Air purifiers evolved in response to people's reactions to allergens like pollen, animal dander, dust, and mold spores. Reactions (sneezing, runny nose, scratchy eyes, and even more severe consequences such as asthma attacks) are the result of antigens found in the home.
Although considered a gem, amber is a wholly-organic material derived from the resin of extinct species of trees. In the dense forests of the Middle Cretaceous and Tertiary periods, between 10 and 100 million years ago, these resin-bearing trees fell and were carried by rivers to coastal regions.
Earth's atmosphere weighs about 6.5 × 1021 (5.98 × 1024). Spread out across Earth's entire surface area, it exerts an air (barometric) pressure of about 14.7 pounds per square inch (psi) (101 kilopascals [kPa]) at sea level.
Artificial turf is a surfacing material used to imitate grass. It is generally used in areas where grass cannot grow, or in areas where grass maintenance is impossible or undesired.
A bank vault is a secure space where money, valuables, records, and documents can be stored. Vaults protect their contents with armored walls and a tightly fashioned door closed with a complex lock.
The bicycle seat, sometimes known as a saddle, is the part of the bicycle on which the rider sits while operating the machine. Generally made from hard plastic and covered with a thin layer of foam and an easily-cleaned cover, the seat is nearly identical on a bicycle whether it was made for a man, woman, or child.
Modern binoculars consist of two barrel chambers with an objective lens, eyepiece, and a pair of prisms inside. The prisms reflect and lengthen the light, while the objective lenses enhance and magnify images due to stereoscopic vision.
Bird cages are homes for domesticated birds. Birds require a house in which they can fly and have some freedom but still ensures they do not fly away.
Birdseed is a mixture of seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables provided to birds for sustenance. It is produced in a two-stage process that involves preparing the component ingredients then combining them in a mixing kettle.
The name brandy comes from the Dutch word brandewijn, meaning "burnt wine." The name is apt as most brandies are made by applying heat, originally from open flames, to wine. The heat drives out and concentrates the alcohol naturally present in the wine.
There is a serious need to ensure that alcohol-impaired drivers stay off the roads. It is estimated that one person is killed every 32 minutes and another person is injured every 26 seconds in alcohol-related accidents.
A bullet is a projectile, often a pointed metal cylinder, that is shot from a firearm. The bullet is usually part of an ammunition cartridge, the object that contains the bullet and that is inserted into the firearm.
A candy cane is a hard candy usually peppermint flavored and decorated with stripes. The candy is long, thin, and bent at the top to resemble a walking cane.
The cash register is an essential business tool that is often overlooked as one of the transforming mechanizations of the industrial age. A cash register records the amount of a sale, supplies a receipt to the customer, and keeps a permanent journal of daily transactions.
A catheter is a flexible tube made of latex, silicone, or Teflon that can be inserted into the body creating a channel for the passage of fluid or the entry of a medical device. For many years, the epidermal catheters used were plain tubes made of available industrial compounds, and design was largely based on current need.
Condensed soup is a canned variety of soup prepared with a reduced proportion of water. The consumer then adds water or milk and the mixture is heated.
The corset is an undergarment traditionally made of stiffened material laced tight to the body in order to slim a woman's waist. Evidence shows that some type of waist-cinching garment was worn by Cretan women between 3000 and 1500 B.C., but narrow waists became the fashion among women in Europe during the Middle Ages.
The modern cyclotron uses two hollow D-shaped electrodes held in a vacuum between poles of an electromagnet. A high frequency AC voltage is then applied to each electrode.
Commercial divers doing underwater construction or salvage often use a diving bell for transportation to the underwater site. Use of a diving bell (also known as a Personal Transfer Capsule, PTC) and a pressure chamber extends the amount of time a diver can safely stay underwater.
Drain cleaners, sometimes referred to as drain uncloggers, are solutions that are poured into sluggish or clogged drains in order to clear them. These solutions are devised to dissolve human hair, human waste, or food particles that stop up kitchen sinks or tub and shower drains.
Dry ice is the name given to carbon dioxide when it is in a solid state. Carbon dioxide is found in the earth's atmosphere; it is a gas that humans exhale and plants use for photosynthesis.
An electroencephalogram (EEG) machine is a device used to create a picture of the electrical activity of the brain. It has been used for both medical diagnosis and neurobiological research.
Developed in the early part of the twentieth century, the electric guitar has become one of the most important instruments in popular music. Today's solid-body electric guitar derives from the acoustic guitar, an instrument first introduced in America as the Spanish-style guitar.
