Slap Bracelet

Slap bracelets were once a popular teen fashion statement.

  • A slap bracelet is a somewhat flat strip, that when slapped on a cylindrical object, curls and wraps around the object.
  • ‘Slap bracelets’ are also known as ‘slap bands’ and ‘slap wraps’, the latter being the original brand name for the invention.
  • Slap bracelets were invented in the United States, in 1983 by the American Stuart Anders, a high school teacher at the time, after fiddling with a metal strip.
  • Slap bracelets are made of bistable spring steel (usually stainless), that allows for both curling and straightening out, and the steel used is very similar to that of metal tape measures.
  • In 1990, Main Street Toys marketed and first released slap bracelets for sale, and they sold at least one million in the first few months, with millions more in the following months.

Slap Bracelet, Modern, Fusion, Colour, Plastic, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Fashion, Band, Invention, Assortment

  • Due to there affordability and fascinating ability, slap bracelets became a huge hit among children and teenagers in the United States in the 1990s, where they were commonly worn around the wrist and ankles, and while it was a relatively short-lived fad, the invention has been used in various forms over the last couple of decades.
  • Original Slap Wrap slap bracelets were 23 cm (9 inches) in length and approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide, and made of steel that was 0.15 mm (0.006 inch) thick; though cheap imitation versions used thinner steel, which was more likely to break or cut the wearer, the dangers of which first came to light in 1990, soon after they were released.
  • Slap bracelets are generally covered with a fabric or plastic cover, to both decorate the band and cover the potentially sharp edges of the internal steel, and this allows for an unlimited colour and pattern range.
  • Slap bracelets were banned in many schools due to the distraction they were in the classroom, while some children were slapping bands on other’s wrists, which could cause pain to the receiving person.
  • Slap bracelets have been used to secure trousers around one’s legs while riding a bicycle, while reflective variants have been used by cyclists and pedestrians at night time, for personal safety purposes.
Bibliography:
Ramirez A, Turning Profits Hand Over Wrist, 1990, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/1990/10/27/business/turning-profits-hand-over-wrist.html?pagewanted=all
Reinhard K, Snap! A Slap On The Wrist for Use of Popular Bracelets in School, 1990, The Morning Call, http://articles.mcall.com/1990-11-01/features/2773232_1_slap-bracelets-wraps
Slap Bracelet, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slap_bracelet
Telfer T, The Dark History of Slap Bracelets, 2014, Bustle, http://www.bustle.com/articles/30305-whatever-happened-to-slap-bracelets-the-dark-history-of-a-banned-dirty-and-high-tech-accessory
What is a Slap Bracelet?, 2016, WiseGEEK, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-slap-bracelet.htm#

 

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Floppy Disk

Checking out floppy disks is like taking a trip to the past.

  • Floppy disks are an invention, formerly used to store computer data, that were read by a disk drive.
  • ‘Floppy disks’ are also known simply as ‘disks’, ‘flexible disks’ and ‘diskettes’, and were once called ‘memory disks’.
  • There were three main sizes of floppy disks – the 8 inch (20 centimetres), 5.25 inch (13 centimetres) and 3.5 inch (9 centimetres), and the larger disks were the older designs.
  • Floppy disks were invented through an IBM development team headed by David Noble, that created the original invention between 1967 and 1971.
  • Floppy disks were of a square shape, initially with a hole in the centre; typically consisting of a plastic case which was originally floppy, but a hard case was used for the 3.5 inch version; with a thin, circular piece of magnetic material inside.
Floppy Disk, Rainbow, Diskette, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Computer, Storage, Old, IBM
Floppy Disks
Image courtesy of Frankie Leon/Flickr
  • Floppy disks were first sold commercially in 1971 and were initially produced as part of a drive that was read-only, and used for the purpose of placing already written microcode, onto mainframe computers; and they soon became portable and independent forms of media.
  • Being a practical method of distributing and storing data in its time, floppy disks had become extremely widespread among the general population by the 1980s and 1990s, especially after designs were continuously refined.
  • A magnetic reader mechanism was used to read and write on floppy disks, and the magnetic material would spin rapidly inside the casing of the disk when the reader was in use.
  • Floppy disks were known as “floppy”, due to the flexible material of the original designs in particular; and in the earlier designs, the plastic casing surrounding the actual magnetic disk included a fabric lining which cleaned the disk as it spun.
  • Floppy disks dropped in popularity by the 2000s, as USBs and CDs capable of storing greater data quantities became available, with the floppy technology becoming almost non-existent in new computers by 2007.
Bibliography:
1971: Floppy disk loads mainframe computer data, n.d, The Storage Engine, http://www.computerhistory.org/storageengine/floppy-disk-loads-mainframe-computer-data/
Bellis M, The Invention of the Floppy Disk Drive, 2014, About Money, http://inventors.about.com/od/computersandinternet/a/FloppyDisk.htm
Floppy Disk, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_disk
Mason H, The History of the Floppy Disk, 2015, Geek & Sundry, http://geekandsundry.com/the-history-of-the-floppy-disk/

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Tassel

Where are the tassels found in your house?

