History for the Rest of Us

Interesting Facts about the Model T

Interesting Facts about the Model T

Oct 1, 2012

Facts about the Model T: Introduced on Oct 1, 1908 Top speed: 45 miles per hour Gas mileage: 13 – 21 miles per gallon Over 15,000,000 Model T’s were sold Model T production formally ended May 26, 1927 Original Price Tag: $850 Subsequent versions sold for as little as $260 Nine different body styles were used on the same chassis In 1914 Ford produced 300,000 cars with 13,000 employees, his competitors produced 280,000 vehicles with 66,350...

Pepsi-Cola Invented

Pepsi-Cola Invented

Aug 28, 2012

On August 28, 1898, Caleb Davis Bradham (a drug store owner in New Bern, North Carolina) invented a recipe which he initially called ‘Brad’s Drink’. The drink was a blend of carbonated water, sugar, kola nut extract, vanilla, and ‘rare oils’. Bradham believed his beverage aided digestion like pepsin enzyme does, and so he integrated the name of the digestion aid ‘pepsin’ with the ingredient ‘kola’ to come up with the new name for his drink. In 1902 the Pepsi-Cola Company was incorporated, and on June 16th of the following year, the Pepsi-Cola trademark was registered. Growth of Pepsi-Cola Originally, Pepsi-Cola was sold only in syrup form, but in 1905 Bradham awarded franchises to North Carolina bottlers and began selling six-ounce bottles. The Pepsi-Cola Company continued to be extremely successfully and by 1910 Bradham had sold franchises to over 300 bottlers in 24 states. Impact of World War I World War I took its toll on Bradham’s business when sugar rationing prevented him from meeting the high demand and forced him to use sugar substitutes which led to dissatisfied customers. When the War ended, he took a gamble when he purchased a large amount of sugar at peak postwar prices of 28 cents per pound. Bradham felt the prices would continue to rise, but prices plummeted and Bradham, saddled with a large overpriced sugar inventory, was forced to declare bankruptcy. The assets of the Pepsi-Cola Company were sold to the Craven Holding Company for $35,000. Bradham returned to operating the Bradham Drug Company in New Bern. Related Stories: Spam Coca-Cola Atari Sony Walkman Rice...

SNAP!™, CRACKLE!™, AND POP!™

SNAP!™, CRACKLE!™,  AND POP!™

Aug 22, 2012

In 1932, the words Snap, Crackle and Pop began appearing on Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal boxes for the first time. The words came from a radio ad that included the lines, “Listen to the fairy song of health, the merry chorus sung by Kellogg’s Rice Krispies as they merrily snap, crackle, and pop in a bowl of milk. If you’ve never heard your cereal talking, now is your chance.” By the following year, a gnome (SNAP!™) wearing a baker’s hat and carrying a spoon appeared on a side panel. Shortly thereafter, CRACKLE!™, AND POP!™ joined SNAP!™ in print advertisements. The characters are named to imitate the sound made when milk is poured into a bowl of Rice Krispies. The characters can easily be distinguished by their hats. SNAP!™ (the oldest and wisest) is always depicted with a baker’s hat, POP!™ (the youngest and wittiest) with a military marching band leader’s cap, and CRACKLE!™ (the unsure middle child) with a red and white striped stocking cap. For a brief stint in the 1950s a fourth character, POW! appeared, who represented the explosive nutritional value of the cereal. In 1941, Mildred Day, a Kellogg’s employee, created a recipe for a Camp Fire Girls bake sale. It consisted of Rice Krispies, melted marshmallows, and margarine. It was named “Rice Krispies Treats”. The recipe and many variations, along with several forms of pre-packaged “Rice Krispies Treats”, are still popular today. The video below is from a 1939 screen advertisement that features SNAP!™, CRACKLE!™, AND POP!™ taking on Soggy, Mushy and Toughy: Yes it’s true, the Rolling Stones got into the Rice Krispies act by recording this song for a 1963 ad: Not to be outdone by the Partridge Family: Or the Monkees restoring Pete Tork to full health by force feeding him Rice Krispies: Related Stories: Spam Coca-Cola Atari Sony Walkman Rice...

