Bobblehead

A bobbling bobblehead catches your eye.

  • Bobbleheads are novelty toys, usually consisting of a figurine with a bouncy or wobbly head.
  • A ‘bobblehead’ is also called a ‘bobbing head’, ‘wobbler’, ‘nodder’, ‘nodding doll’ and ‘nodding head’.
  • Typically, bobbleheads have a body with a head attached to a spring, which bobs or wiggles when it is touched or moved, and sometimes the head is disproportionate to the body.
  • Depictions of people are most commonly made into bobbleheads, the majority of which are important figures, such as politicians, musicians or sportsmen, while custom designs and animals are also available.
  • Bobbleheads are believed to have originated in China, and they first arrived in Europe around the 1760s; while a depiction of two Chinese ones can be seen in the background of the 1765 painting Queen Charlotte in Her Dressing Room by Johann Zoffany.

Bobblehead, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Invention, Toy, Novelty, Figure, Statue, Japanese, Porcelain

  • Original bobblehead designs from China portrayed Chinese people in a lifelike manner, while early European designs of the 1800s included animal forms, as well as humans.
  • Bobbleheads have been made from porcelain and other ceramics, metal, wood, resin, clay, paper-mâché, and plastic, while cheaper materials and processes, have allowed for mass production of the toys.
  • Over the past century, a wide variety of bobbleheads have become available, many of which have become valued collectible items, with sporting team ones reaching significant popularity in certain decades.
  • Bobbleheads are commonly distributed for promotional purposes, especially in the United States, often as free merchandise, especially to encourage support for sporting teams.
  • As of April 2016, the largest bobblehead officially recognised by the Guinness World Records was 4.69 metres (15.4 feet) in height, and it was a depiction of a St Bernard dog; the mascot of the Applied Underwriters insurance company, in the United States’ Orlando.
Bibliography:
Bobblehead, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobblehead
History of Bobble Heads – Shop for bobble Head Dolls, Bobbing Heads, 2016, Pop Culture Spot, https://popculturespot.com/pages/history-of-bobble-heads
History of Bobblehead Dolls, 2016, Dolls For You, http://www.dollsforyou.com/view_416
History of Bobbleheads, 2016, National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, https://www.bobbleheadhall.com/history/

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Silly Putty

Silly Putty is everything you would want, in one.

  • Silly Putty is a pliable putty toy that has been particularly popular among children since its invention, and in 2001, it earned a place in the National Toy Hall of Fame.
  • Silly Putty is known for stretching when pulled, fragmenting when smashed, bouncing when dropped, and deforming when given time.
  • The Crayola company, ‘Crayola, LLC’ owns the Silly Putty brand, and the putty was originally known as ‘nutty putty’ or ‘bouncing putty’.
  • Silly Putty comes in a wide variety of colours, and some can be metallic looking, or others glow in the dark; and it is sold by Crayola in an egg-shaped casing.
  • Silly Putty is a type of silicone polymer, which was originally made of silicone oil and boric acid, a formula that has remained mostly the same to date.
Silly Putty, Toy, Novelty, Invention, Ink, Trivia, Random Facts, Brown, Modelling
Silly Putty
Image courtesy of Hanna/Flickr
  • The inventor of Silly Putty is controversial, and is often attributed to Scottish chemical engineer James Wright, or American chemist Earl Warrick, both of which are believed to have independently created the same compound around 1943.
  • Silly Putty was an accidental invention created during attempts to make a synthetic rubber for the United States military in World War II, as the Japanese had taken control of rubber supplies.
  • When Silly Putty was invented, it was distributed to a variety of scientists and industrialists in attempt to find a practical purpose, however none was found, and it was not until 1949 it was first sold commercially as an amusement for adults.
  • Silly Putty is an adhesive, in that it collects dirt, grit, lint and hair when pressed on a surface, as well as some inks, making it capable of copying prints of texts onto the putty.
  • Silly Putty is affected by substances containing alcohol, which cause the putty to dissolve; though some of these substances can be used to release the putty from clothing and hair, to which it tends to stick.
Bibliography:
Harris W, How Silly Putty Works, 2016, HowStuffWorks, http://people.howstuffworks.com/silly-putty1.htm
Hiskey D, Silly Putty Was Invented By Accident, 2011, Today I Found Out, http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/11/silly-putty-was-invented-by-accident/
The History of Silly Putty, 2001, Crayola, https://www2.crayola.com/mediacenter/download/news/press_release_164.doc
Silly Putty, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silly_Putty

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Snow Globe

Shake up a snow globe and be mesmerised by the sight.

