Hand Truck

Hand trucks may not be as big as trucks, but they are certainly easier to move.

  • Hand trucks are inventions used to allow a single person to lift multiple large objects at once, or items of heavy weight, with a reduced possibility of injury.
  • ‘Hand trucks’ are also known as ‘stack trucks’, ‘sack trucks’, ‘two-wheelers’, ‘box carts’, ‘dollies’, ‘trundlers’, ‘bag barrows’, ‘trolleys’ and ‘sack barrows’.
  • The materials hand trucks are made from vary widely, though they commonly include some form of heavy duty metal, often tubular in shape, and they can include materials like aluminium, steel or plastic.
  • To lift heavy objects, hand trucks uses the principle of levers – and in this case a ‘Class 1’ lever, with the wheels acting as the fulcrum in the middle.
  • Objects that are lifted at the most efficiency are generally a maximum height of three times the length of the hand truck’s plate.

Hand Truck, Red, Single, Wheels, Invention, Tool, Ten Random Facts

  • Hand trucks are made up of a plate which is attached perpendicular to a framework that includes a long handle, while the wheels generally sit at the base behind the framework.
  • Although hand trucks are generally much taller than their depth and width, some trucks can be flipped so the depth is larger than the height, which usually contributes to better stability in transporting some objects.
  • While it is not certain who invented the hand truck, patents exist from the mid to late 1800s for the invention, and it has been suggested that its origins possibly date back as far as ancient times when the concept of levers was already known.
  • Hand trucks transport loads using wheels, which vary greatly in size and the tool may be equipped with stair climbers.
  • Hand trucks are popularly used in transport stations, to move customer’s belongings; in retail, to move stock; and households, especially during house moving.


Hand Truck, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand_truck
What is a Hand Truck?, 2015 WiseGEEK, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-hand-truck.html


Domestic Power Plug

Plug in and relax with the domestic power plug.

  • Domestic power plugs are an invention used to connect an external device to an electrical power source.
  • ‘Domestic power plugs’ are also known as ‘AC power plugs’, ‘plugs’, ‘power plugs’, ‘electrical plugs’, ‘power connectors’ and ‘plug tops’.
  • Two to three pins, commonly made of brass or other conducting material, are typically found on domestic power plugs, which are inserted into specific holes in a socket and when the plug is attached to an appliance, it completes an electrical circuit.
  • Domestic power plugs were invented in the 1880s, and T.T Smith of England is said to have invented one of the first plugs in 1883.
  • Domestic power plugs were invented as a response to the dangerous use of appliances with sockets designed for light bulbs.

Domestic Power Plug, Invention, Assortment, Variety, American, Australia, A, B, Trivia, Ten Random Facts


  • As a safety precaution and to prevent electrical shocks, many domestic power plugs feature a pin that directs current away from an appliance during a fault, and may also feature insulators around the pins’ upper section or the plugs themselves.
  • There are at least fourteen differently pinned domestic power plugs, with around twelve of those commonly used across the globe, and the plugs are categorised by letters from ‘A’ to ‘N’, and the pins range from the rectangular shapes of American plugs to the circular shapes of those in Europe.
  • Domestic power plug housings vary greatly in shape and size, and come in varying colours, commonly black, white or grey, and are generally made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or other insulating material.
  • A globalised standard of domestic power plugs has been seen as a beneficial project, and while the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and others have promoted the idea, and despite persistent efforts to reach an international standard for many years, some of which were hampered by World War II, adoption of such has been so far unsuccessful.
  • Universal domestic power plug adapters are available, and these have various pin and socket options so that travellers can use their own power appliances in countries with different socket options.
AC Power Plugs and Sockets, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets
J Herrman, Giz Explains: Why Every Country Has a Different F#$%ing Plug, 2009, Gizmodo, http://gizmodo.com/5391271/giz-explains-why-every-country-has-a-different-fing-plug
World Plugs, 2015, International Electrotechnical Commission, http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/map.htm



Do you love or hate the spork?

