The Escalator, or ‘moving stairs’ is an infrastructural technological development which is actually a trademark, a brand that became so common that its name became a ‘trademark genericide’, just like Aspirin, or Cellophane.
Escalators came after elevators and of course, stairs, both of which were serving the purpose, but had many constraints like vertical expansion of space and a limit on how much a person can ascend or descend manually.
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Fountain pens, although stylish, were messy and impractical.
In 1945, Gimbels started to sell a new kind of ink pen, made by the Reynolds International Pen Company. With its quick-dry ink a...
The first generation of ballpoint pens cost around 55 shillings (£82.50/$107.50 in 2020 prices). It was in the same style as fountain pens. They were made of metal and intended to be refilled with ink. But with so many companies selling it, the market became saturated, buying refills, but not more pens.
Italian-born French industrialist Michel Bich added the catalyst of disposability. He understood the concept of the mass market and created his new company, Societe Bic. His pen only cost a shilling.
The ballpoint pen was the equivalent of today's smartphone. Before the ballpoint pen, writing was a stationary act that had to be done on a certain kind of desk, with all the other things at hand that allowed you to write.
The ballpoint pen turned writing into something that could happen anywhere. Plastic mass production allowed the pens to become even cheaper, allowing for the transformation of societies.
In 1974, Hungarian architect Ernő Rubik wanted to find a way to model three-dimensional movement to his students. At first, he tinkered with blocks of cubes, made from wood and paper, and held by r...
At first glance, the cube seems relatively simple, with nine uniformed colored squares on each side. To solve the puzzle, you must twist the cubes so that eventually, each side returns to its original color.
To master the cube, you must learn a set of algorithms. The potential number of variations in a three-by-three-by-three cube is 43 quintillion moves. Some cubes have evolved to a four-by-four-by-four and five-by-five-by-five.
In March 1981, the Scientific American put the Cube on the cover. Scientist Douglas Hofstadter was struck by the ability to use the Cube as a tool for teaching mathematical ideas.
The Cube can be used to teach group theory, or the symmetries of objects. Any twist of any face is a group element, and so are arbitrary sequences of such twists.
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