Bubble Gum and Hula Hoops

There is a little story behind every object surrounding us. Some objects came to be by accident, while others needed lots of work to exist. With his sister’s future love life in mind, a chemist by the name of T.L. Williams mixed coal dust and Vaseline to make mascara. Isaac Newton’s new kitty door idea allowed him to work in his lab under suitable light conditions and with fewer interruptions than usual. When the jigsaw was invented during the 1760s, it originally helped children improve their knowledge of geography.

Divided into thirteen different sections, the 204 entries in this book include objects found both in and around the home and workplace. Some are used for entertainment; some for study. Arranged in alphabetical order within their chapter, each entry is half a page to one and a half pages in length. The sections are divided by a humorous cartoon drawing, and the book concludes with an easy-to-use index.

Long and narrow in size, this book will take readers back to the beginning stages of an invention and follow through with its changes and outcomes. While some inventions such as the wheel and the fork have a long history, others such as GPS (Global Positioning System) and Gummi Bears have fewer facts and more trivia related to this century.

Originally published in Great Britain under the title Cat Flaps and Mousetraps, Bubble Gum and Hula Hoops is a fun, fast read that can be enjoyed by readers who enjoy looking through trivia books for general knowledge and quirky facts.

Harry Oliver is the author of the books March Hares and Monkeys’ Uncles: Origins of the Words and Phrases We Use Every Day, and Bees’ Knees and Barmy Armies: Origins of the Words and Phrases We Use Every Day. He lives in London.

To win a free copy of this book, be the fifth person to email me ([email protected]) an invention idea you had as a child.