Who Discovered that Gravity is a Universal force exerted by all objects in the Universe and When?

By the early seventeenth century, many forces had been identified: friction, gravity, air resistance, electrical, forces people exerted, etc. Newton’s mathematical concept of gravity was the first step in joining these seemingly different forces into a single, unified concept. An apple fell; people had weight; the moon orbited Earth, all for the same reason. Newton’s … Read more

Who discovered the Distance from the Earth to the Sun and the size of the solar system and Universe?

Our understanding of the universe depends on two foundations, our ability to measure the distances to faraway stars, and our ability to measure the chemical composition of stars. The discovery that allowed scientists to determine the composition of stars is described in the 1859 entry on spectrographs. The distance to the sun has always been … Read more

Who Discovered that Cells are the basic building blocks of all living organisms and When?

The cell is the basic unit of anatomy. Countless millions of cells build living plants and animals. The functions of a body can be studied by studying individual cells. Just as the discovery of the molecule and atom allowed scientists to better understand chemical substances, Hooke’s discovery of the cell has allowed biologists to better … Read more

Who first discovered that Dinosaurs were warm blooded, colorful, intelligent, ancient ancestors of birds and When?

The classical view of dinosaurs through the first half of the twentieth century was that they were plodding, cold-blooded monsters. Dinosaurs were also were depicted as sluggish, dull-gray, and so dumb that they weren’t capable of decent parenting. That was what expert paleontologists believed. Robert Bakker shattered those beliefs. Robert Bakker was the first to … Read more

How is the Universe expanding and Who discovered that the expansion of the universe is accelerating?

A great debate began after Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding: Is that expansion slowing so that it will eventually stop and the universe will begin to collapse? Saul Perlmutter discovered that the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating, shattering all existing scientific models of the motion of the universe. The universe … Read more

How was the Human Genome discovered and When was Genetics invented?

Austrian monk Gregor Mendel discovered the concept of heredity in 1865, launching the field of genetics. In 1953 Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the double helix shape of the DNA molecule that carried all genetic instructions. The problem was that there were billions of genetic instructions carried on the complete human genetic code, or … Read more

Who invented Super Mario Brothers and when?

The now famous character Mario was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and has appeared in over 200 video games. Mario’s first appearance was in Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング) in 1981, which is another iconic arcade game developed by Nintendo. In Donkey Kong, Mario was known as “Jumpman” the carpenter. In later games, Mario is depicted as a … Read more

Who invented Money and why?

Money is defined as anything that can be accepted as payment for goods or services. It is also used as payment of debt. Early uses of money began with the bartering of goods almost 100,000 years ago. Goods were exchanged for other goods and this developed the commodity money system. Commodity money is money whose … Read more

Who Was the First Person to Reach the North Pole?

No one knows for sure who was the first to reach the North Pole, but two men claimed to have done it at almost the same time. The American explorer Frederick Cook, along with two Eskimos, two sleds, and 26 dogs, took off from Greenland for the pole on February 19, 1908. Fourteen months later, … Read more

How Old Is the Wedding Ring?

Not all people in the world practice the custom of exchanging rings at marriage. But in some places, the custom has been followed for so long that no one knows where it started. In some primitive tribes, it was a custom for the man to place an arm or leg bracelet on a married woman … Read more

How Old Is the Kiss?

In ancient times, kissing was more often an act of respect or homage than of affection. In Persia, a man showed his respect for another man by kissing him on the lips if they were social equals, or on the cheek if they were not. The Greeks and Romans also used to kiss as a … Read more

Who Invented the Flush Toilet?

If by flush toilet we mean any toilet hi which water is used to clean the bowl after its use, then the flush toilet is close to 4,000 years old! The palace at Knossos, Crete, which was built around 2000 B.C., contained latrines that were cleaned by water stored in a reservoir and delivered to … Read more

What Was the First Kind of Lock?

The first locks that we know about were used by the Egyptians more than 4,000 years ago. They were made of wood, and were very large. The Egyptian lock consisted of two pieces: a crossbar or bolt, and another piece of wood with a slot in it. This second piece of wood was attached to … Read more

Where Did the Peanut Come From?

