The Magic 8 Ball is a toy used for fortune-telling or seeking advice, developed in the 1950s and manufactured by Mattel. The user asks a question to the large plastic ball turns it over to reveal a written answer which appears on the surface of the toy. An 8-ball was used as a fortune-telling device in the 1940 Three Stooges short, You Nazty Spy!, called a "magic ball". While Magic 8 Ball did not exist in its current form until 1950, the functional component was invented by Albert C. Carter, inspired by a spirit writing device used by Mary, a Cincinnati clairvoyant; when Carter approached store owner Max Levinson about stocking the device, Levinson called in his brother-in-law Abe Bookman, a graduate of Ohio Mechanics Institute. In 1944, Carter filed for a patent for the cylindrical device, assigning it in 1946 to Bookman and another partner in what came to be Alabe Crafts, Inc.. Alabe sold the cylinder as The Syco-Slate. Carter died sometime before the patent was granted in 1948. Bookman made improvements to The Syco-Slate, in 1948, it was encased in an iridescent crystal ball.
Though unsuccessful, the revamped product caught the attention of Chicago's Brunswick Billiards. In 1950 they commissioned Alabe Crafts to make a version in the form of a traditional black-and-white 8-ball; the Magic 8 Ball is a hollow plastic sphere resembling an black-and-white 8-ball. Inside, a cylindrical reservoir contains a white, plastic icosahedron floating in alcohol dyed dark blue; each of the die's 20 faces has an affirmative, negative, or non-committal statement printed in raised letters. These messages are read through a window on the ball's bottom. To use the ball, it must be held with the window facing down. After "asking the ball" a yes–no question, the user turns the ball so that the window faces up, setting in motion the liquid and die inside; when the die floats to the top and one face presses against the window, the raised letters displace the blue liquid to reveal the message as white letters on a blue background. Although most users shake the ball before turning it upright, the instructions warn against doing so to avoid white bubbles, which interfere with the performance of the ball itself.
The 20 answers inside a standard Magic 8 Ball are: Ten of the possible answers are affirmative, while five are non-committal and five are negative. Flipism Divination Gambling U. S. Patent 2,452,730—Liquid Filled Dice Agitator ca. 1944 U. S. Patent 3,119,621—Liquid filled die agitator containing a die having raised indicia on the facets thereof, 1962 U. S. Patent 3,168,315—Amusement Device ca. 1961 "The Inscrutable Magic 8 Ball Revealed!". EBaum's World. Retrieved September 24, 2017
An hourglass is a device used to measure the passage of time. It comprises two glass bulbs connected vertically by a narrow neck that allows a regulated trickle of material from the upper bulb to the lower one. Factors affecting the time it measured include sand quantity, sand coarseness, bulb size, neck width. Hourglasses may be reused indefinitely by inverting the bulbs. Depictions of hourglasses in art survive in large numbers from antiquity to the present day, as a symbol for the passage of time; these were common sculpted as epitaphs on tombstones or other monuments in the form of the winged hourglass, a literal depiction of the well-known Latin epitaph tempus fugit. The origin of the hourglass is unclear, its predecessor the clepsydra, or water clock, is known to have existed in Babylon and Egypt as early as the 16th century BCE. There are no records of the hourglass existing in Europe prior to the Early Middle Ages, such as invention by the Ancient Greeks, but it was not until the 14th century that the hourglass was seen the earliest firm evidence being a depiction in the 1338 fresco Allegory of Good Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
Use of the marine sandglass has been recorded since the 14th century. The written records about it were from logbooks of European ships. In the same period it appears in other lists of ships stores; the earliest recorded reference that can be said with certainty to refer to a marine sandglass dates from c. 1345, in a receipt of Thomas de Stetesham, clerk of the King's ship La George, in the reign of Edward III of England. Item, For four horologes of the same sort, bought there, price of each five gross', making in sterling 3s. 4d." Marine sandglasses were popular on board ships, as they were the most dependable measurement of time while at sea. Unlike the clepsydra, the motion of the ship while sailing did not affect the hourglass; the fact that the hourglass used granular materials instead of liquids gave it more accurate measurements, as the clepsydra was prone to get condensation inside it during temperature changes. Seamen found that the hourglass was able to help them determine longitude, distance east or west from a certain point, with reasonable accuracy.
