A Hodgepodge of Interesting, Unexplainable, and Unbelievable Trivia II

Do you remember General Tom Thumb (the stage name for Charles Sherwood Stratton)? He was born on January 4th, 1838 and it became apparent that his growth had slowed down when he reached the age of six months. When he was five years old, he was signed to appear with the circus led by P.T. Barnum. Besides his unusually small height, everything was normal about the young lad.

With Barnum leading the way, the boy learned how to dance, sing, mime, and impersonate celebrities. He mastered the art of performing. By the time Tom was an adult, he had only grown to the height of one meter. As part of the circus, Tom toured with Barnum and gained notoriety. He eventually married a woman (Lavinia) of similar height.

However, on January 10th, 1883, a raging fire broke out at the Newhall House in Milwaukee, where Tom was living. More than 70 people lost their lives that day, but Tom and his wife narrowly escaped when his manager saved the two. Six months had passed and Tom suddenly passed away from a stroke. He was 45 years old and measured 3 foot 4 inches tall, weighing 70 pounds. Some say that he was never fully able to get over the fire at the hotel. Additional interesting worldwide facts include:

·    Since a disposal system to do away with all of the garbage during ancient Mesopotamian times, the people actually had to walk past and through streets filled with trash and waste.

·    There are plenty of depictions of the Chinese wearing pigtails, but did you know that in 1911, this practice was banned because it had become viewed as a symbol of feudalism , a term first used during the 17th century.

·    In 1928, a jeweler named Otto Rohwedder (July 7, 1880 , November 8, 1960) received the patent for sliced bread after spending 16 years working on a way to make bread last longer. In 1912, he began the path towards constructing the first automatic bread-slicing machine and was successful. His first attempt at the machine consisted on a prototype that held the bread in place using metal pins, but this idea fell through.

However, in 1927, he not only created a machine that would slice bread, but that would also wrap it. The first of these were sold to Frank Bench, where it was installed at the Chillicothe Baking Company in Missouri. The first loaf of sliced bread was sold and distributed on July 7th, 1928.

·    Do you know how terrible Ivan the Terrible was? So terrible, that he claimed to have “deflowered thousands of virgins and butchered a similar number of resulting offspring.”

·    In some parts of India, it was not unusual to see women choosing to burn alive on the funeral pyre of their husband. Thank goodness the British put an end to this practice.

·    Before World War II, touching the Emperor of Japan was unheard of and considered a sacrilege.