Giant Diamond The largest diamond ever discovered, weighing a massive 3106 carats, was mined in 1905 at Cullinan

, South Africa. Presented to Britain’s King Edward VII by the South African government, it was cut down into various pieces including the Star Of Africa, which is set in a scepter and is part of the British crown jewels. Superstition During the 1940s and 1950s Alberto Ascari won 20 Grand Prix motor races. Deeply superstitious, he would never race unless he was wearing a lucky blue helmet and shirt. He was proved correct when, in 1955, he tested a sports car without wearing them and was killed in an accident. Volcanic Castle Although you would not realize it by looking, Scotland’s famous Edinburgh Castle is perched high above the city on a former volcano which became extinct more than 300 million years ago.

Emile Roger of Paris walked into a workshop on March 16, 1888, paid his money and drove away in a brand new motor car manufactured by Karl Benz- the first recorded sale of a specifically manufactured motor car. Long-Distance Flying On April 13, 1935 Britain’s Imperial Airways and Australia’s QANTAS commenced joint operation of the longest air route in the world. Imperial flew London-Singapore and QANTAS flew Singapore-Brisbane. The journey took 11 days each way with aircraft flying only during daylight hours. Bucket Brigades To improve fire precautions in New Amsterdam (later New York) in the 1960s, authorities handed out 250 free buckets to citizens, who were expected to report with their buckets whenever a fire alarm was sounded.

Encyclopedias have been published in China for over 2000 years. The world’s largest encyclopedia, Yung-lo Ta-tien (Great Handbook), which was published there in the 1400s, contained almost 23,000 chapters. Never-Ending Fence Australia has the world’s longest fence, stretching 5530 km through the sheep country of the outback, protecting gazing areas from rabbits which eat grasses intended for the sheep. It is 2 meters high, with 30 cm buried in the ground to prevent infiltrators burrowing underneath. Public Transport In 1662, King Louis XIV of France ordered the introduction of horse-drawn buses as public transport in Paris. Although intended for the poor, affluent trendies quickly monopolized the services, crowding the poor out. The services were eventually cancelled when the trendiness declined.

Old Encyclopedias New Car Buyer Returnable Camera

In 1888 George Eastman began selling his Kodak No. 1 camera with the film sealed inside. Once the photographs were taken, the camera was returned to Eastman Kodak for processing. After a new film was loaded, the camera, along with the developed prints, was returned to the photographer. Crime File As everyone has a different set of fingerprints, they are commonly used by law enforcement agencies to identify criminals. The largest collection of fingerprint records in the world is held by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has more than 200 million sets on file. Ancient Fire Service In ancient Rome in 32 BC, Augustus Caesar established the firstever fire brigades. Each was led by a prefect who travelled by a chariot and controlled the firefighting. Sentinels stationed around Rome summoned the fire brigades by blowing large horn-like instruments. Frozen Food

Clarence Birdseye, inventor of frozen food which first went on sale in 1930, developed the idea when working as a fur trapper in snowbound Labrador, Canada. He noticed people were able to keep food fresh by packing it in ice until they needed it. Naming The Zipper The B F Goodrich rubber company introduced slide fasteners on a new range of waterproof rubber footwear- called Mystical boots- in 1913. Sales representatives complained about the boring name, so the company invented the name zipper, which quickly became the common name for all slide fasteners. Historical Vending Although seen as a modern invention, the first evidence of a vending machine dates back to the third century BC when a rudimentary contraption dispensed containers of holy water in a Greek temple in Alexandria, Egypt.

The first continuously moving image on celluloid film was screened in Paris in 1895 by the Lumiere Brothers, Auguste and Louis. This ground-breaking event showed pictures of workers at the Lumieres’ factory in Lyon leaving the building for their lunch. First Typewriter The first usable typewriter, based on a British patented machine, was developed in 1867 in the USA by Christopher Scholes. He sold the rights to gunmakers Remington & Sons, who manufactured it in 1874 and soon became the world’s largest typewriting company. Victorian Era Traffic Lights The first traffic signals were installed in London in December 1868, at a busy corner in Westminster. The red and green lights were lit by gas, and a police officer operated a lever which turned the lights to face the traffic required.

