The panel topic at Celebrate Science this weekend was “Is Science Everywhere?” Here’s a list I prepared as part of my contribution to the day:
Ten highly scientific things you might not know about your ginch, from 50 Underwear Questions:
- Underwear carved on an ancient figurine in France has shown archeologists when people in that region first developed weaving technologies.
- In Medieval Europe, people washed their undies in pee. Theoretically, the acid ate away the dirt.
- In 1856, an inventor patented the inflatable petticoat, which allowed women to float their skirts weightlessly – until they popped.
- In the 1880s, Lewis Tomalin sold thousands of wool undersuits on the theory that natural fabric could help you lose weight, gain strength, and improve your singing voice.
- The first underwear with elastic came out in the mid-1800s. It didn’t last long, though, and it couldn’t be washed. Elastic waistbands weren’t popular until after 1925, when the Dunlop Rubber Company created elastic that could be boiled.
- The jock strap was invented in 1897 for the sake of Boston bike couriers who were finding that while some of their packages arrived safely, other “packages” were a little numb.
- In 1900s, you could buy a Heidleberg Electric Belt, which would shock your groin every few seconds to improve your circulation and nerve function.
- In 1917, when the US War Industries Board asked women to stop buying corsets, they saved enough metal to build two entire battleships.
- Women wear panties today because of two 1950s innovations: elastic thread and nylon.
- It’s hard to wash your underwear in space. One astronaut took his dirty undies, wet them, and planted seeds… which sprouted into an underwear garden.
I think we can definitely say that science is everywhere… even in your underpants.