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Totally Useless Information You Should Know

Updated on September 6, 2013
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I am a retired special needs teacher who still wants to learn. I enjoy researching and finding interesting facts to share in my writing.

Hula hoops

What was the waist exercise of the late fifties? In 1958, the big craze was the Hula Hoop. The round plastic hoop, placed around the waist and circulated by wriggling ones hips was a huge fad. More than 20 million hoops were sold within six months of their introduction. The hula hoop might have been new to America, but was old news in Egypt, Greece and Rome. These countries made hoops from dried and stripped grapevines. In the fourteenth century, physicians in England treated children and adults with aches, pains and dislocated backs from playing with hoop made of wood or metal, that they had twirled around their waists. The name ‘hula’ was adopted in the 1700’s from the Hawaiian dance. The hula hoop was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1999.

Red nail polish for me!

Carefully choose your nail polish color. Painting fingernails with henna was done in Egypt around 3000BC. Historians think the custom was started in the third millennium BC by the Chinese. Fingernail painting was an indication of social rank. In the fifteenth-century, Ming manuscript stated the royal colors were black and red. The Chou Dynasty of 600 BC used gold and silver as the royal favorites. Queen Nefertite painted, or more like had her nails painted, ruby red. Cleopatra decided on deep rust red. Painting and manicuring nails became a symbol of culture distinguishing separated the laboring class from the aristocrats. According to In Style magazine, more than $768 million was spent on nail polish in 2012.

Another use for trees

The first toothbrushes have been found in Egyptian tombs from 300 BC. They were called ‘chew sticks.’ African tribes used twigs from the salvadore persica tree or the toothbrush tree. A pencil size twig with one end frayed to a soft side would be rubbed against the teeth.

The first bristle toothbrush originated in China around 1498. The bristles were hand plucked from the backs of the neck of hogs. The average toothbrush contains around 2,500 bristles.

Toilet paper was once not needed

Joseph Gayetty introduced the first package of toilet paper in 1857. This new idea sold very poorly. Americans thought it was a waste of money to use clean paper when catalogues, newspapers, advertisements and old reading material worked just fine.

In England around 1879, Walter Alcock put the paper on a roll called ‘tear sheets.’ Again he had trouble promoting his product.

Back in the United States, two brothers, Edward and Clarence Scott were in the business of paper products. They produced a small roll of bathroom tissue and sold it in plain brown wrappers. The product was first called Waldorf Tissue, then Scot Tissue, with the slogan, “soft as old linen,” the concept was a winner. The average person uses 100 rolls of toilet paper per year.

Foil--shinny or dull?

Richard S. Reynolds worked for his uncle R.R. Reynolds at his tobacco company in 1903. In 1919, Richard branched out to form his own business, the U.S. Foil Company. He would provide tin-lead wraps to tobacco and confectioners. He found the foil gave a tighter seal to protect candies and cigarettes from moisture. When the price of aluminum dropped in the late 1920’s, Richard believed the lightweight, non corrosive foil was the metal of the future. He then formed a new company called Reynolds Metals. He made aluminum siding and windows, aluminum boats, pots, pans, kitchen utensils, but his best product was in 1947 called aluminum foil. This is a protective wrap that is produced when the aluminum is pressed to 0.0007-inch-thickness. Does it make a difference if you use the shinny or dull side? No it does not. When the sheets of aluminum get to the desired thickness, they must be folded over on themselves. The results cause one side to be shinny and the other to be dull. Either side works just fine.


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