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.
Pink for girls, blue for boys. Or is it pink for boys, blue for girls? A persistent myth holds that colour stereotypes flipped some time in the 20th century.
The Emeco 1006 Navy chair was originally designed to survive a torpedo hit. In continuous production since 1944, it has found a second life as the go-to chair for interrogation scenes in film.
Knitting is hundreds of years old, but similar techniques are even older: sprang dates back to 1400 BCE at least, and nålebinding as far as 6500 BCE.
“Stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni.” What does that even mean? As it turns out, a macaroni was an 18th century hipster.
The hobble skirt was an unfortunate fashion trend in the early 20th century. Women’s skirts were tied very tight at the hem, preventing them from running or even walking fast – hence the nickname “speed-limit skirt.”
From 1878 through to his death in 1934, Willy Clarkson was king of the wigmakers of London. He provided disguises to Scotland Yard (and was rumoured to have supplied Jack the Ripper also), theatre actors, and Virginia Woolf.