You might think that the peanut comes from the southern part of the United States, for it was there that the peanut’s true value was first realized. Or you may believe it comes from Africa, since peanuts were often associated with African slaves in America. But actually, the peanut hails from South America! Spanish explorers … Read more

Where Did the Banana Come From?

where did bananas come from

The banana has been called the most ancient fruit on earth, for it was being enjoyed by man long before recorded history began. The banana probably first grew in Malaysia and Thailand in Southeast Asia, and was spread by natives to China and India at a very early date. Alexander the Great and his soldiers, … Read more

When Was Bread First Made?

Looking at a field of wheat and a loaf of bread, you wouldn’t guess that one came from the other. But man has been making bread of some kind for over 10,000 years! Early man probably chewed the seeds of wheat and other grains, either raw or roasted. Then primitive people learned to crush cereal … Read more

How Was Clam Chowder Invented?

Even though the word chow means food, the word chowder has nothing to do with chow. In the early days of America, a group of French sailors were shipwrecked off the coast of Maine. They managed to take with them some salted pork, potatoes, and crackers before they left the sinking ship. While they waited … Read more

Where Was the First Restaurant in the World?

The restaurant as we know it today is less than 220 years old! Until the 18th century, people who wanted to eat out went to a tavern, where only one dish was offered each day, and only men were allowed. Or they went to a cookshop, where meat was cooked, and brought home a “take-out” … Read more

Where Did the Grapefruit Come From?

where do grapefruits come from

The grapefruit really has nothing to do with the grape. The grapefruit got its name soon after it was discovered because some people thoUght it tasted like grapes. Grapefruits were first found growing on the island of Jamaica, in the Caribbean. But today, the state of Florida produces about 70 percent of all the world’s … Read more

When Was Aspirin Invented?

The ancient Egyptians and Greeks, and the American Indians, sometimes chewed the leaves of the willow tree and other plants to relieve pain. But no one knew why these plants helped fight pain until in the 19th century, when scientists found that these plants contain pain-relieving drugs called salicylates. But in their pure form, these … Read more

Where Did Oranges Come From?

In one way at least, you’re a lot more fortunate than the people of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. You can enjoy a delicious glass of orange juice in the morning, while in ancient times there wasn’t a single orange in all of Europe or Africa! The orange first grew in China, and was eaten … Read more

Are Apples Really American?

You’ve probably heard the expression “as American as apple pie.” Apples are grown today in every state in the United States, but when Columbus set sail for the New World, there wasn’t a single apple growing anywhere in America! Apples first grew in the Near East, spreading to Europe before the days of the Roman … Read more

How Long Have Potatoes Been Popular?

Potatoes are so popular and important today that you might think they’ve been around for a long time. But that just isn’t so. Actually, no one in Europe had even seen a potato until just a few hundred years ago! When Spanish explorers visited South America in the 16th century, they found that the Inca … Read more

Who Invented the Tea Bag?

Until this century, all tea was sold in large bags or in tins. Then in 1904, a New York merchant named Thomas Sullivan began shipping tea to his customers in small silk bags. The customers found that it was easy to brew the tea right in the silk bags, and the tea bag was born!

Who Were the First People To Drink Tea?

In 2737 B.C., a Chinese emperor named Shen Nung was boiling a pot of water over a fire. One of the leaves from the fire floated into the pot. When the emperor drank the water, he found that it tasted delicious. What kind of leaf was it that gave the water its flavor? The leaf … Read more

When Did People Start Drinking Coffee?

where did coffee come from

Coffee is so popular today that you might think people have been drinking it forever. But most of the world has been drinking coffee for only a few hundred years. Coffee plants first grew wild in East Africa and Arabia. Around the year 850, according to an Arab legend, a young goat-herd was tending his … Read more

Where Did Vanilla Come From?

