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By Bethanne Patrick, John Thompson

Someday approximately 30,000 years in the past, someone caught a pointy rock right into a break up stick—and presto! The awl was once born. Our inquisitive species simply loves tinkering, trying out, and pushing the boundaries, and this delightfully varied publication is a freewheeling connection with thousands of customs, notions, and innovations that mirror human ingenuity all through history.

From hand instruments to vacation trips to guns to washing machines, An unusual background of universal Things gains enormous quantities of colourful illustrations, timelines, sidebars, and extra because it explores on the subject of each topic lower than the solar. Who knew that indoor plumbing has been round for 4,600 years, yet punctuation, capital letters, and the convenient areas among written phrases merely date again to the darkish a long time? Or that historical infantrymen baked one of those pizza on their shields—when they weren’t busy flying kites to frighten their foes?

Every web page of this quirky compendium catalogs whatever attention-grabbing, wonderful, or serendipitous. a full of life, incomparably browsable learn for historical past buffs, popular culture fans, and somebody who relishes the atypical and amazing info hidden within the daily, it's going to tell, amuse, astonish—and modify how you take into consideration the shrewdpermanent creatures we name people.

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The emperor found the resulting brew refreshing, and soon China had such an obsession with “cha” that a man named Lu Yu, who wrote the definitive Cha Jing, is commemorated by a giant statue in Xi’an. Buddhist monks brought tea from China to Japan a century or so later, where the tea ceremony was developed into a simple but highly formalized ritual that still has a place in Japanese culture today. It took eight centuries more before tea caught on in the West, introduced by Dutch traders. For a while, tea was all the rage at the French court, with one noblewoman writing that a courtier was known to drink 40 cups each morning.

Org Copyright © 2009 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. Hardcover ISBN 9781426204203 Hardcover (deluxe) ISBN 9781426204210 eBook ISBN 9781426212277 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Patrick, Bethanne Kelly. An uncommon history of common things / by Bethanne Patrick, John Thompson. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4262-0420-3 (direct mail) 1.

Although Nutty Putty did not find its way into military use, the more innocently named Silly Putty became a great hit with children. Among my favorite essays in this book is the one on blue jeans. ” I learned that 16th-century sailors bought “thick cotton indigo-dyed cloth” in the vicinity of Mumbai (Bombay), near a fort called Dongarii. The material was taken to Italy, where it inspired an industry that exported a similar material out of Genoa. ” A related fabric was known as serge de Nîmes, after the French port, from which the familiar term “denim” derives.

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