A Brief History on Model Trains

A Brief History on Model Trains

Ever wondered where exactly did the hobby of making model trains started from? Or how long has the model train been around? Who started it and who's been doing it ever since?

Like much of anything built by modern man, these trains appeared as soon as their real counterparts came along. It was sometimes in the 19th century that the modern railway system was invented and around this time, people have been making the model equivalents of each train as well. Initially, the models were meant to promote the trains themselves as most people did not have the chance to see an actual train then. Before a railway could be completed, models of the railway and their trains would be on display to invite prospect passengers and curious creatures into thinking about riding a train.

As time progressed, people started wanting the model trains for themselves and viola, the model train industry was born. The trains in the 19th century were never as endearing as what we have today. Most trains were made with tin and wood and were not even working models although one stand-out manufacturer in the name of Marklin started developing and selling working locomotive models as soon as the train toy demand sky-rocketed. Up to this day, Marklin remains to be one of the top manufacturers of model trains having kept their tradition of excellent quality and a hefty price tag.

These trains were not big in America alone. Hobbyists included children and adults from both America and European nations such as the UK and Germany. It can even be noted that before the first world war, most prototype train manufacturers were from Germany. However, during the height of the war, shipments to America were stopped and this condition in model train shipments wave birth to American manufacturers such as Lionel and Ives.

The hobby grew large and demand was through the roof but the common problem with working prototype trains was that they were too expensive. The solution was later discovered by some American brands. They simply made less- complicated designs which had such an appeal to the middle class that the model train hobby became one of the largest hobbies during those times.

Upon entering the 20th century, these trains became more detail oriented and layout designs became more complex. Up until today, modelers are still in their search for making their dream layouts complete with realistic backgrounds and model houses.

Source by Esteban Cuenca

A Brief History of Atlas Model Trains

Atlas model trains started out as Atlas Tool Company, which was founded by Stephen Schaffan Sr. in 1924. The owner of the company did what any other small business owner of the day would do and asked his teenage son to work in the family store. Stephan Schaffan Junior had a different passion in life. He enjoyed making model airplanes and as such, spent a lot of time at the local hobby shop. In order to try to make some extra cash, the young man continuously asked for something to do in the shop. His hope was to be able to work with the materials he enjoyed the most and make money in the process.

What Steve Junior did not know was was being becoming a major annoyance to the shop owner. In an attempt to pacify the child, the hobby shop owner cave has some track to play with. He told Steve Jr. that he should see what he could do to improve the track. As Steve set to making a better track, the shop owner simply enjoyed the peace and quiet he was getting. What happened was the birth of the switch kit. This was a revolutionary invention in the world of model trains because up until that time, everything for model trains was built by hand.

Seeing an opportunity to make some real money, Steve Junior employed the help of Steve Senior and the rest of the family. From the foundation of their home, the entire family worked through the night in order to create the invention, which had become so popular. They were providing one of the most revolutionaryventions in the history of model trains while still going about their daily lives, but out of the secondary income grew the company which would build the Atlas model trains you have come to know today.

Steve Jr. did not rest after creating this invention. Instead, he went on to invent the first rail joiner which could be used by everyone. He also is responsible for creating pre-assembled turn outs and flexible track. The stapling of rail to fiber track was another invention he can take credit for. It was not until much later that the company started producing the Atlas model trains you see sold in most hobby shops today. Once the company did start selling trains to go along with track and layout material, they were well received.

The Atlas model trains have been given the same care and attention the line of products is known for having. The plant that produces the products is in the same New Jersey warehouse it has been in since 1947. Once the company incorporated in 1949, it was well received by the stock market and remains one of the most recognized train companies for those who are serious about model railroading.

No matter what your skill level is, you are sure to enjoy what Atlas model trains have to offer. Not only will you enjoy the selection of trains they have, you will also enjoy the different layout elements and tracks they have to offer. With an eye for detail, the products offered are sure to satisfy even the most demanding consumer.

Source by David Blackburn

History of Kokeshi Wooden Dolls from Japan

History of Kokeshi Wooden Dolls from Japan

Little is known of the early history of Kokeshi Japanese Wooden Dolls. One school of thought believes that Kokeshi dolls have their origins in the practice of spiritualist religion. Wooden dolls were thought to contain the spiritual essence of the dead and were often made for honorary remembrance.