Vanilla and chocolate have a lot in common. Both come from a bean, and both are natives of Mexico and Central America. In fact, when Europeans first tasted vanilla, they tasted it together with chocolate! When Spanish explorers arrived in Mexico, the Indians there offered them a chocolate drink cooled with snow (from the mountains) … Read more

Has Chocolate Always Been Popular?

Before Columbus set sail for America, no one in Europe had ever even heard of chocolate! It wasn’t until Spanish explorers reached Mexico, where Cocoa beans were first grown, that Europeans were introduced to chocolate. It was the Aztec Indians of Mexico who showed the Spanish how to make a drink from Cocoa beans, and … Read more

Where Did Olives Come From?

Today, most of the olives we eat come from Spain or Italy. But the original home of the olive tree is in the Middle East, where it was common all around the Mediterranean Sea by biblical times. Traders later brought olive tree seeds and cuttings to Europe and North Africa. Olives are never eaten fresh … Read more

Where Did Corn Come From?

where did corn originate

Corn is the second most widely grown crop on earth today, after wheat, and in the United States it’s the largest crop. But no one in Europe knew about corn until Columbus sailed for the New World. Corn probably first grew in Central America and, by at least 2000 B.C., was cultivated by the Indians … Read more

Who Invented the Ice Cream Soda?

In 1874, a man named Robert Green was selling cold drinks at a fair in Philadelphia. His drink, called an egg cream, was made from cream, flavoring syrup, and carbonated water. When Green ran out of cream, he put in vanilla ice cream instead. People who sampled the new dish loved it, and the “ice … Read more

How Old Is Ice Cream?

It may sound strange, but ice cream has been around a lot longer than refrigerators and freezers. In ancient times, Roman emperors had snow brought to their palace from nearby mountains, and their cooks mixed it with honey and fruit juices to form an iced dessert. Then in the 13th century, Marco Polo returned to … Read more

What Were Man’s First Lamps?

The earliest lamps that we know about were used by primitive people, perhaps earlier than 50,000 B.C. These lamps consisted of a hollowed piece of stone filled with animal fat or vegetable oil, such as olive or nut oil. A piece of moss was inserted into the oil, then lit from a fire. The moss … Read more

When Was Television Invented?

when was television invented

The Television was invented a lot earlier than you might think. The first electrically transmitted TV pictures were the work of J.L. Baird, who built his first TV system in 1926. J.L. Baird was Scottish, and was born in Helensburgh, Scotland. The first person to appear on television was a young office boy in the … Read more

How Did the Oscar Get Its Name?

In 1929, a group called the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to give awards for the best movie and acting performances of the year. The award trophy was a statuette of a man. When a secretary at the Academy first saw the statuette, she said it looked just like her uncle Oscar. … Read more

Where Was the First Drive-In Theater?

In 1932, a man named Richard Hollingshead set up a screen in front of his garage in Riverton, New Jersey, and sat in his car to watch a movie. He did this so that he could become the first person to watch a movie from a car, and thereby get a patent on the idea, … Read more

What Was the First “Talking” Picture?

Early movies didn’t have sound. A piano player in the theater played music along with the film, and there were no spoken words in any movie. The actors’ words were flashed on the screen in between scenes. Then in 1926, a movie called Don Juan appeared with a sound track. But the sound track was … Read more

What Was the First Movie Ever Made in America?

In the early days of movies, people were so thrilled by the sight of moving pictures that they didn’t really care what they saw on the screen. The earliest films were very short and showed ordinary things: couples dancing, men fighting, speeding trains, or else just pictures of famous people such as Buffalo Bill and … Read more

Where Was the First Movie Theater in America?

During the 1890s, when movies were new, there was no such thing as a movie theater. Films were usually shown between acts at live stage shows. But then an enterprising man in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, took over an empty store, put in 92 seats, a screen, and a piano, and opened the first real movie theater … Read more

Who Were the First People in America To See Movies?

Thomas Edison invented the first motion picture machine in 1889, but Edison’s machine was a lot different from the projector we use today. In Edison’s machine, a strip of film was moved across a light source, and the viewer had to stare into a small window in the machine to see the moving images. Then … Read more

How Did a Running Horse Lead to the Invention of Movies?

