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The Curious Historian

Passionately Curious

Red Light! Green Light! Traffic Signals!

I was sitting in my car on the way home from work the other day, stuck in traffic, bored out of my mind. I was thinking to myself, I could fly past all these cars and be home in 15 minutes if everyone just moved to the side of the road. An unoriginal notion, I’m sure. Alas, I was stopped at a traffic light, unable to move. Then I thought, how strange it is that everyone accepts the authority of a traffic light, and that thought made me wonder how that came to be (hey, better than thinking about the traffic itself). As it turns out, its origin had a dim start. Continue reading “Red Light! Green Light! Traffic Signals!”

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Fun Fact Friday: Flaming Christmas Trees

Before electricity, people used to light their Christmas trees with candles! As I’m sure you can imagine, there were some issues with that trend.

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Krampus: The Christmas Demon

Hang your stockings and say a prayer, Krampus is coming.

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How the Eiffel Tower was Saved – Twice

1889 marked the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution so the city of Paris wanted to celebrate. The Parisians didn’t just have a parade with some balloons and trumpets, though, they threw a gigantic festival that the entire world was invited to. It was called the Exposition Universelle, or the World’s Fair. 

Continue reading “How the Eiffel Tower was Saved – Twice”

Holiday History: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, or, the tradition of stuffing your face with seasonal pies, side dishes, and turkey, is one of the oldest traditions there is. Celebrations of fall harvest transcend cultures and millennia, dating as far back as the Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians! Although the practice of celebrating a bountiful harvest has been a custom as old as the harvest season itself, it hasn’t always been a national holiday.

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The Gutenberg Revolution

Try to imagine printing technology before there were computers, electronic printers, and even typewriters. It must have been primitive, right? Au contraire, dear. The printing press, the first method of producing the printed word, influenced a change of culture and society forever.

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Laced Up Volume II: Corset Controversies

While doing research on the history of corsets, I found out that much of what we think about corsets is a misunderstanding. Of course, the corset was not the most user friendly accessory, but was it as dreadful as history and pop culture make it out to be?  The answer may surprise you.

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Laced Up Volume I: 400 Years of Corsetry (abridged)

The corset is arguably one of the most controversial undergarments in the history of fashion. They have been a symbol of femininity, fashion, and eroticism since it was first invented. No wonder I have an interest in corsetry, my great-grandma owned a corset shop in Chicago from 1930 to the 1960s. Thanks to the fashion industry, corsets went through a variety of adaptations from its origins in the 16th century through the 19th century, and even into the 20th and 21st century. Continue reading “Laced Up Volume I: 400 Years of Corsetry (abridged)”

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