The modern history of Japanese Kokeshi dolls began in the latter part of the Edo Era (1603-1867). Originating in the Tohiku region of northern Japan, famous for it's hot springs and rejuvenating spa waters, Kokeshi Dolls acted as an important source of extra income for local artisans known as Kijiya (which means woodworker in Japanese), who specialized in wood work and the production of household utensils such as trays and wooden bowls. In severe winters these Kijiya craftsmen began making "Kokeshi Dolls" to sell as souvenirs to visitors who frequented the local hot springs. The dolls acted not only as souvenirs but also as massage tools used by the bathers to tap their shoulders while enjoying the warm benefits of the hot springs.

The Kokeshi dolls were very simple in design, originally made on hand-powered lathes. Traditional Kokeshi dolls had common characteristics that consist of a basic cylindrical limbless body and a round head. Although the first dolls might have been unpainted, today most Kokeshi are painted in bright floral designs, kimonos, and other traditional patterns. Colors used were red, yellow and purple. As all the dolls are hand painted, no two faces are alike. This is perhaps the greatest charm of the Kokeshi. Some dolls are whimsical, happy and smiling, while others are serious.

Soon their popularity spread throughout Japan and they became favored as wooden toys for those unable to afford porcelain dolls. In addition the simple rounded shapes of the dolls lent themselves as early teeth rings for young babies.

Kokeshi dolls traditionally represent young girls and they quickly became popular for their depiction of feminine beauty. In addition their simple charm and association with childhood meant that they were often given as gifts when a child was born, as birthday presents or as symbols of remembrance when a child died. In addition Kokeshi Japanese Wooden Dolls were popular with the children of farmers as it was widely thought that they would promise a good harvest, as it was believed that it would create a positive impression on the gods if children played with the dolls.

The woods used for Kokeshi vary. Cherry is distinguished by its darkness. Mizuko or dogwood is softer and used extensively. Itaya-kaede, a Japanese maple is also used. The wood is left outdoors to season for one to five years before it can be used to make a doll. Today, Kokeshi is recognized as one of the traditional folk arts of Japan.

Despite their common features two schools of design exist, Traditional Kokeshi and Creative Kokeshi.

Traditional Kokeshi are for the main part still only produced in the six prefectures of the Tohoku region. The twelve schools of design here all exhibit distinct features that allow experts to tell exactly where they have been produced and often by whatever.

Creative Kokeshi do not follow the traditional designs originating from the Tohoku region and instead have an unstructured inspiration which is completely free in terms of shape and painting, the only traditional constraint being their manufacture by means of the lathe. Unlike traditional kokeshi, they do not display any of their distinctive local color nor the techniques that had been passed down through the generations. They simply represent the creative thought and ability of the craftsman.

Traditional and Creative crafted dolls have become a cause for celebration in Tohoku and across Japan. Every year, in early September, people gather in Naruko Onsen where craftsmen from across the nation gather to honor Kokeshi in a competition where the number one prize is an award from the Prime Minister.

There are many different styles of Kokeshi, but there is one philosophy that all Kokeshi dolls share, and that is the pursuit of beauty and artistry through simplicity. This philosophy is extolled at the website: http://www.dollsofjapan.co.uk

Source by Ivor Conway

The History of Scented Candles

The History of Scented Candles

Candles have been an important part of human society for thousands of years. Originally, the only way to possibly see once the sun was down, was from either torches, fires, or candlelight. Torches were not safe indoors, and walking from room to room carrying a portable fireplace with you was not practical or possible. Therefore, candles lit the way. Everything was done by candlelight once the sun set, from carrying out one's chores, reading, sewing, or even signing the Constitution of the United States.

Candles also had a useful purpose in early China. There, they actually invented a type of calibrated candle called a "candle clock" that was used for keeping time. Weights were inserted into the candle at precise locations, and when the wax melted to a certain level, the weights dropped into a container below and made a noise. Imagine what it would be like to have a candle alarm clock to wake up by (do not try to hit the snooze button), or try to time your bread in the stove based on a candle clock?

