The accordion is a portable, freely vibrating reed instrument. It consists of a keyboard and bass casing that are connected by a collapsible bellows.
Acrylic nails are used to artificially enhance the appearance of natural fingernails. The term "acrylic nail" covers a range of product types, including press-on nails, nail tips, and sculpted nails.
Residential and commercial space-cooling demands are increasing steadily throughout the world as what once was considered a luxury is now seemingly a necessity. Air-conditioning manufacturers have played a big part in making units more affordable by increasing their efficiency and improving components and technology.
An airship is a large lighter-than-air gas balloon that can be navigated by using engine-driven propellers. There are three types of airships: rigid (has an internal metal frame to maintain the envelope's shape); semi-rigid (rigid keels run the length of the envelope to maintain its shape); and non-rigid (internal pressure of the lifting gas, usually helium, maintains the envelope's shape).
Animation is a series of still drawings that, when viewed in rapid succession, gives the impression of a moving picture. The word animation derives from the Latin words anima meaning life, and animare meaning to breathe life into.
Ronald Assas' frustration with shoplifters came to a head the day he watched a man slip two bottles of wine under his shirt and run out of an Akron, Ohio, supermarket. Assas, the store manager, sprinted out the door in pursuit of the thief.
An artificial eye is a replacement for a natural eye lost because of injury or disease. Although the replacement cannot provide sight, it fills the cavity of the eye socket and serves as a cosmetic enhancement.
Skin, the human body's largest organ, protects the body from disease and physical damage, and helps to regulate body temperature. It is composed of two major layers, the epidermis and the dermis.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used in reduced calorie foods. It is derived primarily from two naturally occurring amino acids chemically combined and designated by the chemical name N-L-aaspartyl-L-phenylalanine-l-methyl ester (APM).
An asphalt paver is a machine used to distribute, shape, and partially compact a layer of asphalt on the surface of a roadway, parking lot, or other area. It is sometimes called an asphalt-paving machine.
Coffee was first cultivated in Ethiopia in the sixth century A.D. The coffee berries were consumed whole, or a wine was made out of the fermented fruits.
A ballpoint pen is a writing instrument which features a tip that is automatically refreshed with ink. It consists of a precisely formed metal ball seated in a socket below a reservoir of ink.
Black box is a generic term used to describe the computerized flight data recorders carried by modern commercial aircraft. The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) is a miniaturized computer system which tracks a variety of data regarding the flight of the plane, such as airspeed, position, and altitude.
Popularized in the 1920s and used heavily ever since, the bulldozer, commonly termed a dozer, is a clear offspring of the crawler tractor. Used in conjunction with other earthmoving vehicles, the bulldozer is a powerful and necessary tool utilized in almost every construction site in the world.
Photography has staked its claim as America's favorite hobby, and today, cameras are available in sizes and shapes to suit the needs of every kind of photographer and budget. Much like Henry Ford wanted a Model T in every driveway, George Eastman thought every consumer should be able to afford a camera.
A computed tomography (CT) or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scanner is a medical imaging tool that provides clear pictures of the internal structures of the body. Utilizing a beam of x rays and a radiation detector, it supplies data to a computer, which then constructs a three-dimensional image.
Breakfast cereal is a processed food manufactured from grain and intended to be eaten as a main course served with milk during the morning meal. Some breakfast cereals require brief cooking, but these hot cereals are less popular than cold, ready-to-eat cereals.
Champagne is the ultimate celebratory drink. It is used to toast newlyweds, applaud achievements, and acknowledge milestones.
A cigar is a tobacco leaf wrapped around a tobacco leaf filling. Bigger than a cigarette, and taking longer to smoke, the cigar is considered by aficionados to be the finest way to enjoy tobacco.
The clarinet is a woodwind instrument played with a single reed. Clarinets come in many different sizes, with different pitch ranges.
A concrete block is primarily used as a building material in the construction of walls. It is sometimes called a concrete masonry unit (CMU).
Thanks to its rarity and beauty, the pearl is as prized as a precious gem, but it is not formed by geologic processes like precious and semi-precious stones. Instead, the pearl is a product of some species of oysters and other shell-fish, formally called bivalve mollusks.