  • A snow globe is a decorative novelty item consisting of a scene inside a transparent globular or ellipsoid-like shape.
  • ‘Snow globes’ are also known as ‘snow domes’, ‘snow shakers’, ‘snowstorms’, ‘snow scenes’, and ‘water globes’.
  • Snow globes generally consist of tiny white flakes in a liquid, which is mainly water, which when shaken up, simulates snow falling.
  • It is thought that snow globes originated in France in Europe, with the first known record being a globe of water and white powder, with a man holding an umbrella, which was on display at the Paris Universal Expo in 1878.
  • To prevent the liquid inside a snow globe from freezing during cold temperatures, an antifreeze such as glycol, is often added to the water, while glycerine or another ingredient is sometimes added to slow the movement of the flakes in the liquid.
Snow Globe, House, Novelty, Invention, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Cottage, Glass
Snow Globe
Image courtesy of Nick Harris/Flickr
  • Snow globes were first patented in the year 1900, in Austria, by Erwin Perzy, a mechanic of surgery instruments, who is believed to have thought of the idea whilst attempting to increase light bulb luminescence.
  • The production and demand of snow globes increased between the 1920s and the 1940s, with the rise of cheaper production methods and materials, while popularity grew as a direct result of the globes being dramatically smashed in a scene of the 1940 film Kitty Foyle.
  • Although snow globes are commonly used for ornamental purposes, in some cases, they were initially purposed for and used as paperweights.
  • Snow globes are commonly sold as collectible items or souvenirs, and they have sometimes been distributed for free for advertising purposes.
  • Traditionally, snow globes consisted of a glass globe with bone, ceramic or rice particles, though in modern times, both the globe and flakes are often plastic, and occasionally glitter is used.
Bibliography:
Ames L, The View From/Harrison; Collector of 6,000 Snow Domes Knows Kitsch From Priceless, 1997, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/1997/12/07/nyregion/the-view-from-harrison-collector-of-6000-snow-domes-knows-kitsch-from-priceless.html
Hilker A, A BIOGRAPHY OF THE AMERICAN SNOW GLOBE: FROM MEMORY TO MASS PRODUCTION, FROM SOUVENIR TO SIGN, 2014, Smithsonian Libraries, https://repository.si.edu/bitstream/handle/10088/27478/HILKERTHESIS5.23.pdf
McRobbie L, A Brief History of Snow Globes, 2015, Mental Floss, http://mentalfloss.com/article/71983/brief-history-snow-globes
Pichler B, Into the Wintry World of the Snow Globe, 2010, Los Angeles Times, http://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec/19/travel/la-tr-snowglobes-20101219
Snow Globe, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_globe
Soteriou H, The Family Company That Invented the Snow Globe, 2013, BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-25298507

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Lava Lamp

Are you mesmerised by the dynamic lava lamp?

  • A lava lamp is an ornamental accessory, that consists of two liquids of different densities, that is illuminated to create a glow and an interesting ambience in a room.
  • ‘Lava lamps’ are also known as ‘liquid motion lamps’, ‘bubble lamps’, ‘Astro lamps’ and ‘Lava Lite lamps’.
  • The main elements of a lava lamp are typically a wax or oil solution, suspended in water in a glass container, that is heated by an electric bulb concealed underneath.
  • The appeal of lava lamps comes from the colourful blobs (wax solution) in the lamp, rising and falling, and the lamps come in a wide variety of colours and stereotypically have a futuristic shape.
  • Lava lamps function by the wax mixture expanding as it heats up, resulting in it having a reduced density that causes rising, and when the mixture rises it moves into a cooler zone, causing the blobs or bubbles to contract and sink.
Lava Lamp, Invention, Assorted, Trivia, Random, Facts, Glow, Invention, Novelty, Furnishing, Yellow, Red
Lava Lamps
Image courtesy of Dean Hochman/Flickr
  • The original inventor of lava lamps was British motor engineer, Donald Dunnet, who was inspired by his own earlier creation of an egg timer, and he made an application for its patent in 1950, which was granted in 1954.
  • The invention of the lava lamp is commonly attributed to British naturist and film producer, Edward Craven Walker, who improved on and commercialised Donald Dunnet’s invention in 1963, after seeing one in a pub.
  • Care should be take while handling or transporting lava lamps when they are warm, as the liquids in the lamp can combine together if disturbed, causing it to become cloudy.
  • Lava lamps were originally sold by Edward Walker’s company, Crestworth Ltd, as ‘Astro Lamps’, and the company’s name later changed to ‘Mathmos’, while in the United States they have been made and sold since 1965 by Lava Lite, and the original model was called ‘Century’.
  • The first appearance of a lava lamp on television was in the Doctor Who series in the 1960s, which helped the invention grow in popularity into the 1970s, and the lamps made a significant comeback in the 1990s, while new variations have since become available.
Bibliography:
Bibliographic data: GB703924 (A) ― 1954-02-10, 2016, Espace Net, https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?DB=worldwide.espacenet.com&II=0&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=19540210&CC=GB&NR=703924A&KC=A
Kleinman Z, Lava Lamp Creators Mark 50 Years of 1960s Icon, 2013, BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-23754303
Lava Lamp, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lava_lamp
Leverett L, Donald Dunnet – Original Lava Lamp Inventor – Prototypes, Construction Details & History, 2015, Oozinggoo.com, http://oozinggoo.ning.com/forum/topics/donald-dunnet-original-lava-lamp-inventor-prototypes-construction
Tucker A, The History of the Lava Lamp, 2013, Smithsonian.com, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-history-of-the-lava-lamp-21201966/?no-ist

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Crocs

I assure you, these crocs do not bite.

