Who Invented the Chinese Zodiac?

Who Invented the Chinese Zodiac?...

Who Invented the Chinese Zodiac? The Chinese Zodiac is not a “zodiac” at all since it is neither based on the constellations nor is it a division of the ecliptic. Rather it is a way to observe time in cycles. There are no written record so who invented the Chinese Zodiac. However there are many theories about its origin. One story relates that the ancient Chinese used to keep time by the use of ten “heavenly stems” and twelve “earthly branches.” Different combinations of these stems and branches were used to tell the month, year, day and hour. The calculations were too complicated for average folk, so they used common animals to symbolize the time divisions. The story tells us that the famous Yellow Emperor was the first to use the Chinese Zodiac. He introduced it in the year 2,600 B.C. to begin the Chinese Lunar Year. In ancient China, the emperors were well schooled in astrology. It was believed that one had to know the ways of the stars and the heavens to be a worthy ruler. Legendary Origin of the Chinese Zodiac A couple of legends exist telling why the Chinese Zodiac is ordered the way it is. According to one version, the Buddha summoned all the animals in the world to a meeting. Only the twelve animals – rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig – heeded his call. The Buddha rewarded each animal by making it the ruler of one of the signs. He gave them each year according to their order of arrival. A second version narrates how the beasts argued over who should come first in the yearly cycle. So the Jade Emperor told them to race...
Who Invented Modern-Day Handcuffs?

Who Invented Modern-Day Handcuffs?...

The modern history of handcuffs began with W. V. Adams’ invention in 1862. What set this device apart from others before it were the adjustable ratchets. Before the Handcuffs Emerged Records show that the earliest handcuffs were the one size fits all type. Basically it consisted of metal rings with locks. It could not be adjusted and this led to two main problems. It was too tight for people with large wrists. However it was too loose for people with thin wrists. This all in one handcuff or manacle was used widely during the Medieval Age. While the history of handcuffs may have started in the 1400s or thereabouts, ancient civilizations employed other means for securing prisoners. It’s very likely that rope was one of the earliest devices utilized. Eventually people learned how to manipulate metal and produced chains. The Assyrian and Babylonian civilizations used chains and shackles on war captives. It’s also very likely that many other civilizations used it. John Tower’s Handcuffs Adams’ invention solved the problem of loose fitting handcuffs. His design had notches and a square bow. These notches were used to adjust the locks to fit the wrist. A few years later, Orson Phelps produced another version. Phelps’ version put the ratchet notches in the inner part of the bow. A pivotal point in the history of handcuffs took place in 1865. Businessman John Tower utilized both Adams and Phelps’ inventions and began his handcuff company. The Tower Company would become one of the most successful pre World War II handcuff companies ever. Their cuff had the notches inside. It also came with a three link chain that joined the two cuffs. The other cuffs relocated the keyhole to the bottom area. Their cuffs...
Who Invented Plastic?

Who Invented Plastic?

Introduction Plastic is a general word describing synthetic or partly synthetic materials or objects. Plastic comes from a Greek word meaning “can be molded.” It refers to the ability to be molded during manufacture into a different shape. Hence the word “plasticity.” Invention of Plastic The first person who invented plastic was Alexander Parkes, a native of Birmingham, England. He called his work Parkesine after himself. The plastic he invented was organic. It was made from cellulose treated with a solvent and nitric acid. It could be molded into any shape when heated. When it cooled, the Parkesine plastic kept its shape. Parkes showed off his invention to the world in the Great International Exhibition in 1862. His plastic design won the bronze medal. Parkes thought that what he’d invented could replace rubber. But manufacturers soon grew cool to the Parkesine due to the high cost of its raw materials. Celluloid Plastic The next step in the invention of plastic occurred in the United States in the late 19th century. Billiards was getting very popular. Back then ivory was used to make billiard balls. Thousands of elephants were slaughtered only for their ivory tusks. Even back then it was impractical and expensive, not to mention cruel as later animal rights advocates would cry out. Then John Wesley Hyatt came to the rescue. One day as Hyatt was working in his shop, he spilled a bottle of collodion. When it dried, he discovered it was flexible yet strong. Hyatt experimented with his discovery. He found tat collodion by itself wasn’t tough enough for use in billiards. It was much too fragile. But when he added camphor to it, heated and then molded it, it became durable. Hyatt had invented celluloid...
Who Invented Charcoal Briquettes?

