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Sunday, 28 December 2014

Edward Elgar

Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) was born on June 2, 1857 in Broadheath, Worcestershire to the owner of a music shop, William and Ann, the daughter of a farm worker.

Elgar's birthplace, Lower Broadheath

Apart from having violin lessons Elgar was self-taught.. He studied the printed music in his father’s shop and often travelled with him when he went on his rounds to tune pianos in the Worcestershire grand houses.

In his youth Elgar worked as a violinist before becoming conductor of the Worcester Glee Club and the County Asylum Band, and organist of St George's Roman Catholic Church.

In 1889 Elgar wed a pupil of his, Caroline Alice Roberts, who was 8 years older than he him. They married at Brompton Oratory. Her family did not approve of their match, and disinherited her,

Alice was a good wife to him and encouraged him in his efforts to be a successful composer. She acted as Elgar's business manager and helped him by ruling neat manuscript lines on plain paper so that he could write his music.

In 1899 Elgar wrote an orchestral piece, the Enigma Variations. Its variations are based on the countermelody to an unheard theme, a supposedly well-known tune that Elgar never identified. Each variation describes one of his friends, but he did not say which friends they were: he only put their initials or nickname at the top of each variation.

Elgar’s most popular piece is the first of his five Pomp and Circumstance Marches. It has the tune which is sung to the words “Land of Hope and Glory” and the audience always join in singing it at the Last Night of the Proms. Also American high school, college, and university graduates often march down the aisles of auditoriums to the work.

The poet and essayist Arthur Benson, wrote the words to "Land Of Hope And Glory." He was the older brother of the Mapp and Lucia author EF Benson.

Elgar was the first composer to take the gramophone seriously. Between 1914 and 1925, he conducted a series of acoustic recordings of his works.

Edward Elgar, c. 1900

Elgar used to take his three dogs for long drives in his open-topped car…all wearing goggles.

He spent many happy hours bowling along country lanes on his fixed-wheel Royal Sunbeam bicycle. Elgar loved cycling and claimed it inspired his music.

Statue of Elgar with bicycle in Hereford. By Oliver Dixon, Wikipedia Commons

Elgar tried to invent a self-adjusting kite, but this merely resulted in bringing down his neighbor's chimneys.

The composer enjoyed a wide range of interests away from music including chemistry and microscope work. In the 1900s Elgar spent much time in his laboratory, which he dubbed ‘The Ark’, where he conducted experiments and even made some soap.

Elgar was a keen Wolverhampton Wanderers fan, one of a founder members of the Football League in 1888, and often cycled over 40 miles from his home in Malvern, Worcestershire, to watch his team play. Elgar wrote the song "He Banged The Leather For Goal"  in honor of an 1890s striker, Billy Malpass.

His greatest love was horse racing. Famously, Elgar dashed off to the races after a first meeting with the 15-year-old Yehudi Menuhin.

All his life Elgar was a keen race-goer, disguising his identity with bookmakers by using false names. One of these, ‘Siromoris’, is a palindrome based on two of his honours, the knighthood (‘Sir’) and the Order of Merit (‘OM’)

After the death of Alice in 1920 Elgar was so heartbroken that he stopped composing.

Edward Elgar died on February 23, 1934. Inoperable colorectal cancer had been discovered during an operation four and a half months earlier, He was buried next to his wife at St. Wulstan's Church in Little Malvern.

Elgar family grave at St Wulstan's Church, Little Malvern. By Bob Embleton, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikipedia Commons

Source Classic FM Magazine


The earliest known reference to an elevator is in the works of the Roman architect Vitruvius, who reported that Archimedes built his first elevator probably in 236 BC

Henry Waterman invented the modern elevator in 1850. He intended it to transport barrels of flour.

In 1852, Elisha Otis introduced the safety elevator, which prevented the fall of the cab if the cable broke.

Elisha Otis demonstrating his safety system, Crystal Palace, 1853 Wikipedia Commons

The first passenger elevator was installed at E V Haughwout’s department store at 488 Broadway, New York City, on March 23, 1857. It was rather slow travelling at 40 feet per minute. The elevator, which cost $300, was powered by a steam-engine installed in the basement.

The invention of the elevator fostered the development of the skyscraper in modern cities. Before the widespread use of elevators, most residential buildings were limited to about seven stories.

The Equitable Life Building completed in 1870 in New York City was the first office building to have passenger elevators.

The Hammetschwand Lift, built in 1905, is the highest exterior elevator of Europe and is located in Switzerland. The lift whisks passengers up the face of the rocky cliff, making the 153 meters journey in just under a minute.

On July 28, 1945 a plane crashed into the Empire State Building, injuring elevator operator Betty Oliver. When rescuers attempted to lower her on an elevator, the cable snapped, plunging her 75 stories down. She survived the fall and was later found by rescue workers among the rubble. To this day Betty Oliver holds the record for longest survived elevator fall.

Elevator 'close door' buttons in the U.S. were made to have a delayed response because of a section in the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act that mandates the doors stay open a minimum of three seconds to allow those with disabilities to enter/exit.

There is an elevator company named Schindler’s, meaning that there are Schindler’s lifts!

As of January 2008, Italy is the nation with the most elevators installed in the world, with 850,000 elevators installed

It takes one minute for the lifts in the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building, to reach the observation deck on the 124th floor, travelling at ten metres a second.

When elevators fail, they typically don't plummet to the ground like in movies, they go up instead due to the counterweights.

Elevators contain mirrors in order to make the elevator seem larger to help people who are claustrophobic and suffer anxiety.

Elevators make 18 billion passenger trips each year in the United States, according to

In New York, the home of skyscrapers, the average elevator journey takes 118 seconds.

The Shanghai Tower is home to the world's fastest elevator traveling at nearly 46 miles per hour. The elevator can zoom from the second-level basement to the 119th floor in just 53 seconds.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that all those ups and downs result in a yearly average of 27 deaths.

Source Wikipedia



Aristotle described elephants as “the animal that surpasses all others in wit and mind” but he believed, wrongly, that they live for 200 years.

Four captured elephants were paraded through the streets of Rome to the delight of the citizens in 275BC. It was the first time such rare and exotic animals had been displayed in the city.

When Hannibal crossed the Alps with 57 Elephants in 216BC, it was not unusual to use the animals in such a way. The big charging jumbos frightened the enemy and their height allowed the archers to survey the whole battlefield. In addition they were quite speedy with a maximum speed of 18mph and quite economic as well needing only five gallons of water per mile.

In 1255, Louis IX of France gave England's King Henry III  an African elephant, which arrived at the Tower by boat, the first of its kind in the UK.

We have called elephants by that name since the 14th century. Before that, the word was oliphant.

The first documented instance of an elephant's snout being called a trunk appeared in the 1589 work by Richard Hakluyt, Principal Navigations: “The Elephant . . . With water fils his troonke right hie and blowes it on the rest.”

King James I of England kept a menagerie in St James's Park, including an elephant, which was given a gallon of wine every day.

“Old Bet” the first elephant ever seen in America arrived from Bengal zoo on April 13, 1796 and was exhibited in New York. She was known for her ability to draw corks from bottles using only her trunk.

The King of Siam (Thailand) offered the Union army a battalion of war elephants. President Lincoln politely declined in his reply dated February 3, 1862, pointing out that steam power had overtaken the need for heavy animal power of this kind.

The phrase 'White elephant' refers to the a king of Siam, who gave a white elephant to any courtier who irritated them. The animals were sacred but their maintenance was so expensive that anyone given one was inevitably ruined.

A 4-year-old 6 1/2-ton African bull elephant called Jumbo who was born in Sudan was transferred to the London Zoo in 1865.  He became the most famous elephant in the world.

He was given his name by the London zoo-keepers. Since the 1820s “jumbo” had been a slang term for someone heavy and clumsy and the elephant at 10 ft 6 inches was the largest animal many people had seen.

