“Where did X begin” is a common question asked by adults and
children alike about almost anything under the sun. We can get more insight
into the world around us if we are aware of the history of some of our
favorite things. The origin of almost everything is fascinating, as are
the stories of those tireless individuals who would not rest until they
perfected the ideal whatchamacallit.
There are many lessons can be learned from the history of every day things
as well as the history on a larger scale. From the history of the cell
phone, we can learn how political reform can improve our quality of lives
in a very practical way. From the history of coffee, we can observe the
way in which an empire (in this case, the Ottoman) can literally have its
effect on what people drink with their morning pastry or toast.
The history of common objects and concepts can be quite fascinating in
its own right. Who would have thought, before reading about it, that the
history of medicine is rather recent, and that germs were not “discovered” until
1822? Electricity was a known phenomenon, even to the ancients, but it
had no practical use until people made an effort to try to channel it (including
Ben Franklin, who also taught us not to fly our kites in a thunderstorm).
The history of flight traces mankind’s ambition, and even if the
flimsy wings would lead experimenters to plummet to the ground, visionaries
like Leonardo Di Vinci dreamed of the possibility of flight and drew diagrams
today which are used in aviation.
This site will guide you through the whys hows and whens of everyday things,
and will enable you to learn interesting things about objects and concepts
we take for granted. As the saying goes “knowledge is power”,
and learning about the history of particular things will not only enable
you to impress your friends at cocktail parties, but can also provide a
deeper understanding of the world.