Who Invented Charcoal Briquettes?...

The history of charcoal briquettes began when Ellsworth B.A. Zwoyer of Pennsylvania applied for a patent in 1897. But it was Henry Ford who helped popularized its use in the 1920s. Early History It’s not clear as to how Zwoyer came upon the idea of a briquette. But by the end of World War I, the Zwoyer Fuel Company had begun construction of charcoal briquette plants around the US. One of the earliest plants was set up in Buffalo, New York. However it was Henry Ford (with some help from Thomas Edison) who put the briquettes to practical use in 1920. His briquettes were constructed from the wood debris and sawdust in his automobile factory. A close look at the history of charcoal briquettes will point out that E.G. Kingsford purchased these briquettes. Kingsford would commercialize the briquette and mass produce them. At first, briquettes were only available from Ford, but the Kingsford Company began manufacturing several of them. It just happened that Kingsford was Ford’s brother in law. Ford agreed to focus on the auto industry. Kingsford would get in the business of selling charcoal. Kingsford Company would change its name to Kingsford Charcoal. Zwoyer and Ford There are reports that Zwoyer was actually selling his charcoal briquettes years before Ford and Kingsford. It would appear that Ford actually stole Zwoyer’s invention, but Zwoyer didn’t take any action. If he did, there are no historical records to prove it. There are some reports that Zwoyer and Ford actually knew each other. So while some accounts of the history of charcoal briquettes point to Ford as the inventor, the patent records shows this is not the case. Ford did popularize it, and the Kingsford Charcoal would produce different types...
Who Invented the Telescope?

Who Invented the Telescope?...

The telescope is an indispensable tool for studying and observing the heavenly bodies. Without it, we are blind, literally and figuratively, to the workings of the universe beyond our planet. With its importance, it is then an interesting question to ask: who invented the telescope? Asking the question is not that east to answer primarily because unlike other inventions, the telescope was not designed, developed, and made first by a single individual. Rather it was a tool that was in continuous development in its early years. This is when asking who invented the telescope, it is important to discuss the different people who contributed greatly to its creation. First in the list of the people said to be ones who invented the telescope and/or contributed greatly to its development are Jacob Metius, Hans Lippershey and Zacharias Janssen, Dutch reading glass makers. Because of their proficiency and precision in working with glass and producing lenses, each of them were the able to independently produce working refracting telescopes, at most weeks from each other. Refracting telescopes are the earliest form of telescopes, and they rely on a lens in forming an image. Although all of the three can be considered the pioneers of telescopes, Lippershey is widely credited to be the one who invented the telescope since he was the one who was published first. Galileo is another important figure in the history of the telescope. He greatly improved on the design of the three Dutch inventors and made his own telescopes. Using his improved design, he was bale to do historic scientific works which revolutionized scientific thinking forever. Another revolutionary in the field of science, Isaac Newton, can also be considered as one of the people who invented the telescope...
Who Invented the Telephone?

Who Invented the Telephone?...

Alexander Graham Bell owns the patent for the electric telephone (1876). He also has the patent for the phone master patent. But as the history of the telephone will show, several inventors played pivotal roles in its development. From the 1840s to Mid 1870s The very first notion of a telephone occurred in 1844 when Innocenzo Manzetti brought up the idea of a speaking telegraph. But it was in 1849 when Antonio Meucci showed an apparatus capable of communication. However not much is known about this invention. In 1860 some claimed that a German inventor named Johann Reis utilized a device whereby voices were supposedly heard. A year later Reis was able to electrically relay a voice over 300 ft away. In 1874, Elisha Gray displayed an electrical apparatus that sent melodies via telegraph wire. A year later Alexander Graham Bell used an electronic device to relay sounds, which would prove crucial in the history of the telephone. The Gray / Graham Bell Issue This was a crucial point in the development of the telephone. In 1876 Gray sent a caveat to the Patent Office for the phone. That same day (Feb 14) but five hours later, Graham Bell applied for a patent for the phone. Because Gray did not turn his caveat into a patent, the patent was given to Graham Bell. On March 10, 1876, Graham Bell made the first call to his associate Watson. The words were ”Come here Watson, I want you.” In August of the same year Graham Bell conducted the first long distance call to Ontario, a first in the history of the telephone. That same year a Hungarian scientist named Tivadar Puskas created the phone switchboard. In October that year Graham Bell...
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