  • A spork is a combination of a spoon and a fork, featuring a bowl shape end like a spoon, that has spokes or tines like a fork.
  • ‘Sporks’ are also known by the uncommon term ‘foon’, and similar utensils were used in the 1800s and were known as ice-cream or terrapin forks.
  • The term ‘spork’ is said to have originated as early as 1909, and is a blend of the words ‘spoon’ and ‘fork’.
  • Travellers, campers, the military, schools, fast food outlets, and prisons all appreciate the spork invention, as it saves space and money due to its dual use.
  • One of the earliest known patents for a spork-like utensil, was granted in 1874 by Samuel W Francis, from Rhode Island in the United States, and this invention also included a knife edge on the side of the spoon.
Spork, Metal, Aluminium, Spoon, Fork, Ten Random Facts, Invention
Image courtesy of goblinbox/Flickr
  • Sporks are typically made of plastic and are often disposable, or from metal, such as aluminium or stainless steel.
  • A dislike for sporks has evolved around the argument of its inability to hold substantial quantities of soup and its failure to easily jab and hold food, due to the short fork tines.
  • Many of the early inventions of sporks were aesthetically unattractive, and not always practical to use.
  • Sporks can come in a variety of colours, from bright playful colours to traditional greys, and antique metal ones can feature intricately shaped handles that appeal to collectors.
  • Although many sporks feature the fork-spoon combination at the same end, some sporks feature the knife and spoon sections on opposite ends.
Durso C, A Brief History of Sporks, 2011, foodiggity, http://www.foodiggity.com/a-brief-history-of-the-spork/
Gross J, Who Made That Spork?, 2013, New York Times Magazine, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/magazine/who-made-that-spork.html
Spork, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spork


Tactile Paving

Tactile paving is placed quite tactfully.

  • Tactile paving is generally a group of patterned tiles or pavers, that are located in pedestrian areas to help direct visually impaired or blind people.
  • The surfaces known as ‘tactile paving’, are also known as ‘tactile tiles’, ‘detectable warnings’, ‘detectable warning surfaces’, ‘truncated domes’, ‘tactile indicators’, ‘tenji blocks’, ‘textured paving blocks’ and ‘tactile ground surface indicators’.
  • Hazardous areas, including changes in ground height, are areas where tactile paving is used as a warning for those visually impaired, as they can be sensed using a cane or by one’s feet.
  • Tactile paving is often yellow, or another bright or contrasting colour to the surrounding area, which marks as a secondary warning to those who have poor vision.
  • Tactile paving is a Japanese invention, and was originally designed in 1965 by Seiichi Miyake, who had the desire to help visually impaired people to safely move around outside, and its use was popularised by the Japan Railway due to its widespread installation on train platforms in the 1970s.

Tactile Paving, Pale, Yellow, Station, Drop, Ten Random Facts, Cross Section, Invention, Blind Tatics

  • Tactile paving is typically square or rectangular in shape, and the tiles contain significant bumps on the surface, that are generally either circular or rectangular, and usually the circular bumps indicate ‘stop’, while the rectangular bumps signify ‘go’.
  • Generally, tactile paving has various requirements and standards, regulated by each country, that determine the size, shape, colour, and distribution of the bumps, and their placement in relation to hazardous areas.
  • Britain, Japan and Australia were among the countries that adopted tactile paving first, and the United States and Canada embraced the invention during the 1990s.
  • Tactile paving is usually made of hard material like heavy duty polyurethane, stainless steel, concrete, ceramic or other durable substance, and the paving can be found on steps, transport platforms, footpaths, and in other areas, although the use of the tiles on steep slopes is not normally recommended.
  • For general pedestrians, as well as the visually impaired, the issue of safety regarding tactile paving is often controversial, as the bumps can cause difficulties for those in wheelchairs, and sometimes the tiles are hazardous or can become slippery, although there have been efforts to reduce these issues.
The History of Tactile Paving for the Blind, 2015, Share Ask, http://share-ask.com/the-history-of-tactile-pavement-for-the-blind/
Integrated Tactile Ground Surface Indicators, 2012, TGSI, http://www.tactileindicators.net/integrated_tactiles.htm
Tactile Paving, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tactile_paving



Do you ever see a double in a mirror?