By the 1870s, a few men in Europe and America had built machines that could spin wheels of photographs so quickly that they looked as if the people in the photos were moving. But no one had really invented what we would call motion pictures. Then in 1872, a wealthy man named Leland Stanford wanted … Read more

When Was the First Movie Made?

The first moving picture ever shown to an audience was the work of two French brothers, the Lumieres. Their first film, showing workers leaving a factory, was shown in Paris on March 22, 1895. But it’s possible that another man may have shown moving figures on a blank wall as early as 1885, in a … Read more

Were Bagpipes Invented in Scotland?

Today, the sound of bagpipes probably reminds most people of Scotland or Ireland. But this instrument was not invented in either of these places. Bagpipes are an ancient instrument, used by the Persians before the time of Christ, and perhaps much earlier in Egypt. Bagpipes were used in ancient Greece, and the Roman Emperor Nero … Read more

How Did Scotland Yard Get Its Name?

Many Americans think that Scotland Yard is a detective force serving all of Britain, a kind of English FBI. But it isn’t. Scotland Yard is actually the name of a branch of the London police force, and it most often does not get involved in police cases outside the area of London. In the 10th … Read more

When Was the Crossword Puzzle Invented?

There was no such thing as the crossword puzzle in ancient times. But the Greeks, Romans, and other peoples had a kind of word game called the word square that would lead to the invention of the crossword puzzle many years later. A word square is a group of three or more words arranged in … Read more

When Was the Dictionary Invented?

Dictionaries haven’t always been on hand to show us the meaning of words we don’t know. The first English book that was called a dictionary wasn’t written until 1552. And the first English dictionary listing ordinary words as well as difficult words was published in 1702. About 50 years later, the renowned English writer Samuel … Read more

Where Did the English Language Come From?

Unlike most other languages, English was born out of a combination of two languages. The Anglo-Saxons, the people who settled in England during the fifth century, spoke a German language we now call “Old English.” Then in the 11th century, England was conquered by French-speaking people from Normandy, and French became the official language of … Read more

Why Do Playing Cards Have Four Suits?

No one knows where playing cards really came from. Some people think it was China, others believe it was India, and still others claim it was the Near East. Cards didn’t reach Europe until around 1300. But from the very beginning, almost all decks of playing cards had four suits. The names of the suits … Read more

Where Did Chess Come From?

where did chess originate

No one knows for certain where the game of chess was first played. Most likely, the game began in ancient India, where it was called chaturanga. This word refers to the four members of an Indian army: the foot soldier, the elephant, the chariot, and the horse. During the 6th or 7th century, the game … Read more

Who Were the First People To Play Billiards?

No one knows exactly where the game of billiards was invented. Some say it was in ancient Greece, others say China or France, and still others say England. According to the people who think it was invented in England, this is how it happened: A game called lawn bowling was very popular in England during … Read more

Who Were the First People To Play Backgammon?

The board game called backgammon is one of the most popular games in America today, with more than two million regular players. Yet this game isn’t as popular today as it was more than 2,000 years ago! No one person invented backgammon. It evolved from a number of old games that were played in the … Read more

How Old Are Dice?

Cubes with numbers or spots on their sides have been used since ancient times by people in almost all parts of the world. Dice are so old that we don’t even know when or where they were invented, because they have been around since before man learned how to write! Primitive people probably made the … Read more

Who Were the First People To Play Golf?

Most people think that golf was invented in Scotland, but there’s no proof that it was born there. The ancient Romans played a game with bent wooden sticks and a leather ball stuffed with feathers. In the Middle Ages, the Dutch played a game called kolven on frozen rivers and canals, using a wooden club … Read more

When Was the Skateboard Invented?

It’s possible that the skateboard was invented during the 1940s or the 1950s. But the skateboard didn’t really attract any attention until 1962, when a surfer in California attached roller-skate wheels to a board and began selling the skateboards to other surfers, who used them to practice certain moves used in surfing. But then, many … Read more

Who Invented Roller Skating?