The hourglass found popularity on land. As the use of mechanical clocks to indicate the times of events like church services became more common, creating a "need to keep track of time", the demand for time-measuring devices increased. Hourglasses were inexpensive, as they required no rare technology to make and their contents were not hard to come by, as the manufacturing of these instruments became more common, their uses became more practical. Hourglasses were seen in use in churches and work places to measure sermons, cooking time, time spent on breaks from labor; because they were being used for more everyday tasks, the model of the hourglass began to shrink. The smaller models were more practical and popular as they made timing more discreet. After 1500, the hourglass was not as widespread; this was due to the development of the mechanical clock, which became more accurate and cheaper, made keeping time easier. The hourglass, did not disappear entirely. Although they became less useful as clock technology advanced, hourglasses remained desirable in their design.
The oldest known surviving hourglass resides in the British Museum in London. Not until the 18th century did John Harrison come up with a marine chronometer that improved on the stability of the hourglass at sea. Taking elements from the design logic behind the hourglass, he made a marine chronometer in 1761, able to measure the journey from England to Jamaica accurate within five seconds. Little written evidence exists to explain; the glass bulbs used, have changed in style and design over time. While the main designs have always been ampoule in shape, the bulbs were not always connected; the first hourglasses were two separate bulbs with a cord wrapped at their union, coated in wax to hold the piece together and let sand flow in between. It was not until 1760 that both bulbs were blown together to keep moisture out of the bulbs and regulate the pressure within the bulb that varied the flow. While some early hourglasses did use sand as the granular mixture to measure time, many did not use sand at all.
The material used in most bulbs was a combination of "powdered marble, tin/lead oxides, pulverized, burnt eggshell". Over time, different textures of granule matter were tested to see which gave the most constant flow within the bulbs, it was discovered that for the perfect flow to be achieved the ratio of granule bead to the width of the bulb neck needed to be 1/12 or more but not greater than 1/2 the neck of the bulb. Hourglasses were an early accurate measure of time; the rate of flow of the sand is independent of the depth in the upper reservoir, the instrument will not freeze in cold weather. From the 15th century onwards, hourglasses were being used in a range of applications at sea, in the church, in industry, in cookery. During the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan around the globe, 18 hourglasses from Barcelona were in the ship's in
Word games are spoken or board games designed to test ability with language or to explore its properties. Word games are used as a source of entertainment, but can additionally serve an educational purpose. Young children can enjoy playing games such as Hangman, while developing important language skills like spelling. While Hangman is a dark game, what we like to focus on is the development of the children. Researchers have found that adults who solved crossword puzzles, which require familiarity with a larger vocabulary, had better brain function in life. Popular word-based game shows have been a part of television and radio throughout broadcast history, including Spelling Bee and Wheel of Fortune. In a letter arrangement game, the goal is to form words out of given letters; these games test vocabulary skills as well as lateral thinking skills. Some examples of letter arrangement games include Scrabble, Bananagrams and Paperback. In a paper and pencil game, players write their own words under specific constraints.
For example, a crossword requires players to use clues to fill out a grid, with words intersecting at specific letters. Other examples of paper and pencil games include Hangman and word searches. Semantic games focus on the semantics of words, utilising their meanings and the shared knowledge of players as a mechanic. Mad Libs, Blankety Blank, Codenames are all semantic games; as part of the modern "Golden Age" of board games, designers have created a variety of newer, non-traditional word games with more complex rules. Games like Codenames and Anomia were all designed after 2010, have earned widespread acclaim. Mobile games like Words with Friends and Word Connect have brought word games to modern audiences. Many popular word games have been adapted to radio game shows; as well as the examples given above, shows like Lingo, Says You!, Only Connect either revolve around or include elements of word games. Ambigrams Fortunately, Unfortunately Rebuses – picture puzzles representing a word Verbal arithmetic Anagram dictionary Double entendre Fortunately, Unfortunately Language game List of puzzle video games Online word game Phono-semantic matching Puns Puzzles Word play Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics
American Girl is an American line of 18-inch dolls released in 1986 by Pleasant Company. The dolls portray eight- to twelve-year-old girls of a variety of ethnicities, they are sold with accompanying books told from the viewpoint of the girls. The stories focused on various periods of American history, but were expanded in 1995 to include characters and stories from contemporary life. Aside from the original American Girl dolls, the buyer has the option to purchase dolls that look like themselves; the options for the line of Truly Me dolls include eye color, face mold, skin color, hair texture, hair length. A variety of related clothing and accessories is available. A service for ordering a bespoke doll with features and clothing specified by the owner, dubbed Create Your Own, has been introduced in 2017. Pleasant Company was founded in 1986 by Pleasant Rowland, its products were purchasable by mail order only. In 1998, Pleasant Company became a subsidiary of Mattel; the company has been awarded the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award eight times.
