Category Archives: history

It’s near the 1st of the month, mail is due…

After reading the title of this entry,  you may be scratching your head and wondering what in the world I am talking about. (or maybe not)

What I am talking about today is blackmail, where does the word come from and where would soap opera plots go without it?

This is the important part — Its origin had nothing to do with the post office, but it does have to do with rent…

Mail in this sense was an old Anglo-Norse term for rent or tribute. During the time of border warfare between England and Scotland, freebooters extorted payment from farmers of the area in exchange for protection and immunity from plunder. As the inhabitants were generally very poor, the tribute was paid in “black mail,” that is, grain, meat, or the lowest coinage (copper), as opposed to “white mail,” which was silver. In time the word took on the meaning of any payment extorted by threat of exposure of an incriminating secret.

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Detroit Concrete City



The first road to be paved with concrete was Detroit’s own Woodward Blvd. It was back in 1909, the same year Henry Ford introduced the Model T, so it was not the automobile industry that was requesting smoother roads — it was a group of bicyclists called, League of American Wheelmen, who had initiated what became known as the “Good Roads Movement.”

Roads at that time had otherwise been built with brick cobblestone or material called macadam, which was made of stone sprayed with tar to make it somewhat weather resistant (& didn’t last long).

Read full article here.

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A Paper Clip…

is one of those inventions that I never really considered who invented it. (or cared, really)

I considered this for the first time while watching the documentary Paper Clips (naturally) which is not about the invention of the paper clip, but is about students in a rural town in Tennessee learning about the Holocaust. It is worth watching and you can learn more about here.

In that documentary, they mentioned the paper clip was invented in Norway.

However, if you google that information, you will find varying reports on the who, where & when it was actually invented.

Some accounts claim that the first patent was given to John Vaaler, a Norwegian inventor, in Germany in 1899. (As there were no patent laws in Norway at this time) In 1901, John Vaaler received an American Patent.

However, the Early Office Museum begs to differ…

Sigh, will we ever know the truth?

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I suppose people in Boston are as familiar with this story as Detroit is with the 69 riots, but I have to say it again – HOLY MOLASSES!

Aftermath of the Disaster

The Boston Molasses Disaster, also known as the Great Molasses Flood and the Great Boston Molasses Tragedy, occurred on January 15, 1919, in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. A large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event has entered local folklore, and residents claim that on hot summer days, the area still smells of molasses.

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