Originally, candles were not made using the high quality of wax that we have today. Instead, they were made from whale fat in China. Later, Japan learned how to extract wax from squirrels (do not ask me how). In the Middle Ages, candles were frequently made from the fat of various animals, such as cows and sheep. The smell from manufacturing these types of candles, however, was so horrendous that several cities built the manufacturing process. Instead, candles were soon made from beeswax, which had a less unpleasant odor. In 1850 paraffin became commercially available, and soon all candles were made from a type of paraffin.

Those who made candles and experimented with various types of materials were called chandlers (from which we get the word today "chandelier"). From the earliest of times, candle makers added scents and fragrances to produce the best spotted candles. Incense sticks were often inserted into the wax to add a wonderful aroma. In fact, sometimes the incense was added at particular intervals so that the change in fragrance, rather than the decreasing of weights, Later, India also discovered the aromatic benefits of using a wax made from boiled cinnamon for their candles. aroma.

In addition to experimenting with photographed candles, some ingenious candle makers also attempted to create a smokeless candle. They understood what such an invention would mean …. no more wick means no more flame! No doubt fires starting from candles were a fairly common. Thomas Payne was one such individual. In the late 1700's he attempted to invent a smokeless candle, but was not able to do so. Benjamin Franklin also started off as a candle maker before he became his political career, and experienced with various types of materials and methods for candle making. However, it would be centers later before such technology would be pioneered and wickless candles would be available wide spread.

One reason for the delay of photographed and wickless candles is because candles were put on the back burner once kerosene lamps were injected. Then, candles almost became completely extinct upon the invention of the light bulb later at the end of the nineteenth century.

However, in the 1980's and especially in the 1990's, the rebirth of the popularity of candles became an international phenomenon. This was due partly to their decorative value, but also to their ability to allow the stressed out, modern, over-worked homeowner an opportunity to create a relaxing environment using the aromatherapy of photographed candles. At the same time, awareness over air quality and health conditions such as asthma and allergies led to the exploration for a more safe and healthy, environmentally friendly decorated candle. Once again, the search for a flameless candle began, and once again, scent, or fragrance, became very important.

Armed with the modern electrical age, the invention of a flameless scene candle became possible. Scentsy is generally credited as the company that invented wickless scented candles in the year 2004 and satisfied the need in the market for a healthy, safe, environmentally clean and fragrant candle that burns a high quality wax without a flame. Instead, a low voltage light bulb uses a decorative selection of ceramic warmers to heat a scented wax bar with a very long life. Scanned wax bars can be mixed and matched to create custom scents. This allows each customer to have their own "chandler", or "candle maker" as they personalize their own candle and candle warmer to suit their individual taste.

Yes, candles have come a long way over the last thousands of years of human history. From burning whale blubber and holding your breath just so you avoid the offensive smell of the candle, to today when people actually buy a spotted candle for the main purpose of the wonderful smell it emits, we can all be thankful for the age of enlightenment!

Source by Alisha Byars

The History of Kettler

The History of Kettler

For over 60 years Kettler has been a leader in bicycles, children's outdoor toys, and other leisure equipment. Kettler was established 1949 by Heinz Kettler in the town of Ense-Parsit, Germany. Heinz Kettler founded his company in the attic of a wood processing company with just six employees. His first products included aluminum goods such as cooking utensils, bakeware, etc. and in 1960 the first Kettcar was produced. From a small enterprise, Kettler has grown into a world-wide manufacturer, selling in 60 countries with distributors in the US, South America, Central America and Canada.

From the beginning Kettler dedicated his company to delivering safe, quality, innovative toys for which Kettler is now known. Kettler's "Made in Germany" principle ensures that even after 50 years of trading all over the world, Kettler still manufactures products in its very own, state-of-the-art, German manufacturing facilities, using various patented and privately owned features and technologies . Kettler is organized and managed from the head office in Ense-Parsit, where employees develop and produce innovative and high quality products for people of all ages to enjoy.

