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The Long, Strange History of People Filing Flying Saucer Patents
story
patent

The Long, Strange History of People Filing Flying Saucer Patents

From the "Discopter" of Alexander Weygers to a soaring car.
October 27, 2017
The Long and Bumpy History of Corduroy
story
pants week

The Long and Bumpy History of Corduroy

It may be most closely associated with the '70s, but the ribbed fabric's pedigree goes back many centuries.
September 19, 2017
A Brief History of Napkins, From Soft Dough to Paper
Gastro Obscura
story
tedium

A Brief History of Napkins, From Soft Dough to Paper

They're currently under threat from paper towels.
September 06, 2017
A Brief History of the Unbreakable Comb
story
hair

A Brief History of the Unbreakable Comb

They were important in the evolution of both plastic and rubber, among other things.
August 18, 2017
The Weird, Vain History of Who's Who Books
story
tedium

The Weird, Vain History of Who's Who Books

From an early pet project to mockery and scams.
August 03, 2017
The Surprisingly Recent Innovation of the Toilet Duck
story
bathrooms

The Surprisingly Recent Innovation of the Toilet Duck

It wasn't with us until the '80s.
July 21, 2017
A Brief History of Window Cleaning
story
tedium

A Brief History of Window Cleaning

Windex has been with us for a very long time.
July 17, 2017
A Brief History of the Modern-Day Straw, the World’s Most Wasteful Commodity
story
tedium

A Brief History of the Modern-Day Straw, the World’s Most Wasteful Commodity

Americans use 500 million of them every single day.
July 07, 2017
The Short, Groundbreaking History of Major League Volleyball
story
tedium

The Short, Groundbreaking History of Major League Volleyball

It used to be an ESPN mainstay.
June 07, 2017
The ABCs of Wooden Alphabet Blocks
story
story

The ABCs of Wooden Alphabet Blocks

The history of these educational toy sets spans many centuries.
May 23, 2017
The Sad History of Hydrox Cookies, Which Were Probably Doomed Because They Were Called Hydrox
Gastro Obscura
story
tedium

The Sad History of Hydrox Cookies, Which Were Probably Doomed Because They Were Called Hydrox

They, of course, look a lot like Oreos.
May 17, 2017
The Surprising Challenges of Making Things Vegan
Gastro Obscura
story
beer

The Surprising Challenges of Making Things Vegan

It took Guinness, for one, years.
May 10, 2017
The Consequences of Amtrak Not Owning Its Own Tracks
story
tedium

The Consequences of Amtrak Not Owning Its Own Tracks

Was your train late, recently?
May 02, 2017
Why the Roots of Color Printing Are in Limestone
story
printing

Why the Roots of Color Printing Are in Limestone

The stage was set more than 200 years ago.
April 25, 2017
The Improbable Endurance of the Lickable Envelope
story
tedium

The Improbable Endurance of the Lickable Envelope

Why are we still doing this?
April 18, 2017
The Surprising Resilience of Failed Fast Food Chains
Gastro Obscura
story
tedium

The Surprising Resilience of Failed Fast Food Chains

Losing can be an opportunity to do something different.
April 04, 2017
The Strange Business of Suction Cups
story
tedium

The Strange Business of Suction Cups

“The suction cup holds it fast to anything the cup is stuck to," The New York Times said in 1925.
March 29, 2017
The Brief, Confusing History of Foam Packaging
story
tedium

The Brief, Confusing History of Foam Packaging

What you think is Styrofoam probably isn't.
March 21, 2017
When Lemon-Shaped Juice Containers Set a British Legal Precedent
Gastro Obscura
story
tedium

When Lemon-Shaped Juice Containers Set a British Legal Precedent

You know the ones.
March 07, 2017
How Judge Wapner Launched the Phenomenon of Court Shows on Modern TV
story
law

How Judge Wapner Launched the Phenomenon of Court Shows on Modern TV

RIP Judge Wapner.
February 28, 2017
How Sears and Montgomery Ward Changed American Shipping
story
postal

How Sears and Montgomery Ward Changed American Shipping

In the 19th century, if you wanted a package delivered and you didn't live in a big city, you were pretty much out of luck.
February 21, 2017
The Long, Slightly Strange History Behind Fingernail Clipping
story
tedium

The Long, Slightly Strange History Behind Fingernail Clipping

Everyone does it.
February 14, 2017
Why Men Get More Lint in Their Belly Buttons Than Women
story
psychology

Why Men Get More Lint in Their Belly Buttons Than Women

Also: a very brief history of navel-gazing.
February 06, 2017
When Networks Aired Their Failed TV Pilots in the Middle of the Summer
story
tedium

When Networks Aired Their Failed TV Pilots in the Middle of the Summer

A lot of bad television has been made throughout history.
January 23, 2017