1. Ketchup was sold in the 1830s as medicine. (I think my husband still thinks it is medicine. He puts it on spaghetti. Yeah, I know. Its gross!)
2. Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time. (I am lucky if I can chew gum and walk at the same time! I am even more amazed by him than ever!)
3. During the California Gold Rush of 1849 miners sent their laundry to Honolulu for washing and pressing. Due to the high costs in California during these years it was deemed more feasible to send the shirts to Hawaii for servicing. (Yeah, right. I think at work, we should come up with some excuse to be the deliverer for them....go to Hawaii to pick up a Bic Pen, for instance).4. American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first class. (I don't even like olives. And, now they are eliminating ANY food and charging us for an extra suitcase. So THIS is where it all started!)
5. The number of possible ways of playing the first four moves per side in a game of chess is 318,979,564,000. (I wouldn't know. I got so frustrated once when my husband tried to teach me how to play chess that I started crying. He never brought it up again).
6. Upper and lower case letters are named 'upper' and 'lower', because in the time when all original print had to be set in individual letters, the 'upper case' letters were stored in the case on top of the case that stored the smaller, 'lower case' letters. The proper term for upper case letters is "majuscule" and for lower case it's "minuscule". (Who knew? So now I gotta rearrange my underwear drawer. It isn't under anything!)
7. The printing industry gives us other popular phrases, such as "mind your 'p's and 'q's." The moveable block type had the letters in reverse so they would read correctly when imprinted on paper. Apprentices had to remove the type from the pages and return the blocks to their upper and lower cases. Each drawer in the case held a different size of letters, and each drawer was divided into compartments (called sorts) for each letter. The letters 'p' and 'q' could easily be mistaken, so the master printer would advise their apprentices to mind their 'p's and 'q's. (What is with the drawer fetish the publishers had. For God's sake, did they know Martha Stewart? Or watch HGTV???)8. When the master printer was building a page and discovered that a particular sort was empty, he would get angry. Thus the term "out of sorts". (I have a few former bosses that fit that description. (Other than ASS that is)).
9. The question mark came from a monk habit of writing the Latin word for question, quo, at the end of sentences. Over time, the letters were written vertically to save space and morphed into the ? we write today. Similarly, the exclamation point came from the Latin word "Lo", meaning something important that should be heeded. (Lo and behold...) (We are lucky that it was a monk and that he didn't draw something related to profanity. I mean, it had to be a shitload of work to write all that handwritten fancy calligraphy!)
10. Wellfleet, Massachusetts has the only town clock in the world that strikes ship's time. (Rings every half hour, to a maximum of 8 rings at the end of each four hour period.) (Remind me to sell hearing aides in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. And: PROZAC).