The Historical Characters line of 18-inch dolls, which were derived from the 18-inch dolls made by Götz in West Germany during the late 1980s to the 1990s, were the main focus of Pleasant Company, founded by Pleasant Rowland in 1986. This product line aims to teach aspects of American history through a six-book series from the perspective of a girl living in that time period. Although the books are written for girls who are at least eight years old, they endeavor to cover significant topics such as child labor, child abuse, racism, animal abuse and war in manners appropriate for the understanding and sensibilities of their young audience. In 1995 Pleasant Company released. In 2006 the product line was renamed Just Like You; this line has included seventy-seven different dolls over the years. Each doll has a different combination of face mold, skin tone, eye color, hair color, texture, and/or style. American Girl states that this variety allows customers to choose dolls that "represent the individuality and diversity of today's American girls."
A wide variety of contemporary clothing and furniture is available, there are regular releases and retirements to update this line. Each year, a Girl of the Year doll is released. Bitty Baby is a line of 15", they are cheaper than the 18" dolls, retail at $60 each. The Bitty Twins line debuted in 2003 to represent older toddlers and/or preschoolers; the Bitty Twins were the same size as the Bitty Baby dolls. They were discontinued in June 2016. Hopscotch Hill School was released by American Girl in 2003; the dolls were 16-inch tall, came with jointed limbs and painted eyes, had a slimmer overall body shape. They, along with the stories which came with the dolls written by Valerie Tripp, were aimed at elementary-age girls from four to six years old, were sold until 2006. A reboot of the Historical Characters line dubbed as BeForever was launched in August 2014, complete with redesigned outfits, a two-volume compilation of previously-released books, a "Journey Book" for each character, with players taking the role of a present-day girl who found her way to the past and met up with one of the Historical girls.
The line coincided with the relaunch of Samantha Parkington, whose collection was discontinued in 2008. In June 2016 American Girl unveiled Wellie Wishers, a separate doll line similar to Hopscotch Hill School aimed for younger children and with a focus on the outdoors, positioning it between Bitty Baby and the BeForever/Girl of the Year/Truly Me dolls; as the name implies, dolls from the line wear Wellington boots, have a body design distinct from the classic, Götz-derived American Girl dolls. The line was released on June 23, 2016; the names of the Wellie Wishers are: Willa, Kendall and Ashlyn. In February 2017, American Girl released a new line of 18"; the first doll in the line was an aspiring country singer and songwriter. Other dolls of the contemporary line include Logan, Tenney's bandmate and American Girl's first boy doll, Z Yang, interested in photography and making stop motion videos. In 2004, American Girl teamed with Julia Roberts's Red Om production company and to create the first American Girl direct-to-video movie, Samantha: An American Girl Holiday.
The film spawned a franchise, followed by Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front, along with the 2008 theatrically released film Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. In 2009, HBO premiered An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong. In July 2012 American Girl released McKenna Shoots for the Stars. A seventh movie based on Saige Copeland's stories entitled Saige Paints the Sky was released in July 2013, a television film entitled Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight, based on Girl of the Year 2014 Isabelle Palmer, was released in 2014. A ninth film based on 2015 Girl of the Year Grace Thomas was released under the title An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success, with Olivia Rodrigo playing the title role. A live-action web special based on Melody Ellison's stories entitled An American Girl Story - Melody 1963: Love Has to Win was released by Amazon, starring Marsai Martin as the title character. Love Has to Win was fo
Matchbox is a popular toy brand, introduced by Lesney Products in 1953, is now owned by Mattel, Inc. The brand was given its name because the original die-cast Matchbox toys were sold in boxes similar in to those in which matches were sold; the brand grew to encompass a broad range of toys, including larger scale die-cast models, plastic model kits, action figures. During the 1980s, Matchbox began to switch to the more conventional plastic and cardboard "blister packs" that were used by other die-cast toy brands such as Hot Wheels; the box style packaging was re-introduced for the collectors' market in recent years with the release of the "35th Anniversary of Superfast" series in 2004. The Matchbox name originated in 1953 as a brand name of the British die-casting company Lesney Products, whose reputation was moulded by John W. "Jack" Odell, Leslie Charles Smith, Rodney Smith. The name Lesney was a portmanteau of Rodney Smith's first names, their first major sales success was the popular model of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation coach, which sold more than a million models.