Roller skating began around the middle of the 18th century, when an unknown man in The Netherlands made a pair of skates with wooden wheels. Most likely, the inventor fashioned the skates so that he could practice ice-skating techniques during the warm months. The first pair of roller skates offered for sale appeared in Belgium … Read more

How Old Are Ice Skates?

Ice skates are a lot older than you might think. The oldest ice skates that still exist today come from Sweden, and were made sometime between the years 700 and 900. But early Swedish writing, dating from around the year 150, mentions ice skates. And some people think that ice skates may have been in … Read more

Where Did Soccer Come From?

who invented soccer

There are many legends about the invention of soccer, but most people agree that the game began in England. According to one legend, English workers during the 11th century were digging on the site of an early battle against Danish invaders, when they found the skull of a slain Danish soldier. The workers began kicking … Read more

Where Was the First Domed Stadium?

Many sports stadiums are now covered by domes, but the first domed stadium ever built was the Astrodome, in Houston, Texas. Completed in 1965, the Astrodome was the largest indoor arena ever built until that time, and its steel-and-plastic covering was the largest dome the world had ever seen. The Astrodome was also the first … Read more

How Was Horseshoe Pitching Invented?

The games of horseshoe pitching and quoits are very similar. In horseshoes, players toss horseshoes toward a stake in the ground; in quoits, they toss rings toward a stake. Some people think quoits came from horseshoes, but it was really the other way around. Roman soldiers used iron rings to play quoits 2,000 years ago. … Read more

Did One Man Invent Volleyball?

During the 1890s, basketball was becoming the most popular gym game in America. But basketball was not a good sport for older people to play, because of the running involved in the game. So in 1895, William Morgan, a gym teacher in Holyoke, Massachusetts, decided to invent a new game that would be good for … Read more

Who Invented Basketball?

In 1891, a gym teacher in Springfield Massachusetts, wanted to invent a new game for his gym students to make exercising more fun. The teacher, James Naismith, set up a court like the modern basketball court, and called for square boxes at each end that players would have to try to throw the ball into. … Read more

When Did Baseball Cards First Appear?

Professional baseball teams in America appeared in 1869, and by 1880, baseball cards were around already! The first baseball cards weren’t for young people, though, because they were included in packs of cigarettes and tobacco. In 1933, bubble-gum companies began to give out baseball cards with their products. For a while, there were many different … Read more

When Was the First World Series?

Professional baseball’s National League was formed in 1876, with eight teams, and was the only league in America until 1893, when the Western League was formed. Then in 1901, some of the teams from the Western League joined to form a new league, the American League, with eight teams. After the 1903 season, the winners … Read more

What Was the First Professional Baseball Team?

Until the 1880s, Americans played baseball for fun, without pay, and baseball “clubs” were set up in many cities. Then in 1869, a group of players organized the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team in America. The Red Stockings went on a tour of the country, charging admission to see their games. During … Read more

Is Baseball Really an American Invention?

Most people think that baseball was invented by the American Abner Doubleday during the 19th century. But baseball is actually much older than that, and it came from England, not America! In past centuries, a game called rounders was played in England, with rules something like those of baseball. Some English people even called this … Read more

How Did Badminton Get Its Name?

In the 19th century, a game similar to tennis was played in India. It was called poona. Poona was brought to England by English soldiers stationed in India. Then in 1873, the English Duke of Beaufort held a party at Badminton, his country estate, where a slightly different form of this game was played for … Read more

Why Is the Word Love Used in Tennis?

Tennis players never say a player’s score is “zero” or “nothing” when that player hasn’t scored a point in a game. They say “love” instead. No one knows for sure how this word came into use, but it probably happened like this: Centuries ago, French tennis players drew zeroes on their scoresheets that were oval … Read more

How Old Is Tennis?

During the Middle Ages, priests in France played a game called court tennis, a game that was to become the father of modern tennis. Court tennis was played indoors, on a court with four walls, and the players hit the ball with their hands instead of a racket. Late in the 15th century, players began … Read more

How Old Is the Piano and Who Invented the Piano?

where did the piano come from?

