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Unusual, unique, and uncommon facts about a diversity of subjects:

Trivia about products, advertising, and inventions


(82 facts)

67 million pounds of pesticides and about 3 million tons of fertilizer are used annually on lawns in the US.

A single share of Coca-Cola stock, purchased in 1919, when the company went public, would have been worth $92,500 in 1997.

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger bought the first Hummer manufactured for civilian use in 1992. The vehicle weighed in at 6,300 lbs and was 7 feet wide.

Americans consume 29 billion, or 58 percent, of the 50 billion aspirin tablets which are taken worldwide each year.

Americans spend more than $5 billion a year on cosmetics, toiletries, beauty parlors and barber shops.

Americans spent over $360 million in 1982 to avoid having bad breath.

Bayer was advertising cough medicine containing heroin in 1898.

Britain's first escalator was installed in Harrods in 1878.

BVD stands for the organizers of the company: Bradley, Voorhies, and Day.

Carbonated soda water was invented in 1767 by Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen.

Cheerios cereal was originally called Cheerioats.

Chewing gum was patented in 1869 by William Semple.

Coca-Cola was so named back in 1885 for its two 'medicinal' ingredients: extract of coca leaves and kola nuts. As for how much cocaine was originally in the formulation, it's hard to know.

Cocaine was sold to cure sore throat, neuralgia, nervousness, headache, colds and sleeplessness in the 1880s.

Colgate claims "Tooth Fairy" as a registered trademark.

Dismal first-year sales of famous products:
1. VW Beetle (U.S.)--sold 330 first year.
2. Liquid Paper--sold 1,200 bottles first year
3. Cuisinart--sold 200 first year.
4. Remington typewriter--sold 8 first year.
5. Scrabble--sold 532 first year.
6. Coca-Cola--sold 25 bottles first year. (For total of $50; supplies and advertising ran $70.)

During the Prohibition, at least 1,565 Americans died from drinking bad liquor, hundreds were blinded, and many were killed in bootlegger wars. Federal Agents and the Coast Guard made 75,000 arrests per year.

False eyelashes were invented by film director D.W. Griffith while he was making the 1916 epic, "Intolerance." He wanted actress Seena Owen to have lashes that brushed her cheeks.

For two years, during the 1970s, Mattel marketed a doll called "Growing Up Skipper." Her breasts grew when her arm was turned.

G.I. Joe was introduced at the annual American International Toy Fair in New York on Feb. 9, 1964.

Gatorade was named for the University of Florida Gators where it was first developed.

Hershey's Kisses are called that because the machine that makes them looks like it's kissing the conveyor belt.

Hungarian brothers George and L"szlo Biro invented the ball point pen in 1938.

IBM's motto is 'Think.'

If you put a raisin in a glass of champagne, it will keep floating to the top and sinking to the bottom.

In 1889, the 1st coin-operated telephone, patented by Hartford, Connecticut inventor William Gray, was installed in the Hartford Bank. Local calls using a coin-operated phone in the U.S. cost only 5 cents everywhere until 1951.

In 1964 General Mills began marketing Lucky Charms cereal with pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. The marshmallow bits (technically referred to as marbits) were invented in 1963 by John Holahan. The cereal is marketed using a leprechaun character named Lucky (L.C. Leprechaun is his full name) that touts his cereal as being "Magically Delicious." Over the years the various shapes and colors of the marshmallow bits in the cereal have undergone many changes.

In 1965, LBJ enacted a law requiring cigarette manufacturers to put health warnings on their packages.

In 1984, a Canadian farmer began renting advertising space on his cows.

In 1991 Procter & Gamble won a $75,000 lawsuit against James & Linda Newton who were found responsible for spreading rumors that the company supported the Church of Satan. The two were distributors of Amway Products, a competitor of Proctor & Gamble.

In 4000 BC Egypt, men and women wore glitter eye shadow made from the crushed shells of beetles.

In M&M candies, the letters stand for Mars and Murrie, the developers of the candy in 1941.

In the 1700s, European women achieved a pale complexion by eating "Arsenic Complexion Wafers" actually made with the poison.

Insulin was discovered in 1922 by Sir Frederick Banting and Dr. Charles Best.

It was the Frisbie Pie Company of Bridgeport, CT, whose name -- and lightweight pie tins -- gave birth to the modern Frisbee.

Jergens Lotion was created by Andrew Jergens, a former lumberjack, in 1880.

Kikkoman soy sauce was originated in 1630 in Japan.

Kotex was first manufactured as bandages, during W.W.I.

