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  • Surgical Gloves Were Invented For Love, Not Hygiene on Random Most Surprising Things We Learned In 2022

    (#3) Surgical Gloves Were Invented For Love, Not Hygiene

    When renowned surgeon William Stewart Halsted first asked the Goodyear Rubber Company to make a thin pair of rubber gloves in the winter of 1889-1890, he had no intention of using them to protect his patients against infection. Instead, he only wanted to protect his love interest's gentle hands from the harsh chemicals she was exposed to as his assistant in the operating room. 

    Despite being one of America's most prominent advocates for Joseph Lister's antiseptic surgical protocols, the John Hopkins doctor saw little advantage to wearing rubber gloves beyond protecting his nurse Caroline Hampton's skin from mercuric chloride. She evidently appreciated the gesture, because the two were quickly engaged and married shortly after Halsted presented her with his invention. 

    While the gloves grew in popularity among surgeons for their ability to protect their own skin, it wasn't until much later that they were recognized for their hygienic properties during operations. 

  • Gin and tonic on Random Most Surprising Things We Learned In 2022

    (#12) Gin and tonic

    • Beverage

    Malaria in colonial India was a major problem for British citizens and soldiers and, as a result, they relied on quinine to combat the disease. Derived from the bark of the cinchona tree, quinine was popular with European settlers in South America during the 17th century as an anti-fever drug. In colonial India, it was again used for fevers, and due to its bitterness, was usually mixed with soda water and sugar.

    The bubbly beverage soon became a new drink - tonic water; the first patents for it appeared as early as 1858. Schweppes tonic water entered the market in 1870 as "Indian Quinine Tonic" and was mixed with alcohol, namely gin

    The addition of gin to quinine and tonic water had been taking place for decades by the time commercial concoctions came on the scene. In British India, a daily gin and tonic was essential to maintaining imperial control. Part medicinal and part social, imbibing these cocktails became part of life for British expatriates. When they returned to England or ventured to other parts of the world, gin-and-tonic drinkers took their affinity for the beverage with them.  

  • In The 18th Century, Powdered Wigs Were A Popular Way For The Elite To Hide Their Syphilis on Random Most Surprising Things We Learned In 2022

    (#11) In The 18th Century, Powdered Wigs Were A Popular Way For The Elite To Hide Their Syphilis

    In the second half of the 18th century, powdered wigs became a major status symbol for the ruling class. Syphilis was the main cause of these wigs coming into fashion, as the disease was rampant in Europe during the period and affected more Europeans than the plague.

    With the hairline being an important symbol of status for men at the time, the syphilitic side effect that caused patchy hair loss and the graying of one’s hair obviously was a large concern. Wigs became the easy (yet expensive) fix for hiding the hairline.

    Once King Louis XIV of France and his cousin King Charles II began wearing them, the fashion quickly caught on with other members of the ruling class, courtiers, and eventually merchants. The white powdered wigs eventually fell out of favor, replaced by individuals simply powdering their own natural hair instead.

  • Abraham Lincoln on Random Most Surprising Things We Learned In 2022

    (#2) Abraham Lincoln

    • US President

    The name "Fido" for a dog may have been popularized by Abraham Lincoln, but the President's canine by that name met a tragic fate similar to that of his owner. With a moniker that means "fidelity" in Latin, Fido was a yellow-haired mutt the Lincoln family took in about 1855.

    Fido was a companion to Lincoln in Springfield, IL, but remained in the Midwest when the Lincoln family went to Washington, DC. Carpenter John Eddy Roll watched Fido during that time, and according to a letter he sent Lincoln in 1862, the dog was "doing well."

    The faithful canine attended Lincoln's April 1865 funeral in Springfield and spent the rest of his days there. His life was cut short at some point in 1866:

    One day the dog, in a playful manner, put his dirty paws upon a drunken man sitting on the street curbing [who] in his drunken rage, thrust a knife into the body of poor old Fido... So Fido, just a poor yellow dog, met the same fate as his illustrious master - assassination.

    The drunken man was Charlie Planck, and in the immediate aftermath of the event, Fido went behind a nearby church, where the Rolls found him. They carried him home, buried him, and covered his grave with flowers.

  • An 'I've Got A Secret' Contestant Witnessed The Assassination Of Abraham Lincoln on Random Most Surprising Things We Learned In 2022

    (#1) An 'I've Got A Secret' Contestant Witnessed The Assassination Of Abraham Lincoln

    Born in 1860, Samuel J. Seymour of Maryland was a guest on I've Got a Secret in 1956 at the age of 96, when he told the panel and audience that he witnessed the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. 

    In 1865, at the age of 5, Seymour, his nurse Sarah Cook, and his godmother Mrs. George S. Goldsborough went to see Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre. He recalled sitting in balcony seats across from the Presidential Box when he witnessed John Wilkes Booth leap from the box, and President Lincoln fall over.

    Seymour was one of around 1,500 people present during Lincoln's assassination. 

  • Lightning Can Absolutely Strike The Same Place Twice on Random Most Surprising Things We Learned In 2022

    (#17) Lightning Can Absolutely Strike The Same Place Twice

    It's highly likely that lightning will strike in the same place more than once, especially if it hits an exceptionally tall and protruding object. The Empire State Building, for example, is struck approximately 25 times a year. 

    Also, just because the sky is clear doesn't mean that outdoor enthusiasts should ignore warning signs of an impending storm. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to become a physical danger - even if there isn't a cloud in sight. 

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