  • A tassel is an invention, typically attached to textile items for ornamental purposes, and they were originally knots used to stop threads from coming undone, especially on the ends of woven fabric.
  • Tassels usually consist of a head, at the top of which is commonly an attached cord, and a ‘skirt’ that sits below the head, which is usually made up of numerous dangling threads.
  • Since ancient times, various forms of tassels have been used, particularly found on garments or as part of personal adornments; and the word is an Old French word that refers to a clasp used with clothing.
  • Tassels are most often created from threads of various kinds, or cord, and silk fibres have been commonly used throughout history, while synthetic fibres have become popular in modern times; and they may be ornately decorated, sometimes with beads or other embellishments
  • The head of a tassel may contain a wooden form under the fibres, that helps to determine and/or keep the shape of the head.

Tassel, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Invention, Fashion, Gold, White, Vary, Assortment

  • The craft of making tassels was extensively expanded upon by the French, during the 1500s, particularly by those known as ‘passementiers’, that made fancy textile trimmings; while some of the largest tassels originated in the Victorian era, while smaller tassels were more common in the Renaissance period.
  • Highly skilled crafts people of modern times, that create ornate tassels by hand, may charge large sums of money for a single item, though cheap tassels are more common.
  • Tassels are traditionally found on square academic caps known as ‘mortarboards’, that university graduates typically wear at their graduation ceremony.
  • Tassels are most often found decorating clothes, carpets, cushions, blankets and curtains, but also other objects, including bookmarks.
  • People, especially of the Middle East would historically wear tassels on head coverings or elsewhere, in attempt to keep evil spirits away, or to bring good luck.
Bibliography:
Churchill A, A Decorative Past: How Tassels Changed History, 2014, Martha Stewart, http://www.marthastewart.com/1082099/decorative-past-how-tassels-changed-history
The History of Tassels, 2016, Design Threads, http://www.estout.com/designthreads/archive/History-08_13-History_of_Tassels.asp
The History of Tassels, 2015, Tassel Depot, http://www.tasseldepot.com/tasselhistory.html
Tassel, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tassel
Wolfson-Foster M, A Brief History of Tassels, 2009, JPG Magazine, https://jpgmag.com/stories/13023

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DVD

Sometimes you just sit back and wonder how so much data can be stored on a small DVD.

  • A DVD is a type of disc storage device, based on and similar to the CD or compact disc invention, that can hold various forms of digital information on its surface.
  • The initials ‘DVD’ were originally an acronym for ‘digital video disc’ and while it was suggested that the name should change to ‘digital versatile disc’, a now generally accepted term describing the invention, the initials became the official name of the disc, as its creators could never agree upon the extended name.
  • DVDs are the same size as CDs, a flat disc typically 12 cm (4.7 inches) in diameter, though there are some that are smaller; and they are most commonly used to store films or video files, but also games, other software and media files, among others.
  • David Gregg from the United States invented the optical ‘Videodisk’ in 1958, that was later developed into the ‘LaserDisc’ which was released for sale in 1978 with limited success, and these formats were the predecessors of the commercially successful and widely popular DVD, which was invented in 1995.
  • DVDs can come in two main forms – the read-only variants and the read-write variants, where the latter has the ability to have data written to the disc via a ‘writer’ – a machine that is often combined with a disc player, and while the data written on some discs is permanent, some writable discs have the ability to have the data removed or replaced with other data.

DVD, Shine, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Film, Movie, Back, Front, Hugo

  • Originally two different groups of companies were undergoing their own research and development to invent what became today’s DVD, with Sony and Phillips in one group and Toshiba and a number of other companies in another, however these companies joined forces on the recommendation of IBM, to avoid another format war like that of the VHS and Betamax videotapes.
  • 4.7 gigabytes is the most common data storage capacity of a DVD disc, having a one side and one layer format; though up to just over 17 gigabytes of data can be stored on a disc if it is formatted with two sides and two layers, as more formatted sides and layers equals more available space.
  • DVDs are particularly more appealing than their videotape predecessors, as they store much more data, have a significantly higher quality of sound and picture, and the data is able to be stored longer.
  • DVDs were first sold in Japan in late 1996; then in early 1997 in Central and North America; in 1998 – Europe, Africa and the remainder of Asia; and finally Australia in 1999.
  • A red laser is used to read and write DVDs, and this allows greater storage capacity than CDs, as red has a shorter wavelength at 650 nanometers, than the CD’s infrared, and therefore the discs are able to be ‘written’ in a smaller format; though Blu-Ray discs, the disc’s successor, which were first available for sale in 2006, can store up to 50 gigabytes of data by using a blue laser which has an even shorter wavelength than that of its predecessor.
Bibliography:
DVD, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD
History of DVD, 2016, Did You Know?, http://didyouknow.org/dvdhistory/
Woodford C, CD and DVD Players, 2015, Explain That Stuff!, http://www.explainthatstuff.com/cdplayers.html

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Toy Soldier

Do you remember the days when toy soldiers were the bomb?