Kettler controls the quality of their products from start to finish with their own in-house, fully computerized, and high-tech metal preparation process. Kettler products are also created using 360 degrees consistent welding technology, guaranteeing smooth and durable joints. The metal is then encased in multistep, lead free and water based powder coat. The result is a five year anti-fade guarantee on the paint.

In the 1970's Kettler became a "name brand" and introduced a superior range of products to specialty dealers. Kettler's very own ping table was the official table used at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Kettler HKS products, which stands for the "Heinz Kettler Special", are distinguished by their high quality, technological performance, and environmentally safe materials. The HKS title is only given to their top of the line tricycles. Kettler HKS trikes are no ordinary tricycles. Since its introduction in the US 25 years ago, Kettler sales have rocketed during the past couple of years. The tricycles' sales, which were growing at a rate of 10% annually five years ago, have more recently moved closer to the 20% range, said national sales manager for Kettler's US's toy division, recently to the Wall Street Journal.

In 2004, the Wall Street Journal reported that the upscale tricycles had become a target of thieves in high scaled neighborhoods. A series of robberies took place in the city of Palo Alto, California when a thief place two trikes from the same neighborhood. The HKS trikes had become part of a growing brand consciousness among parents, raising interest in pricey baby products.

Kettler does not advertise; instead they use what they call a "cul-de-sac" marketing approach, relying on word-of-mouth on driveways and in playgrounds to build brand awareness. However, some of their products are so well-known in Germany the word Kettcar appears in the German dictionary. Kettler's trikes were once were sold mainly in New York City boutiques and a few catalogs "A Trike with Snob Appeal." Isegoria (2004). Kettler Tricycles have rapidly expanded and are now sold in many upscale toy dealers in the US as well as Canada, South America, and Central America.

Kettler has been recognized around the world as an icon of safe, innovative, and ergonomically designed products and toys. The "kid-proof" engineering of the Kettler Kettrikes provides the ultimate fun and safety for children! Kettler's list of most well-known products includes the Kettler tricycles that are of the highest quality and are made from environmentally friendly resources.

After many years, Kettler has continued to exceed all expectations with their commitment to quality, innovation, and above all, safety that go into each item that is produced. The look, feel, and technology of Kettler products are designed to deliver optimal performance and safety.

Source by Bianca Raygoza

The Origins and History of Rats

The Origins and History of Rats

Rats have not always been the fun, multi-colored, patterned little pets that we see or own today. There are many different species and they can be found more or less all over the world. They play a major part in history and religions worldwide, as well as today's modern society. This article aims to explore the history of rats in various different cultures.

Let's begin with the origins. Rats are rodents of the Muroidea family. As rodents, their teeth grow continuously and they need to gnaw things on a regular basis to prevent their teeth from over growing and causing painful damage to their heads. They are not picky in what the gnaw, they can even gnaw through concrete and steel and are reputed to have a biting pressure of up to 7000lbs per square inch.

Many rodents and small mammals are described as rats although they are not 'True rats', example of these include the North American Pack Rat and the Kangaroo Rat. 'True Rats' are rats which fall in to the Latin genus Rattus , the most common of these being the Black Rat – Rattus Rattus and the Brown Rat – Rattus Norvegicus . These two rats are the best known and most important to humans. The Black Rat is more timid and less seen compared to the Brown Rat. This is mainly due to the Brown Rat driving out the Black rat, taking over its habitat and competitiveness for its food. Many other species have also become endangered through competition with both the Black and Brown Rat. Fancy Rats are of the Rattus Norvegicus species, the same as sewer rats!

Rats are distinguished from mice by their size, mice generally being smaller and lighter. This is not an entirely accurate way to determine the class, as some rats can have the characteristics of mice and vice versa. As new species are being discovered the standard classifications can be confusing.

Brown Rats originated in Asia in the grass lands of China. They began to spread across Europe in 1553 and arrived in the US in 1775 after hiding away and traveling on cargo ships. Black Rats arrived in Britain long before the Brown Rat although there are no specific records of an exact time. Reports of bones found in London indicate that the Black Rat lived there as early as the mid-third century AD and in York in the 5th Century AD

Today's rat is opportunistic and lives near to humans, quite often in their homes! This has caused them to become classed as pests. Since one pair of rats can produce up to 300 young per year, many places have become overrun with the mischievous little critters.