American showman P. T. Barnum simply had to have this huge elephant in his circus. He bought Jumbo on February 3, 1882, for $10,000, advertising him as the "only mastodon on Earth."  Jumbo's sale initiated public outrage in Britain.

Jumbo was killed in 1885 in a railway accident in Ontario. It took 160 men to remove his body from the tracks.

Topsy, a domesticated elephant with the Forepaugh Circus at Luna Park, Coney Island, was executed by electrocution in 1903, after it was deemed a threat to people, an event captured on film by inventor Thomas Edison.

During the Lord Mayor’s procession in London on November 10, 1930, four elephants ran amok into the crowd, injuring 30 people.


Shakespeare mentions elephants in Julius Caesar, Troilus And Cressida and Twelfth Night.

Jane Austen’s only mention of an elephant in her works was in Mansfield Park and referred to the Royal Navy ship HMS Elephant. The commander of HMS Elephant at the Battle of San Domingo in 1806 was Admiral Sir Francis Austen, who was Jane Austen’s brother.

The variant heffalump was introduced in 1926 by AA Milne in Winnie-the-Pooh.


Between 1980 and 1990 poachers and other illegal hunters reduced Africa's elephant population from about 1.2 million to about 625,000 individuals.

In late 1989, after the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species placed the elephant on its most-endangered species list, a worldwide ban on the ivory trade was triggered.

The number of African elephants in the wild is estimated at between 410,000 and 625,000.

A female African Bush Elephant in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. By Muhammad Mahdi Karim Facebook

According to a report in 2007 there are more African elephants in Botswana than anywhere else. The number of elephants in Botswana was given as 133,829, with Tanzania in second place on 108,816 elephants.

Between 2010 and 2012, 100,000 elephants were poached for ivory


African elephants are pregnant for 22 months, the longest pregnancy in the animal kingdom,

A newborn elephant weighs about 120kg (260lb).

The largest elephant on record was an adult male weighing 11 tons and 13ft tall at the shoulder.

Only male Asian elephants have tusks but both male and female African elephants have them.

Elephant brains can weigh as much as 11 lb, more than the brain of any other land animal.

Technically, elephants cannot run as they can't lift all four legs off the ground at the same time but they move at up to 25 mph by using the ‘Groucho walk’ with knees bent and body lowered.

Elephants are the only mammals that can't jump.

The African Elephant has only four teeth, 5 kg each.

An elephant's molars, necessary for grinding up plant material, are replaced six times during its lifetime.

An elephant trunk has no bones but around 100,000 muscles and tendons.

Just like humans have a dominant hand that they use more than the other, elephants have dominant tusks.

Elephants have an extremely good sense of smell and can detect a water source 12 miles away.

The pulse rate of a healthy elephant is only 25 beats a minute.

The small and furry rock hyrax is the elephant's closest living relative.


Elephants are so afraid of bees that the mere sound of buzzing is enough to make an entire herd flee.

Elephants even have a particular call to use to warn others of bees.

Elephants communicate over distances of more than a mile using low-frequency bellows that are at the same decibel level as a subway train.

Elephants can tell the difference between human languages and know which languages belong to people with a history of hurting elephants.

An Asian elephant named Koshik can communicate by imitating human speech by inserting his trunk into his mouth. He can speak five words in Korean (the corresponding words for "hello," "no", "sit down," "lie down" and "good") and is believed to have developed speech in order cement social bonds with humans,

Elephants are capable swimmers. They have been recorded swimming for up to six hours without touching the bottom, and have traveled as far as 48 km (30 mi) at a stretch and at speeds of up to 2.1 km/h (1 mph).

When underwater, the elephant uses its trunk as a snorkel.

An elephant eats 250kg (551lbs) of grass and drinks 200 litres (55 gallons) of water per day

A thirsty elephant can drink 26 gallons of water in one helping.

An elephant can smell water from 12 miles away.

Elephants can detect rain 150 miles away.

Elephants purr like cats do, as a means of communication.

Seventeen people were killed by captive elephants in the US from 1983 to 2000.

Wild African elephants only sleep around two hours a day—the shortest known sleep time of any land mammal.

Elephants can nap standing up but usually sleep lying down.

Baby elephants usually suck their own trunks to calm themselves. That is almost similar to human babies who also tend to suck their own thumbs.

The daily methane output of an elephant can propel a car 20mph.

Murphy's Oil Soap is the chemical most commonly used to clean elephants.

Dogs and elephants are the only animals that seem to instinctively understand pointing.

Elephants cover their dead with branches.

Sources Daily Express, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia 


A chemical element is a substance that contains only one type of atom.

118 different chemical elements are known to modern chemistry. 92 of these elements can be found in nature, and the others can only be made in laboratories.

English scientist John Dalton begun using symbols to represent the atoms of different elements on September 6, 1803.

The Periodic Table of the elements was invented and arranged by the Russian chemist Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev (1834-1907).

Scottish chemist William Ramsay (1852-1916) discovered four elements, argon, neon, krypton, and xenon, and showed that they belong to a family of elements now called the noble gases.

The first man-made element was Technetium, in 1937.

The element Einsteinium-253 was discovered in 1952 and named after Albert Einstein. Einsteinium-253 does not occur in nature, but was first found in the nuclear fallout from an early hydrogen bomb test explosion in the South Pacific. It was found later in coral gathered in the area.

Astatine is an element so rare there's only one ounce of it in the world and it's radioactive.

The letter J does not appear anywhere on the Periodic Table.

The human body is made up of 26 elements.

A metalloid is a chemical element that has properties in between those of metals and nonmetals. The six commonly recognised metalloids are boron, silicon, germanium, arsenic, antimony and tellurium . Elements less commonly recognized as metalloids include carbonaluminium, selenium, polonium and astatine. 

Electronic Music

Thaddeus Cahill (1867 – 1934) is widely credited with the invention of the first electromechanical musical instrument in 1902, which he dubbed the telharmonium.

At a starting weight of 7 tons and a price tag of $200,000 (approx. $5,514,000 today), only three telharmoniums were ever built..

Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni's 1907 essay Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music was perhaps the earliest prediction of the development of electronic music. In it he asserted that music should distill the essence of music of the past to make something new.

An early electronic instrument was the Etherophone, created by Léon Theremin between 1919 and 1920 in Leningrad. It was eventually renamed the theremin.

In 1954, Karlheinz Stockhausen composed his Elektronische Studie II—the first electronic piece to be published as a score.

The Moog synthesizer was demonstrated at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967. The commercial breakthrough of a Moog recording was made by Wendy Carlos in the 1968 record Switched-On Bach, which became one of the highest-selling classical music recordings of its era.

Source Wikipedia


The electron is a subatomic particle. It is believed to be an elementary particle because it cannot be broken down into anything smaller.

English physicist J.J. Thomson  of the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge was the first to suggest that one of the fundamental units was much much smaller than an atom, suggesting the subatomic particle now known as the electron. Thomson discovered this through his explorations on the properties of cathode rays, showing they were composed of previously unknown negatively charged particles. He announced his discovery of the electron as a subatomic particle, over 1,800 times smaller than a proton (in the atomic nucleus), at a lecture at the Royal Institution in London on April 30, 1897.

A beam of electrons deflected in a circle by a magnetic field. By Marcin Białek - Wikipedia

The one-electron universe postulate was proposed by theoretical physicist John Wheeler in a telephone call to Richard Feynman in the spring of 1940. Its hypothesis is that there is only one electron in existence that is constantly moving throughout time.

The ratio of electrons to protons in the universe is one to the power of 37 (1 with 37 zeros after it). If it varied from this incredibly sensitive balance, no galaxies, stars or planets would be able to form.

Electricity consists of many electrons moving through wires or other conductors.