First Movies

Taking Your Temperature

The thermometer, an essential tool for doctors today, was first used by Sanctorius, an Italian physician, in 1612. Unfortunately, as none of his fellow doctors was very interested, it was another 200 years before thermometers were widely used in medicine. Razor Sharp Shaving razors were first used in the Bronze Age, evolving over the centuries until the straight-edge or cut-throat razor emerged in 1606. It was used for 300 years until American Inventor King C Gilette produced the modern disposable-blade safety razor. Is it True? The expression phoney means fake or counterfeit. It came from the late 19th century, when the original telephone lines were so unreliable that many people regarded them as confidence trick. Thus, anything unreliable or apparently fake was termed phoney.

The sandwich was named after the Earl of Sandwich, a British nobleman and enthusiastic gambler in the 18th century. Resenting having to leave the gambling table to eat a meal, he ordered a piece of meat put between two slices of bread so he could keep playing without disturbance, thus creating the sandwich. Valiant Crossing American Charles Lindhbergh became a hero when, on May 21, 1927, he made the first non-stop solo crossing of the Atlantic by aircraft from New York to Paris. His tiny Ryan aeroplane, Spirit of St. Louis, made the journey in 33½ hours. Today a jet airliner takes around 6 hours. Meteorite Showers Four tonnes of meteorite fragments hit Jilin province in Northeastern China in March 1976. The largest piece, around 2 tonnes in weight, made a 2 meter deep hole in the ground where it stuck.

Monopoly is one of the world’s most popular board games. In 1933 inventor Charles Darrow- who had been ruined in the Great Depressiontook it to games manufacturer Parker Bros., who initially rejected it but then reconsidered. Within a few years, Darrow was a millionaire. Denim Millionaire New York tailor Levi Strauss followed the gold rushes to San Francisco in the 1850s, originally planning to make tents for miners. He found they really wanted trousers that would stand up to the tough work. He created trousers of canvas, and later denim, which soon became known as Levis, making him a millionaire. Rust-Free In 1913 harry Brearley first manufactured stainless steel at Sheffield in England, greatly increasing the range of products which could be manufactured from metal that would not rust in moist conditions, while also reducing the cost. Floating Advertisements

Gambling on a Snack

Monopoly Money

In 1895 one of tea mogul Thomas Lipton’s clipper ships ran aground in the Red Sea, breaking up and spilling tea bales into the water. Lipton ordered the words “Drink Lipton’s Tea” to be painted on the bales, which became floating advertisements all over the Middle East. Presidential Chances Do lawyers make successful politicians? The answer seems to be yes. 25 presidents of the United States have been lawyers. And what’s in a name? Eight holders of the same office have had names which end in ‘son’. Navigator Dolphin For 20 years from 1790, a dolphin called Hatteras Jack acted as a pilot for ships navigating the dangerous reefs of Hatteras Inlet in North California, USA. Jack swam around a ship, gauged its size, waited for the right tide, then guided the ship through the channels. He never lost a single ship. Tower Sale

In 1925 a French Department of Works employee named Victor Lustig convinced various French businesspeople that he was authorized to sell the Eiffel Tower for scrap metal. He was paid a bribe by the businessman who offered the highest price for the tower, then, he quickly disappeared. Talkies The first movie to feature a soundtrack was The Jazz Singer, which Warner Bros. released on October 6, 1927. It was not a full talking picture- sound was used only for the songs performed by Al Jolson. Vertical Lift In November 1907 the first helicopter- designed by Paul Cornuflew in Normandy, France, rising just 2 meters above the ground. Further developments took many decades. It was not until the late 1940s that viable machines were in production.

