The metallic element aluminum is the third most plentiful element in the earth's crust, comprising 8% of the planet's soil and rocks (oxygen and silicon make up 47% and 28%, respectively). In nature, aluminum is found only in chemical compounds with other elements such as sulphur, silicon, and oxygen.
An ambulance is a self-propelled vehicle specifically designed to transport critically sick or injured people to a medical facility. Most ambulances are motor vehicles, although helicopters, airplanes, and boats are also used.
Antiperspirant/deodorant (APD) sticks are used to reduce underarm wetness and control body odor. These products are made by blending active ingredients with waxes, oils, and silicones and molding the mixture into stick form.
Artificial blood is a product made to act as a substitute for red blood cells. While true blood serves many different functions, artificial blood is designed for the sole purpose of transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body.
Silk and other artificial flowers manufactured today are breathtakingly real and must be touched if they are to be distinguished from nature's own. Silk trees bring the outdoors into sterile offices, and flower arrangements change the color and feel of a room for a relatively small investment.
Investors who worry about bull and bear markets should consider the alternatives—the moose, lobster, pink pig, platypus, and dolphin markets, just for starters. These stars in the investment firmament "Chocolate the Moose," "Pinchers the Lobster," "Squealer the Pink Pig," "Raspberry Patti the Platypus," and "Flash the Dolphin" are among the original nine Beanie Babies produced in 1993 by Ty Incorporated.
A bed sheet is a flat-woven textile that is used on a bed between the occupant of a bed and the warm blanket above. It is generally a rectangle of broadloomed fabric, meaning it is made without a center seam.
Billboard is the common term used to describe a type of outdoor advertising found along major highways. This name is most frequently given to large steel-framed signs, which are mounted on poles 20-100 ft (6.1-30.5 m) above the ground.
Over the last several decades, bioceramics have helped improve the quality of life for millions of people. These specially designed materials—polycrystalline aluminum oxide, hydroxyapatite (a mineral of calcium phosphate that is also the major component of vertebrate bone), partially stabilized zirconium oxide, bioactive glass or glass-ceramics, and polyethylene-hydroxyapatite composites—have been successfully used for the repair, reconstruction, and replacement of diseased or damaged parts of the body, especially bone.
Bisque porcelain is unglazed, white ceramic ware that is hard-fired, non-poreous, and translucent. Today's bisque porcelain industry has arisen out of hundreds of years of experimentation with clay products and untold sources of artistic inspiration.
In simplest terms, a bow is a long, flexible staff; a shorter string is attached to the staff's two ends, causing the staff to bend. An arrow is a shaft with feather-type vanes near one end, which is notched, and a pointed head on the other end.
Derived from the french word meaning upper arm, the brassiere is a mass-produced support undergarment worn by women that consists of two fabric cups attached to two side panels, a back panel, and shoulder straps (unless strapless) that fits snugly. They are sized according to a universal grading system first introduced by Ida Rosenthal, the founder of Maidenform, in 1928.
Castanets are pairs of shell-shaped clappers that are hinged together with string. A Spanish dancer holds a pair in each hand, clicking the clappers together rapidly to produce rhythmic patterns of sound to accompany the dance movements.
During many industrial processes, a filtering step may be required to remove impurities and improve quality of the final product. Depending on the process, the filter may be subjected to high temperatures and a corrosive environment.
Cheese curls, sometimes referred to as corn curls or cheese puffs, have been a popular American snack food since the 1950s. These crispy cheese snacks are formed from cornmeal, water, oil, and flavored coatings.
Chicken in the United States is a cheap and readily available meat. It is packed in a variety of formats, from whole roasting chickens to selections of one particular cut, such as thighs or wings.
In the United States, more than 2,000 children under 14 years of age die each year in vehicle crashes. Not only are vehicle crashes the leading killers of children, in 1997 they also injured nearly 320,000 youngsters.
Compost is a finely divided, loose material consisting of decomposed organic matter. It is primarily used as a plant nutrient and soil conditioner to stimulate crop growth.
