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Posts Tagged ‘matches

All the food that’s fit to eat…

 

Wired partnered with Food Network to crunch 49,733 recipes and 906,539 comments from their massive website.  The result is a fascinating overview of how Americans cook… and eat.  From food fads to celebrity chefs, from Thanksgiving dinner to regional cuisines, readers can whet their appetites at “Math Proves Bacon is a Miracle Food.”

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As we tuck in our napkins, we might recall that it was on this date in 1836 that Alonzo Dwight Phillips of Springfield, Massachusetts received the first U.S. patent (No. 68) for the phosphorous friction safety match. Though the first friction matches were made and sold in England in 1827,  Phillips’ match– which could be safely stored/carried, then struck on any rough surface– was the first genuine friction match made in America. Known as “loco focos,” and later as “lucifers,” they were a key enabler of the spread of cigar smoking, of gas lighting, of gas cooking– and thus of the acceleration of interest in “finer” cooking that more-flexible gas stoves made possible– in the U.S.  Indeed, by the outbreak of the Civil War fifteen years later, about a million matches a day were being manufactured.

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Written by LW

October 24, 2013 at 1:01 am

Making ends meet…

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Most readers will know that Charlotte Bronte spent most of her daylight hours in service as a governess, and long-time (pre-blog) readers may remember that, in his capacity as Postal Surveyor, Anthony Trollope invented the iconic British “pillar box”…  but did one know that T.S. Eliot toiled as a bank clerk?  Or that Henry Fielding, the creator of the ribald Tom Jones, sat as a Magistrate?

Happy, Lapham’s Quarterly has provided a helpful chart:  Day Jobs.

As we turn again to that unfinished screenplay, we might recall that it was on this date in 1827 that John Walker, a chemist from Stockton-on-Tees, recorded the first ever sale of friction matches; Walker had accidentally created them the prior year by mixing potassium chlorate and antimony sulfide.  He recorded the first sales as “Sulphurata Hyper-Oxygenata Frict,” but by the second sale (five months later), he was getting the hang of naming: “friction lights.”

John Walker

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