  • A mirror, once known as a ‘looking glass’,  is an invented object that reflects any light directed onto it, which results in the object reflecting an image.
  • Both flat and curved mirrors are available, and the latter are able to manipulate light and images depending on the curve extremity.
  • Mirrors are commonly used to look at one’s appearance; as an ornament or part of a building, often to make spaces look larger; and in some machines, including telescopes, to manipulate light.
  • In ancient times, natural items were used to observe reflections in a similar way to mirrors, such as glossy stones and water.
  • Handheld mirrors are believed to have been used around 6000 BC, and were commonly made of polished obsidian, and metals were used some time later.

Mirror, Reflective, Invention, Ten Random Facts, Antique, Shine, Border, Oval, Flat, Ten Random Facts

  • The modern mirror is believed to have been invented in the early to mid 1800s, by the German Justus von Liebig, a chemist, who developed a silvering process that eventually superseded the hazardous mercury backed items that had been used for centuries.
  • Modern mirrors are usually made by coating the underside, of what most commonly is glass, with thin reflective layers, that often include layers of tin chloride, silver, copper, and a chemical activator, while paint is often used to seal and protect the back.
  • Mirrors are used in vehicles to display a wider view of the surroundings, as well as to see behind, and different shapes are used for various vehicles, to maximise the visibility.
  • Not many animals can recognise their own image in a mirror, and only great apes, elephants, bottlenose dolphins, orcas and Eurasian magpies are believed to have the ability.
  • Mirrors are popularly used in art, as well as to entertain, and are used in kaleidoscopes, mazes and disco balls.
Flinn G, How Mirrors Work, 2015, How Mirrors Work, http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/everyday-innovations/mirror1.htm
The Inventor of Mirror, n.d., Mirror History, http://www.mirrorhistory.com/mirror-history/who-invented-mirror/
Mirror, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror



Hear the telephone ring in the morning.

  • Telephones are a communication invention, used to transmit sounds from one location to another, and they were a result of improvements on the Morse code-based telegraphic system.
  • ‘Telephones’ are also known as ‘phones’, and the term comes from the French word, that has its origins in the Greek words ‘tēle’ and ‘phōnē’, meaning ‘far voice’.
  • A telephone typically consists of a ringer that alerts the owner that someone is making an incoming call; a dial or buttons to enter a person’s phone number; and a microphone and earphone, that transmit and receive sounds respectively.
  • To transmit sounds, most commonly voices, telephones are required to convert sounds into signals, which are reconverted by the device located at the destination.
  • Telephones can be categorised into two main types: landlines; and mobiles; and the former transmit signals via wires and are usually left in one position, while the latter is a portable device and transmits signals via radio waves.

Telephone,  Digital, Ten Random Facts, Charger, Panasonic, Mobile, Invention, Communication

  • Many newer portable telephones, or ‘smart phones’ as they are often called, consist of numerous features, including texting, internet and photography capabilities, as well as other applications, and commonly consist of touch screens, however, these phones are continuously being developed so further improvements are likely to occur.
  • Numerous people contributed to the telephone invention, although ultimately it was Alexander Graham Bell, from Scotland, who was awarded the first patent for the creation in 1876.
  • Six billion people across the globe were registered as telephone users, of landlines and/or mobiles in 2009.
  • Landline phones are typically bulkier than their portable counterpart, and generally feature a handle with a microphone and earphone on opposite but symmetrical ends, that is held up to one’s face.
  • The American inventor, Elisha Gray, filed a patent for the telephone within hours of Alexander Bell’s patent, and after some dispute, Bell was credited as the inventor of the device.
Henderson C, The History of Communication Technology, n.d, Penn State Personal http://www.personal.psu.edu/jtk187/art2/telephone.htm
Telephone, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone
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