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Amazing facts about mundane items.

The List Show is a weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, John looks at some facts about ordinary household items!
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Hi, I'm John Green. Welcome to my salon. This is mental_floss on YouTube, and did you know that John Sylvan, who invented the Keurig, regrets his invention for environmental reasons? He's also said, "I don't have one. They're kind of expensive to use. Plus it's not like drip coffee is tough to make." I'm sorry, can't you get a free one though?

Anyway, that's the first of many amazing facts about ordinary household items that I'm going to share with you today in this video brought to you by GEICO so next time you're at a boring party conversation starters will be everywhere. You're welcome. 

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Individual hair curlers were invented in the 20th century but they weighed about a pound each and they had to be left in for many hours.

The electric toaster was invented decades BEFORE pre-sliced bread was invented.
And before hair dryers, many men and women used their vacuum cleaners to dry their hair.

Also in Abyssinia, which is modern day Ethiopia, salt was used as the main currency. Now of course we use paper, or in the case of electronic transactions, I guess, the idea of paper. We've been working on some other currency ideas- we got buttons, trivial pursuit pieces, pebbles from Stan's various beach walks-

The majority of an incandescent light bulb's energy is used to make heat, not light. In fact, only about ten percent of its energy is making light.

It is a myth that mouthwash gets rid of bad breath (at least in the medium and long-term). In fact the alcohol in it tends to dry out your mouth, making bad breath even more of a possibility, as anyone who has ever been hungover will know.

A lot of people, including SpongeBob SquarePants, don't know the difference between a spatula and a turner. A spatula is like more flexible, and it's usually used to mix things. A turner, or flipper, is what you use to flip foods, like pancakes or burgers. Now some argue that you can also call a turner a spatula, but then we're just getting into a world of complete linguistic subjectivity.

Aussie Shampoo is not Australian. In fact, it was founded by a guy in Atlanta, Georgia, and has not been sold in Australia since the 1990s.

The modern toothbrush was created by an Englishman named William Addis in the late 18th century. He went to prison for rioting, and there he had an epiphany; he used bone and horse hair to create a prototype and then when he got out of prison, they were mass-produced. Speaking of brushing your teeth, some unusual toothpaste flavors you can buy: bacon, scotch, eggplant and pickle. I wouldn't want all of those together.

On average, a woman's purse weighs between 5 and 6 pounds, and speaking of bags, in 1920 Olympian Harry Prieste stole an original Olympic flag as a dare. He finally returned it in the year 2000, when he was 103 years old, after keeping it in a suitcase for eighty years.

Magazines and newspapers have an international standard serial number meaning no that no matter where you go in the world, their barcodes will always begin with the numbers 977.

Razors made from volcanic glass were common in the Aztec society until about 1500 CE, and Central Africa until around 1900 CE, which is preferable to ancient Greece, where unwanted hair was sometimes removed by burning it off with a lamp.

It's rumored that Cleopatra doused the sails of her ship in perfume so that people could smell her coming from miles.

The world's largest hammer can be found at the Pierson Building Center, a locally owned home improvement store in California. The hammer is 26 feet tall.

"Pillow puffers" used to be a term meaning "interior designers," and in 2010 the artist Siren Elise Wilhelmsen created a clock that knits with the passing of time; by the end of each year, it's made one scarf that is two meters long.

The company Wrigley started when William Wrigley Jr. sold baking powder and soap in Chicago. He realized that people tended to like the free sticks of gum he gave away more than the products themselves, so he made the switch to selling gum. And now his name is on the stadium of a terrible, terrible baseball team, but that's not his fault, he's dead.

In the 1950's Xerox machines overheated so much that they came with a small fire extinguisher.

Studies have shown that people's productivity and attentiveness increase when they're in the same room as a plant, like in the 1996 study published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture; people actually were 12% more productive during a stressful computer task when there was a plant nearby. That's why we keep you around here, Fire Flower.

Another thing that helps productivity: fountain pens. In the early 2000s a school in Edinburgh switched to fountain pens, even having seven-year-olds make the switch, and they found that both self-esteem and grades improved.

People who collect coasters have a name: tegestologists.

Windows tilted at 45 degree angles are known as "witch windows" because there's a superstition that witches can't fly their brooms into tilted windows.

And during Isaac Newton's first year at Cambridge, he kept a journal of his sins. One that he listed was using his roommate's towel. Which is still a sin, by the way!

Alright, let's move on to tin foil hats. I know that we don't usually associate them with science, but they are effective at reducing both the intensity of electromagnetic radiation and radio waves. Although suspiciously, frequencies that are reserved for government uses get amplified...

In 1969, Neiman Marcus sold the Honeywell Kitchen Computer, a 100 pound device that would store your recipes, balance a checkbook, and had a built-in cutting board. It cost $10,000 and required taking a two week course to learn how to use it. And no one ever bought one.

In the 1980's, some Kleenex commercials became the cause f a scary urban legend in Japan. The commercials featured a woman in a white dress, a child dressed like a monster, and the song "it's a fine day." Unsurprisingly, they weirded out viewers and rumors started going around that the cast and crew of the commercial had died, there was even a story about the lead actress having a demon child.

According to data from the Nielsen Company, in 2013, nurses and pharmacists are more likely to use generic headache remedies as opposed to brand names, like you know, Bayer aspirin, and if we all did that, Americans would spend 410 million dollars less than we do now.

And finally, I have returned to my salon to tell you that Kleenex is actually trademarked, and aspirin used to be a trademarked word, but after the Germans lost World War I, the trademark was cancelled. Other household items that are trademarked include band-aids, bubble wrap, chapstick, and popsicles.

Thanks for watching this episode of Mental_Floss on YouTube, which was made with the help of all of these nice people and brought to you by GEICO. Thank you again, Geico, and thanks again to you for watching and for not using your roommate's towels. Don't forget to be awesome.