  • Toy soldiers, also known as ‘tin soldiers’ are small figurine toys, typically based on members of combat or military groups.
  • Folk depicted as toy soldiers range from those of modern to historical armies, pirates, cowboys and knights, among others, sometimes in both genders.
  • Modern toy soldiers are most commonly made of plastic, although resin, as well as metal ones are also available – typically made of tin, antimony or pewter; while wood, lead, rock and clay ones were produced in the past; and while they are typically three dimensional, sometimes flat two dimensional soldiers were made from tin in the 1700s and 1800s.
  • Toy soldiers are often used for child’s play, though some figurines are designed for collecting, however before they were reinvented as toys, they were made for and used by the military and/or rulers to plan attacks against enemies.
  • Generally, toy soldiers are of a scale ratio of 1:28 to 1:35, with 1:32 is the most common and thus they are an average height of 5.4 centimetres (2.1 inches), though larger and smaller scale ones are available.

Toy Soldiers, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Invention, Toy, Pirates, Army, Collection, Plastic

  • Figurines depicting army men were sometimes used as part of burial practices in Ancient Egypt thousands of years ago, while toy soldiers created for the purpose of play started appearing around the early 1700s, and were made by Germans.
  • Toy maker William Britain from the United Kingdom invented hollow metal toy soldiers in 1893, which due to their greater affordability because of less metal used, led to an increase in popularity of the play soldiers.
  • Toy soldiers can be purchased either painted or not, while the unpainted ones can be painted by the buyer, or they can be left unpainted, with green being the stereotypical base colour, as depicted in the Toy Story animation films.
  • Popular games using toy soldiers are often orientated around war themes, especially involving the knocking down of said soldiers using cheap, home-made weapons.
  • Toy soldiers are most commonly sold in bulk, often in barrels, buckets or boxes from toy shops, large department stores, or specialty outlets, however, collectible figurines are often sold individually.
Bibliography:
A Brief History of Toy Soldiers, n.d, The Toy Soldier Company, http://www.toysoldierco.com/resources/toysoldierhistory.htm
Toy Soldier, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toy_soldier
Toy Soldiers, 2016, Collector’s Weekly, http://www.collectorsweekly.com/toys/toy-soldiers

Hula Hoop

Hula hoops are all worth the spin.

  • A hula hoop is a ring-shaped toy that is generally spun, thrown or rolled for entertainment or exercise.
  • Hula hoops are most commonly twirled, known as ‘hooping’, around the waist, but other parts of the body, including arms, legs and neck, are also used.
  • Most hula hoops are tubes produced from a lightweight plastic, however wooden and metal versions exist.
  • Hula hoops typically range from 75 to 107 centimetres (29 to 42 inches) in diameter, and the size varies according to the purpose or size of the person using it, or their personal preference.
  • Hula hoops date back to Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, and were used for a similar purpose as they are today, and were a popular toy in England around the 1300s, while around the same time, Native Americans also used them for dancing purposes.
Hula Hoop, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Toy, Invention, Spinning, Hooping, Twirling, Motion, Boy
A Hula Hoop
Image courtesy of Tony Fischer/Flickr
  • Originally hula hoops were made from vegetation such as willows, grasses or grapevines twisted into rings.
  • A modern hula hoop craze is said to have started in the 1950s in Australia, while the American company Wham-O produced plastic hula hoops in the late 1950s, which sparked the fad in the United States, where millions of hoops were sold over a period of two years.
  • The longest recorded duration for a single hula hoop to be hooped is 74 hours and 54 minutes, a record set in Ohio, United States by Aaron Hibbs in late 2009.
  • The term ‘hula’ in ‘hula hoops’ is derived from the Hawaiian hula dance that features similar movements to that in hooping.
  • While hula hoops have been used in fitness regimes, they are most commonly used for self-entertainment; and they have also been used skilfully to do tricks.
Bibliography:
History of Hula Hooping, 2013, Hula Hooping, http://www.hulahooping.com/history.html
Hula Hoop, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hula_hoop
Who Invented the Hula Hoop?, 2016, Wonderopolis, https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/who-invented-the-hula-hoop

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