It turns out that many of the everyday things that are used every day in almost every home, appeared much earlier than you might think. Many of them have an interesting history, some have undergone significant changes, and there are those that at the dawn of their history were used by people for completely different, unacceptable today purposes. This review contains unusual stories of ordinary things.
1. Treadmills as a way to punish criminals
If someone in the gym, sweating on the treadmill, thought more than once that “this is real torture,” then he was right. These devices were originally created to make people suffer. The first treadmill was created in 1818 by William Cabit. It was a wooden cylinder equipped with a railing, something like a "squirrel wheel". Kabit installed these "wheel tracks" in prisons, where convicted criminals were forced to walk on them for up to 10 hours a day.
After a while, the jailers realized that these paths could be connected to grain grinders and water pumps and use the prisoners as cheap energy sources. Walkways were soon installed in prisons across the UK. However, at the turn of the century, such devices were removed from prisons, as voters said that walking on treadmills was too harsh a punishment even for criminals.
2. Salad as an aphrodisiac
Lettuce leaves have been around for about 5,000 years. The earliest evidence of human use of this plant dates back to Egypt, around 2680 BC. The Egyptians were crazy about the salad, but they did not eat it, considering the taste of the salad to be disgusting. Instead, the Egyptians used it to increase potency (to be more precise, they used a milky white liquid secreted from lettuce leaves.
3. Wi-Fi as a way to detect black holes
Wi-Fi originated from a physicist named John O'Sullivan. He read Stephen Hawking's theory that small black holes can "evaporate" while emitting radio waves. O'Sullivan decided to prove it, but for a long time he was unable to make a device that picks up very weak radio waves. In 1992, he took a job with a company that was trying to develop wireless computer networks. Development stalled until O'Sullivan plugged in his prototype black hole detector and … it worked. O'Sullivan's idea eventually morphed into Wi-Fi technology.
4. Bowling: from temple to club
Some historians believe that bowling originated in Egypt. In the tomb of an Egyptian child buried in 3200 BC, a set of nine skittle stones and a stone ball were discovered. Scientists speculate that they were used in much the same way as in modern bowling. An identical type of game appeared in Germany in the third century AD. The first bowling game was played in the church as a ceremonial ritual. The parishioners associated skittles with pagan sinners. When they threw stones at the pins and managed to knock them down, it was believed that the pagans were cleansed from sin.
5. Epilation: the "invention" of the crusaders who borrowed it from the Muslims
In the first half of the 12th century, European crusaders controlled Jerusalem. Muslims and Christians shared public baths, and for the first time Europeans had the opportunity to see naked Muslims. It was then that one of the Europeans asked a Muslim to shave him and his wife. Scientists suggest that in this case we are talking about an intimate hairstyle.
6. Middle finger and the Greek philosopher
The extended middle finger is considered one of the most obscene gestures, but few people know where it came from. The first recorded such gesture was bird flipping occurred in the fourth century BC. The Greek philosopher Diogenes once watched the performance of another man and he did not like it so much that Diogenes did not even say anything, but stretched out his middle finger and bent 2 more fingers next to him with "rings" so that the gesture looked like a penis and testicles.
7. Balloons and Aztec sacrifices
The first balloons in the form of animals were made by the Aztecs, but then they looked far from fun. The Aztecs made them from sacrificed dried intestines of cats. It was these guts that the Aztecs inflated and twisted into funny animal shapes. It was only in 1939 that the clown Henry Maar first made an animal out of a rubber balloon. He probably had no idea that he was recreating an ancient Aztec ritual.
8. "Chinese checkers" from Germany
Chinese checkers are not actually Chinese - they are German. This game had nothing to do with checkers, but was inspired by a British game called Hoppity. A German game company from Ravensburg made the first Chinese checkers in 1892 and named them "Stern-Halma". It was a half German, half Greek name, which roughly translates to "star jump." At that time (ten years after the First World War), Germany was clearly not the most popular country, and it was also then that the fashion for Chinese culture appeared. Therefore, the German company decided to pass off the game as a Chinese one.
9. Mini Golf - Ladies Only
In 1867, at the dawn of the Victorian era, an 18-hole golf course was opened in St Andrews, Scotland. People signed up in long lines to play, and since women were playing together with men at that time, this led to very indecent scenes - women shamelessly bared their hands, rolling up their long sleeves to hit the ball. For the Victorians, this was the height of indecency, so the "well-mannered ladies" were soon banned from playing golf. As a result, women who wanted to play golf were forced to invent a simplified version of the game for themselves, which was born in 1912.
10. Candles on the cake as a tribute to the moon goddess
There are many different theories about why people started putting candles in birthday cake, but none of them have been proven. It is only known who began to do this first - these were the ancient Greeks. They held a festival every spring called Mounichia, in which women made offerings to Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and the moon. They made honey cakes, in which they inserted candles so that they "shine at night like the moon in the sky."
Over time, everything flows, everything changes - even the views of people. An example of this 10 incredible examples of massive misconceptions that have happened in history.