The sole purpose of the tea kettle is to boil water. Water for coffee and for many cooking uses does not have to be boiled, but fresh, cool water that is brought fully to a boil is essential for tasty tea.
Epilation refers to removal of hairs from below the skin's surface. Examples of epilation devices include tweezers, waxes, electrolysis, and laser hair removal.
An external defibrillator is a device that delivers an electric shock to the heart through the chest wall. This shock helps restore the heart to a regular, healthy rhythm.
A fabric softener is a liquid composition added to washing machines during the rinse cycle to make clothes feel better to the touch. These products work by depositing lubricating chemicals on the fabric that make it feel softer, reduce static cling, and impart a fresh fragrance.
A feather duster is a cleaning device that uses bird feathers (certain feathers from a small number of species are preferred) to remove dust from objects. High quality dusters use feathers from the outer layers of an ostrich's feathers.
Most fabrics are woven, meaning they are constructed on a loom and have interlocking warp (the thread or fiber that is strung lengthwise on the loom) and weft (the thread that cuts across the warp fiber and interlocks with it) fibers that create a flat piece of fabric. Felt is a dense, non-woven fabric and without any warp or weft.
A fluoride treatment is a mineral solution applied to teeth in order to strengthen them and help prevent cavities. Fluoride containing products include commercially available toothpaste and mouth rinse, as well as more concentrated liquids and gels used professionally by dentists.
Humans have used various instruments to convey thoughts and feelings. Man's first writing instrument was his finger, using it to form symbols in the dirt.
A furnace is a device that produces heat. Not only are furnaces used in the home for warmth, they are used in industry for a variety of purposes such as making steel and heat treating of materials to change their molecular structure.
A gas lantern is a lightweight, portable device that supplies bright, efficient light while protecting its contents from wind and rain. Rural dwellers and outdoorsmen alike have relied on variations of the modern gas lantern for roughly 100 years, allowing access to barns, cabins, campgrounds, and wooded paths beyond the daylight hours.
Diabetes mellitus effects an estimated 16 million people in the United States. An additional five million people have the disease and do not realize it.
As a formal game, hockey began to be played in North America in the 1870s in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The first organized hockey league began with four teams in Kingston, Ontario in 1885.
Grenades come in a variety of sizes and shapes depending on their function, but all have two things in common. First, they are hollow to allow filling with explosive or chemical filler.
The guillotine evokes images of horrifying and bloody public executions during the French Revolution in the eighteenth century. Many historians consider this device the first execution method that lessened the victim's pain and the first step in raising public awareness of the morality of the death penalty.
A hair dryer, also known as a blow dryer, is an electrical device used to dry and style hair. It uses an electric fan to blow air across a heating coil; as the air passes through the dryer it heats up.
Hairsprays belong to a class of personal care products that help hair to hold a desired style. These products contain film forming ingredients that are applied as a fine mist.
Handcuffs are standard law enforcement and security industry tools used for restraining and controlling dangerous or unreasonable people. Police officers routinely use handcuffs in their work.
Headstones are known by many different names, such as memorial stones, grave markers, gravestones, and tombstones. All of which apply to the function of headstones; the memorialization and remembrance of the deceased.
An ice resurfacing machine shaves the ice, removes the shavings, washes and squeegees the ice, and has enough carrying capacity to clear the ice surface in one run, making it completely smooth. Ice resurfacing machines are widely known by the brand name Zamboni.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and is required for the body to function normally. Insulin is produced by cells in the pancreas, called the islets of Langerhans.
An ironing board is generally a large, flat piece of board or metal that is covered with a heat-safe padding on which clothing or linens may be ironed safely. Modern ironing boards take a surprising number of forms.
For centuries, people all over the world have been drinking fruit juice. Today, it is available in both frozen concentrate and liquid form and packaged in a variety of ways, including bottles, cans, and—most recently—boxes.
Kerosene is an oil distillate commonly used as a fuel or solvent. It is a thin, clear liquid consisting of a mixture of hydrocarbons that boil between 302°F and 527°F (150°C and 275°C).
The laser pointer is a low cost portable laser that can be carried in the hand. It is designed for use during presentations to point out areas of the slide or picture being presented, replacing a hand held wooden stick or extendable metal pointer.
The lawn sprinkler is a mechanism through which water is distributed in a spray so that a residential lawn or garden is irrigated. Sprinklers may take extraordinarily large forms, such as the irrigation systems used by professional farmers to water crops in the field.