Before the piano was invented, the most popular keyboard instrument was the harpsichord. When a musician pressed down the key of a harpsichord, a bar inside the instrument rose and a short rod, called a plectrum, plucked a string. But there was one problem with the harpsichord, no matter how hard the key was pressed … Read more

Were Windmills First Used in Holland?

Holland may be the “Land of Windmills,” but that doesn’t mean windmills were invented in The Netherlands and used only in that country. The first windmills in Holland appeared before the 12th century, but they also appeared in Spain and other countries at the same time. And the first windmill that we know about was … Read more

When Was the Violin Invented?

String instruments, such as the lute and the lyre, came from Asia in ancient times. Then the bow came to Europe from Persia. In the Middle Ages, musicians in Europe played a number of string instruments with the bow, including one called the rebec, which had two or three strings. In the 15th century, a … Read more

Was the First Skyscraper Built in New York?

New York made the skyscraper famous, but the first skyscraper ever built was not in New York. It was in Chicago. And in both places it was the high cost of land and the shortage of space that made “building up” more practical than “building out.” The way a building is constructed, and not just … Read more

Are Apartment Buildings New Inventions?

We think of apartment buildings as modern inventions. But there were many apartment buildings in ancient Rome, more than 2,000 years ago! Roman apartment buildings often rose to a height of five or six stories. The Romans called these buildings “islands.” Perhaps the Romans could have built their apartments higher, but the Emperor Augustus declared … Read more

Why Was the Meter Invented as a System of Measurement?

During the 18th century, there were many different systems of measurement in Europe. One of them was the English system, using inches, feet, and miles, which we in America still use today. In 1791, a group of French scientists proposed a new measurement system based on the number ten. The new system would be easier … Read more

When Was Air Conditioning Invented?

Today, most air conditioning is used to bring comfort to people indoors on hot days, but that’s not the reason it was invented. In 1902, a man named Willis Carrier was asked to find a way to remove moisture from the air in a New York picture-printing plant. Since paper absorbs moisture from the air, … Read more

What was the First Subway in the World?

Many people think that the first subway in the world was built in New York City. But New York’s subway was actually the world’s sixth! The world’s first subway was built in London, and opened in 1863. It was 31/4 miles long, and the cars were pulled by locomotives burning coal in the tunnels! London … Read more

Where Did Origami Originate?

Origami is the art of folding pieces of paper into shapes of animals, birds, flowers, and other objects. This art probably began in China sometime after the invention of paper. The Chinese made paper houses, furniture, and other things to be burned at a person’s funeral, in the hope that the dead person would enjoy … Read more

Where Did the Tulip Come From?

Most people probably think that the tulip came from Holland. And while it’s true that Holland is now the biggest producer of tulips in the world, the flower actually came from Asia and some areas on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The first tulip didn’t reach Holland until 1562! In the 1630s, the demand … Read more

Where Did Roses Come From?

Roses have flourished on earth for millions of years, and were cultivated by man since very early times. The cultivated rose is so old that we don’t even know where it was first grown! The Egyptians planted rose gardens in their palaces as early as 3000 B.C. The ancient Romans made wine from roses. The … Read more

Who Invented Popcorn?

Since no Europeans had seen corn before Columbus discovered the New World, it’s not surprising that the first popcorn was made in America. The first white men to enjoy popcorn, in fact, were the settlers who attended the first Thanksgiving dinner, in December, 1621. The Indians showed them how to make it. Popcorn comes from … Read more

What Is the Most Important Number?

In ancient Europe, there was no such thing as a zero. The numbers used by the ancient Romans were really letters that stood for certain numbers; V was 5, X was 10, and C was 100. But in the 10th century, a number system from the East came to Europe, along with the zero. In … Read more

Where Did Our Numbers Come From?

You can imagine how hard it must have been to do business in ancient times, before numbers were invented. To show a quantity, tradesmen used their fingers or bags of stones. For instance, a person who wanted to buy five sheep might put five stones in a bag. The word calculate, in fact, comes from … Read more