5 Surprising Facts About America's Favorite Exploding Pastime

Firecrackers are essentially un-American, even though we associate them our most deeply patriotic celebration, the Fourth of July. The fact is that firecrackers are foreign-born novelties, and have been as long as Americans have lit them for a noisy salute to the nation's birth. As it turns out, firecracker history is… » 7/04/14 2:00pm Friday 2:00pm

11 Machines That Exercise For You, From the Victorian Era to Today

Time was, humans didn't have to worry much about getting exercise. When we had to kill, gather, grow, or herd our own food, working out happened naturally. Of course, as soon as we figured out how to avoid those laborious chores, we did. Not long after, we had to come up with new ways of staying in shape; hence,… » 6/11/14 4:50pm 6/11/14 4:50pm

8 Bizarre and Painful Highlights From Two Centuries of Beauty Tech

Humans have been pursuing this elusive quality known as "beauty" long before the miracles of modern medicine. Inventors were always coming up with tools meant to help women—and men—achieve the wide-held physical ideals of their era. Eager test subjects would get hooked up to devices that looked like torture machines,… » 5/13/14 9:00am 5/13/14 9:00am

The Fascinating Untold History of War and Prosthetics

There's something undeniably beautiful about prosthetic limbs, designed to echo the physical grace and mechanical engineering of the human body. For most people, these objects elicit some combination of squeamish discomfort and utmost respect. But far fewer of us connect those feelings to the untold generations of… » 4/30/14 5:20pm 4/30/14 5:20pm

How Boomboxes Got So Badass

Boomboxes are, by definition, excessive. With their deafening bass thud and dazzling chrome dials, these electric beasts are heavy enough to tone your biceps. Also known as "ghetto blasters" or "jamboxes," they rose to fame in the 1980s along with hip-hop, flourishing as a tool for sharing and mixing the latest beats.… » 4/24/14 4:40pm 4/24/14 4:40pm

The Untold History of the Easy-Bake Oven

I have a confession: My brother and I destroyed my Easy-Bake Oven. I had the 1981 Mini-Wave model, the boxy, yellow microwave style, which was, in my 7-year-old mind, the only kind of Easy-Bake there was. One day, my 4-year-old brother had a brilliant idea—to "cook" a green plastic steak from our 1972 Mattel Tuff Stuff » 2/13/14 4:00pm 2/13/14 4:00pm

8 Unfortunate Vintage Candy Wrappers

According to a recent article on Smithsonian.com, the notion that poison candy is routinely distributed to unsuspecting children on Halloween is a myth perpetrated by advice columnists Dear Abby and Ann Landers in the 1980s and ’90s. But historically, candy meant for young consumers has sported poisonous-sounding, WTF… » 10/31/13 3:20pm 10/31/13 3:20pm