The discovery of tobacco in the New World in the sixteenth century and the opening of a worldwide market created the need for a portable way to make fire. Pieces of flint and steel struck against each other and modified pistols were early devices.
The subsurface of a major city teems with subsurface utilities: sewers, storm drains, steam tunnels, and utility corridors. Access ways, called manholes are dug down to these subsurface conduits at regular intervals to allow maintenance workers to reach them.
One of the most recognizable of the percussion instruments is the maracas, a pair of rattles made from gourds. Maracas are essential to Latin and South American orchestras and bands, and other musical forms that have adopted the rhythm of the maracas.
A microphone is a device that converts mechanical energy waves or sound into electrical energy waves. Speaking into a microphone excites (moves) a diaphragm that is coupled to a device that creates an electrical current proportional to the sound waves produced.
Mops are classified in two main divisions as either wet or dry mops. Wet mops are commonly used to clean kitchen and bathroom floors.
The inspiration for the development of motion pictures and projectors can be traced to a variety of sources including theaters, circuses, and magic shows. Another important factor was the understanding of the phenomenon of persistence of vision.
Night scopes, or night vision devices, are used to intensify human sight under very low light conditions. There are several types of night vision scopes.
Oxygen (atomic number, 8; atomic weight, 16) is essential for all living things and has the ability to combine with almost all other elements. When elements fuse with oxygen, they are labeled as being oxidized.
A pacifier is a form of an artificial nipple on which the baby or child sucks. Fluids do no pass through the pacifier, rather, the action of sucking on the nipple is thought to soothe or calm the baby, quieting the baby, and even alleviating the burning and itching of the gums during teething.
The paper clip is a nearly ubiquitous device, used worldwide to temporally hold papers together. The technology for manufacturing paper clips evolved in the early years of the twentieth century, and has remained virtually unchanged since the 1930s.
A pizza is a round, open pie made with yeast dough and topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and a variety of other ingredients.
The pop up book is a book with paper elements within the pages that may be manipulated by the reader. Many refer to such a book as a moveable book.
A punching bag is a round or cylindrical piece of athletic equipment used by professional boxers for training and by amateurs for exercise. The bags come in a variety of sizes for a variety of uses.
Pyrex glass is a borosilicate glass first produced by The Corning Glass Works company. It is made by heating raw materials like silica sand and boric oxide to extremely high temperatures for extended periods of time.
The radio receives electromagnetic waves from the air that are sent by a radio transmitter. Electromagnetic waves are a combination of electrical and magnetic fields that overlap.
Pet owners have long struggled with adequate measures of pet containment. Inadequately confined pets run the risk of damaging property and endangering the animal.
A revolving door is used to control traffic or heating and air conditioning in a building. The revolving door structure consists of individual door panels (or wings), a center shaft with the hardware needed to support the door wings, a circular structure called a "rotunda" or "drum" that is usually fitted with glass, and the ceiling (supported by the rotunda) that contains either a mechanical braking device (used to control the speed of the doors) or an electronic device that uses a motor to drive the doors automatically.
A rolling pin is a simple tool used to flatten dough.
Rubik's cube is a toy puzzle designed by Erno Rubik during the mid-1970s. It is a cube-shaped device made up of smaller cube pieces with six faces having differing colors.
The traditional bathroom scale is used to measure a person's body weight. It is based on a spring system that uses the weight of the person to depress a lever, which in turn rotates a sprocket attached to the dial.
The ship is obviously much larger than the opening in the bottle. Many people think the underside of the bottle is cut away; the ship, however, is made of wood and its sails and rigging are paper and thread.
There has always been a high demand among military strategists for economical means of killing enemy soldiers. Economy is required not so much to save money, but to allow outnumbered soldiers the opportunity to win battles.
A sleeping pill, also commonly called a sleep aid, is a drug that helps a person fall asleep or remain sleeping. Disorders such as insomnia (inability to sleep) are widespread, and drugs to induce sleep have been used since ancient times.
Smoked ham is a popular serving of meat, cut from the pork leg. It is cured with salt and spices, then subjected to slow and steady heat for varying periods.
A speedometer is a device used to measure the traveling speed of a vehicle, usually for the purpose of maintaining a sensible pace. Its development and eventual status as a standard feature in automobiles led to the enforcement of legal speed limits, a notion that had been in practice since the inception of horseless carriages but had gone largely ignored by the general public.
A spinning wheel is a machine used to turn fiber into thread or yarn. This thread or yarn is then woven as cloth on a loom.
