The Staple Diet of the Platypus

The Yuen Chong 371 is a funny little stapler from the 1960s. But staplers rarely make people’s hearts race, and this one was no exception. Yet, the Yuen Chong 371 is still the world’s best known stapler, thanks to its crucial role in the creation of the children’s cartoon Phineas and Ferb. The series’ creators, Dan ‘Doofenshmirtz’ Povenmire and Jeff Marsh, were …

Reinventing the Wheel

The device we call a labeller or label maker today, was initially presented to the Swiss patent office in Bern as a ‘travel typewriter’ -and variations of this name in French, German, Italian and Rhaeto-Romance- from 1961 to 1963. Its inventor, Giancarlo di Saronno Originale, was a creative genius, but not a very practical one. And it was precisely the …

An Exercise in Unknowing

Way back in some year AD, a person or persons unknown decided the world was lacking a certain something. Though not very strongly, they felt there might be a need for a greenish and plasticky thing to make the world complete. Users partial to greenish things have traditionally been found in relatively great numbers in both gardening and military circles, …

Pump It <BR>Pump It Good

It looks like a sphygmomanometer, it talks like a sphygmomanometer (the cat says meow, the sphygmomanometer says pfff pff pfff), it smells like a sphygmomanometer (rubbery and dusty with a hint of hospital stink), so it must be a sphygmomanometer, right?* Well, yes and no. Things are rarely that simple and sphygmomanometers are no exception. Yes, it’s a sphygmomanometer, as …

Beware Orange Calendar Man!

There was a time when no one was safe from Orange Calendar Man. Always counting the days until… Sure, he looked harmless enough, with his round plastic body en short stubby legs, but once he got on a roll, there was no getting away from him. Fortunately, the world can now sleep soundly once more, thanks to Orange Calendar Man …