Electrons flow through a typical copper wire much slower than a turtle walks.

The Bureau of Standards says that the electron is the fastest thing in the world.

The development of the light bulb introduced the "Edison Effect", a metal heated until red hot emits an electron cloud. Later on radio tubes would make use of this effect.

That hiss you hear when you turn your headphone volume all the way up is the sound of electrons traveling along copper wires.

A full 4GB Kindle, stocked with 3,500 books, weighs 0.00000000000000001g more than empty one - because of the energy created in storing data in electrons within the device as content is added.

Saturday, 27 December 2014



Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus became in around 600BC the first person to experiment on electricity, which he obtained by rubbing pieces of amber.

When amber is rubbed with cloth, it attracts light objects, such as feathers. The effect first noticed by the Ancient Greeks, is due to acquisition of negative electric charge, hence the adaptation of the Greek word for amber, elektron, for electricity.

Ancient Romans recommended touching electric fish to cure headache or gout.

The first street in the world to be lit by electric light bulbs was Mosley Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in 1879.

Godalming in southeastern England came to world attention when it became the first town in the world to have a public electricity supply installed, which made electricity available to consumers. It was powered by a waterwheel, located at Westbrook Mill, on the river Wey. The Godmaling streets were first illuminated on October 1, 1881.


In an effort to produce electric light, Thomas Edison studied the entire history of lighting. He filled 200 notebooks containing more than 40,000 pages with his notes on gas illumination alone.

Thomas Edison designed the first hydroelectric plant, which supplied electricity to 59 customers in a square-mile area in lower Manhattan, New York City. America used a 110-volt electricity supply so when Edison wanted to supply electricity to subscribers, the gas suppliers, in fear for their domestic lighting business took him to court. They argued that electricity was too dangerous to be supplied to households. The courts’ ruling was that a maximum 100-volt was safe to supply.

AT 3pm on September 4, 1882, Thomas Edison flicked a switch to turn on the world’s first electricity power station in Pearl Street, Manhattan. This is considered by many as the day that began the electrical age.

A sketch of an early power plant on Pearl Street

The Vulcan Street Plant, the first hydroelectric central station to serve a system of private and commercial customers in North America, was put into operation on September 30, 1882 in Appleton, Wisconsin, US. The first buildings to be lit by the Vulcan Street Plant were the Appleton Paper and Pulp Company building, the Vulcan Paper Mill  and the home of H.J. Rogers, who was the president of the Appleton Paper and Pulp Co at the time.

The w:Paper Discovery Center in w:Appleton, The parking lot and building were the location for the Vulcan Street Plant

The first long distance (21 mile (84 km)) AC line was built for the 1884 International Exhibition of Turin, Italy. It was powered by a 2000-V, 130Hz Siemens & Halske alternator  The system proved the feasibility of AC electric power transmission on long distances.

The first house in the world to have its electricity supplied by wind power was in Kincardineshire, Scotland in 1887.

The first successful US electric street railway system, the Richmond Union Passenger Railway, began operations on February 2, 1888.

The first long-distance electric power transmission line in the United States was completed on June 3, 1889. It run 14 miles between a generator at Willamette Falls and downtown Portland, Oregon.

New York City streets in 1890. Besides telegraph lines, multiple electric lines were required for each class of device requiring different voltages

The 1891 International Electro-Technical Exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany, featured the world's first long distance transmission of high-power, three-phase electrical current (the most common form today).

The General Electric Company was formed in 1892.

The first steam turbine used in a public utility to generate electricity in America was nicknamed 'Mary-Ann.' Hartford Electric Light Company of Hartford, Connecticut, realized an extra demand for electricity in 1900 and decided in 1901 to purchase this steam turbine generator. The turbine, built by Westinghouse and rated at 1.5 megawatts, ran at Hartford Electric's Pearl Street plant from 1901 to 1905.

Benjamin Harrison was the first president to use electricity in the White House. After he got a nasty shock, however, his family refused to touch any of the switches and would sometimes go to bed with the lights on.

Up to the 1930s, people still thought of electricity mainly as a way of lighting their houses. Usually, there would be just one light sockets, and maybe a power point for a "wireless" (as radios were called then.

During World War II, Oak Ridge Tennessee, population 75,000, used 1/7 of all US electricity to process uranium for the atomic bomb.

The Experimental Breeder Reactor I (EBR-I), which is located in the desert about 18 miles (29 km) southeast of Arco, Idaho was the world's first electricity-generating nuclear power plant. At 1:50 pm on December 20, 1951, it produced sufficient electricity to illuminate four 200-watt light bulbs.

A power grid failure in northern and eastern India on July 31, 2012 left twenty states in the country without electricity. The blackout was the largest power outage in history, affecting over 620 million people, about 9% of the world population or half of India's population.


The word ‘electric’ comes from the Latin word for amber, electricus, referring to the static electricity that had been observed in amber.

Water itself does not conduct electricity, but the impurities found in water do.

1.6 billion people — one fifth of humanity — live without electricity.

Iceland is the only country whose electricity supply comes entirely from renewable sources.

It is estimated that the entire power supply of Nigeria generates only enough electricity to power a single toaster for every 44 people.

The Dallas Cowboys stadium uses more electricity than all of Liberia.

40% of the electricity in Pakistan goes missing, half of it stolen: when there’s one of the frequent power cuts, they just steal the wires.

The United States consumes an extra 64 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year from leaving idle devices plugged in.

About 10 percent of electricity in the United States is fuel from dismantled nuclear bombs, including Russian ones.

As of 2016, only one cyberterrorist had successfully paralyzed a U.S. power grid, while at least 623 squirrels had done the same thing.

The electricity produced by your brain could power a 25 watt light bulb.

Just a little static shock, like rubbing your socks on a carpet, can generate an electrical discharge of 25,000 volts.

Scientists say that animals avoid high voltage power lines because of flashing UV light that is undetectable to humans.

Sources Daily Express, Europress Encyclopedia,

Friday, 26 December 2014

Electric Mixer

The first patent for an electric mixer was awarded in 1885 to an American named Rufus M. Eastman and was designed to run on any of mechanical power, waterpower, or electrical power.

The Kenwood Chef food mixer was launched in Britain in 1950. The inventor was RAF engineer Kenneth Wood, who got the idea for it during his travels round the world.

Electric Lighting

John Browning installed the first electric light in the Guildhall London in 1873, the occasion being a banquet to honor the Shah of Persia during his visit to Queen Victoria. One light, run with Bunsen cells, was positioned outside each window, due to the fumes. The operating cost of each light was £3 per hour.

Joseph Swan, an English chemist developed a filament lamp in 1880. Swan's first commercial customers were his friends, Sir William and Lady Armstrong of Cragside near Newcastle Upon Tyne in the north of England.

The James Coxon & Co drapery of Newcastle became the first shop to be lit by electric light on January 21, 1882.

Thomas Edison wanted to produce a long lasting electric bulb and he started off by studying the entire history of lighting. Edison filled 200 notebooks containing more than 40,000 pages with his notes on gas illumination alone.

Edison worked thousands of hours, experimenting with 1,200 different varieties of bamboo before finding the ideal one for the filament in 1879. The following year on October 1, 1880 Edison opened the first electric lamp factory.  It was situated along the line of the Pennsylvania Railroad, at Menlo Park, New Jersey, a short distance from the American inventor's house.

Original carbon-filament bulb from Thomas Edison's shop in Menlo Park. Author Terren. Wikipedia Commons

The first Edison incandescent lamp-illuminated home was business magnate James Hood Wright's residence in New York City in 1881.

Edison bought electricity to the masses by digging up roads and installing cables. He designed the first hydroelectric plant which put electric light in the streets and houses in one square of New York on September 4, 1882.

The Vulcan Street Plant was the first Edison hydroelectric central station. The plant was built on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin and put into operation on September 30, 1882.

