C is for Josephine Cochrane

Josephene Cochrane

Most modern kitchens boast a dishwasher to make our lives easier but how many of us realise that the first commercially successful automatic dishwasher was invented in 1886 by Josephine Cochrane?

Cochrane was born Josephine Garis in Ohio in 1839, the daughter of civil engineer John Garis and granddaughter of John Fitch, the inventor of the first steamboat service in the US. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

UncertainTEA

Brexit means.. er.. whatever you want it to
There hasn’t been much to smile about as we watched the slow-motion car crash that is Brexit so even more politically cynical Sunday Round-up than usual.

But I did spot this Brexit UncertainTEA cup and saucer which you can use to predict how things might eventually shake out by reading the tea leaves. Read more ›››

B is for Edwin “Teddy” Boston

The English clergy has had its fair share of eccentrics and one such is Edwin “Teddy” Boston who combined his clerical duties with a life-long passion for steam engines and who inspired a much-loved children’s character.

Boston was born in Solihull in the West Midlands in 1924 and studied at Jesus College, Cambridge before training for the ministry. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Music Charts
A UK-based design shop has made it easier to visualise the development of different genres of popular music by creating ‘blueprints’ of acid house, alternative, hip-hop and electronic music.

Tasty Trees
The holiday has fizzled out and we are faced with that familiar problem – how to dispose of the Christmas tree? One option is to eat it. Read more ›››

A is for Alan Abel

Of the many people I write about, the ones who brighten up a dull world are the pranksters and there is probably none greater than serial hoaxer Alan Abel.

Abel was born in 1924 in Zanesville, Ohio, but grew up in nearby Coshocton where his father kept the local general store, teaching his son the value of hucksterism at an early age. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Free from ’23
1st January was Public Domain Day 2019 when works from 1923 became free for all to use without permission or fee.

They include films such as Cecil B Demille’s The Ten Commandments, Agatha Christie’s The Murder on the Links and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran – and the song Yes! We Have No Bananas. Read more ›››

Z is for Alexander Zass

Apart from The World’s Strongest Man, the idea of watching feats of strength for entertainment seems faintly ridiculous, but strongmen were once great box office and one of the greatest was Alexander Zass.

Zass was born in Vilna, Poland, in 1888, but lived in Russia for most of his early life. He served in the Russian army in WWI and was wounded and taken prisoner by the Austrians in 1914. Read more ›››