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The piano is a very popular musical instrument and one of the most played instruments throughout the world. The term piano is actually a shortened form of the Italian name for the instrument, pianoforte. In Italian, piano means “soft” while forte means “loud”, a reference to the ability of a pianist to play control the loudness of the instrument by the hardness with which they hit the keys. So let’s find out more about the history of the piano and discover who invented the piano.
A yo-yo is a simple toy that is usually made of two disks connected by a central shaft with a length of string looped around this shaft. The player places one finger in the end of the string and throws or lets the yo-yo drop. At this occurs the string unwinds and the yo-yo spins, which then causes the string to wind back onto the shaft. A number of tricks can be performed with the device. Yo-yo competitions are also popular and a World Yo-Yo Contest is held each year. The yo-yo has been around for thousands of years, but the popularity of this toy exploded in the 1900’s. Let’s find out when they were invented and who made them popular.
Zumba is a popular fitness program that incorporates aerobic and dance elements along with some resistance training. The program contains many dance and aerobic moves from different styles and this is one reason for its popularity. It has also the favorite workout of many celebrities and their endorsements have led to the mainstream popularity of the program. Zumba classes are taught by a licensed instructor and there are many different variations of the program depending on fitness level and age. Zumba DVDs and video games are also popular with people who want to exercise at home. Let’s find out who invented this fitness program.
A chainsaw is a mechanical device used to prune or remove trees and associated vegetation, although some chainsaws are designed to cut other materials. The device is made up of a cutting chain on a track that is driven by a gasoline or electric engine. When the clutch is engaged the chain rotates around the track and cuts through the wood. The chain contains “teeth” which are for cutting and, when they are sufficiently sharpened, also reduce the required operator force. Before the invention of the chainsaw an axe and/or large saw was used for similar work, but these tools were very labor intensive.
Kevlar is a very high strength synthetic material that is usually spun into sheets or ropes for many commercial uses. Amazingly, it is 5 times stronger than steel on the basis of equal weight and doesn’t suffer from rusting or corrosion. This means it finds many applications in products that require high strength while remaining lightweight including; body armor (bulletproof vests) and personal protection wear, tires, brakes, sailcloth, high performance shoes, strings (music and sports), drums, ropes and much more. It can also be used in the reinforcement of composite materials, such as carbon fiber. Let’s find out who invented this important material.
A periscope is a device used for covert observation, usually associated with submarines. A simple periscope is made of a tube with parallel mirrors at each end on a 45 degree angle, although modern periscopes use prisms and magnification to provide a better image. The design of this device allows a person to look into a viewfinder and get an image from the other end of the device. This is particularly useful for observing potential threats from a safe position. Let’s find out who invented the periscope.
Band-Aid is a well known brand name of adhesive bandages, and the term is also used generally to refer to any adhesive bandage in many countries. These adhesive bandages are used for small cuts and scrapes to protect the area from further damage and/or infection. They can be made of plastic, fabric or latex and one side is covered with an adhesive to stick to the skin along with a small pad of cotton to absorb any discharge from the wound. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common is a small strip about 8 cm (3 in) long and 1.5 cm (0.5in) wide. Unlike many other bandages, adhesive bandages can be applied without any help. Let’s find out who invented the Band-Aid.
Aspirin is a drug used to reduce inflammation, fever and relieve minor pain. It is also used as a preventative for strokes and heart attacks for high-risk patients. It is one of the most widely used drugs in the world with about 40,000 tonnes of aspirin being used each year. The side effects of aspirin include stomach ulcers, stomach bleeding and tinnitus, although these usually only occur with large or prolonged doses. Aspirin is not recommended for children or adolescents because of the increased risk of Reye’s syndrome (see our article “is aspirin safe for children“). Let’s find out who invented this important drug.
Q-tips are the original brand of cotton swabs, also called cotton buds or ear buds, and today many people use the term q-tip to refer to any generic cotton swab. A cotton bud is made of a small wooden or plastic rod with a wad of cotton wrapped around each end. They are used for a variety of purposes such as first aid, cleaning, applying cosmetics and for arts and crafts. They were originally invented to be used as an ear cleaner, but this practice is no longer recommended because of the potential to damage the sensitive ear drum. Let’s find out who invented this useful product.