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 …

Right Here, Right Now, Back Then in 1977

When Instagram was founded, back in 1977, the company seemed destined for failure. Mainly because founder John ‘Clawless Koala’ Jonstontownson (nicknamed so because he once fought a clawless koala*) liked to do things differently. Idiotically, really. But don’t blame John Jonstontownson. Remember, he was a child of his era and many things went topsy-turvy in the 1970s: ugly became the …

Walkie-Talkie Etymology

Although the origin of the word ‘walkie-talkie’ seems straightforward enough, there’s still much debate amongst etymologists. According to one source (the one you’re currently reading) the story goes as follows. It all began in the 1890s, with the first moving pictures. At the time, these were called walkies, as most early films involved people or animals walking. People required little …