence […]

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