Who Invented the Potato Clock?

Who Invented the Potato Clock?...

In these environmentally-conscious times, everyone’s been looking towards developing alternative sources of energy, from solar power to geothermal energy. On a much smaller scale, it has been proven that energy can also be drawn from the most unlikely of sources: a potato. The Potato Clock was invented in 1983 by one William A. Borst. The impetus for this unassuming but clever gadget started rather innocently, when Borst was assisting his stepdaughter on a science project. He was reminded of a physics demonstration that he had witnessed in high school, in which a battery was created by affixing 2 metal prods into a potato. Borst thought of replicating that experiment, but with the addition of an electric-powered device which could run on the small charge of energy that the potato battery would generate. Borst settled on a digital clock, but he realized that it would require a greater amount of energy than just one potato battery can generate in order to function. So to amplify the charge to be delivered to the clock, he decided to connect 2 potatoes in sequence. The move proved conclusive, and he was indeed able to power a digital clock by drawing electricity from a couple of potatoes. A further experiment was then made to find out how long the potato-powered clock would operate. The time-duration test was conducted in an auto-repair shop that Borst had co-owned at the time. A customer happened to walk into the shop and asked about the curious device that was being tested. As it turns out, the customer was working for the local newspaper, which would then run an article about Borst’s invention. Eventually, word about the potato clock would spread, and what started as a modest school project...
Who Invented the Wheelbarrow?

Who Invented the Wheelbarrow?...

The history of the wheelbarrow began in Greece circa 406 BC. However there are no records that indicate who actually made it. The Wheelbarrow in Ancient Civilizations The Greeks didn’t stay what they used the device for. In fact there is nothing that indicates it was utilized for farming. But most scholars assume that the device was employed in construction sites. The vehicle was very likely used to transport certain loads to the site. There is evidence of a one wheeled vehicle in 4th century AD Rome. However the ongoing research suggests that the wheelbarrow may have been used there too. The history of the wheelbarrow doesn’t provide information on its use in the Byzantine Empire. From the fall of Rome to the 11th century, use of the wheelbarrow stopped. There are no records indicating when or why this happened. It is possible that as Europe was plunged into chaos following Rome’s collapse, the vehicle was simply forgotten. The Wheelbarrow in Medieval Times Records show that the wheelbarrows reappeared around 1170 to 1250. Almost all of them had the same design. The wheel was set at the front area. This arrangement is still used in virtually all wheelbarrows. Research into the vehicle’s history is difficult. The main reason is the language. Countries used different terms to describe it. This makes it hard to determine if the vehicle referred to is a wheelbarrow or not. But studies on the history of the wheelbarrow has shed some light on the matter. There are at least four instances where the wheelbarrow was mentioned, from 1172 to 1222. But the terms used were different. The first time that the wheelbarrow was referred to dates from 1222. This was an English document involving the...
Who Invented Silly Putty?

Who Invented Silly Putty?...

Silly Putty (also known as Nutty Putty) is a trademark owned by Crayola for silicone polymers. The products are sold today in grocery stores and shopping malls as toys for children. Additionally, silicone polymers have important scientific and medical uses. Most physical therapists use the polymers for the treatments of hand injuries. Aside from this, the materials are also helpful for reducing stress level. Above all, these were used to secure the things inside the spaceship of Apollo astronauts when they reached zero-gravity areas in the orbit. To know more about the product, let us start with the person who was credited for Silly Putty. History of the Trademark Who invented Silly Putty? Some reports said that it was Dow Corning owner Earl Warrick developed silicone polymers but Crayola believed that Scottish inventor James Wright invented the material in 1943. Both Warrick and Wright realized that when silicone oil and boric acid were combined, these would produce certain chemical reaction. The reaction would produce a bouncy and gooey material that has numerous unique characteristics or properties. It could be stretched out like the regular rubber and it could bounce like a ball when it was dropped. In addition, the researchers found that the material has a high melting temperature. To make money out of the invention, Wright sent samples of silicone polymers to various companies in the world. In 1949, toy store owner Ruth Fallgatter marketed the material in a clear package for $2. The item was the best-selling item in the store next to Crayola crayons. Fallgatter’s marketing consultant Peter Hodgson saw the potential of the product. He marketed the putty in plastic eggs and he offered the toys to the students of Yale University for $1. He...
Who Invented Nanotechnology?

Who Invented Nanotechnology?...