Designers in the computer industry seek not only to "build the better mousetrap" but to build the best mouse. The computer mouse is an accessory to the personal computer that has become an essential part of operation of the computer.
Concrete dams are built in four basic shapes. The concrete gravity dam has weight as its strength.
An incredibly versatile natural material, cork is harvested from living cork oak trees somewhat like wool is gathered from sheep. The trees are unharmed by the process, and they continue producing cork for an average of 150 years.
A cough drop is medicinal tablet designed to deliver active ingredients which suppress or relieve the cough reflex. They are made just like hard candies; ingredients are mixed together, they are cooked, cooled, and packaged.
The cranberry is a slender, trailing native North American shrub (Vaccinium macro-carpon) that grows in moist, sandy soil. The fruit berry is small, red, quite tart, and high in vitamin C.
A crane is a machine that is capable of raising and lowering heavy objects and moving them horizontally. Cranes are distinguished from hoists, which can lift objects but that cannot move them sideways.
Like a fashion mannequin, the dummy looks like a human, but its more-than-skin-deep beauties consist of high-tech instrumentation and a state-of-the-art physique. And like the ventriloquist's version, the crash test dummy can't speak except in a highly effective series of television commercials for seat belt safety.
A gem or gemstone can be defined as a jewel or semiprecious stone cut and polished for personal adornment. Gemstones produced in the United States and other producing countries are of three types; natural, synthetic, and simulant.
Dog biscuits are a hard, dry, dog food product, typically composed of protein, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber. They are made in much the same way biscuits are made for human consumption.
There are 114 million existing doorways in the United States, with about two million new ones added every year. Doors equipped with suitable hardware are used to close off these openings and protect the interior of the building from the environment.
The doughnut is a fried ring or globule of sweet dough that is either yeast leavened or chemically leavened. The dough is mixed and shaped, dropped into hot oil and fried, and glazed.
The unfertilized egg is considered an important and inexpensive food source, particularly high in protein, including 0.21 oz (6 g) of complete protein per two-ounce egg. However, it also includes 0.42 oz (12 g) fat, both saturated and unsaturated, which is nearly all located in the yolk.
Unlike the gas-powered automobile, the electric automobile did not easily develop into a viable means of transportation. In the early twentieth century, the electric car was vigorously pursued by researchers; however the easily mass-produced gasoline-powered automobile squelched interest in the project.
An envelope is a flat, flexible container, made of paper or similar material, that has a single opening and a flap that can be sealed over the opening. The envelope is usually sealed by wetting an area of the flap.
An eraser is a object that is used to remove marks from paper. Most erasers are designed to remove pencil marks.
American humorist Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) once wrote caustically that "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses." Her comment tells as much about the eyeglass fashions available in her youth as about the customs of flirtation. Ms.
Dams are among the oldest structures built by humans for collective use. A dam is a barrier that is constructed across a river or stream so the water can be held back or impounded to supply water for drinking or irrigation, to control flooding, and to generate power.
A fishing fly is a hook that has been dressed with pieces of feathers, fur, thread, and other materials to resemble a literal fly or some other small insect or fish. Fishing flies are tied in over 5,000 patterns and sizes, and each has a specific name.
The way to a fish's stomach is through his eyeballs, and fishing lures are objects that resemble any of the naturally occurring foods that fish might find attractive. The purpose of the lure is to use movement, color, and vibration to grab the fish's attention and cause him to bite the hook.
A fishing rod is a device used in sport fishing that consists of a long pole with a line held in place alongside it with the use of guides. Usually the line is kept in storage on a reel that the angler spins to both take up and let out the line while casting.
A flute is a musical instrument that produces sound when a stream of air is directed against the edge of a hole, causing the air within the body of the instrument to vibrate. Most flutes are tubular, but some are globular or other shapes.
Foam rubber is found in a wide range of applications, from cushioning in automobile seats and furniture to insulation in walls and appliances to soles and heels in footwear. Foams are made by forming gas bubbles in a plastic mixture, with the use of a blowing agent.