Most people do not realize that rats are a lot more complicated and interesting than they are depicted. They live in colonies which contain complex hierarchies, where they form deep bonds, often risking their own lives to save family and friends. They are highly social, very intelligent and posses psychological exercises very similar to humans.

A group of rats are known as a pack, or more aptly a 'mischief'. The males are referred to as bucks, females as does and the young as pups or kittens. Dominated rats differ greatly to their wild counterparts, with smaller hearts, brains, livers, kidneys and adrenal glands. They are also more prone to illness, possibly due to inbreeding.

These animals are usually portrayed as being dirty and diseased, though it is not true. Rats are constantly cleaning and grooming themselves and other pack members. Wild rats are generally robust and healthy, though city lodging rats have poor diets and can have internal parasites. These can not be passed on to humans. In fact, rats have very few zoonotic conditions. The most well known of these is Leptospirosis which is also known as Weil's disease and infects the liver, although this is very rare.

Rats have spread all over the world and are worshiped in many cultures. Although in the Western world they are still frowned upon, possibly because of their association with the Black Plague which I will talk about later on.

First, let's look at India, where rats are treated like royalty. In the North West Indian city of Deshnoke there stands an ornate temple dedicated to Karni Mata, the rat Goddess. Many people in our society would describe the obstacles interior as horrifying, but to a rat lover such as myself, the contents are both wondrous and beautiful.

Thousand of furry brown bodies writhe across the floor and scurry up the intricate gold and silver work that lines the walls. The temple is overrun with rats, there are well over 20,000. It is the duty of the attending to put out bowls of milk and grain for the swarm of rats, because they believe that ever, these furry brown souls will be reincarnated as Sadhus , Hindi holy men. People pilgrim to this temple, traveling miles just to sit and share food with the rats, or Kabbas , their name for the holy animal. They often eat and drink from the same bowls as the rats, believing that food touched by a Kabbas is a blessing from God.

Many people in our culture would find this temple to be strange or revolting, but it can not be denied that all religions practice customs that may seem strange to an outsider. The rat loving Hindu temple was constructed in the 1900's by the Maharaja Ganga as a tribute to the rat Goddess Karni Mata. Kings often constructed sentences to Goddesses more than Gods, believing the Goddesses to be more sympathetic and likely to help them achieve their goals.

The legend goes that Karni Mata was a mystic matriarch from the 14th century. It was said that she was an incarnation of Durga, the Goddess of power and victory. At some point during her life, the child of one of her clansmen died. She tried in vain to bring the child back to life, only to be told by Yama, the God of death, that the child had already been reincarnated. Karni Mata then cut a deal with Yama: From that point onwards, all of her tribes people would be reborn as rats until they could be reborn in to her clan once more.

The rat is also recognized in India as the vehicle of Lord Ganesh and pictures often depict him riding on the back of a rat. There are always statues of rats in the temple of Ganesh. In Curzon Park, Calcutta, India there is an attraction simply named 'Rat Park', where hundreds of rats scurry around inside a huge wire enclosure.

In Imperial Chinese culture the rat is the first animal of the Chinese zodiac. Rats are revered for their quick wit, ability to hold on to items of value, friendship, natural charm and loyalty to their friends and family. The year of the rat falls on 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 and 2008. People who are born in the year of the rat are said to possess the rat-like qualities of creativity, honesty, generosity and ambition, but also a quick temper and wastefulness.

The rat is the first animal of the Chinese zodiac and the story goes that the twelve animals were standing on the bank of a river arguing about who should head the cycle of years. The Gods were asked to decide and they held a contest, who even reached the opposite side of the river first would win and the rest would receive their years in the order that they finished. They all jumped in to the river, but what the ox did not realize is that the rat was traveling on his back. So the rat jumped off first and won. The pig was very lazy and finished last. That is why the rat appeared first, with the ox second and the pig has the last year.