  • Crocs are a type of shoe that have become popular in contemporary casual footwear, and they were invented in the county of Boulder, in Colorado in the United States.
  • Crocs have a shape similar to a clog, and they have holes at the top and the side that allow for airflow; movement of foreign objects or water out of the shoes; and decoration of the shoes.
  • Crocs are made of a special type of foam resin known as ‘Croslite’ or ‘Levirex’, which is an ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) material, and it is soft and light-weight, generally making them comfortable to wear.
  • Lyndon Hanson, Scott Seamans, and George Boedecker invented Crocs and co-founded the company, and the idea is said to have come about on a sailing excursion.
  • The design of Crocs was intended as a lightweight, waterproof shoe with good grip for boaters, and as such were first distributed in 2002 at a boat show.

Crocs, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Footwear, Fashion, Invention, Assortment, Clogs

  • Crocs were patented in 2006, by the company of the same name, which has since manufactured a variety of lightweight shoes.
  • The colours used for Crocs are often bright, and they now come in a wide variety of colours and styles, while some versions feature no holes.
  • Crocs have been particularly popular in casual fashion, however, they are often labelled as an ‘ugly’ shoe, and they commonly used for outdoor activities like gardening or walking on the beach.
  • As of 2016, at least 100 million pairs of Crocs had been sold, though many cheap imitations of the shoes have also been purchased since they were first released for sale.
  • Crocs are able to be decorated and customised with charms made by Jibbitz, a company now owned by the shoe company, by placing the charms in the holes situated on the top of the shoe.
Bibliography:
About Crocs, 2016, Crocs, Inc, http://www.crocsaustralia.com.au/about_crocs/about-crocs,en_AU,pg.html
Bhasin K & Townsend M, A Chip Off the Old Croc: The Ugly Shoe Is Back, 2015, Bloomberg, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-01/a-chip-off-the-old-croc-the-ugly-shoe-is-back
Croc is 10!, 2012, Crocs, Inc, http://company.crocs.com/tag/crocs-history/
Crocs, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocs
E-shots Web-exclusive: Patent check: What’s in a Croc?, 2007, Plastics Today, http://www.plasticstoday.com/e-shots-web-exclusive-patent-check-what%E2%80%99s-croc/8109936223408

 

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Bottled Water

The irony of it is that despite water being a free resource, bottled water is popularly purchased.

  • Bottled water is water that has been packaged in a bottle for commercial retail purposes or distribution; and it was originally contained in glass, although today, plastic bottles are more commonly used.
  • Bottled water is generally purposed for drinking, although it can be used for other purposes, especially when tap or pumped water is not available.
  • The water found in bottled water can be mineral, spring, distilled, sparkling, ground or well water, and it can be sold carbonated.
  • Although water has been stored in containers for the purpose of transportation throughout history, it wasn’t until 1767, in Boston, when bottled water was first released for sale, in the United States.
  • Despite being a ‘free’ resource, bottled water became a popular choice, especially as the first packaged water was mineral spring water, a rarer form that was considered to have health benefits.

Water Bottle, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Bottled, Single, Commercial, Spring, Fluid

  • Bottled water became increasingly sought after in the 1800s, due to people fearing the potential harmful affects of unsafe drinking water, however when water chlorination became widespread in the 1900s, sales decreased in countries such as America, though Europe’s interest grew significantly, becoming increasingly widespread both in retail outlets and restaurants.
  • Despite the fact that most bottled water does not become unsafe as long as it remains sealed, many still have use-by dates printed on the bottles, which are the manufacturer’s suggested deadline before the water content may become distasteful or ‘unfresh’.
  • Popularity of bottled water grew significantly at the end of the 20th century and into the 21st, and in 2008, roughly 30 billion bottles of water were sold in the United States.
  • The taste of bottled water is not necessarily any better than tap water, nor cleaner, nor healthier, especially in developed countries with reliable water treatment facilities.
  • Bottled water is often considered overpriced, being more expensive than milk and petrol in many places, especially since water is available via tap for very little cost; and while the discarded bottles are considered a significant environmental hazard, it can take from two to seven times more water to produce the end product.
Bibliography:
Bottled Water, 2015, Clean Up, http://www.cleanup.org.au/files/clean_up_australia_bottled_water_factsheet.pdf
Bottled Water, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottled_water
Bottled Water, n.d, Cool Australia, http://www.coolaustralia.org/bottled-water-secondary/

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