Looking for a new hobby? Try folding banknotes into origami.
The kilt was banned in 1746, forcing the Scots to wear “the unmanly dress of the Lowlander.”
The 1960 Oakeshott typology is a military historian’s attempt to classify the full range of European medieval swords.
Need to hide your smallpox or syphilis scars? Try fake beauty marks made of velvet, silk, or mouse fur.
Worshippers of many different religious use beads on a string to count prayers: Catholic Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, and Baháʼís.
The inventor of the pie chart and the bar chart was also a secret agent who helped collapse the French revolutionary government’s economy through an elaborate counterfeiting operation.
For the several of the first modern Olympic Games you could win a gold medal in sculpture, painting, music, literature, or architecture.
In southern and south-eastern Asia and the Pacific, teeth were blackened or lacquered to keep them intact and healthy.
In 1975 the artists Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt published a set of cards designed to provoke creative thinking. The Oblique Strategies deck has become a legend of the art and design worlds.
Ever see someone get hit over the head with a bottle in an old film? They could probably eat the glass afterwards.
In ancient art from Europe to India a particular artistic motif frequently appears: a male or female figure grabbing two wild creatures, one in each hand. These are the Master and Mistress of Animals.
The Areni-1 cave in southern Armenia is the site of the oldest shoe, and also the oldest winery, in the world.
The portable vacuum cleaner Dustbuster was built on the back of technology for the moon landings.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, why would you paint anything else? The eye miniature was one of the oddest trends in late 1700s art.
Europe has a long tradition of puzzle and prank cups and jugs: to drink out of these vessels you must first solve a mechanical challenge.