Nearly 300 million frisbees have been sold since their introduction 40 years ago, for both organized sports and recreational play. According to Mattel, 90% of Americans have played with this flying toy at one time or another, translating to 15 million people enjoying the sport every year.
Frozen foods are ubiquitous in American supermarkets, and are increasingly a part of the food industry worldwide. Fruits and vegetables are usually frozen within hours of being picked, and when thawed, they are very close to fresh in taste and texture.
Fruit leathers, sometimes referred to as fruit rolls or Fruit Roll-ups, are popular dried food snacks. They are formed when fruit is pureed (generally from a concentrate when mass-produced) cooked, dried, and rolled or cut out (for easy storage and packaging).
The name for galoshes originated in the Middle Ages when many styles of boots from short to long were popular. The word came from Gaulish shoes or gallicae, which had leather uppers and soles carved of wood; when the Romans conquered the territory they called Gaul (France), they borrowed the Gaulish boot style.
Gelatin is a protein substance derived from collagen, a natural protein present in the tendons, ligaments, and tissues of mammals. It is produced by boiling the connective tissues, bones and skins of animals, usually cows and pigs.
When Christmas trees were still a new custom, inventive methods of decorating trees with as much light as possible were developed. Actual lights, from candles to electric bulbs, were used, of course; but, to magnify the sparkle and fascinate the young, metallic tinsel and glass baubles became accessories for the well-dressed Christmas tree.
It is estimated that about 40 lb (18.2 kg) per year of glue are used for every person in America, and it is easy to see how and why when one looks at the extent of uses. Furniture, plumbing, shoes, books, buildings, and automobiles all use glue in some part of their construction.
A golf tee is a small device used to prop up a golf ball. It is typically used on the first shot of each new hole during a game of golf.
In 1992, global production of all tea was almost 2.5 million tons. The majority of tea production occurs in the subtropical areas of Asia, including China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, and Indonesia.
Greeting cards are pieces of paper or cardboard upon which photos, drawings, and a verse of cheer, greeting, celebration, condolence, etc. have been printed or engraved.
A hang glider is an unpowered heavier-than-air flying device designed to carry a human passenger who is suspended beneath its sail. Unlike other gliders that resemble unpowered airplanes, hang gliders look like large kites.
Shoe height has historically reflected nobility, authority, and wealth. France's King Louis XIV (1638-1715) was only 5 ft 3 in (1.6 m) tall until he donned specially-made high-heeled shoes with curved heels constructed of cork and covered with red-dyed leather, with the red color symbolizing nobility.
Festivals in a number of ancient civilizations were celebrated with lights; any and all of these may have been the inspiration for the lights we use to decorate Christmas trees and the exteriors of homes. The Druids in both France and England believed that oak trees were sacred, and they ornamented them with candles and fruit in honor of their gods of light and harvest.
Honey is a sweet syrupy substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers and used by humans as a sweetener and a spread. Honey is comprised of 17-20% water, 76-80% glucose, and fructose, pollen, wax, and mineral salts.
Before the invention of mechanical clocks, timepieces used the sun's motion or simple measurement devices to track time. The sundial may be the best known ancient keeper of time, and it is still manufactured as a popular garden accessory—but for its visual interest, not for practical time measurement.
When the Three Wise Men brought their most precious gifts to Bethlehem, two of them—frankincense and myrrh were resins used to make incense. The third gift was gold, but it was the least valuable of these substances at that time.
Jams and jellies are spreads typically made from fruit, sugar, and pectin. Jelly is made with the juice of the fruit; jam uses the meat of the fruit as well.
A jukebox is a coin-operated machine that plays music from a record or compact disc (CD) once a selection is made. Originally called nickelodeons, the term jukebox did not appear until the late 1930s and its origins are in dispute.
Metal plates attached to motor vehicles are commonly called license plates, but this is a misnomer. The driver of the vehicle must be licensed, and the vehicle is registered; therefore, these plates are really registration plates.
