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    • The first man to distill bourbon whiskey in the United States was a Baptist preacher, in 1789.
    • The Aztec Indians of Mexico believed turquoise would protect them from physical harm, and so warriors used these green and blue stones to decorate their battle shields.
    • More than 5,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered how to make silk from silkworm cocoons. For about 3,000 years, the Chinese kept this discovery a secret. Because poor people could not afford real silk, they tried to make other cloth look silky. Women would beat on cotton with sticks to soften the fibers. Then they rubbed it against a big stone to make it shiny. The shiny cotton was called "chintz." Because chintz was a cheaper copy of silk, calling something "chintzy" means it is cheap and not of good quality.
    • The pharaohs of ancient Egypt wore garments made with thin threads of beaten gold. Some fabrics had up to 500 gold threads per one inch of cloth.
    • The ancient Egyptians recommended mixing half an onion with beer foam as a way of warding off death.
    • The Chinese, in olden days, used marijuana only as a remedy for dysentery.
    • "Scientific America" carried the first magazine automobile ad in 1898. The Winton Motor Car Company of Cleveland, OH, invited readers to "dispense with a horse".
    • In France - Captain Sarret made the first parachute jump from an airplane in 1918.
    • The first paperback book was printed - by Penguin Publishing in 1935.
    • In 1956 the phrase, "In God We Trust", was adopted as the U.S. national motto.
    • Henry Ford flatly stated that history is "bunk."
    • The first Eskimo Bible was printed in Copenhagen in 1744.
    • The last words spoken from the moon were from Eugene Cernan, Commander of the Apollo 17 Mission on 11 December 1972. "As we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came, and, God willing, we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind."
    • Virginia O'Hanlon Douglas was the eight-year-old girl who, in 1897, asked the staff of The New York Sun whether Santa Claus existed. In the now-famous editorial, Francis Church assured Virginia that yes, indeed, "there is a Santa Claus."
    • The first dictionary of American English was published on April 14th, 1828, by - who else? - Noah Webster.
    • No automobile made after 1924 should be designated as antique.
    • John Hancock was the only one of fifty signers of the Declaration of Independence who actually signed it on July 4.
    • The first United States coast to coast airplane flight occurred in 1911 and took 49 days.
    • Escape maps, compasses, and files were inserted into Monopoly game boards and smuggled into POW camps inside Germany during W.W.II; real money for escapees was slipped into the packs of Monopoly money.
    • Values on the Monopoly gameboard are the same today as they were in 1935.
    • Incan soldiers invented the process of freeze-drying food. The process was primitive but effective — potatoes would be left outside to freeze overnight, then thawed and stomped on to remove excess water.
    • The first wooden shoe comes from the Netherlands. The Netherlands have many seas so people wanted a shoe that kept their feet dry while working outside. The shoes were called klompen and they had been cut of one single piece of wood. Today the klompen are the favorite souvenir for people who visit the Netherlands.
    • When airplanes were still a novel invention, seat belts for pilots were installed only after the consequence of their absence was observed to be fatal - several pilots fell to their deaths while flying upside down.
    • Limelight was how we lit the stage before electricity was invented. Basically, illumination was produced by heating blocks of lime until they glowed.
    • False eyelashes were invented by the American film director D.W. Griffith while he was making his 1916 epic, "Intolerance". Griffith wanted actress Seena Owen to have lashes that brushed her cheeks, to make her eyes shine larger than life. A wigmaker wove human hair through fine gauze, which was then gummed to Owen's eyelids. "Intolerance" was critically acclaimed but flopped financially, leaving Griffith with huge debts that he might have been able to settle easily - had he only thought to patent the eyelashes.
    • On November 29, 1941, the program for the annual Army-Navy football game carried a picture of the Battleship Arizona, captioned: "It is significant that despite the claims of air enthusiasts no battleship has yet been sunk by bombs." Today you can visit the site—now a shrine—where Japanese dive bombers sunk the Arizona at Pearl Harbor only nine days later.
    • Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time.
    • During the California Gold Rush of 1849 miners sent their laundry to Honolulu for washing and pressing. Due to the extremely high costs in California during these boom years it was deemed more feasible to send the shirts to Hawaii for servicing.
    • According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Egyptian men never became bald. The reason for this, Herodotus claimed, was that as children Egyptian males had their heads shaved, and their scalps were continually exposed to the health-giving rays of the sun.
    • In 1893, Chicago hired its first police woman. Her name was Marie Owens. While the city was progressive in its hiring practices, Chicago's female police officers were not allowed to wear uniforms until 1956.


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