Initially, the buildings' direct connection to the generator caused many problems because the generator was directly connected to the waterwheel. The water from the Fox River did not flow at a constant rate, so the lights did not keep a constant brightness and often burnt out. This problem was resolved by moving the generator to a lean-to off the main building, where it was attached to a separate water wheel that allowed for a more even load distribution.

The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begun service at Roselle, New Jersey on January 19, 1883. Edison's desire was to demonstrate that an entire community could be lit by electricity.

The First Presbyterian Church, located on the corner of West 5th Avenue and Chestnut Street in Roselle, was the first church in the world to be lit by electricity.

Electric light bulbs were safer and more efficient than the gas lamps they replaced. Yet it took decades for the technology to catch on, as municipal authorities had invested heavily in gas lighting.

When Edison declared an interest in supplying electricity to subscribers, the gas suppliers, in fear for their domestic lighting business took him to court. They argued that electricity was too dangerous to be supplied to households. The courts’ ruling was that a maximum 100-volt was safe to supply.

A British parliamentary committee said of the bulb, "It is good enough for our transatlantic friends but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific man."

The first town in the world to have electric street lights was Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1886.

Harvey Hubbell received a patent for the electric light bulb socket with a pull-chain in 1896.

Electric Eel

Reports of people receiving shocks from electric fish date back to ancient Egyptian texts of 2750 BC.

Ancient Romans recommended touching electric fish to cure headache or gout.

When wounded, an electric eel can accidentally shock itself—an eel's thick skin is what normally insulates it from its own attacks.

By No machine-readable author provided. Stevenj assumed (based on copyright claims)

An electric eel will short-circuit itself if put into salt water.

An electric eel can produce a shock of up to 650 volts for hunting or self-defense.

Eels can at least double the power of their electrical discharge by forming a circle with their bodies.

Electric Chair

Thomas Edison invented the electric chair not as a means of execution but to demonstrate the dangers of alternating current.

Dr. George Fell, a pioneer of life-saving mechanical respiration techniques in the 1880s, also had a role in designing the first electric chair used for an execution.

Convicted axe murderer William Kemmler was the first person executed in US to be executed by electrocution in the electric chair. The procedure was undertaken at Auburn State Prison in New York on August 6, 1890 and took eight minutes.

The execution of William Kemmler, August 6, 1890. Illustration from the French newspaper, Le Petit Parisien

Kemmler's executioner was Edwin Davis, who had been given the official title of “State Electrician” for performing the job.  Davis went on to perform 240 executions, including that of the first woman victim Martha M Place in 1899.

Martha Place was the first woman to be executed in the electric chair,. The procedure took place at Sing Sing Prison, New York on March 20, 1899. She had murdered her stepdaughter, Ida Place.

Martha Place
Harry Houdini purchased the Auburn prison electric chair from Huber's Dime Museum in 1910 and kept in his New York home.

Italian immigrant Giuseppe Zangara was executed in Florida's electric chair on March 20, 1933 for fatally shooting Anton Cermak in an assassination attempt against President-Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt. Zangara became enraged when he learned no newsreel cameras would be filming his final moments.

Mug shot of Giuseppe Zangara

Donald Synder was a convicted murderer who was sent to Sing Sing to await execution in the 1950s. Snyder knew he wouldn’t be able to escape from Sing Sing’s death row, so he ballooned from 150 pounds to more than 300 in an unsuccessful attempt to become too fat for the electric chair.

Source Daily Express


The word 'Ballot’ is derived from the Greek word for ‘balls’. The Greeks dropped a white ball when they favoured a candidate, and a black when they were against. The term ‘blackballed’ comes from this too.

The word candidate comes from the Latin ‘candidatus’ meaning ‘one clad in white.’

George Washington's campaign distributed 160 US gallons (610 l) of alcoholic drink which were distributed gratis to 391 voters in the county on polling day at the 1758 Virginia House of Burgesses election. Washington won the election with more than 39-percent of the vote.

America’s first presidential election was held on January 7, 1789. Only white men who owned property were allowed to vote.

The electoral term “gerrymandering” stems from Elbridge Gerry, who as governor of Massachusetts in 1812, drew up irregular lines to favor the Jeffersonian Democrats. The word was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette as part of a political cartoon.on March 26, 1812. It depicted a strange animal with claws, wings and a dragon-like head satirizing the map of the oddly shaped district.

The first opinion poll was held in 1824 to predict a US presidential election. It said Andrew Jackson would beat John Quincy Adams. It was wrong.

Since 1845 US elections have been held every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Until 1856, only people owning property were allowed to vote in the US elections.

The landmark Ballot Act was passed on July 18, 1872, which introduced a secret ballot in British elections.

In the UK General Election of 1886, the vote at Ashton-under-Lyne was tied. It was resolved by the Returning Officer’s casting vote. This has not happened since then.

In the Southern states of America, during the first presidential campaign of William Jennings Bryan in 1892, candidates for elections would parade through the streets led by a band of musicians performing on a horse-drawn wagon. As a publicity stunt, a candidate would mount the wagon as it passed through his own constituency in an effort to woo voters. From this comes the phrase climbing the bandwagon.

The New Zealand General Election of November 28, 1893 was the world's first national election where women were allowed to vote.

Women in Britain aged over 30 voted for the first time in a general election on December 14, 1918. The UK general election of 1918 was called immediately after the Armistice with Germany which ended World War I, and  was the first general election to be held on a single day. The count did not take place until December 28th due to the time taken to transport votes from soldiers serving overseas.

The record for the longest count in an UK general election is held by Derbyshire North East - at the 1922 election the count took 18 and a quarter hours.

Former Liberian president Charles King won the 1927 election with 234,000 votes. At the time Liberia had the sum total of 15,000 registered voters. It is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most fraudulent election ever.

No one has stood for US President more often than Norman Mattoon Thomas (1884-1968) who stood six times for the Socialist Party of America. The 1928 campaign was the first of Thomas's six consecutive campaigns as the presidential nominee of the Socialist Party.

The last UK general election where any one party received an absolute majority of the votes cast was on October 27, 1931 when Stanley Baldwin's Conservatives polled 55.0 of the vote.

Stanley Baldwin

The smallest UK General Election majority ever was two votes, achieved by A. J. Flint in Ilkeston North in 1931.

The 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution states that, “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.”  This was passed in 1947 after Franklin D Roosevelt had served four terms.

In the 1979 British Columbia provincial election, MLA Frank Calder was defeated by one vote. He later admitted that he and his wife had neglected to vote.

In 1984, New Zealand's Prime Minister Robert Muldoon got drunk and spontaneously called for a general election on national television, which he lost.

The Modaurichi assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu in 1996 had 1033 candidates. The ballot paper was in the form of a booklet.

At an election in the North Dakota town of Pillsbury in 2008, nobody turned out to vote.

The record for the most candidates standing in a UK parliamentary election was when 26 stood at the Haltemprice and Howden by-election in 2008.

The Bridgwater by-election of March 12, 1970 was the first election in the United Kingdom to be held after the voting age had been reduced from 21 to 18. The first under-21 year old to cast a vote was Susan Wallace.

The lowest ever turnout at a UK election was in 2012 when only 15 per cent of the population voted for their Police and Crime Commissioners.

American astronauts on the International Space Station can vote in their elections from orbit by secure email. American astronauts have been able to vote from space since 1997.

Voting in European elections is compulsory in Belgium, Cyprus, Greece and Luxembourg.

Australian federal elections have mandatory voting. Anyone who doesn’t faces a AU$20 fine.

Vatican City is the only country in the world in which women cannot vote.

It has been calculated that the cost of holding local elections in the UK means that each vote cast costs the state about £4.34.

Liquor sales in Alaska aren't allowed on Election Day until the polls close

In Kentucky, a tied election may be decided “by lot”, with coin, cards or straws but not by a duel.