Locks have been used to fasten doors against thieves since earliest times. The Old Testament contains several references to locks, and the first archaeological evidence of locks are about 4,000 years old.
Sound has always fascinated human listeners, but, until late in the 1800s, it eluded capture. This fact seems peculiar to us today because, with compact discs, cassette tapes, highly portable players, automobiles with lush sound systems, hundreds of radio stations on the dial, television stations devoted to music, and a myriad of other broadcast sounds, we are surrounded by sound.
Lyocell is a manmade fiber derived from cellulose, better known in the United States under the brand name Tencel. Though it is related to rayon, another cellulosic fabric, lyocell is created by a solvent spinning technique, and the cellulose undergoes no significant chemical change.
In the world of nuts and berries, macadamia nuts are almost as precious as gold. These delicious, exotic nuts with their rich flavor and oil are considered delicacies and are served as dessert nuts.
Molasses, from the Latin word melaceres, meaning honey-like, is a thick dark syrup that is a byproduct of sugar refining. It results when sugar is crystallized out of sugar cane or sugar beet juice.
Scientists describe the mousetrap as a device that is "irreducibly complex." The mousetrap cannot be made more simply and still function, and, at the same time, it is so simple and does its job so well that it gives the illusion of being a profound achievement. "To build a better mousetrap" means to achieve an ideal, to reach a pinnacle of achievement, or to create the best possible device in an imperfect world.
A piquant condiment made from the seeds of the mustard plant. When the seeds are crushed, two elements, myronate and myrasin, are released, creating a fiery tasting essence.
A nuclear submarine is a ship powered by atomic energy that travels primarily under-water, but also on the surface of the ocean. Previously, conventional submarines used diesel engines that required air for moving on the surface of the water, and battery-powered electric motors for moving beneath it.
A nutcracker is a device used to break open the shells of hard, dry fruits, known commonly as nuts, produced by certain species of trees. The edible material within the shell is known as the kernel.
Oatmeal is made from the ground or rolled seeds of oat grass (Avena sativa). It is cooked as cereal or used as an ingredient in baking.
The olive tree boasts two prizes—the olive itself (called the table olive) and the precious oil pressed from the fruit's flesh. In fact, a third prize is the tree which has a twisted trunk full of character, grey-green leaves, and wood which can be used for carving and furniture-making.
A paintbrush is a handheld tool used to apply paint or sealers to paintable surfaces. The brush picks up paint with filament, includes a ferrule that is a metal band that holds the filament and handle together and gives the brush strength, a spacer plug within the ferrule which helps the filament sits tightly in the brush and creates a reservoir for paint, epoxy to lock the filament, and a handle which provides comfort and good balance.
A parachute is a device used to slow the movement of a person or object as it falls or moves through the air. Used primarily for safe descent from high altitudes (e.g., a spacecraft reentering the atmosphere, a person or object dropped from an airplane), parachutes can also be used in horizontal configurations to slow objects like race cars that have finished their runs.
Pepper is often described as the "king of spices," and it shares a place on most dinner tables with salt. The word pepper originated from the Sanskrit word pippali, meaning berry.
A pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by blowing air through a series of hollow tubes controlled by keyboards. Pipe organs are distinguished from reed organs, in which air causes thin strips of metal to vibrate.
Nearly every civilization makes some type of bread. Prehistoric people of 10,000 years ago baked bread.
Dolls have evolved over the centuries from religious symbols or idols in ceremonies to playthings by children, and are now also highly-prized collectibles. Doll collecting has become the second largest adult hobby in the United States, and many collectibles are made of plastic.
Before about 1912, less than 19,000 acres (7,700 hectares) of farmland were dedicated to growing popcorn, but the electric popcorn machine and the microwave increased the demand for "prairie gold." Today, annual consumption of popcorn in America exceeds 1 billion lb (0.45 billion kg) or 71 quarts (67 liters) per person per year. The states of Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio lead the field.
