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Posts Tagged ‘tin can

“Simplicity is the final achievement”*…

 

Most innovations evolve over time, but when it comes to the index card, there has been little room for improvement. The idea of using “little paper slips of a standard size” has been around since Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus formally adopted it in 1767, but the index card has remained virtually unchanged for the past 250 years.

Linnaeus was inundated with information in his herculean task of classifying plants under the system of binomial nomenclature. While inspecting the Queen of Sweden’s butterfly collection in 1752, he had the idea to use small, uniform cards to catalog his findings.

By the time he started using the system on a regular basis, his method had evolved to very much resemble index cards of today: 3×5 inches on card stock only slightly more substantial than everyday paper, with notes written across the card horizontally. Linnaeus’ innovation would eventually give birth to the Dewey Decimal System and other ambitious attempts to systematically categorize human knowledge—but it also had a dark side.

As Daniela Blei writes in the Atlantic, “From nature’s variety came an abiding preoccupation with the differences between people. As soon as anthropologists applied Linnaeus’s taxonomical system to humans, the category of race, together with the ideology of racism, was born.”…

From Vladimir Nabokov’s use of index cards to write his novels (and to do his interviews) to less expected uses, explore the lore at “Index Cards.”

See also “How the Humble Index Card Foresaw the Internet.”

* Frederic Chopin

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As we file ’em away, we might recall that it was on this date in 1795 that the French government announced a prize of 12,000 francs for a method of preserving food and transporting it to its armies.  Napoleon, who famously understood that an army travels on its stomach, had offered the award.

Nicolas Appert, who worked 14 years to perfect a method of storing food in sterilized glass containers, won the prize in 1810.  Interestingly, that same year (1810), Appert’s friend and agent, Peter Durand, took the invention to the other side.  He switched the medium from glass to metal and presented it to Napoleon’s enemies, the British– scoring  a patent (No. 3372) from King George for the preservation of food in metal (and glass and pottery) containers… the tin can.

One of Appert’s/Durand’s first cans

source

 

Written by LW

February 2, 2018 at 1:01 am

“Hell, when I was growing up, I could make a meal out of a package of Top Ramen and a bottle of Windex”*…

 

In 1958, Momofuku Ando, the founder of Nissin Food Products, invented Chicken Ramen, the first instant ramen product. In 1971, he created Cup Noodles, introducing the world to instant ramen in the form that’s become its avatar… Ando continued to create many variations on the theme, culminating, in 2005 (two years before his death at age 96) with Space Ramen (ramen packaged consumption during for space travel).

Ando’s personal fortune was dedicated at his death to the formation of the Ando Foundation, which has created the CupNoodles Museum.

Dig in at “CupNoodles Museum.”

* Coolio

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As we add the flavor packet, we might send well-preserved birthday greetings to Nicolas Appert; he was born on this date in 1752 (though the year is listed in various sources as 1749, 1750 and 1752; month also varies between October and November).  Inventor of the canning process, preserving food by sealing it in sterilized containers, he published the results of 14 years of research in 1810 and received 12,000 franc award from the French government. Napoleon, who famously understood that an army travels on its stomach, had offered the award.

Interestingly, that same year (1810), Appert’s friend and agent, Peter Durand, took the invention to the other side.  He switched the medium from glass to metal and presented it to Napoleon’s enemies, the British– scoring  a patent (No. 3372) from King George for the preservation of food in metal (and glass and pottery) containers– the tin can.

One of Appert’s/Durand’s first cans

source

 

Written by LW

October 23, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Do you know what I miss most about baseball? The pine tar, the resin, the grass, the dirt — and that’s just in the hot dogs”*…

 

When Tamar Adler decided to hand-make hot dogs for a summer wedding party, she had no idea what she was getting herself into…

The extraordinary tale in its entirety at “How the Sausage Is Made: A Look Inside the World of Bespoke Hot Dogs.”

* David Letterman (during the baseball strike)

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As we relish relish, we might recall that it was on this date in 1810 that Peter Durand was granted a patent (No. 3372) by King George for the preservation of food in metal (and glass and pottery) containers– the tin can.  Durand was acting as an agent for his friend, the French inventor Nicolas Appert, who had won 12,000 francs from the French military for devising a method of storing food.  Sometimes called “the father of canning,” Appert actually used sealed glass jars to preserve food.  Durand switched to metal.

One of Durand’s first cans

 source

Written by LW

August 25, 2015 at 1:01 am

Oh, the Ig-Nobility of it all…

 

Thanks to two of this year’s winners, the Wasabi Silent Fire Alarm (Chemistry Prize)…

…and Vilnius’ young Mayor’s novel solution to parking problems (Peace Prize)…

…this year’s Ig Nobel Awards have happily gotten rather more attention than usual.  But lest one miss the full range of achievement celebrated, one should visit the complete list of 2011 winners, where one will find less-widely reported, but equally-educational winners like:

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Darryl Gwynne (of CANADA and AUSTRALIA and the UK and the USA) and David Rentz (of AUSTRALIA and the USA) for discovering that a certain kind of beetle mates with a certain kind of Australian beer bottle

REFERENCE: “Beetles on the Bottle: Male Buprestids Mistake Stubbies for Females (Coleoptera),” D.T. Gwynne, and D.C.F. Rentz, Journal of the Australian Entomological Society, vol. 22, , no. 1, 1983, pp. 79-80

REFERENCE: “Beetles on the Bottle,” D.T. Gwynne and D.C.F. Rentz, Antenna: Proceedings (A) of the Royal Entomological Society London, vol. 8, no. 3, 1984, pp. 116-7.

 

As we cue up those old episodes of Mr. Wizard, we might recall that it was on this date in 1866 that J. Osterhoudt patented the tin can with a key opener (“Method of Opening Tin Cans,” U.S. Patent No. 58,554).  An ancestor of the “pop top” and “pull tab,” the “key” was used to roll a thin top from a can. The approach survives to this day, notably with canned meat products.

source

 

Written by LW

October 2, 2011 at 1:01 am

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