North Korea holds an election every five years, but there's only one candidate listed on the ballot.

Voters in the Gambia vote by dropping marbles into bins with the candidates pictures on them.

In Indian elections no voter is expected to travel more than two kilometers to a polling station. This sees an entire team setting up a full station for a single voter in the Gir forest.

Sources, Daily Express, Daily Mail

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine (1121-1204)  was the oldest of three children of William X, Duke of Aquitaine, and his wife, Aenor de Châtellerault, the daughter of Aimery I, Viscount of Châtellerault, and Dangerose de l' Isle Bouchard.

Eleanor's father ensured that she had the best possible education She came to learn arithmetic, the constellations, and history as well as domestic skills such as household management and the needle arts of embroidery, needlepoint, sewing, spinning, and weaving.

Beautiful, graceful, dark eyed and colourful, Eleanor's succession to the duchy of Aquitaine in 1137 made her the most eligible bride in Europe. Three months after she became duchess, she married King Louis VII of France, son of her guardian, King Louis VI.

Louis and Eleanor were married on July 25, 1137 in the Cathedral of Saint-André in Bordeaux by the Archbishop of Bordeaux.

At left, a 14th-century representation of the wedding of Louis and Eleanor; at right, Louis leaving on Crusade.

Eleanor gave Louis as a wedding present a rock crystal vase currently on display at the Louvre. This vase is the only object connected with Eleanor of Aquitaine that still survives.

Eleanor was, according to the London Sunday Times index linked survey,the richest woman of the Millennium

At Poitiers, Eleanor presided over a court of love, whose members ruled on matters of courtship, and drew up a code for lovers.

Eleanor complained about the pious Louis’s lack of interest in lovemaking saying that he was “more of a monk than a man."

Eleanor did produce Louis two daughters, but the marriage was later annulled, as there were no male children.

Louis and Eleanor met on March 11, 1152 at the royal castle of Beaugency to dissolve the marriage.

Eleanor quickly sent envoys to Henry, Duke of Normandy and future king of England, asking him to come at once to marry her. On May 18, eight weeks after her annulment, Eleanor married Henry at Bordeaux Cathedral, shortly before his accession to the throne.

Eleanor brought the province of Aquitaine to England when she married Henry II. It stayed under English control for 300 years.

Having patronized the development of courtly poetry in Poitiers, Eleanor continued her love for love songs in England.

The obverse of Eleanor's seal.

Henry and Eleanor had five sons and three daughters: William, Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, John, Matilda, Eleanor, and Joan. William died in 1156,  Henry in 1183, Geoffrey in 1186, Richard became Richard I and John, King John.

From 1167, Henry and Eleanor drifted apart mainly due to this time Henry's unfaithfulness with a series of mistresses  and the queen's influence began to create much family strife.

Henry's attempts to wrest control of her lands from Eleanor (and from her heir Richard) led to confrontations between the king on the one side and his wife and legitimate sons on the other.

Eleanor supported a revolt by her children against their father's rule in 1173. This revolt was unsuccessful, and King Henry II was so furious that he confined her to Winchester, whilst the king spent time with his mistresses.

An avid equestrian; as a septuagenarian, Eleanor rode across the Pyrenees to fetch a wife for her son John.

A contemporary German Poet wrote the following about Eleanor:
Were all the world all mine
From the sea to the Rhine
I'd give all away
If the English Queen
Would be mine for a day.

Eleanor of Aquitaine died on April 1, 1204 and was entombed in Fontevraud Abbey next to her husband Henry and her son Richard.

Tomb effigies of Eleanor and Henry II at Fontevraud Abbey. By ElanorGamgee - Fontevraud, Wikipedia Commons

By the time of Eleanor's death she had outlived all of her children except for King John of England and Queen Eleanor of Castile.

Elastic Band

An elastic band (also known as a rubber band or gum band) is a loop of rubber, usually ring shaped, and commonly used to hold multiple objects together.

Stephen Perry of the London-based rubber manufacturing company Messrs Perry & Company, patented the world’s first elastic bands on March 17, 1845. The sleeves of vulcanised rubber chopped into bands were invented to hold papers or envelopes together.

Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar made so much money, he spent over $2,500 every month just on rubber bands to bundle up his stacks of cash.

The Royal Mail spends £1 million a year on a billion red rubber bands. British postmen get through 342 million red rubber bands a year.

The world’s largest rubber band ball weighs 9,032lb and is made of 700,000 rubber bands.

Elastic bands last longer when refrigerated.

Source The Independent

El Salvador

El Salvador was inhabited by numerous sophisticated Mesoamerican civilizations prior to European discovery and exploration. By 1525 the Spanish Empire had conquered the territory, incorporating it into the colony of New Spain.

In 1821 El Salvador declared independence from Spain jointly with Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Honduras and Nicaragua.

The devastating Salvadoran Civil War (1979–1992), was fought between the military-led government and a coalition of left-wing guerrilla groups claiming at least 75,000 lives.

ERP combatants Perquín 1990

The conflict ended on January 16, 1992 with a negotiated settlement that established a multiparty constitutional republic, which remains in place to this day.

El Salvador borders the Pacific Ocean on the south, and the countries of Guatemala to the west and Honduras to the north and east. It is the only Central American country without a coastline on the Caribbean.

El Salvador is the only Central American country that has no visible African population today, which is the result of racial intermixing during colonial times. In part this is because of El Salvador's isolation from the Atlantic Central American coastline, where the slave trade occurred for centuries.

Most of the population is mestizo,  a term traditionally used in Spain and Spanish-speaking America to mean a person of combined European and Native American descent.

Spanish is the official language and is spoken by virtually all inhabitants. The local Spanish vernacular is called Caliche.

El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Central America with an estimated population (2013) of  6,290,420. The capital city, San Salvador, has a  population of about 2.1 million people.

El Salvador has a long history of destructive earthquakes. San Salvador was destroyed in 1756 and 1854, and it suffered heavy damage in the 1919, 1982, and 1986 tremors.

From the early 19th century to the mid-1950s, the Izalco volcano erupted with a regularity that earned it the name "Lighthouse of the Pacific." Its brilliant flares were clearly visible for great distances at sea, and at night its glowing lava turned it into a brilliant luminous cone.

El Salvador's qualification for the 1970 World Cup tournament was marred by the Football War, a conflict against Honduras, whose team El Salvador had defeated.

Source Wikipedia


Every year there is a national poetry and singing competition called the Eisteddfod in which individuals and choirs from all over Wales participate.

The first eisteddfod was held in Cardigan, Wales in 1176.

The present-day format owes much to an eighteenth-century revival arising out of a number of informal eisteddfodau. Its eight days of competitions and performances, entirely in the Welsh language, are staged annually in the first week of August, usually alternating between north and south Wales.

The National Eisteddfod of Wales is the largest festival of competitive music and poetry in Europe.

The closest English equivalent to eisteddfod is "session"; the word is formed from two Welsh morphemes: eistedd, meaning "sit", and bod, meaning "be.”

Source Wikipedia

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was born  in Denison, Texas, on October 14, 1890, the third of seven boys.

As a child, he was involved in an accident that cost his younger brother an eye; he later referred to this as an experience teaching him the need to be protective of those under him.

Dwight Eisenhower was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and the family home in Kansas served as the local meeting hall from 1896 to 1915.

Eisenhower left the religion once he'd become an adult and openly opposed major aspects of Watchtower teaching. However his religious upbringing  installed important principles in the general, including a strong work ethic, responsibility, and honesty.

During his school days young Dwight Eisenhower was usually called Ike by his friends. The nickname stayed with him throughout his life.

Ike's favorite school subjects were English, history, and geometry. In sports he starred in both basketball and football.

Ike was graduated from Abilene High School in 1909. For the next two years he worked in a creamery to help pay his brother Edgar's expenses at law school.