As a main source of nourishment for over half the world's population, rice is by far one of the most important commercial food crops. Its annual yield worldwide is approximately 535 million tons.
A safety razor is a device used to remove hair from areas of the body where it is undesirable such as the face for men and the legs and underarm regions for women. The modern blade razor consists of a specially designed blade mounted in a metal or plastic shell that is attached to a handle.
Sheet music is a magic carpet. It is a printed page that, like a book, tells an original story created by the talent, imagination, training—and sometimes genius—of a writer.
In 1943, Silly Putty was accidentally invented by James Wright, an engineer in General Electric's New Haven laboratory, which was under a government contract to create an inexpensive substitute for synthetic rubber for the war effort. By combining boric acid with silicone oil, a material resulted that would stretch and bounce farther than rubber, even at extreme temperatures.
People have played games similar to modern soccer around the world since ancient times. The oldest recorded soccer-like game is the Chinese game of tsu-chu, allegedly invented by the emperor Huang-Ti in 1697 B.C.
Soy milk is a high protein, iron-rich milky liquid produced from pressing ground, cooked soybeans. Creamy white soy milk resembles cow's milk but in fact differs from its dairy counterpart in a number of ways.
A spacesuit is a pressurized garment worn by astronauts during space flights. It is designed to protect them from the potentially damaging conditions experienced in space.
There are many different varieties of sea sponges, and these come in widely varying shapes and sizes. They can be very large, and grow in elaborate branched formations, or be round and small, or grow flat or in a tube shape.
Sculpture is three-dimensional art, and statuary is affordable sculpture for everyone. Statuary encompasses the sublime to the ridiculous it is as familiar as red- and-green lawn gnomes and as exotic the Winged Victory, an ancient Greek sculpture displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
Steel pipes are long, hollow tubes that are used for a variety of purposes. They are produced by two distinct methods which result in either a welded or seamless pipe.
Sunflower seeds have become a popular snack food. The sunflower plant is an annual herb that has large yellow flowers, broad leaves and can grow from 3-15 ft (0.91-4.6 m) high.
In a suspension bridge, the traffic-carrying deck is supported by a series of wire ropes that hang from massive cables draped between tall towers. The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco are two of the most famous suspension bridges.
The development of the sword was not possible until ancient civilizations discovered how to mine and work metal. Thus, the first swords were probably made of the oldest worked metal, pure copper.
Throughout history, people have devised methods for communicating over long distances. The earliest methods involved crude systems such as drum beating or smoke signaling.
Thread is a tightly twisted strand of two or more plys of yarn that are circular when cut in cross section. It is used for hand sewing and in home sewing machines.
A system for dealing with excrement is necessary in every human community, and the need becomes more pressing the more densely populated the area. Though simple pit latrines are still common in many rural areas today, more complex lavatory designs date back thousands of years.
A tuba is a brass instrument characterized by its large size and deep sound. It consists of vertically coiled tubing, three or four valves, a wide conical bore, flared bell, and a cup-shaped mouthpiece.
TV dinners are frozen trays of pre-cooked food. Also known as frozen dinners, they are assembled automatically on a conveyor system.
A vegetarian burger is a meatless patty made of ground grains or soybean curd, and vegetables. It is often referred to as a veggieburger.
Video games are played at the arcade, at home on a television or personal computer, and as a handheld portable game. They are packaged in large consoles, game paks that can only be played on the same manufacturer's hardware (i.e.
Vodka is an alcoholic beverage distilled at a high proof from a fermented vegetable or grain mash. Proof is a measurement of the alcohol content.
The term voting machine encompasses a variety of mechanical devices used for recording votes. The voting machines commonly used in the United States may operate using punch cards, mechanical levers, optical scanning, or direct electronic recording.
A wheelbarrow is a carrier, usually having only one wheel, consisting of a tray bolted to two handles and two legs. While known mostly as a device for carrying small loads for the household gardener, a wheelbarrow is often also used in construction and industry for carrying larger loads.
The wind chime is a musical instrument that harnesses the wind as its player and composer.