When analyzing the facts about nanotechnology, it will become apparent that not one person was responsible for inventing it. The word itself was coined by Professor Norio Taniguchi in 1974. The idea of manipulating atoms and molecules was first brought up by Richard Feynman in 1959. Origin of Nanotechnology Feynman gave his lecture on December 29, 1959 at the American Physical Meeting Society. He discussed a procedure wherein molecules and atoms could be harnessed using specially designed instruments. The word nanotechnology had not been invented yet, but his proposition is an exact description of the science. More facts about nanotechnology surfaced with Professor Taniguchi’s work. In his 1974 paper, the professor described the process as consolidation or separation of atoms or molecules. Dr. K Eric Drexler popularized the word with his books (Engine of Creation and Nanosystems). The Engines of Creation came out in 1986 and was the first book ever on the subject. The 1980s Nanotechnology began taking off in the 1980s, mainly due to the emergence of cluster science and the creation of the STM (scanning tunneling microscope). This was followed by the discovery and manipulation of fullerenes in the mid 80s. Its progression was also helped by the development of semiconductor nanocrystals. This resulted in an increase of metal oxide nanoparticles. A study of the facts about nanotechnology show quantum dots also grew. 1987 saw the first protein engineered and a symposium on the subject was held. By the following year, courses on nanotechnology were being offered in universities. In 1991, the atomic force microscope was created. The 1990s also saw increased use and manipulation of carbon nanotubes. Potential Benefits Although still in its infancy, the potential benefits of nanotechnology have been cited by scientists. Nanotechnology...
Who Invented the Machine Gun?

Who Invented the Machine Gun?...

The development and history of the machine is complex, but the fact is that Hiram Maxim was the first one to invent and use a machine gun that was self powered. The American inventor showed off his work to the British Army in 1885. He had invented it a year earlier in 1884. The Early Years of the Machine Gun Prior to Maxim’s invention, inventors had begun experimenting with the idea of a continuous rapid fire gun. In 1718, James Puckle came up with the Defence Gun. It consisted of a revolver mounted on a cylinder base. It could fire 60 shots in seven minutes, but the cylinder had to be adjusted manually. Other early designs included the Wilson Agar’s Coffee Mill gun and the Billinghurst–Requa. Both were widely used during the Civil War. These firearms were important in the early history of the machine gun as it gave inventors an idea of what the design had to be like. The Maxim Machine Gun and Others This rapid fire weapon was invented by the American Richard Gatling in 1861. It was first used by the US Army in 1865 and it would also become popular with European armies. Tests by the British Army showed it could fire 600 shots in two minutes. Maxim’s invention (the Maxim Machine Gun) became popular because of its efficiency. It was able to fire 500 rounds every minute. The key was using the recoil to remove the used cartridge and set the new one in place. The history of the machine gun reveals the Maxim gun was bought by the British in 1889. A year later, the Germans, Italians and Russians started ordering Maxim’s machine guns. The success of Hiram Maxim’s weapon inspired others...
Who Invented the DVD Player?

Who Invented the DVD Player?...

The history of the DVD player and format is complex. But in simple terms, it emerged because the companies realized that a repeat of the Betamax / VHS rivalry would affect them financially. The first DVD players came out in November 1996 in Japan, developed by Philips. This invention can’t be attributed to one man. There is no clear data that say who exactly invented this device. Therefore, we can only say that Philips created the first DVD player. Other big companies started making their own players shortly after the Philips’ DVD player showed up. The first DVD player in the US was the Sony DVP S7000. It came out in March 1997. How the DVD Format Emerged In 1993, two formats were being touted to replace the CD. One was called the MultiMedia Compact Disc (MMCD). It was supported by Philips and Sony. The other format was the Super Density or SD. This format was backed by Toshiba, Pioneer, JVC and Time Warner. The SD group approached IBM and asked them to use the format for computer data storage. The MMCD group did the same thing. IBM decided to form the Technical Working Group (TWG) to resolve the situation. The group was composed of people from Microsoft, Apple and other major computer companies. In what would prove pivotal in the history of the DVD player, the working group managed to persuade the companies to use a single format. The MMCD and the SD were dropped; the DVD was adopted instead. As work on the DVD began, the companies decided to use technologies from both SD and MMCD formats. One of the technologies applied was EFMPlus, which made the disc more resistant to scratches and smearing. It also allowed...
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