In 1911 he took the entrance examination for the Military Academy at West Point. He ranked second in the tests but obtained the appointment when the top candidate failed to pass the physical examination.

Dwight Eisenhower was a promising halfback on the West Point academy football team but had to give up the game after injuring his knee.

Eisenhower learned poker, which he called his "favorite indoor sport", in Abilene. He recorded West Point classmates' poker losses for payment after graduation, and later stopped playing because his opponents resented having to pay him.

Eisenhower was graduated from West Point in 1915 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry. He was ranked 61st academically and 125th in discipline from a class of 164.

Although Einsenhower's pacifist parents disapproved of his entering the military none the less they allowed him to choose his own career.

Eisenhower met and fell in love with Mamie Geneva Doud of Boone, Iowa, six years his junior, while he was stationed in Texas. She was very popular and had many suitors before she met Dwight, who she described as "the spiffiest looking man I've ever talked to in my life." They married on July 1, 1916.

Mamie at 17

The Eisenhowers had two sons. Doud Dwight "Icky" Eisenhower was born September 24, 1917, and died of scarlet fever on January 2, 1921, at the age of three.

Dwight D. Eisenhower with his wife Mamie and infant son Icky

Their second son, John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower, was born on August 3, 1922, while they were in Panama. John served in the United States Army, retired as a brigadier general, became an author and served as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium from 1969 to 1971.

John Eisenhower

During World War II, Eisenhower rose his way up the ranks to become a 5-star general.  He had strategic command of Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings on the coast of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Although the landings turned out to be a resounding success, Eisenhower hedged his bets by keeping in his pocket a communiqué announcing the failure of the landings and accepting full responsibility.

Eisenhower, pictured here in 1942 as a major general.

General Dwight Eisenhower was very fond of Coca-Cola and his fondness for the drink led to the construction of Coke bottling plants wherever the American troops landed. Thus sales of the American soft drink rapidly increased in many different places around the world.

In 1948, Eisenhower became President of Columbia University, an Ivy League university in New York. The assignment was described as not being a good fit in either direction.

Eisenhower became Supreme Commander of NATO-Europe on November 19, 1950.

Considered a war hero, the American public begged Eisenhower to run for President In the 1952 election. Eisenhower (whose political views were unknown at the time) joined the Republican Party. He chose Richard Nixon as his vice-presidential candidate and won the election by beating Adlai Stevenson.

He served two terms from 1953–1961. Eisenhower was the first President of the United States to be president of all 50 states.

He intimidated the Soviet Union with a policy of brinkmanship,  by making them believe that the United States would respond to any act of aggression with the use of nuclear weapons.

In 1953 Eisenhower became the first president to officially join a church while in office, when in a single ceremony he was baptized, confirmed, and became a communicant of the National Presbyterian church.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law on June 14, 1954  that placed the words "under God" into the United States Pledge of Allegiance. Congressional sessions open with the recital of the Pledge, as do many government meetings at local levels, and meetings held by many private organizations. It is also commonly recited in school at the beginning of every school day,

Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the nation’s official motto on July 30, 1956. The same day, the President signed into law a requirement that "In God We Trust" be printed on all U.S. currency and coins.

President Dwight Eisenhower suffered a major heart attack during his first term of office. He made a steady recovery and after two months was able to resume his duties. The president also suffered from arteriosclerosis and acute intestinal obstruction.

In 1956, Eisenhower released an album titled The President's Favorite Music: Dwight D. Eisenhower with the cover featuring him and first lady Mamie.  The still available Eisenhower LP featured classical favorites like Bach, Beethoven and Strauss alongside more contemporary tracks like those from Porgy and Bess and Marian Anderson's rendition of "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands."

Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower owned a Weimaraner named Heidi. Mamie would frequently send Heidi in a chauffeured limo to Gettysburg from the White House by herself to keep the pooch from messing up the house.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president of all US 50 states.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered a televised farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961, three days before leaving office, in which he warned against the accumulation of power by the "military–industrial complex" as well as the dangers of massive spending, especially deficit spending.

Eisenhower hated cats so much that he ordered any trespassing on his land to be shot.

Eisenhower was a golf enthusiast later in life, and joined the Augusta National Golf Club in 1948. He played golf frequently during and after his presidency to the point of golfing during winter, and ordering his golf balls painted black so he could see them better against snow on the ground.

During his eight-year administration, Dwight Eisenhower managed to squeeze in 800 rounds of golf.

While at Columbia University, Eisenhower took up oil painting as a hobby after watching Thomas E. Stephens paint Mamie's portrait. He painted about 260 oils during the last 20 years of his life to relax, mostly landscapes

On the morning of March 28, 1969, at the age of 78, Eisenhower died in Washington, D.C. of congestive heart failure at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

Eisenhower's body was returned to the National Cathedral three days later, where he was given an Episcopal Church funeral service.

Eisenhower's funeral service.,  Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, Wikipedia

Albert Einstein

Dr Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, a city in the kingdom of Württemberg in the German empire.


His parents were Hermann Einstein, who was in the then very new electrical engineering business and Pauline, a musician whose maiden name was Koch. The family was Jewish (and non-observant).

Albert was unable to speak until the age of three when at supper one night he broke his silence to say "The soup is too hot." His parents asked why he hadn't talked before. "Because up to now everything was in order," he replied.

Einstein at the age of 3 in 1882

Young Albert was known as "Beider Meier" (Honest John) because of his prodigiously accurate way of speaking.

Young Albert enjoyed building card towers and doing jigsaws as a child.

At the age of five, Albert's father showed him a pocket compass, and the young Einstein realized that something in "empty" space acted upon the needle; he would later describe the experience as one of the most revelatory of his life.


Albert attended a Munich Catholic elementary school where he was considered a slow learner, possibly due to dyslexia, simple shyness, or the significantly rare and unusual structure of his brain.

Two of his uncles fostered Albert's intellectual interests during his late childhood and early adolescence by suggesting and providing books on science and mathematics.

In 1894, following the failure of Hermann's electrochemical business, the Einsteins moved from Munich to Pavia, Italy (near Milan). Albert remained behind alone in Munich lodgings to finish school.

Albert completed only one term before leaving school in spring 1895, without telling his parents. He convinced the school to let him go with a medical note from a friendly doctor, but this meant he had no secondary-school certificate.

Despite excelling in the mathematics and science portion, Albert failed the liberal arts portion of the entrance exams to Zurich's polytechnic at his first attempt. He was sent by his family to Aarau, Switzerland, to finish secondary school, where he received his diploma in September 1896.

Albert finally entered the Swiss National Polytechnic in Zurich at the age of 17.  He did not enjoy the methods of instruction there and often missed classes, using the time to study physics on his own or to play his beloved violin.

Albert Einstein worked for a bit of extra pocket money at Munich's Oktoberfest in 1896. His worked involved screwing in light bulbs in the Schottenhamel tent and helping construct the first light installation on the festival grounds

Albert passed his examinations and graduated in 1900 by studying the notes of a classmate. His professors did not think highly of him and would not recommend him for a university position.

In 1905 Einstein received his doctorate from the University of Zurich for a theoretical dissertation on the dimensions of molecules.


Upon graduation, Einstein could not find a teaching post, mostly because his brashness as a young man had apparently irritated most of his professors. The father of a classmate helped him obtain employment as a technical assistant examiner at the Swiss Patent Office in Berne.

In 1909 Einstein was appointed Lecturer in Theoretical Physics at the University of Zurich.

In 1911 Einstein was offered the better paid Professorship in Prague but he was unhappy because of anti-semitic problems there so switched to his old Zurich Polytechnic as professor.

Between 1913-33 Einstein worked as Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin. He earned a great deal of money and still had plenty of time to research. In 1933 Einstein was deprived of his post by the Nazis.