Lesney co-owner Jack Odell created a toy that paved the way for the company's future success, designed for his daughter. Her school only allowed children to bring toys that could fit inside a matchbox, so Odell crafted a scaled-down version of the Lesney green and red road roller; this toy became the first of the 1-75 miniature range. A dump truck and a cement mixer completed the original three-model release that marked the starting point for the mass-market success of the Matchbox series; the company decided thus yielding the name of the series. Additional models continued to be added to the line throughout the decade, including cars such as an MG Midget TD, a Vauxhall Cresta, a Ford Zodiac, many others; as the collection grew, it gradually became more international, including models of Volkswagens, a Citroën, American makes. To make such miniatures, the designers took detailed photographs of the real models obtaining some original blueprints; this enabled them to make models with high levels of detail, despite the small scale.
The size of the models allowed Matchbox to occupy a market niche touched by the competition. In the earliest years of the regular, or 1-75 series — well before the series numbered 75 models — Lesney was marketed/distributed by Moko. Boxes in that era mentioned this, with the text "A Moko Lesney" appearing on each. Lesney gained its independence from Moko in the'50s by buying the company, leading to a period of growth, both in sales and in size. Early models did not feature windows or interiors, were made of metal, were about 2" in length. By 1968, Matchbox was the biggest-selling brand of small die-cast model cars worldwide. By this time, the average model in their collection featured plastic windows, interiors and occasional accessories; some featured steering, including the pressure-based AutoSteer system debuting in 1969. The line was diverse, including lorries, tractors and trailers as well as standard passenger cars; the three dominant brands in the world at the time, all British-made -, were successful.
Each had its own market niche and its own strong reputation, while innovations and advances by one were adopted by the others within a matter of a few years. Each expanded to some extent into the others' territory, though this never seemed to affect the sales of any brand's core series; as part of Lesney's expansion activities, four further die-cast model ranges were introduced during the 1950s and 60s. The Models of Yesteryear, introduced in 1956, were renditions of classic vehicles from the steam and early automotive eras; these were about 3½-4" in length. Accessories Packs were introduced in 1956 and included petrol pumps and the like. Major Packs, which were larger-scale models of construction vehicles, were added in 1957; the King Size series of larger-scale trucks and tractors was added in 1960 and was diversified from 1967 onwards to include passenger car models in a scale similar to that used by Corgi and Dinky. Major Packs had been absorbed into the King Size range by 1968. However, the main focus at Matchbox continued to be their smaller cars.
Other brands, including Husky/Corgi Junior and Cigar Box, attempted to compete with Matchbox, but none were successful until American toy giant Mattel introduced the revolutionary low-friction "racing" wheels on its Hot Wheels line of cars. These models, although less true to scale and featuring fantasy vehicles, were attractive, painted in bright metallic colours and fitted with racing-style "mag" wheels and slick tires, were marketed aggressively and with numerous accessory products, such as race track sets and the like; the Hot Wheels line featured models that were decidedly American. In 1969, a second competitor based in the US, Johnny Lightning, entered the market, the bottom fell out of Lesney's US sales. At the same time, the other major market was under attack by competitors. Lesney's response to this was quick — but not quick enough to avoid major financial worries — by creating the "Superfast" line; this was a transformation of the 1969 line to include low-friction wheels (at first narrow, since the company needed time to r
A letter is a grapheme in an alphabetic system of writing. It is a visual representation of the smallest unit of spoken sound. Letters broadly correspond to phonemes in the spoken form of the language, although there is a consistent, exact correspondence between letters and phonemes. Written signs in other writing systems are called logograms; the contemporary English-language alphabet, known as Roman style, consists of twenty-six letters. Each letter corresponds to one or more sounds, the letters are combined in the order of sounds to make words. A letter is classed depending on how its sound is produced; the basic Roman alphabet is used with slight variations. Some versions contain as few as some as many as thirty. Letters have specific names associated with them, which may differ with language and history. Z, for example, is called zed in all English-speaking countries except the US, where it is named zee; as elements of alphabets, letters have prescribed orders. In Spanish, for instance, ñ is a separate letter, sorted after n.
