1 | The inventor of the microwave oven received only $2 for his discovery
Percy Spencer was working as a researcher for the American Appliance Company (now Raytheon) when he noticed that a radar set using electromagnetic waves had melted a chocolate bar in his pocket. He had an idea to make a metal box using microwaves to heat food, but the company applied for a patent. This was in 1945 and he received a $2 bonus, but no royalties.
2 | Glitter may have originated on a ranch
According to local lore, a man named Henry Ruschmann of Bernardsville, New Jersey accidentally invented glitter in 1934 while working on a cattle ranch. The New York Times reports that in a popular origin story, machinist Ruschmann was trying to find a way to get rid of scrap metal by shredding it into small pieces. Plastic came in, glitter came out, and the rest is history.
3 | Ancient Egyptians used dead mice to relieve toothache
According to Nathan Belofsky’s book Strange Medicine: A Shocking History of Real Medical Practice Through the Ages, people in ancient Egypt would put a dead mouse in their mouth if they had a toothache. Mice were also used as a remedy for warts in Elizabethan England.
4 | At the Olympics, people jumped further than horses
The Olympic world record for the longest human long jump is greater than the world record for the longest horseback long jump. Mike Powell set the record in 1991 with a jump of 8.95 meters, and the horse Extra Dry set the record in 1900 with a jump of 6.10 meters.
5 | The Terminator script was sold for $1
James Cameron is an award-winning director of films such as Titanic and Avatar. To achieve his big break with The Terminator, he sold the script for $1 and promised he would direct it. Of course, this movie has some of the most famous movie quotes of all time.
6 | Onion found in Egyptian mummy’s eyes
Pharaoh Ramesses IV of ancient Egypt had his eyes replaced with small bulbs when he was mummified. The rings and layers of the bow were worshiped because people thought they represented eternal life. This is consistent with the reason for mummification: to let the pharaoh live forever.
7 | Abraham Lincoln was a bartender
You know that the 16th President of the United States fought for slave freedom and the Union, but you didn’t know that he was a licensed bartender. Lincoln’s liquor license was discovered in 1930 and displayed in a Springfield liquor store. According to Wayne S. Temple, an expert on Lincoln, Congress wanted to fire Ulysses S. Grant in 1863 because he drank heavily, and Lincoln responded by sending Grant a supply of whiskey.
8 | Japan launches sushi-inspired Kit Kats
For a limited time in 2017, Tokyo’s Kit Kat chocolate shop released three types of sushi-inspired chocolate bars that don’t actually look like raw fish. The tuna sushi was raspberry, the seaweed-wrapped sushi tasted like pumpkin pudding, and the sea urchin sushi tasted like Hokkaido melon with mascarpone cheese. They were all made with puffed rice, white chocolate, and a small amount of wasabi.
9 | An espresso maker was sent into space in 2015
Coffee lovers will appreciate this interesting space fact: Samantha Cristoforetti was the first astronaut to be sent a warm and cozy piece of home in orbit. The Italian space agency has been working with Italian coffee maker Lavazza to get coffee capsules into space.
10 | The word “aquarium” in Latin means “a watering place for cattle.”
Of course, modern aquariums are not for cows. The first aquarium that looks like you imagine was created in 1921 and opened in 1924 in England.