Squeegee

Windows will be squeaky clean with the squeegee.

  • Squeegees are a flat tool that are typically used to assist in the cleaning of large, smooth surfaces.
  • ‘Squeegees’ are also known as ‘squimjims’ and ‘squilgees’, and they are commonly used to clean windows.
  • Most squeegees have the appearance of an uppercase letter ‘T’, consisting of a long bar with rubber strip, or ‘blade’ as it is called, and a handle that depending on its use, can be quite short or very long.
  • A squeegee is typically used by placing the blade on the wet surface to be cleaned, and pulling the tool across the surface, applying pressure to the blade towards the direction the tool is moving, and in so doing, ensuring liquid and grime are not missed.
  • Squeegees are manufactured with either a plastic or lightweight metal body, and along with the rubber strip, they sometimes include a sponge or textile strip that allows the user to scrub or wash a surface before using the blade that removes the liquid.

Squeegee, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Invention, Clean, Tool, Window

  • The usefulness of the squeegee comes in its ability to move or remove large quantities of liquids, including cleaning solutions and dirt in a short time.
  • Water was removed from ship decks by squeegees (‘squilgees’ they were called at the time) as early as the mid 19th century, and later they were utilised to clean streets and floors and used in the photography industry, before the invention’s eventual application for windows.
  • In addition to cleaning surfaces of liquids and dirt, the squeegee has been applied to clean chalkboards and whiteboards, re-ice rinks, used in the screen-printing industry to apply ink, as well as enabling six people to be freed from a failed elevator during the 2001 September 11 attacks in the United States city of New York.
  • While the invention of the modern style squeegee intended for windows has been widely attributed to the 1936 tool produced by Italian window cleaner Ettore Steccone, earlier models were already in existence, a notable one of which is that invented by Wilbur Cornelius in 1883 in Indiana in the United States, which had two rubber blades, a similar form to modern style ones, and was specifically designed for use on floors and windows.
  • The term ‘squeegee’ is likely to be a derivation of the term ‘squeege’ meaning ‘to press’ or ‘to squeeze’.
Bibliography:
Cornelius W (1884), Scrubber, US300447. Accessed at: https://www.google.com.na/patents/US300447?dq=Squilgee,+OR+squeegee&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjX_JPWvtvPAhUL2mMKHbMOBFgQ6AEIPzAF
Hester A, The History of the Modern Squeegee, n.d, http://www.ecleanmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/history-squeegee.pdf
Rosenberg A, Ettore Steccone: Inventor of Modern Squeegee, 2014, Oakland Tribune Online, http://www.italystl.com/ra/1333.htm
Squeegee, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squeegee
Warren B, The Man Who Gave Us The Squeegee to Clean Windows, 2013, The Clean Team, http://www.thecleanteam.ae/2013/12/25/man-gave-squeegee-clean-windows/

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Whistle

The whistle does not break the silence – it shatters it!

  • Whistles are noise-making devices that produce sound due to a burst of air movement, and the air often comes from a person blowing into the device with their mouth.
  • Whistles consisting of wooden or bone pipes have been crafted since ancient times, and they had notable applications in Ancient Greek and Roman culture, where they were used to keep the timing of galley boat rowing strokes.
  • Whistles have a wide range of potential purposes, with common applications including to enforce authority, to signal, to alert and to entertain.
  • One of the modern style whistles, known as the ‘pea whistle’, was invented in 1883 by Joseph Hudson, a toolmaker from England, and it was the first portable modern device that could produce such a commanding shrill sound.
  • Most whistles function by a burst of air being split by a bevel, part of which exits out the top hole in the whistle, while the other half enters the chamber and exits a second hole to create the sound.
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A Pea Whistle
Image courtesy of Greg Goebel/Flickr
  • The modern pea whistle is one of the most popular style whistles in the world, and it was inspired by the noise Hudson’s violin made whilst breaking, as it produced a trill sound when the string broke.
  • A small ‘pea’, usually made of a synthetic or natural cork, is located in the chamber of a pea whistle, and it is used to manipulate the stream of air when the device is blown into.
  • Whistles were quickly adapted for refereeing sport matches, and one was first used in a football game in 1878; and they started replacing police officer’s cumbersome hand rattles from 1883.
  • Materials that whistles are created from include metal, such as brass, although cheaper variants will often be manufactured from plastic; and the sound of the device is altered by the material used, its thickness, the size of the device, the size of the holes, the angle of the bevel, and the force of the air.
  • The design of the modern whistle has remained largely unchanged since its invention, although ‘pea-less’ variants are available, and tend to be more reliable due to the lack of moving parts.
Bibliography:
History of the Whistle, 2016, Granville District Football Referees Association, http://gdfra.org.au/history_of_the_whistle.htm
Whistle, How Products are Made, Made How, http://www.madehow.com/Volume-4/Whistle.html
Whistle, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistle

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Super Glue

Messing around with super glue will result in sticky situation… literally!