Top 25 Toys in History

Top 25 Toys in History

Aug 7, 2012

The earliest examples of a Yo-yo date back to approximately 500 B.C. The image below shows an example of a young boy playing with a Yo-yo from a Greek vase painting dated approximately 440 B.C. The idea for a Yo-yo was patented in the United States in 1866. In 1932, the name ‘Yo-yo’ was first trademarked, and Donald Duncan purchased the Flores Yo-yo Corporation for a reported $250,000. The new company would open a factory in Luck, Wisconsin in 1946. The town would proclaim itself the ‘Yo-yo Capital of the World’. The long history of the Yo-yo has led us to name it the number one toy of all time, edging out some tough competition. Vote for your favorite toy at the bottom of the page. Below is our first shot at the Top 25 Toys of all time: Top 100 Toys Rank Toy 1 Yo-Yo 2 Hula Hoop 3 Barbie 4 Lego 5 Frisbee 6 Play Doh 7 Crayola Crayons 8 Slinky 9 Mr. Potato Head 10 Nerf 11 Hot Wheels 12 Easy Bake Oven 13 Etch-A-Sketch 14 Silly Putty 15 GI Joe 16 Lite Brite 17 Tonka Toys 18 Tinker Toys 19 Big Wheel 20 Lincoln Logs 21 Operation 22 Barrel O’Monkeys 23 Mouse Trap 24 Chutes and Ladders 25 Candy Land [polldaddy...

SPAM

SPAM

Jul 5, 2012

On July 5, 1937 SPAM was first introduced. It’s name is derived from the words Spiced Ham, the idea of Ken Daigneau who won a contest (and $100) for coming up with the winning name. Since its introduction in 1937, SPAM has sold over SEVEN BILLION cans. During World War II, over 100 million pounds of SPAM were shipped to allied troops. Pop Culture Icon Ten years after its introduction, Jay C. Hormel founded the ‘Hormel Girls’ to create jobs for women veterans of World War II. Eventually the veteran requirement was dropped and the troupe grew to 60 professional performers who paraded across the country promoting SPAM and other products in a fleet of 40 matching white Chevrolets. In 1970, the Monty Python SPAM sketch first aired. In the sketch, a customer enters a greasy spoon café and gets in an argument with the waitress over her inability to order something without SPAM. Eventually shouting “I DON’T LIKE SPAM!” A group of Vikings in the café begin singing “SPAM, lovely SPAM, wonderful SPAM.” The term for receiving repetitive and unwanted e-mail (spam) was derived from the repetitive and unwanted use of SPAM in this sketch. Product Line Over the years, Hormel has expanded the product line and currently produces variations such as: SPAM Classic SPAM Hot & Spicy SPAM Less Sodium SPAM Lite SPAM Oven Roasted Turkey SPAM Hickory Smoke SPAM Spread SPAM with Bacon SPAM with Cheese SPAM Garlic SPAM Golden Honey Grail SPAM Mild SPAM Hot Dogs Popularity SPAM is sold in nearly 50 countries worldwide and is trademarked in over 100. The product is particularly popular in Hawaii, which consumes more SPAM per capita than any other state in the United States. SPAM is so popular in Hawaii, that it is sometimes referred to as ‘Hawaiian Steak”. Guam, Hawaii, and Saipan are home to the only McDonalds that feature SPAM on the menu. For recipes, merchandise, trivia and more visit the Official SPAM...

Sony Walkman

Sony Walkman

Jul 2, 2012

In February 1972, Andreas Pavel would test a device he invented, which he called stereobelt. It was on a snowy day in the mountains of Switzerland where he pushed ‘play’ and his portable audio device began to play the cassette ‘Push Push’. He realized that he ‘now had the means to multiply the aesthetic of any situation’. Pavel would try over and over again during the next few years to find an interested manufacturer for his device. He spoke with Grundig, Yamaha, Philips, and others but met only with ridicule and rejection. Mr. Pavel moved to Milan in 1976 and filed a patent for the device there in 1977. By the end of 1978, he had filed patents in the United States, Japan, Germany and England. Enter Sony While Pavel was busy filing patents in 1978, an audio engineer at Sony was building a prototype of a portable audio player for one of the Sony executives who wanted to listen to operas during long flights across the Pacific. In February of 1979, Akio Morita, Sony’s co-chairman, encouraged engineers to develop a refined version of the prototype player. On July 1, 1979 Sony introduced its portable audio player, the Walkman. The product was a descendant of the Pressman, a portable audio recorder used by the media. Wishing to convey the idea of portability, and playing off the Pressman name, the product would be named Walkman. Considering the name to sound a bit clumsy in other languages, the product was originally marketed as the Stowaway in the UK, the Soundabout in the US, and Freestyle in Sweden. Recognizing the challenges of marketing a product around the world with regional names, Sony decided to settle on Walkman as the unified name for the product. Marketing the Walkman Sony put the device in the hands of celebrities and influential individuals in the music industry. They focused their ads around youth, fun, and freedom. Within a month, Sony’s Walkman had sold more than double the number of units that any other tape recorder of the time had sold, and over the next ten year’s would spark a cultural revolution whose impact continues to this day. More than 50 million...