Mankind has always found a way to ease up things. Since time immemorial, we have always endeavored to create inventions that will help us do something quicker, better, and easier. But most of the times, these inventions come with interesting stories. That is why, in today’s article, we’ll be talking about some interesting inventors and inventions stories.
1. The Stethoscope was invented because it was awkward for the inventor to place his ear on a woman’s breast
In a cold September 1816 morning, Dr. Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laënnec (cool name, bro) was walking in the La Lourve Palace courtyard when he observed two children sending messages to each other using a long piece of wood and a pin (probably some variation of string telephones). He noticed that the child received amplified sound of the pin scratched against the wood.
Little did he know that this morning walk will etch his name into history, because later that year, Laënnec was called to a young woman who showed symptoms of a heart disease.
One of the things he needed to do to make sure that said symptoms really mean a heart disease is immediate auscultation, a process of placing the doctor’s ear to the patient’s chest.
This was awkward for Laënnec because of his patient’s age, sex, and plumpness. He didn’t want to put his ear on the her chest. And this is where his morning walk paid off.
Realizing that he could create something, Laënnec invented the Stethoscope, as he once shared:
I recalled a well known acoustic phenomenon: if you place your ear against one end of a wood beam the scratch of a pin at the other end is distinctly audible. It occurred to me that this physical property might serve a useful purpose in the case I was dealing with. I then tightly rolled a sheet of paper, one end of which I placed over the precordium (chest) and my ear to the other. I was surprised and elated to be able to hear the beating of her heart with far greater clearness than I ever had with direct application of my ear. I immediately saw that this might become an indispensable method for studying, not only the beating of the heart, but all movements able of producing sound in the chest cavity.
For more details about the invention of the stethoscope, read this article.
2. The T-shirt was first invented for bachelors who can sew or replace buttons
It seems difficult to imagine a word without T-shirts. But surprisingly, before 1904, T-Shirts weren’t existent.
But all thanks to forever alone dudes like me, T-shirts became a hit. The Copper Underwear Company ran a magazine ad in 1904 to announce their new product for bachelors.
In the ad, a man is pictured to avert his eyes from the camera as if he was ashamed from losing all the buttons on his undershirt, it was labeled before. In the after photo, an attractive, cigar-smoking gentleman is depicted. He was wearing a bachelor shirt that was stretchy enough to be pulled over his head. The ad read, “No Safety Pin – No buttons – No needle – No Thread” and targeted men who had no wives and can’t sew.
Within a year, the US Navy saw the ad, and started issuing shirts to every sailor, and by 1940s, Tshirts became a common part of the American male apparel.
3. No one knows who invented the fire hydrant
To be clear, fire-hydrant-like devices were prevalent during the 17th century and were made of wood. However, it wasn’t until 1801 that post or pillar-type fire hydrants were invented.
Frederick Graff Sr., then chief engineer of the Philadelphia Water Works, is accredited to have invented the first fire hydrants. According to unofficial reports, it was a combination of hose/faucet outlet with a valve in the top.
However, this is unverified as the patent office in Washington D.C. where the fire hydrant patent was ironically destroyed by a fire in 1835 leaving many other patents during that time into ashes.
4. The Web Cam was invented to watch a coffee pot
There were a lot of motivations to invent technology. Some to alleviate the lives of people, some to earn heaps of cash, but the first web cam was made for a far nobler reason: watching a coffee pot.
In 1991, Computer Lab attendants at the University of Cambridge invented the first web cam. They designed it to make it easier for the people in different parts of the building to determine if there is still enough coffee in the pantry to wake them up.
Yes, they were actually able to see the coffee pot on their desktop computers, and permanently said goodbye to stalling at the pantry while waiting for the coffee to be brewed.
5. A Roman Emperor invented the Whoopie Cushion
Rome has had a lot of notable emperors, half of the probably because of their shenanigans. One of them was Emperor Elagabalus (or as he was officially known, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus). He became emperor in 218 AD when he was 14 for political reason.
Elagabalus had done a lot of things in his reign. Some of them include:
- sending agents to look for men with large organs to satisfy his lust
- putting a dancer-actor in the Praetorian Guard position and a barber of the grain supply
- put men into respectable positions in the society based on the size of their willy
- partied violently and extravagantly (like any other rich teenager will do)
But his most notable achievement is inventing a whoopie-cushion prototype. He used to ask his friends to sit on air-pillows instead of soft cushions. He also asked them to sit on the ground instead of using chairs so that he could ask his slaves to loosen the air cushions using their feet and letting out the air as hilariously as possible.
After four years in the throne, he was assassinated. (Probably because he was a jerk. Maybe you and King Jeoffrey can become friends, in hell)
6. Potato Chips
In 1853, chef George Crum was working in the Moon’s Lake House, New York when he got fed up with a customer. The latter was complaining and repeatedly sent his friend potatoes back, saying that they were soggy, and not crunch enough.
This made Crum snap. To make the customer even angrier, he decided to take everything to the highest level of annoyance possible. He sliced the potatoes as thin as he could, fried them in hot grease, and salted them.
However, instead of getting mad, the customer was happy. He liked the chips, and since then it became popular.
Moral of the story, revenge will not give you anything but a tasty potato chip. So cook food without a chip on your shoulder.
We hoped you like these stories. Hopefully, you learned something too! Please share.