  • Super glue is a particularly strong adhesive that is made primarily of the chemical compound cyanoacrylate, and technically it is an acrylic resin.
  • While ‘super glue’ is a generic term for the product, it is a brand name for the adhesive as well, and the glue is also  known as ‘power glue’ and ‘instant glue’, or by other brand names ‘Krazy Glue’ and ‘Eastman 910’.
  • Super glue bonds with surfaces due to a reaction with water, which causes strong bonds to be formed with most surfaces touching the glue.
  • Urban legend tells of super glue’s origins being accidental and purposed for the military to seal wounds during a war, however this is mostly untrue, though the glue was used during the Vietnam war for this purpose.
  • Super glue was first discovered in 1942 by American scientist Harry Coover and his co-workers, in an attempt to create a particularly clear plastic for firearm scopes, however the product was disregarded.
Super Glue, Adhesive, Invention, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Tool, Cap,
Super Glue
Image courtesy of Earl/Flickr
  • Due to air moisture, super glue’s life is shortened significantly, to a month after opening, compared to a year when unopened, however the life of the adhesive is said to be able to be extended by placing the product in the freezer.
  • In 1951, the super glue mixture discovered years prior, was rediscovered by Harry Coover along with Fred Joyner during a different scientific experiment, and together they noticed the commercial opportunity; and in 1958, the product became available for purchase under the name ‘Eastman 910’.
  • Super glue can generate large amounts of heat when applied to natural textiles, even causing combustion in materials such as wool and cotton.
  • Super glue is often used for hobby crafts or models, or to fix broken objects, and a variation of the product is used medically to seal wounds, and in forensics, to make fingerprints visible.
  • Super glue can be suitably removed from many surfaces using acetone, a chemical found prominently in nail polish remover, while the adhesive is naturally shed from skin surfaces in around four days.
Bibliography:
Cyanoacrylate, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanoacrylate
Hiskey D, Super Glue Was Invented By Accident, Twice, 2011, Today I Found Out, http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/08/super-glue-was-invented-by-accident-twice/
Was Super Glue Invented to Seal Battle Wounds in Vietnam?, 2004, The Straight Dope, http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2187/was-super-glue-invented-to-seal-battle-wounds-in-vietnam

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Straight Pin

There are so many versions of pins! So… which pin is the straight pin?

  • Straight pins are a form of pin, typically used to temporarily keep two or more pieces of material together, and they usually have a head on one end and a sharp point at the other.
  • Today, fabric or other textiles are what straight pins most commonly pin together, however, throughout most of history, most of the time these pins were only used for holding papers or clothing together.
  • ‘Straight pins’ are also known as ‘common pins’ or simply ‘pins’; as well as ‘sewing pins’, when intended for use in the making of textile objects.
  • Straight pins were originally purposed to keep clothes together, known to be in use as far back as Ancient Egypt, and they have since been prominent throughout Medieval Europe and the Renaissance.
  • Originally, bone, iron or thorns were used to make straight pins, however modern varieties are typically made of steel or brass, often with a plastic or glass head.

Straight Pins, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Sewing Pin, Assortment, Coloured, Plain, Facts, Invention

  • Straight pins were originally quite expensive and of high demand, as each pin required handcrafting and most women required one to pin their clothes and accessories together.
  • In the Middle Ages, straight pins could be used to distinguish a person of a specific social class, with nobles affording more intricate and valuable pins.
  • Modern straight pins with metal heads are made by pressing cut pieces of wire into a die or against a hard surface to form the head, and the other end is sharpened, while plastic or glass headed pins are made in a similar way, though the wire is either forced or fused into the head.
  • Straight pins utilised for pinning paper have generally been replaced with staples, while safety pins are now commonly used for pinning clothing items.
  • Many later versions of straight pins were notorious for rusting as its nickel coating flaked off, which led to the introduction of pin cushions containing emery grit to remove said rust.
Bibliography:
Henson B, Sewing Pins – Knowing the Different Types, 2016, Create For Less, http://www.createforless.com/buying-guides/sewing-and-quilting/sewing-pins-types-and-sizes.aspx
Pin, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pin
Regency Pins, 2011, The Regency Redingote, https://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/regency-pins/
Straight Pin, 2016, How Products Are Made, http://www.madehow.com/Volume-7/Straight-Pin.html