Laser stands for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation." Developed 1950s - 1960s.

Levi Strauss blue jeans with copper rivets were priced at $13.50 per dozen in 1874.

Money isn't made out of paper, it's made out of linen.

Most American car horns honk in the key of F.

Most lipstick contains fish scales.

Penicillin was first produced synthetically in a laboratory in 1946.

Perfume contains ethyl alcohol and 25% fragrant oils. Cologne is cheaper to produce and to purchase because the oil content in cologne is only 3%. Cologne was named for the German city in which it was first produced. The original formula combined alcohol, lemon spirits, orange bitters and mint oil.

The 1st personal computer, the Apple II, went on sale in 1977.

The 1st unattended, 24-hour self-service laundromat in the United States was opened by Nelson Puett in 1949 on North Loop in Austin, Texas

The Baby Ruth candy bar was actually named after Grover Cleveland's baby daughter, Ruth.

The Brownie box camera, introduced by Eastman Kodak, sold for $1.00 in 1900. The camera's 6-exposure film sold for 15 cents.

The Butterfinger candy bar was first produced by Chicago's Curtiss Candy Co. in 1923. As an advertising ploy, candy bars were dropped from an airplane on cities in 40 states.

The condom - made originally of linen - was invented in the early 1500's.

The electric chair was invented by Dr. Alphonse Rockwell and was first used on William Kemmler on August 6, 1890.

The first brand of Wrigley's chewing gum was called "Vassar", after the New England woman's college. Next were "Lotta" and "Sweet Sixteen Orange."

The first Corvette rolled off the Chevrolet assembly line in Flint, MI. in 1953. That early 'Vette sold for $3,250.

The first credit card, issued in 1950, was Diner's Club. Frank X. McNamara started the company with 200 card holders.

The first product to have a UPC bar code on its packaging was Wrigley's gum.

The first safety feature for an automobile was invented in 1908 by John O'Leary. He patented a large net, to be installed on the front fender, to scoop pedestrians out of the way before they could be run over.

The first seeing-eye dog was presented to a blind person on April 25, 1938.

The first suburban shopping mall was opened in 1922 by National Department Stores in Saint Louis.

The first toothbrush with bristles was developed in China in 1498. Bristles were taken from hogs at first, later from horses. The nylon bristles were developed in 1938 by DuPont.

The first toy product ever advertised on television was Mr. Potato HeadŽ. Introduced in 1952.

The first US consumer product sold in the Soviet Union was Pepsi-Cola.

The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.

The Prudential Life Insurance Company in USA stopped using their slogan "Own A Piece Of The Rock" after Rock Hudson died of AIDS and many jokes where made about him and the slogan.

The revolving door was invented August 7, 1888, by Theophilus Van Kannel, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The safety pin was patented in 1849 by Walter Hunt. He sold the patent rights for $400.

The sewing machine was patented on August 12, 1851, by Isaac Singer of Pittstown, New York.

The soldiers of World War I were the first people to use the modern flushing toilet. The inventor: Thomas Crapper.
This sounds feasible, but isn't true! Crapper actually invented the automatic shut-off mechanism used in the modern toilet.
"Flushable" toilets were in use in ancient Rome.

The United States minted a 1787 copper coin with the motto 'Mind Your Business.'

The WD in WD-40 stands for Water Displacement. It was invented on the 40th try for a formula that worked.

The word vaccine comes from the Latin word "vacca," which means cow. This name was chosen because the first vaccination was derived from cowpox which was given to a boy.

The world's first adhesive postage stamp went on sale in England in 1840. It was the Penny Black, portraying Queen Victoria.

The world's first singing commercial aired on the radio on Christmas Eve, 1926 for Wheaties cereal. The four male singers, eventually known as the Wheaties Quartet, sang the jingle.

The yo-yo was introduced in 1929 by Donald F. Duncan. The toy was based on a weapon used by 16th-century Filipino hunters.

There are about 30 milligrams of caffeine in the average chocolate bar, while a cup of coffee contains around 100 to 150 milligrams.

There are two credit cards for every person in the United States.

Townsend Speakman of Philadelphia mixed fruit flavor with soda water in 1807, creating the first flavored soda pop, he called it Nephite Julep.

Two in every three car buyers pays the sticker price without arguing.

VHS stands for Video Home System.

When Scott Paper Co. first started manufacturing toilet paper they did not put their name on the product because of embarrassment.

Wrigley's promoted their new spearmint-flavored chewing gum in 1915 by mailing 4 sample sticks to each of the 1.5 million names listed in US telephone books.

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