In 1930 the Swedish match magnate Ivar Kreuger negotiated a legal monopoly with Germany; it lasted for fifty three years.
The “personal carbon footprint” concept was popularised by an oil company advertising campaign to divert attention away from their own climate-unfriendly practices.
Walter E. Scott performed in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, scammed thousands of dollars with a fake gold mine, set a cross-country train speed record, and claimed to be building a castle in the midst of Death Valley.
By most modern interpretations, Islamic law forbids charging interest. So some modern banks have found ways to profitably lend money without it.
The creators of the cult children’s TV show H. R. Pufnstuf once sued McDonald’s for plagiarism – and won big.
The French artist Yves Klein sold empty space – an invisible “zone of immaterial pictorial sensibility.” Buyers paid in gold, half of which Klein would throw into the Seine River.
Eugene Debs received more than 900,000 votes in the 1920 American presidential election – while in prison for sedition.
How did people wake up in the morning before alarm clocks? They paid to get knocked up.
The fastest sailing route around the world – the Clipper route – is also the most dangerous.
The bridges depicted on the Euro banknotes were fictional… until the Dutch city Spijkenisse built them all.
Some people will go to absurd lengths to get revenge on their neighbours – including building houses purely out of spite.
From the 15th to the 19th century CE, the Akan used sets of ornate statues as a measurement system for weighing gold dust, but also encoding and reinforcing cultural knowledge at the same time.
In World War I, phenol was a key ingredient in aspirin, explosives, and phonograph records. German agents secretly redirected Thomas Edison’s excess phenol supply to prevent it being used for British bombs.
The oldest known postcard was sent by a practical joker to himself to embarrass the postal service.
At the start of this year the largest free trade agreement in the world came into effect, with the goal of connecting the entire African continent.
Al-Khazneh, the temple carved out of a cliff in Petra, is the most famous remnant of the Nabataean Kingdom. But to its south lies Hegra, the cursed stoneland city.