Hello – I’m Maureen Mackey, the “hound” in The History Hound. I’m a writer with a passion for history. For the last couple of years I’ve blogged about the Regency Era in The Regency Looking Glass, but in this blog I’ll expand my focus to include other historical periods.
Trends in fashion, food, and popular culture – these are the threads in the tapestry of everyday life that fascinate me. I’ll cover these in detail. What I won’t linger on are wars, weaponry and other military matters, even though these topics are a huge part of history, too.
Let other pens dwell on those topics; I prefer to focus on the less dramatic events and innovations that may not have made a huge splash at their debut but eventually proved to have a significant impact on our lives today.
For example, take the humble and ubiquitous zipper – you’re probably wearing one now. It was invented in 1893 but didn’t take off until the U.S. Army ordered masses of them for uniforms and equipment during World War I.
Created by a Chicago machine salesman and mechanical engineer who gloried in the name of Whitcomb Judson, the zipper was designed not to replace buttons but as an alternative to shoelaces in closing up the sides of a high boot.
And then there’s the bicycle. The first steerable, two-wheeled bicycle was invented in Germany by Baron Karl von Drais in 1817. His bulky wooden contraption had no pedals or brakes. It went by many names, including draisine, running machine, dandy-horse, hobby-horse, and, later in the century, boneshaker – no doubt because of its rough ride.
Bicycles were first a novelty and then a fad throughout the 19th century, but now, two centuries later, they’ve evolved into an elegant and efficient mode of transportation popular throughout the world.
If stories like these interest you, I invite you to follow me. I’d love to connect with other history buffs and people who appreciate a good story that just happens to be true!