In 1922 Einstein was appointed to the League of Nations commission for intellectual co-operation. He resigned a year later when the League refused to act on France's occupation of the Ruhr

In 1933 Einstein was appointed Director of Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey.

Albert Einstein's inferior parietal lobe, the part of the brain that is linked to math and spatial processing, was 15% wider than normal.


In 1905 Einstein published in the physics journal Annalen de Physik (Annals of Physics) four papers on the production and transformation of light and on the electro dynamics of moving bodies.

His revolutionary papers explained the photo electric effect by showing that the light in both particle and wave form moves by tiny particles of light (photons). Einstein also issued a hypothesis that the velocity of light is independent of the motion of the observer who measures it. His third paper On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, introduced special relativity.

Albert Einstein's fourth paper Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content? which revealed the relationship between energy and mass was published on November 21, 1905. This led to the equation E=mc².

This was all thought through whilst working as a clerk in a Swiss patent office. Einstein worked out his theories on scraps of paper when his employer wasn't looking.

His papers only caused a small stir in the academic world. The critics doubted a young patent clerk's views who had not been inside a laboratory since his university days.

Was  E=MC2 where E=energy. C= speed of light, M=mass, the greatest formula ever or blown up out of proportion?
1.) It proved the equivalence of energy and mass and by showing a small mass can be converted into a huge amount of energy, was responsible for the invention of the atom bomb.
2.) It revealed the secret of the sun. E=MC2 explained why it is still burning as huge quantities of light and heat could still be liberated with loss of a very small mass.
3.) E=MC2 demonstrated that time, mass and dimension alter depending on speed travelling. A man travelling at 161,000 miles a second his watch would go exactly twice as fast as a stationary man's watch. He would also be half his usual length but everything he carried to test it out would also be half its usual length. (His tape measure would shrink in the same proportion) so he'd be unaware of any change.

In 1907, while still working at the patent office, Einstein had what he would call his "happiest thought". He realized that the principle of relativity could be extended to gravitational fields.

By 1913 Einstein was an international figure due to the continuing results of his research being published.

Whilst working on his General Theory of Relativity during World War One, Einstein lived on coffee, cheap sausages and rolls.

Albert Einstein needed ten hours of sleep per night or eleven hours if was planning to do mathematical work the next day.

Ten years after Einstein had shown how motion warps space and time, Einstein combined this with another observation: that gravity’s effects on a body with mass cannot be distinguished from the effects of an acceleration. He concluded that gravity is a product of warped space-time.

After three years of working day and night on his General Theory of Relativity, Einstein collapsed with stomach pains and within two months he had lost four stone.

Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity on March 20, 1915 in the German scientific journal Annalen der Physik.

On November 25, 1915, Albert Einstein presented his equations of general relativity to the Prussian Academy Of Sciences.

Based on calculations Einstein made in 1911, about his new theory of general relativity, light from another star would be bent by the Sun's gravity. In 1919 that prediction was confirmed by Sir Arthur Eddington during the solar eclipse of May 29th.

In 1917 Einstein had introduced an extra term into his equations, the cosmological constant, to balance out gravity and produce a static universe that is neither expanding nor contracting. Five years later, Alexander Friedmann, a Russian mathematician, introduced the idea of an expanding universe that contained moving matter after discovering a solution to Einstein’s general relativity field equations. Friedmann found this after he realized to his amazement Einstein had made an elementary algebraic error that caused him to overlook a solution to his own equations. He had divided by zero at one point in his calculations, a mathematical impossibility.

At first, Einstein thought that the expanding universe solution was erroneous, but he later agreed that they were in fact correct, and indeed that they shed new light on the whole subject.

In 1921, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Although relativity is his most widely remembered achievement, Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers (along with over 150 non-scientific works). The Nobel Prize in Physics he received was "for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect"—a pivotal step in the evolution of quantum theory. Einstein's relativity was considered still somewhat controversial at the time.

He delivered his first lecture in Britain in 1921 to 1,000 people at Manchester. Einstein spoke without notes in German for 48 minutes.

Patent number US1781541 was awarded to Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd for their invention, the Einstein refrigerator on November 11, 1930. An absorption refrigerator which has no moving parts, the Einstein refrigerator operates at constant pressure, and requires only a heat source to operate.
The refrigerator was not immediately put into commercial production, the most promising of their patents being quickly bought up by the Swedish company Electrolux. A few demonstration units were constructed from other patents.

After going into exile 100 Nazi professors published a book condemning his theory of relativity. "If I were wrong". said the unconcerned Einstein "One professor would have been enough."

The last twenty years of Einstein's life was spent unsuccessfully attempting to find a unified theory, which brought together an explanation for the four forces in nature. - gravity, electromagnetism and the weak and strong nuclear forces. In 1949 he published his findings but admitted his new theory could not be tested experimentally

As Einstein was reluctant to sign autographs he charged people a dollar before signing anything. He gave the proceeds to charity.

A young friend of Einstein's proudly presented his 18-month-old son to the great scientist. The child looked up into the old man's smiling face and promptly began to heal. Einstein patted him on the head and said fondly "you're the first person for years who has told me what you really think of me."

Einstein worked until a few hours before his death, and he left 12 pages along his bedside. The last line in those pages was the last equation he ever wrote.


Albert Einstein had a classic scientist appearance with his black, later grey, hair awry and eyes gazing past onlookers. He was 5' 9¼" (1.76 m), thick set, solidly built, pale, sallow complexion.

Einstein used to wash and shave with the same soap as he claimed using two kinds would needlessly complicate life.

He minimized his wardrobe so that he would not need to waste time in deciding on what to wear.

Albert Einstein never wore sock as he deemed them unnecessary.. He gave them up as a child, annoyed at the holes made by big toes.

Albert Einstein was much respected for his kind and friendly demeanor rooted in his pacifism. He was modest about his abilities, and had distinctive attitudes and fashions.

He was the stereotypical "absent-minded professor"; Einstein was often forgetful of everyday items, such as keys, and would focus so intently on solving physics problems that he would often become oblivious to his surroundings.

He occasionally had a playful sense of humour. On Einstein's 72nd birthday in 1951, an unknown UPI photographer was trying to coax him into smiling for the camera. Having done this for the photographer many times that day, Einstein stuck out his tongue instead.


At Zurich polytechnic Einstein met a young Serbian from Hungary, Mileva Marić. Mileva was shy, thin and exotic with thick dark hair and was to become an accomplished physicist. They would work together in the laboratory long after other students had left. Albert called her "Street Urchin" or "Little Frog".

In 1902 Mileva had an illegitimate daughter, Lieser, who was born mentally handicapped and sent away for adoption. The fate of Lieser is unknown: some believe she died in infancy of scarlet fever, while others believe she was adopted by a friend or family member.

Einstein married Mileva Marić on January 6, 1903. Einstein's marriage to Marić was both a personal and intellectual partnership: Einstein referred to Mileva as "a creature who is my equal and who is as strong and independent as I am."

Albert and Mileva Einstein, 1912

Einstein had around ten mistresses and famously told Mileva to "expect neither intimacy nor fidelity."

On May 14, 1904, the couple's first son, Hans Albert Einstein, was born. Hans became a professor of hydraulic engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, having little interaction with his father.

Albert Einstein and Mileva with Hans Albert, 1904.

Their second son Eduard was born in 1908. He was institutionalized for schizophrenia and died in an asylum.

Mileva was the unacknowledged co-discover of relativity. However her loss of a daughter and Einstein's lack of recognition of her talents in physics helped shoehorn her into depression.

Albert and earnest reserved Mileva had little in common. When he moved to Berlin in 1913 the increasingly sullen and uncommunicative Mileva refused to move with him.

