Category Archives: History

An Encyclopedia Finished in 1408 That Contained Nearly One Million Pages

Yongle Encyclopedia

Today I found out about an encyclopedia finished in 1408 that contained nearly one million pages.  This particular encyclopedia was called the “永樂大典”, which translates to “The Great Canon of the Yongle Era”; today it’s  just called, in English, the “Yongle Encyclopedia”.  This encyclopedia was originally commissioned by Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty in China.  It was not only […]

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Lamborghini Cars Were A Result Of A Tractor Company Owner Being Insulted by the Founder of Ferrari

Today I found out the creator of Lamborghini S.p.A. originally owned a tractor company, Lamborghini Trattori S.p.A., which produced tractors from surplus military hardware.  He decided to get into making cars as a result of frustrations he had with a Ferrari he had purchased which ultimately resulted in him being insulted by Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the famed Ferrari […]

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In 1842, Ada Lovelace Wrote the World’s First Computer Program

Ada Lovelace

Today I found out that Ada Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer all the way back in the mid-1800s, writing the world’s first computer program in 1842.  She was also an accomplished mathematician, which was obviously quite rare for women in the era she lived. Lovelace was the only legitimate daughter of Lord Byron, though she never knew him […]

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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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