In English, n and ñ are classified alike. As symbols that indicate segmental speech, letters are associated with phonetics. In a purely phonemic alphabet, a single phoneme is denoted by a single letter, although in history and in practice letters indicate more than one phoneme. There are more phonemes, in English -- about 44 -- than there are letters of the alphabet. A letter may therefore be associated with more than one phoneme, with the phoneme determined by the surrounding letters or etymology of the word. Regional accents have a significant effect; as an example of positional effects, the letter c is pronounced before a, o, u, or consonants, but is pronounced before e, i, or y. Conversely, the same phoneme may be shared by more than one letter, as shown by the c and s in fence and tense. A pair of letters designating a single phoneme is called a digraph. Examples of digraphs in English include ch, sh, th. A phoneme can be represented by three letters, called a trigraph. An example is the combination sch in German.
Letters may have a numerical or quantitative value. This applies to the letters of other writing systems. In English, Arabic numerals are used instead of letters. Greek and Roman letters are used as mathematical symbols in expressions. People and objects are sometimes named after letters, for one of these reasons: The letter is an abbreviation, e.g. "G-man" as slang for a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, arose as short for "Government Man" Alphabetical order used as a counting system, e.g. Plan A, Plan B, etc.. The shape of the letter, e.g. A-clamp, D-ring, F-clamp, G-clamp, H-block, H engine, O-ring, R-clip, U engine, V engine, Z-drive, a river delta, omega block Other reasons, e.g. X-ray after "x the unknown" in algebra, because the discoverer did not know what they were The Consistori del Gay Saber was the first literary academy in the world and held the Floral Games to award the best troubadour with the violeta d'aur top prize. Guilhem Molinier, a member of the academy, gave a definition of the letter in his Leys d'Amors, a book aimed at regulating then-flourishing Occitan poetry: Before there were alphabets, there were pictographs, or symbols.
Ancient Egyptian examples date to about 3500 BCE. Pictographs could communicate basic ideas, but were general and ambiguous if they were comprehensible at all. Tense, for example, could not be specified, symbols do not carry meaning across cultures. Memorization of tens of thousands of symbols is a daunting task; the relative ease of memorizing 26 letters contributed to the spread of literacy throughout the world. The first consonantal alphabet found emerged around 1800 BCE to represent the language of the Phoenicians, Semitic workers in Egypt, was derived from the alphabetic principles of the Egyptian hieroglyphs. Our present Roman system derives from this Phoenician alphabet. Nineteen of our present letters evolved from the early Phoenician forms; the Greek alphabet, adapted around 800 BCE, added four letters. This was the first alphabet assigning letters not only to consonant sounds, but to vowels; the Roman Empire brought the development and refinement of our Roman alphabet, beginning around 500 BCE.
The Romans dropped certain letters to accommodate Greek and Etruscan words. By about the fifth century CE, the beginnings of lowercase letterforms began to emerge in Roman writing, but they did not come into common use until the end of the Middle Ages, a thousand years later. Letter, borrowed from Old French letre, entered Middle English around 1200 CE displacing the native English term bōcstaf. Letter is descended from the Latin littera, which may have descended from the Greek "διφθέρα", via Etruscan. More the development of SMS technology is eliminating use of unnecessary letters in informal communication. Time pressure and limited character counts have introduced common abbreviations and variations such as gr8fl
A playing card is a piece of specially prepared heavy paper, thin cardboard, plastic-coated paper, cotton-paper blend, or thin plastic, marked with distinguishing motifs and used as one of a set for playing card games, performing magic tricks and flourishes, for cardistry, in card throwing. Playing cards are palm-sized for convenient handling, are sold together as a deck of cards or pack of cards. Playing cards were first invented in China during the Tang dynasty. Playing cards may have been invented during the Tang dynasty around the 9th century AD as a result of the usage of woodblock printing technology; the first possible reference to card games comes from a 9th-century text known as the Collection of Miscellanea at Duyang, written by Tang dynasty writer Su E. It describes Princess Tongchang, daughter of Emperor Yizong of Tang, playing the "leaf game" in 868 with members of the Wei clan, the family of the princess' husband; the first known book on the "leaf" game was called the Yezi Gexi and written by a Tang woman.