Einstein had already began a relationship with a second cousin, Elsa Löwenthal, a plumpish yellow haired widow with two daughters from her first marriage. They began seeing each other at Easter 1912

Elsa was three years older than Albert and she nursed him to health after he suffered a partial nervous breakdown combined with a severe stomach ailment.

Einstein divorced Mileva on February 14, 1919. He persuaded her to agree to the divorce by offering her the money he would hopefully some day receive if he ever won a Nobel Prize. After thinking it over for a week, she accepted and got the money when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1921

He married Elsa on June 2, 1919. They had no children from this marriage, but Albert adopted her two daughters, Ilsa and Margot. when they were both around eleven years old.

Elsa Einstein with her husband, Albert Einstein.

The motherly Elsa had a warm, sympathetic manner and was an excellent manager of Einstein at home and on his travels. However their marriage was undermined by Einstein's womanising.

Elsa was once asked if she understood her husband's theory of relativity. "No" she replied loyally, "but I know my husband. I know he can be trusted." Elsa died in 1936.

Einstein on Relativity “When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, you think it’s only a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think it’s two hours."

His best friend was Nobel Prize winning German physicist Max Born, the Grandad of Olivia Newton John.


Einstein had a deep love of music, he relaxed by listening to Mozart and violin pieces by Yehudi Menuhin.

An accomplished violinist, Einstein played Bach and Mozart with feeling and insight and with an excellent sense of rhythm.

During his time in Princeton, New Jersey, Einstein used to play his violin in a string quartet. One of the other players complained of him. "He can't count".

By E. O. Hoppe (1878-1972). Published on LIFE -

Einstein once invited some friends to attend the Metropolitan opera. Halfway through the second act he became bored and excused himself to get some fresh air. Once outside the absent minded scientist got into his car and drove home forgetting his friends whom he had driven. They had to take a late train home.

Einstein was said to be a huge fan of the legendary Bob Clampett television show, Time For Beany. It is believed that he once ended a meeting with scientists by saying, "Pardon me, gentlemen, but it's Time for Beany!"

Einstein devoted much of his library space to books on mathematical games.

He disliked competitive games even chess.

Albert Einstein never learned to swim, but enjoyed sailing as a hobby.

When he was in his 70s Einstein tried to cheer up a depressed pet parrot by telling it jokes.

Einstein came from a family of non active Jews. Though he didn’t belief in a Heaven or a Hell he later admitted, “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a Spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe. A Spirit vastly superior to that of man and one in the face of which we modest powers feel humble.”

Einstein named the 17th century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza as the thinker most influential on his world view. When asked by a Rabbi if he believed in God, the renowned physicist replied "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."

Einstein's Theory of Relativity says that time can actually be altered, sped up or slowed down when objects travel at speeds close to that of light. This would suggest that it is possible that God and other heavenly beings such as angels can operate outside the limits of time and space.

Einstein: "Science without religion is lame . Religion without science is blind."  My Later Years 1950.

He expressed concern of the expansion of German naturalism. Einstein considered himself a pacifist, a humanitarian, and in later years, a committed democratic socialist.

In the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s Einstein spoke out on the need for the nation's intellectuals to make any sacrifice necessary to preserve political freedom.

Einstein sent a letter to Roosevelt on August 2, 1939 suggesting America start researching the atom bomb with war looking imminent in order to prevent Germany making it first. Roosevelt agreed to set up the project to build the bomb under Oppenheimer, with Einstein's special theory of relativity forming its theoretical basis.

A copy of the letter

Einstein reacted to the destructive elements of the atom bomb by saying. "If only I had known I should have become a watchmaker."

After World War Two Einstein campaigned for abolition of all nuclear weapons.

Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel in 1952. He refused as he had "no head for problems" and was too naive.

The FBI has over 1,800 pages on tracking Albert Einstein.


Enistein moved with his parents at the age of one to Munich where his father and his uncle founded Elektrotechnische Fabrik J. Einstein & Cie, a company that manufactured electrical equipment based on direct current.

His family moved to Milan in 1894 after Einstein's father's business failed then onto Zurich and Berlin.

When working as an office patent clerk between 1903 and 05. Einstein lived at Kramgasse 49 Berne. It is, now the Einstein House Museum.

Einstein said in an address to Sorbonne: "If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare me as a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew."

In 1917 during World War I, Einstein he developed a new type of aerofoil section for a German aircraft manufacturer. It was not a great success.

In 1917 Einstein moved into a flat opposite Elsa's in the same building on Haberland Strasse 5 in Berlin. During World War II Einstein's house there was completely destroyed in an air raid.

Einstein was granted an American visa on December 5, 1932. He visited the United States the following year and when Adolf Hitler came to power the Jewish theoretical physicist did not go back to Germany. A price of 20,000 marks was placed on Einstein's head.

Portrait taken in 1935 in Princeton

Einstein finally became an American citizen in 1940. but retained his Swiss citizenship.

When the US entered World War II, Einstein was living at Old Grove Rd., Nassau Point, Peconic, Long Island as an American citizen under an assumed name to avoid the attentions of journalists.

Einstein never learned to drive a car.

In 1922, Einstein and his wife Elsa boarded the S.S. Kitano Maru bound for Japan. The trip also took them to other ports including Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

From the 1920s he lectured all over the world and Einstein was in California when Hitler came to power in 1933.

Once when visiting Mount Wilson observatory in California with Elsa, Mrs Einstein pointed to a complex piece of equipment and asked its purpose. The guide said that it was used to determine the shape of the universe. "Oh" she said not at all impressed. "My husband uses the back of an old envelope to work that one out. "


Einstein was wary of doctors and medicine and he suffered life long stomach pains due to a weakness in the wall of a major abdominal blood vessel.

After a long illness Einstein was admitted to a hospital in Princeton. He died during the night of April 18, 1955, when his weakness in the wall of a major abdominal blood vessel burst.

The only person present at Einstein's deathbed, a hospital nurse, said that just before his death he mumbled several words in German that she did not understand.

Einstein was cremated without ceremony on the same day he died at Trenton, New Jersey in accordance with his wishes. His ashes were scattered at an undisclosed location.

Einstein's eyes were removed during his autopsy and stored in a safety deposit box. They were put up for auction in 1994.

His brain was removed, cut into 240 pieces which were pickled and sent around America to be studied by specialists. Many of the remains were found in the 1970s inside an old cider carton in a doctor's office.


The Super Furry Animals 1997 single “Hermann Loves Pauline” about Einstein's parents got to #26 in the UK charts.

Kelly Clarkson's mid tempo jam “Einstein” finds her singing about a deadbeat boyfriend. "I may not be Einstein but dumb + dumb ='s YOU!"

The fifth verse of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row" finds him imagining a washed-up Albert Einstein living on Desolation Row.

"Einstein A Go-Go" was a #5 hit in the UK for British group Landscape in 1982.

In the film Insignificance, (originally a play by Terry Johnson)  Marilyn Monroe explains relativity to Einstein in a New York hotel room in 1954 with the help of clockwork trains and balloons.

In the comedy Young Einstein, where the scientist is played by Yahoo Serious, he invents a way of putting froth on beer and falls in love with Marie Curie.

Phillip Glass's opera "Einstein on the Beach" was premiered on July 25, 1976, at the Avignon Festival in France.

The face of ET was designed by Steven Spielberg by putting Einstein's eyes and forehead onto a picture of a baby.

Yoda, from Star Wars, was modeled after the appearance of Albert Einstein.


Einstein had a chemical element, Einsteinium, named after him.

 In a 1999 Reuters poll of leading figures in politics, business and the arts Einstein was named "Personality of the Millennium."

In 1999, Einstein was named "Person of the Century" by Time magazine.

Albert Einstein is an anagram of Ten elite brains.

Sources Toastmasters Quips and Stories , Daily Telegraph, Cassells Book of Humorous QuotationsReaders Digest Did you Know?The Faber Book of Anecdotes, Encarta Encyclopedia.