The Daddy Long Legs of Brighton.

The Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway was a unique coastline railway in Brighton, England that ran through the shallow waters of the English Channel between 1896 and 1901. Magnus Volk, its owner, designer and engineer, had already been successful with the more conventional Volk’s Electric Railway, which had then not been extended east of […]

Laszlo Biro & the Birth of the Ballpoint Pen.

The Hungarian Laszlo Biro (above), a magazine publisher, noticed, during a visit to a printer, how quickly the printer’s ink dried. It occurred to him that this fast-drying ink would work well in a fountain pen. This dense ink, however, would not flow through a pen. Therefore, Biro decided to replace the metal writing nib […]

“Double Cheese Toasted Sandwich.”

The Islington Railway Workshops in Adelaide were certainly full of characters and none more than Brian Cahill a staunch Union man who could eat the leg off a chair. During winter the Steel Car shop had a series of kerosene heaters that would roar away for most of the day and would attract cold workers […]

Ghost Towns – Two Guns, Arizona.

The story behind Two Guns, originally called Canyon Lodge, is a sad one. It all started in the 1920s, when the infamous Route 66 gained massive traffic from adventurous travellers. Many of these travellers stopped for supplies at Canyon Lodge, which was just a small trading post run by Earle and Louise Cundiff at the […]

Joseph Gayetty – Inventor of Toilet Paper.

The first mentions of toilet paper were found in the Chinese 5th century writings and during the 14th century. They even started regular mass production of such paper in the amounts of over 10 million sheets in only one province. Wealthy citizens and the royal family in Beijing even had access to the several types […]

The Dark Side of Romulus and Remus.

The childhood of Romulus and Remus. Gregorio Lazzarini (1655—1730). Oil on canvas. Early 1700s. Saint-Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum. Romulus and Remus were born to the vestal virgin Rhea Silva after she’d been seduced, some say raped, by Mars. At their birth they were immediately sentenced to death by their great-uncle Amulius, who had previously […]

Phryne the Magnificent of Ancient Athens.

As a child, she was called Mnesarete (Greek for “virtue”), but because she was born with sallow skin, she was called Phryne (Greek for “toad”). Still, Phryne became the most successful and sought-after courtesan in ancient Greece, commanding 100 times the going rate. Supposedly, she was even the model for the sculpture called Aphrodite of […]

How Elephants built the Ancient World.

The Battle of Zama by Henri-Paul Motti. Public domain illustration Without elephants, the ancient Library of Alexandria might not have existed. By 275 BCE, Alexandria was the largest, most beautiful city in the world. Its buildings were made of limestone and marble, imported from places worlds away. Its relatively temperate climate meant that flowers were […]

The Pubs of Port Adelaide.

The Port of Adelaide, which was proclaimed in 1837, shares this distinction particularly when the first settlers arrived and sought refreshment and relaxation after many months cooped up in small areas below the decks of slow sailing vessels. As with any port, alcoholic beverages were in demand by the free immigrants from the United Kingdom […]