It received commentary by writers of subsequent dynasties. The Song dynasty scholar Ouyang Xiu asserts that the "leaf" game existed at least since the mid-Tang dynasty and associated its invention with the development of printed sheets as a writing medium. However, Ouyang claims that the "leaves" were pages of a book used in a board game played with dice, that the rules of the game were lost by 1067. Other games revolving around alcoholic drinking involved using playing cards of a sort from the Tang dynasty onward. However, these cards did not contain numbers. Instead, they were printed with forfeits for whomever drew them; the earliest dated instance of a game involving cards with suits and numerals occurred on 17 July 1294 when "Yan Sengzhu and Zheng Pig-Dog were caught playing cards and that wood blocks for printing them had been impounded, together with nine of the actual cards."William Henry Wilkinson suggests that the first cards may have been actual paper currency which doubled as both the tools of gaming and the stakes being played for, similar to trading card games.
Using paper money was inconvenient and risky so they were substituted by play money known as "money cards". One of the earliest games in which we know the rules is madiao, a trick-taking game, which dates to the Ming Dynasty. 15th-century scholar Lu Rong described it is as being played with 38 "money cards" divided into four suits: 9 in coins, 9 in strings of coins, 9 in myriads, 11 in tens of myriads. The two latter suits had Water Margin characters instead of pips on them with Chinese characters to mark their rank and suit; the suit of coins is in reverse order with 9 of coins being the lowest going up to 1 of coins as the high card. Despite the wide variety of patterns, the suits show a uniformity of structure; every suit contains twelve cards with the top two being the court cards of king and vizier and the bottom ten being pip cards. Half the suits use reverse ranking for their pip cards. There are many motifs for the suit pips but some include coins, clubs and swords which resemble Mamluk and Latin suits.
Michael Dummett speculated that Mamluk cards may have descended from an earlier deck which consisted of 48 cards divided into four suits each with ten pip cards and two court cards. By the 11th century, playing cards were spreading throughout the Asian continent and came into Egypt; the oldest surviving cards in the world are four fragments found in the Keir Collection and one in the Benaki Museum. They are dated to the 13th centuries. A near complete pack of Mamluk playing cards dating to the 15th century and of similar appearance to the fragments above was discovered by Leo Aryeh Mayer in the Topkapı Palace, Istanbul, in 1939, it is not a complete set and is composed of three different packs to replace missing cards. The Topkapı pack contained 52 cards comprising four suits: polo-sticks, coins and cups; each suit contained ten pip cards and three court cards, called malik, nā'ib malik, thānī nā'ib. The thānī nā ` ib is a non-existent title. In fact, the word "Kanjifah" appears in Arabic on the king of swords and is still used in parts of the Middle East to describe modern playing cards.
Influence from further east can explain why the Mamluks, most of whom were Central Asian Turkic Kipchaks, called their cups tuman which means myriad in Turkic and Jurchen languages. Wilkinson postulated that the cups may have been derived from inverting the Chinese and Jurchen ideogram for myriad; the Mamluk court cards showed abstract designs or calligraphy not depicting persons due to religious proscription in Sunni Islam, though they did bear the ranks on the cards. Nā'ib would be borrowed into French and Spanish, the latter word still in common usage. Panels on the pip cards in two suits show they had a reverse ranking, a feature found in madiao and old European card games like ombre and maw. A fragment of two uncut sheets of Moorish-styled cards of a similar but plainer style were found in Spain and dated to the early 15th century. Export of these cards, ceased after the fall of the Mamluks in the 16th century; the rules to play these games are lost but they are believed to be plain trick games without trumps.
Four-suited playing cards ar