In old Japan, white rats were seen as the messenger of one of the seven Gods of luck, Daikoku. It is because of this reason that rats are not killed. There is an old story about rats in the Japanese culture: An elderly rat coup0le wanted the strongest husband in the world for their daughter. They asked the sun, who declined, saying that the clouds were stronger than him as they could cover him up. They asked a cloud who said, 'The wind is stronger than I because he can blow me away.' The wind could not make the grade either, 'The wall stops me cold,' he said. Even though he wall was honored by the offer, he wailed 'The rat is stronger than I! He can bore a hole right through me! ' So the couple wisely wave their daughter in marriage to another rat, who was indeed the strongest creature of them all. At New year, the Japanese leave rice cakes out to honor the rats.

In Ancient Rome there was no classification between rats and mice, they were simply referred to as 'big mouse' and 'little mouse'. The Romans saw rats as omens, seeing a white rat was considered auspicious, although black ones had unfortunate significance. It was said that if a rat had gnawed your personal possessions, you should postpone any business you may have been considering that day.

It is unclear as to whether or not rats held any significance in Ancient Egypt. There are pictures which show anthropomorphic rats, but there appears to be no rat deity. It is believed that rats were pests in Egypt, destroying crops and belongings, which is probably why the cat is held in high favor.

Perhaps the most memorable event in British history concerned rats is undatedly the Black Plague. It is possibly because of this that the Western world has such a negative association with the rat.

It is often said that the rats were the actual cause of the Black Plague. This is not true, the rats themselves were also victims. The plague was caused by the micro organism, Yersinia Pestis , which was transported by the Tropical Rat Flea. The bacterium blocked the fleas stomach causing an insatiable hunger. So the fleas fed on the rats. During the feeding process the flea would regurgitate some of the bacteria in the open open, infecting its victim. After a while the victim died and very soon the starving flea had less and less to prey on, so it moved on to another victim, humans.

The disease itself flared up in Mongolia in the Gobi desert around 1320 and rapidly spread along the trade route, infecting much of Asia before moving through Europe. The plague ever arrived in Britain in 1348, and by 1349 every town and village in Britain had been infected.

The disease became known as the Bubonic Plague, as it caused painful swapping of the lymph nodes – bubodes. Throughout the years there were many cases as the plague came and went through areas of Britain. But in 1665 the great plague hit London, killing half of its population. The disease was spread from person to person via airborne water droplets, mainly coughs and sneezes. Due to the lack of medical knowledge at the time, it raged through the city. An epidemic was upon us.

It started as an accute fever with headaches, exhaustion, chills and delirium. The lymph nodes swelled up and became hot and painful to touch. The final stages were septicaemia, coughing up blood and a lung infection. Four or five days later, death arrived.

No one really knows how the plague ever came to an end. Reasons could have been lack of food sources, the bacterium becoming weaker or simply the fact that the survival humans were becoming immune. Frighteningly enough, the Bubonic plague is still common in parts of the world today, though it can be treated and does not have the same destructive effects.

During the Victorian ages, London was swarming with rats. Rats being the cheeky, opportunistic creatures that they are, realized that there was plenty of food and places to live instead of having to struggle for survival. The abundance of rats lead to a cruel new blood sport, which although is ghastly and gory, is one of the reasons we have Fancy Rats today.

Rat baiting was seen as an entertaining way to keep the pests under control. Men used large amounts of live rodents and bought them in sacks to public sporting homes. The rats were then dumped in to a pit with a dog, or sometimes even a grown man. The dog (or man) was then timed as it toure through the pack. Whiche dog killed the most rats in the shortest time was declared the winner.

Jimmy Shaw managed one of the largest public sporting homes in London. After a while he began collecting and breeding oddly colored rats to create more colors and patterns. He then sold these 'new' rats to the public as pets.

But the man who can be credited as the originator of the first true domestic rats, was the Royal rat catcher, Jack Black. The rise of the rat population meant that many men had found new employment as exterminators, or rat catchers as they were known at the time. It was often these men who supplied to sporting homes. In his line of work, Black came across many rats and after a while he too began to collect and breed the odd colored ones he found. After a while he had quite the collection; albinos, fawns, greys and marked rodents, which he then sold as pets. Between them, Jack Black and Jimmy Shaw sold hundreds of pet rats, laying down the foundations from which today's Fancy Rats originate.