A spork is an eating utensil designed with features of both a spoon and a fork. The overall shape is similar to a spoon complete with a handle and a small bowl-like structure at the end.
Spray paint is an aerosol product designed to be dispensed as a fine mist. Compared to conventional brush methods of painting, spray painting is faster and provides a more uniform application.
A loudspeaker or speaker is a device that converts electrical energy waves into mechanical energy waves or audible sounds. Sound is produced by the vibration of an object.
The stereoptic viewer is a toy with a relatively simple plastic body, but also a sophisticated lenses for looking at a pair of photographic transparencies mounted, along with six other pairs, in a flat paper reel. Each so-called stereo pair has a photo viewed through the left eyepiece and another viewed through the right.
An engine is a machine that converts energy into useful work: burning coal to turn the drive shaft of a power plant generator, for example. The most common engine in production today is the gasoline-powered automobile engine.
A straight pin is a small length of stiff wire with a head at one end and a point at the other end. It is used to fasten pieces of cloth or paper together.
A sushi roll is a food of Asian origin that features rice and seafood wrapped in seaweed (nori). Until the end of the twentieth century, sushi rolls were only available in restaurants.
A surgical suture is used to close the edges of a wound or incision and to repair damaged tissue. There are many kinds of sutures, with different properties suitable for various uses.
The most common type of in-ground manufactured swimming pool on the market today is the concrete pool. Although there are a wide variety of manufactured pools on the market (concrete, fiberglass, and vinyl), concrete pools represent 60% of pools being built today.
A swimsuit is an article of clothing used for swimming and sunbathing. For women, the swimsuit is either a two-piece bra and panty ensemble or a one-piece maillot style.
The table is a basic piece of household furniture. It generally consists of a flat top that is supported by either a set of legs, pillars, or trestles.
A tattoo is a design that is permanently etched in the skin using needles and ink. The word tattoo is derived from the Tahitian term "tatua," which means "to mark." Tattoos have been displayed by people of all cultures for centuries, but they have only recently gained social acceptance in the United States.
Teflon is the registered trade name of the highly useful plastic material polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE is one of a class of plastics known as fluoropolymers.
Although Alexander Graham Bell is credited with the invention of the telephone, the "telephon" (made from a hollowed out beer barrel, a sausage skin, and a knitting needle) was an original prototype being researched in 1860 by Philipp Reis. The mechanism of the phone was uncovered in 1874 and focused on musical reproduction, but the actual resolution of electricity and voice transmission was actually invented in 1876 by Bell.
Tiaras are marks of distinction and style worn by women of royalty and for special events such as pageants, proms, and weddings. Revivals of interest in romantic ensembles, like those seen in movies and in period costumes, make tiaras fascinating headdresses.
Titanium is known as a transition metal on the periodic table of elements denoted by the symbol Ti. It is a lightweight, silver-gray material with an atomic number of 22 and an atomic weight of 47.90.
A toaster is a small appliance that uses heat to brown and harden bread.
The tuxedo is a man's tailored suit used for semi-formal or formal wear. It may be sewn from a wide variety of colors and fabrics; increasingly, brighter colors and unconventional designs are pervasive in tuxedo styling.
Typewriters fall into five classifications. The standard typewriter was the first kind manufactured.
A unicycle is a single-wheeled vehicle traditionally used during circus performances. It consists of a spoke wheel, pedals, and a tube shaped body attached to a seat.
From humble single-cent beginnings, vending operations in the United States have evolved into a $36.6 billion industry. Canned cold drinks were the industry's top sellers in 1999, posting $15.7 billion in sales and accounting for 42.9% of the industry's gross sales volume.
Videotape is an integral component of the video technology that has profoundly impacted the media and home entertainment industries. First controlled by the television industry, videotape and video technology are now widely available to the private sector and have led to significant changes in the way that information is distributed and entertainment is created.
Vinegar is an alcoholic liquid that has been allowed to sour. It is primarily used to flavor and preserve foods and as an ingredient in salad dressings and marinades.
A windmill is a structure or machine that converts wind into usable energy through the rotation of a wheel made up of adjustable blades. Traditionally, the energy generated by a windmill has been used to grind grain into flour.
Windshield wipers are used to clean the windshield of a car so that the driver has an unobstructed view of the road. A typical wipe angle for a passenger car is about 67 degrees.
X-ray glasses are a novelty product designed to create the illusion that the user can see through solid objects. They are plastic framed eyeglasses with special lenses made of cardboard.