On December 13, 1919 a converted Vickers Vimy bomberpiloted by brothers Ross and Keith Smith- arrived at Darwin, Australia. They collected the Australian government’s £10 000 prize for the first flight from England to Australia in under 30 days. Electric Transport The London Underground railway system was initially used by stream trains, but pollution and discomfort for passengers made this impractical. In 1890 the first section of line was converted to electric trains, making it the first electrified underground system in the world. Video Images Scotsman John Logie Baird, who did much to develop television, achieved the first TV picture transmission in his workshop in London’s Soho District in 1925. William Taynton, a 15-year-old office boy, was the first person ever to appear on a television screen.

Long Flight

Ring the Bell

At the famous London maritime insurance company of Lloyds, the Lutine Bell is rung whenever there is a disaster at sea. The bell was salvaged from the sailing ship Lutine, which sank off the Netherlands coast in 1799. How did they do it? Machu Picchu is an ancient fortress built on cliffs in Peru’s Andes Mountains. Modern engineers cannot work out how the huge stone blocks used in the construction got there. Most are so heavy they can’t be moved, even by the most modern machinery. Fax Lines Facsimile machines, which became commonplace in offices in the mid-1980s, have been around for more than 70 years. The first transmission of a picture over telephone lines took place in 1922 between two buildings in Washington DC, USA.

The great railway pioneer George Stephenson opened the Stockton & Darlington Railway in England on September 27, 1825. This 43 km line was the world’s first public railway service, with trains travelling at speeds up to 16 km/h. Nuclear Carrier The US Navy launched the USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier in September 1960. Nuclear-powered craft operate without the need to refuel, unlike conventional oilpowered steamships; however, they also have the danger of leaking lethal nuclear waste. First Air Fatality The first person to die in an air crash was US Army Lieutenant Selfridge, who in the 1908 was sent to assess the suitability of the Wright Bros’ invention for military use. On a demonstration flight with Orville Wright, the aircraft nosedived and Selfridge was killed although Wright survived. Hit by a Train

The first person killed by a train was William Huskisson, head of Britain’s Board of Trade, who accidentally stepped in front of Robert Stephenson’s Rocket locomotive during the opening ceremony of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway on September 15, 1830. Underwater Communication In 1858 a cable for telegraphic messages was laid under the Atlantic between Britain and the USA. Opened on August 5 by President Buchanan at the US end and Queen Victoria at the British end. It revolutionized communication which had previously been restricted to letters carried by ships. Saving the Cash In 1891 the problems faced by travelers carrying large amounts of money to pay bills was solved when the American Express travel company introduced the traveler’s cheque, which could be cashed in major cities across the USA.

First Trains

Scouting Begins

British General Lord Baden Powell, who achieved fame in the Boer War, founded the Boy Scouts in July 1907. He wanted a boys’ organization which encouraged selfsufficiency and moral virtue. The scouts proved immensely popular and the movement spread all over the world. Great Fastener Velcro was created by Georges de Mestral, who first conceived the idea in 1941 when he noticed burrs sticking to his clothing. The quality of Velcro ribbon produced each year is sufficient to stretch around the world twice. Peaceful Dynamite In 1867 Alfred Nobel demonstrated dynamite for the first time in a quarry in Surrey, England, Nobel, who became a multi-millionaire from making dynamite, later, established the Nobel Prizes in his native Sweden. The Nobel Peace Prize provides a stark contrast to the uses his dynamite has been put to. Improving Lifespan

The average person today lives 70 to 80 years, but it has not always been so good. In prehistoric times the average lifespan was 18 years, by the 17th century it was 36 years and by 1901 it had increased to 47. Forty years later it was 60+, thanks mainly to improvements in nutrition and medical care. Which Color? The White House- the official residence of American Presidentswere originally called the Executive Mansion until 1901, when President Theodore Roosevelt began calling it the White House. The new name quickly entered popular usage.

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