In the 1800's, colored or 'Fancy' mice became popular pets. People began to realize that these furry little critters made delightful and entertaining companions. They were very easy to keep, only needing small housing as well as food and water, and with the different varieties in color and pattern they were also pleasing to the eye. Interest in mice continued to rise, until in 1895 the National Mouse Club was founded in the UK. The NMC set up the different standards and varieties and also held shows.

Meanwhile, dwelling in the background was a very special lady, Mary Douglas. In 1901, Ms Douglas wrote to the NMC concerning Fancy Rats and asked if their club would consider expanding their interests to include the Fancy Rat. After much debate, the NMC agreed and that same year, the classes for Fancy Rats were staged.

By 1912 the interest in Fancy Rats had exploded and was so high that he had NMC decided to change their name to 'The National Mouse and Rat Club'. It was during this time that the scientific community discovered the benefits of rats in research. In 1921 Mary Douglas passed away and the interest in rats began to wane again. The NMC returned to their old name.

Over the following years, the rat lovers longed for an official club of some description, but the interest in rats as pets was still too low and there was not enough rat fanciers to make a decent club or society. The rat fanciers were left wanting until 1976, when interest was high enough again to start up the National Fancy Rat Society, the first ever rat only organization.

Interest in having rats as pets grew rapidly and very soon new varieties were found and standardized. The National Fancy Rat Society is still active today and remains the UK's number one rat club.

Source by Stacey Silver

Gadgets – The History

Gadgets – The History

We create hundreds of gadgets every week and the majority of them are electronic and much more functional, but are they as useful as those ones before?

At the very beginning people where gathering fruit, fruits and vegetables they were finding to feed themselves. Then they started hunting using rocks to kill animals. The first gadget created at that time was a bow and arrow, hunters were the most successful and they also used them to protect themselves from there enemies.

Centuries later, when humans needed to transport materials they designed the wheel. Why so late? was not it needed earlier. the result of their wheel creation, was the wheel barrow, the horse and cart, and then of course the car, many things we take for granted now use the wheel for example most mechanical devices gave wheels, even modern day ipods have wheels. Where we be without wheels well, most of us probably a lot fitter and slimmer, how many of us just get in the car and go without a thought, many I'm sure and of course these days there is the green issue, was there a green issue before the wheel was invented? now there's a thought

So, all the gadgets in history have effected our evolution, in modern times we creat hundreds of gadgets every year, many very useful, some well some are just gadgets !! The question is, are modern gadgets going to have such an effect or go down in history as the ones our Ancestors invented.

Source by Paul John Collins

Barbie History – A History of the 1950s Barbie Doll

Barbie History – A History of the 1950s Barbie Doll

Once you start getting into collecting Barbie dolls you usually find yourself wanting to know a little bit of the history of Barbie, especially if you are interested in the vintage Barbie dolls. What you may not realize is that Barbie is named after a real little girl, and for that matter, so is Ken.

Barbara Handler is the daughter of Barbie's inventor, Ruth Handler. Ruth Handler had noticed that when her daughter played with her paper dolls, she frequently pretended that the dolls were grown-ups. Most dolls available in the early 1950s were baby dolls so Ruth thought that might represent an opportunity for her husband Elliot's toy company, Mattel.

Mattell was not all that interested in the idea, but fortunately Ruth did not forget about it herself, so when she came across an interesting doll in Germany on a trip there with her children she bought three of them to take home. This doll was the Bild Lili. She was an adult doll based upon a German comic strip character and she had been popular in Germany since her release in 1955.

Once Ruth returned to America, she started to work on her new doll for Mattel, basing it upon the Bild Lili doll that she bought home with her from Europe (and Mattel bought the rights to Bild Lili). A Mattel engineer, Jack Ryan, helped her with the redesign and this design was sent to Japan for manufacture. The new doll, now known as Barbie (for Ruth's daughter, Barbara) was debuted at the International Toy Fair in New York City in March of 1959 as the "teenage fashion doll".

