A-Z from Euroffice, we love office life…
….and pride ourselves on being the office supplies experts, with this in mind, we’ve come up with a handy product guide. The A – Z of Office Supplies. A gift from Euroffice to your office, to help you find out more about what we have to offer. Each week we’ll feature a selection of our favourite products along with some quirky facts about each of them and of course, all the information you’ll need to purchase your own. I wonder if anyone will get the full A-Z collection 🙂 … This week we shine the spotlight on I-M…
I is for…
- The Germans created a clever invisible ink in WW1. They used a special chemical to impregnate items of clothing like scarves or socks, and when these were dipped in water the liquid could be used as invisible ink.
- Very few typefaces are named after women. In 1996 Zuzana Licko designed Mrs Eaves, a version of Baskerville. It honours Sarah Eaves, the housekeeper and wife of John Baskerville (1706-1775), who completed his print work after his death.
- What goes into ink cartridges besides water? Some ingredients: ethylene glycol so it won’t dry out; ethoxylated acetylenic diols so it’s not too runny; cyclohexanone so it sticks to glossy paper, and butyl urea to prevent paper warping.
- Inkjet nozzles shoot ink at the paper at around 31 miles per hour –that’s breaking the speed limit in some cities – and this happens 36,000 times a second. And as if that wasn’t enough, the nozzle is one-third the width of a human hair.
- In 16th century Germany printers published official crime reports, for events like executions. Many reports were actually written in rhyme or in the form of a song, and hawkers recited or sang these in the street to attract customers.
- Lord Rayleigh, who won the Nobel prize for physics in 1904, did pioneering work on liquids’ surface tension, which is something inkjet printers take advantage of. Oh and he also developed the theory that explains why the sky is blue.
J is for…
- Polynesians in the 19th century tied knots in cord to record and transmit data. The cord was tied to homing birds; the kind of knot and its colour revealed the info: on births or marriages, requests for goods, or military intelligence.
- The first removable hard drive was the IBM 1311, launched in 1962. It had a capacity of 2 million characters, the equivalent of 25,000 punched cards, which were widely used for data processing and storage up to that point.
- Clay balls unearthed in Iran in the 1960s could be the world’s first data storage system. Made 5,500 years ago, they contain tokens in 14 different shapes, which represent specific numbers, possibly linked to transactions in commodities.
- Alice Walker wrote her award-winning novel, The Color Purple, in longhand in spiral notebooks. She wrote in green ink, but soon switched to black. She also started making a quilt and said the novel formed as she worked on it.
- Charles Darwin’s drawing of a Tree of Life was found in one of his notebooks, which he called ‘red transmutation notebook B’. He was the first person to sketch a Tree of Life, which showed that all species on earth are related.
- US Real Admiral Grace Hopper was a computing expert in the 1940s (she worked on COBOL and FORTRAN). When she found a moth in a machine in the Navy lab, she taped it into her notebook log – one origin of the computer bug perhaps?
K is for…
- In the 1960s John Taylor perfected the thermostat that switches electric kettles off automatically. In 2008 he created a ‘time-eating clock’ with no hands or numbers where time is shown by lights flashing around the face of the clock.
- UK graduates in their first job spend an hour a day (250 hours a year) making tea and hot drinks for their colleagues, according to a 2013 survey. Newbies in Yorkshire have it hardest, spending a day (7 hours) a week on the tea round.
- In the 1660s tea sold in English coffee houses was taxed as a liquid. They’d brew it in the morning, so the official could fix the tax once a day. Afternoon punters were drinking stale tea. In 1689 they changed it to leaf tea. Fresh brew, anyone?
- Ever had a problem finagling a key off a key ring? Then you’ll be impressed by Smudge the Parrot. In 2009, he got the Guinness World Record for the most keys removed from a keyring (by a parrot) in two minutes. He managed 22.
- Every night for at least 700 years, the Tower of London has been locked up as part of the Ceremony of the Keys. Admittedly the ritual was delayed once in WW2 because of an incendiary bomb blowing participants off their feet – they got up, cleaned themselves off and carried on.
- In 1970 Elvis Presley visited the White House to ask Nixon for a badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (believing it would allow him to enter any country carrying drugs & guns). While he was there, the singer also asked Tricky Dicky for presidential key chains to give to his staff.
L is for…
- Long before Xerox created the laser printer, it invented the world’s first plain-paper copier: the 914 AKA the Ox Box. Early versions were made out of wood painted silver to look metallic and, while popular, it did have one small fault: it liked to catch fire.
- How do you spot dodgy wine? Michael Egan, formerly director of Sotheby’s wine department, was examining a private collection of plonk worth $3 million when he noticed some supposedly ‘rare’ bottles had laser printed labels.
- Scientists at Cambridge University have been working on a ‘laser un-printer’ that will be able to remove toner from scrap paper. This means that paper in the office waste basket can be reused, rather than being sent for recycling.
- In 2011, the Royal Bank of Scotland was taken to task for a terrible £49 billion takeover of Dutch bank ABN-AMRO. RBS was pilloried for its lack of due diligence, which amounted to two lever-arch files and a CD-ROM’.
- The three-ring binder is said to have been invented by Friederich Soennecken, who set up an office supply business in Germany in 1875. The son of a blacksmith he also came up with a hole punch and a marking pen.
- Lever arch files are strong and have great storage capacity. A file with a 5cm spine can hold up to 1.25kg or 250 sheets of 80gsm paper, while a file with an 8cm spine can hold up to 2.5kg or 400 sheets of 80gsm paper.
M is for…
- Waste chutes and rubbish bins have been found in Mohenjo-Daro, an archaeological site in Pakistan dating back to 2600 BC. One of the world’s earliest urban settlements, it was contemporaneous with ancient Egypt.
- Your waste bin won’t be covered in this stuff, but we can thank NASA for scratch resistant coatings on our specs and sunglasses. Why? It needed a way to protect all its expensive equipment in space.
- In the 1960s American families went gold prospecting for fun. They used ‘sluice boxes’, devices with iron mesh inside, to help separate gold from debris as it washed through. Where there’s muck there’s brass – and where there’s mesh there’s gold.
- The inventor of the mouse, Douglas Englebart, can’t remember who first gave the object its name. What’s more, when it was patented the mouse was actually called an ‘X-Y position indicator for a display system’
- Have you heard of the ProAgio AKA Genius EasyScroll? It was the first commercially available scroll mouse. Sold by Mouse Systems in 1995, it wasn’t promoted heavily enough and Microsoft’s 1996 IntelliMouse got its market share.
- The way we use our mice may reveal hints about how we think and even how we might vote. Researchers asked people to use a mouse to click on pictures of female politicians in the US and found subtle movements that predicted how well they’d do at the ballot box.
Have you read the full A-Z of Office Supplies?