Croquet was introduced to the United States in the early 1870’s. The sport was first taken up by high society in the New York area, but it soon achieved general popularity throughout the country. Lawn tennis was introduced here at about the same time, but from the 1870’s through the 1890’s, croquet enthusiasts far outnumbered the tennis players. A croquet set was mandatory equipment for every estate, and civic leaders provided sets for public parks, which previously had not had facilities for any sport played on grass.
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Skates mounted to wooden rollers had been produced since the 1860’s (in Holland) but several innovative inventions during the late 1870’s and early 1880’s served to fuel the roller skating fad of the 1880’s. In 1876 a design for roller skates wheels was patented in England. In that same year the toe stop was invented allowing the skater to tip the skate onto the toe to stop. These innovations made roller skates practical for everyday use and set the stage for the roller skating fad that was about to come.
In 1893, the United States was introduced to a radical new form of dance. Although the public was initially shocked to see the sensual and titillating movement of the dancer, the Hoochie Coochie (or Hootchie Kootchie) belly dance caught on and became the precursor to the striptease type dances that would arrive generations later.
In the spring of 1935, the United States was caught up in a chain letter frenzy. The chain letter craze clogged up postal offices nearly shutting down operations in several locations. Denver restaurant owner A. McVittle received 2,363 copies of the letter in just two days – April 26 and April 27. Public officials were enraged and vowed to catch the originator of the chain letter scheme and prosecute them in federal court.
Known as a Vod-Bomb, Birch, or a ‘DVR’ (double vodka red bull), the newest drinking trend amongst the college and high school aged crowd is a cocktail made by mixing vodka and a highly caffeinated energy drink, typically Red Bull. It is popular among the 18-30 generation in bars and nightclubs around the world. In 2010, an FDA study resulted in a ban placed on several manufacturers of caffeine and alcohol drinks.
Children have played with dolls since the dawn of civilization. A fragment of an alabaster doll with movable arms was found that dated from the Babylonian period. Archeologists have found dolls in Egyptian tombs which date to as early as 2000 BC. Dolls have been found in the graves of Greek and Roman children. One of the earliest records of a doll “fad” dates to 1910 when Kewpie Dolls were all the rage.
The peace sign combines a circle and a vertical line with downward sloping lines forming a sort of upside down broken cross. During the 1960’s it symbolized the spirit of love, service to humanity, and peace. Its use grew from the anti-war hippie culture and quickly merged into mainstream society as it came to appear on everyday items such as advertisements, drawings, toys, and jewelry.
It was 1934, the height of the Great Depression, when Charles B. Darrow of Germantown, Pennsylvania, took what he called the MONOPOLY game to the executives at Parker Brothers. They soundly rejected the game due to “52 design errors”. The game’s exciting promise of fame and fortune inspired him to produce the game on his own. People loved the game that would eventually become the highest selling board game in history, even though the â€œlegendâ€ of its invention would soon be proven as false.
As the story goes, after poor Thanksgiving sales left Swanson Foods with a huge surplus of turkeys, Swanson executive Gerry Thomas conceived an idea – what if they packaged the turkeys with other foods in an easy to prepare meal container, similar to what airlines in that era served passengers on domestic flights. When Swanson invented the TV dinner in 1953, they estimated production of 5,000 dinners for the first year and ramped manufacturing accordingly. By the end of the first year, Swanson had sold more than 10 million of the 98 cent turkey and dressing TV-Dinner meals.