This first Barbie is known in collector's circles as the # 1 Ponytail Barbie doll and she wore a B & W zebra stripe swimsuit and her blonde or brunette hair was tied back in a ponytail. She also came with a pair of sunglasses and high high heel shoes and gold hoop earrings. Designed to be played with, Barbie had movable limbs and she could turn her head as well. She also had a variety of outfits that could have bought to dress her up and, of course, accessories.

With the help of her appearance on the Mickey Mouse Club and a heavy television advertising campaign, over 350,000 Barbie dolls were sold during her first year of production. More than 40 years later, Barbie continues to fascinate even as she changes to reflect the times.

Source by Jenni Kerala

The History of the Online Auction

The History of the Online Auction

When one thinks of online auctions today, the name eBay definitely comes to mind first. This website was the first in what is now a history of the online auction, which began in 1995, when Pierre Omidyar sold his first item. The item was a broken laser pointer, which sold for $ 14.83 to a man who collected such objects.

The history of the online auction was born with that sale, and has continued to grow by exponential amounts since the first day. Omidyar quickly found that his hobby of creating an online garage sale needed to become a part-time business, which grew to a full-time endeavor within a very short period of time.

In many ways, it's thanks to eBay that other online auction sites exist. Amazon.com became a fierce competitor throughout the late 1990's, as did Yahoo! Auctions, who actually still have major market share in some countries.

Other auction sites, while not as big, managed to leave their mark. ePier, started by a couple of poor students, has been one of the few auction sites to withstand all storms and continues on today.

Today, there is a definite move away from auctions to more traditional methods of selling. Craig's List and other online classifieds are gaining popularity, and Amazon.com's open retail market has also earned quite a bit of market share with individuals peddling goods from their garage.

However, much of their success is owed to the early pioneers of online auctions. Undoubtedly, there will be new technologies and new companies that take the market in a different direction, leaving online auctions to be enjoyed by a niche group, just as it was in the beginning.

Source by Billings Farnsworth

Zippers – History and Facts

Zippers – History and Facts

The zipper is found everywhere in the modern day world, and is used in myriad applications. But the common zipper was not so common not so long ago:

  • Elias Howe, one of the pioneer inventors of the sewing machine, patented an early type of zipper in 1851 called The Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure. His sewing machine took up most of his time, and he abandoned his early type of fastener.
  • The next person in the line of zipper evolution was named Whitcomb Judson. A tinkerer and experimenter, Judson invented many labor saving devices, including a type of fastener he patented called The Clasp Locker in 1893. Some of these fasteners were used by 1905 in the garment industry, but proved to be impractical.
  • The next step in zipper evolution led to the zipper as it is known today. An employee of Judson’s named Gideon Sundback first patented his Hookless Fastener in 1913, and with further improvements patented the new and improved version as the Separable Fastener in 1917. One of the first large customers for this fastener was the U.S. Army and the fastener was used in apparel and gear for U.S soldiers in World War One.
  • How did the fastener get the name ‘zipper’? The B.F.Goodrich company opted to use the new fasteners on its rubber galoshes. An executive trying out a prototype of the galoshes by sliding the fastener up and down, and said, “Zip’er up!”, emulating the sound made by the fastener. Thus the name zipper came into being. The story sounds apocryphal, but B.F. Goodrich registered the name as a trademark for overshoes with fasteners, Zipper Boots, in 1925. Other items began using the fastener, and the name ‘zipper’ stuck. B.F. Goodrich sued to protect its trademark, but was only allowed to retain its rights for ‘Zipper Boots’ and not for the name of the fastener.
  • For the first twenty years of the zipper’s existence it was used almost exclusively for boots and tobacco pouches.
  • In the 1930’s sales campaigns for children’s clothing that were equipped with zippers stressed the independence the fastener would give children to dress themselves. When French fashion designer in 1937 raved about the zipper being used in men’s pants, the zipper replaced buttons for fastening the fly of men’s trousers.
  • Clothing with zippers was seen as inappropriate for women because the clothing could be taken off quickly. Many religious leaders frowned on the use of zippers for this reason, and zippers were found mostly in men’s and children’s apparel for a number of years.
  • Zippers today are made not only from metal, but nylon and other materials. They are available in many different colors, lengths and styles.

Source by Alan Beggerow