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Soap Dispenser

Soap Dispenser, Liquid, Invention, Container, Trivia, Ten Random Facts

Soap dispensers are just one of those inventions you take for granted.

  • Soap dispensers are an invention that stores and distributes soap using a mechanical function.
  • Soap dispensers typically feature a pump or squeeze bottle to release soap, with a nozzle often protruding from the top.
  • Plastic is commonly the material used to make a soap dispenser and is often disposable; however glass and ceramics can also be used.
  • Many soap dispensers, especially those for public use, have a nozzle that foams liquid soap, by utilising air.
  • Soap dispensers will typically hold liquid soap, while some are designed to hold foam or powdered soap.

Soap Dispenser, Liquid, Invention, Container, Trivia, Ten Random Facts

  • Soap dispensers were used in the early 1800s for liquid soap used in hospitals and other facilities; however these were notorious for being clogged by the thick soap.
  • Liquid soap was first patented in 1865 though used earlier, and while it was used in commercial settings, it was not until more than a century later, in 1980, that it was introduced into the home market by Minnetoka Coporation, and as a result, soap dispensers became more commonly used.
  • Minnetoka Corporation, to hinder other companies copying their new liquid soap idea, purchased all of the stock of pump mechanisms for soap dispensers that they could, forcing their competitors to wait a whole year before they could launch a competing product.
  • Soap dispensers are available in a wide variety of shapes, colours and styles, and decorative ones can sometimes be purchased in a matching bathroom set without soap, which is to be added later, while cheap plastic ones from supermarkets usually contain soap.
  • Automatic soap dispensers, activated using sensors, where first patented in 1989, invented by Guey-Chuan Shiau, and have since been a commercial success, and are especially prominent in public bathrooms.
Bibliography:
Bellis M, The History of Soaps and Detergents, 2016, About Inventors, http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blsoap.htm
Cretu D, Who Invented Liquid Soap and Why?, 2013, Quora, https://www.quora.com/Who-invented-liquid-soap-and-why
Soap Dispenser, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soap_dispenser

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Match

Strike a flame with a match.

  • Matches are disposable items useful for the convenient and inexpensive ability to quickly light a flame.
  • Typically matches are a wooden or cardboard stick with an end cap, called a ‘head’, that ignites under friction.
  • Heads of matches are commonly made of phosphorus sesquisulfide, potassium chlorate, or antimony (III) sulphide.
  • The term ‘match’ comes from the word ‘meiche’, meaning ‘candle wick’ in Old French.
  • There are two main variants of matches, ‘safety’ variants, which generally cannot alight unless stricken upon a specially made material; and those that can ignite using friction on a dry, rough surface, known as ‘strike-anywhere’ variants.

Matches, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Fire, Invention, Wooden, Redheads, Red Phosphorus, White

  • Simple matches originated from as early as the mid 950s in China as sulphur-dipped wooden sticks, although they were possibly used a few hundred years earlier.
  • A variety of matches were invented in the early 1800s, including the chemical match in 1805, by Jean Chancel of Paris, France, although most were not safe or economical.
  • The first practical match to light through friction was invented by the Englishman John Walker, a chemist, in 1826, and improvements were made to it in 1830, by Charles Sauria of France.
  • A striking surface especially made for matches originated in Sweden, invented by Gustaf Pasch in 1844, notably using red phosphorus, as opposed to the previously used white phosphorus heads, and this was the beginning of the ‘safety’ version.
  • Surfaces made for match striking typically contain red phosphorus, glass crystals, carbon black, a binder and a neutraliser.
Bibliography:
The Chemistry of Matches, 2015, Compound Interest, http://www.compoundchem.com/2014/11/20/matches/
A History of the Match, n.d, The Museum of Everyday Life, http://museumofeverydaylife.org/exhibitions-collections/current-exhibitions/history-of-the-match
Match, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Match

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