The dental drill is a tool used by dentists to bore through tooth enamel as well as to clean and remove plaque from the tooth's surface. It is composed primarily of a handpiece, an air turbine, and a tungsten carbide drill bit.
Dentures, or false teeth, are fixed or removable replacements for teeth. Tooth replacement becomes necessary when the tooth and its roots have been irreparably damaged, and the tooth has been lost or must be removed.
A disposable diaper consists of an absorbent pad sandwiched between two sheets of nonwoven fabric. The pad is specially designed to absorb and retain body fluids, and the nonwoven fabric gives the diaper a comfortable shape and helps prevent leakage.
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a device which graphically records the electrical activity of the muscles of the heart. It is used to identify normal and abnormal heartbeats.
An escalator is a power-driven, continuous moving stairway designed to transport passengers up and down short vertical distances. Escalators are used around the world to move pedestrian traffic in places where elevators would be impractical.
Fake fur is a type of textile fabric fashioned to simulate genuine animal fur. It is known as a pile fabric and is typically made from polymeric fibers that are processed, dyed, and cut to match a specific fur texture and color.
Fertilizer is a substance added to soil to improve plants' growth and yield. First used by ancient farmers, fertilizer technology developed significantly as the chemical needs of growing plants were discovered.
Composite forest products, or engineered wood, refer to materials made of wood that are glued together. In the United States, roughly 21 million tons (21.3 million metric tons) of composite wood are produced annually.
Flavored coffee beans are coated with flavor compounds to supplement coffee beans' natural taste. In addition, these flavors help extend the shelf life of coffee by disguising changes in flavor due to decaffeination, oxidation, or aging processes.
Flour is a finely ground powder prepared from grain or other starchy plant foods and used in baking. Although flour can be made from a wide variety of plants, the vast majority is made from wheat.
Although the game of football as we know it today supposedly dates back to the nineteenth century, there is some evidence to support that the ancient Greeks played a version of football they called harpaston. This game apparently took place on a rectangular field with goal lines on both ends.
Amateur and professional football players alike wear protective gear to reduce the likelihood of sustaining injury while playing the game of football. The football helmet with its chin strap, face mask, and optional mouth guard is one example of protective gear.
You can call it garbage, trash, refuse, or solid waste. It's all the same thing, and getting rid of it has been a problem since the beginning of civilization.
A gas mask is a device designed to protect the wearer from noxious vapors, dust, and other pollutants. Masks may be designed to carry their own internal supply of fresh air, or they may be outfitted with a filter to screen out harmful contaminants.
Golf, a game of Scottish origin, is one of the most popular sports in the world. In the United States alone more than 24 million people play golf, including over 8,000 professional players.
Graham crackers and related animal crackers are whole wheat crackers made with a special type of flour. They are slightly sweetened with sugar and honey and are sold in a variety of sizes and shapes.
Gummy candy is a unique candy composed of gelatin, sweeteners, flavorings, and colorings. Because of its nature it can be molded into literally thousands of shapes, making it one of the most versatile confection products ever.
Hair dye is one of the oldest known beauty preparations, and was used by ancient cultures in many parts of the world. Records of ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Hebrews, Persians, Chinese, and early Hindu peoples all mention the use of hair colorings.
The harmonica, or mouth organ, is a hand-held rectangular musical instrument. As the musician inhales and exhales into evenly spaced air channels, the metal reeds within produce musical tones.
A harp is a musical instrument consisting of a triangular frame open on both sides which contains a series of strings of varying lengths that are played by plucking. The length of the string determines how high or low a sound it makes.
As a result of society's increasing concern for ecological and environmental issues, the demand for more efficient ways to utilize heat and energy is rising. The heat pump industry uses technological advances such as year-round space heating to displace heat energy to a more useful location and purpose.
Trucks are divided into light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty classifications depending on their weight. Heavy-duty trucks have a gross vehicle weight of 33,000 lb (15,000 kg) or more (i.e.
A hologram is a flat surface that, under proper illumination, appears to contain a three-dimensional image. A hologram may also project a three-dimensional image into the air—a lifelike image that can be photographed although it cannot be touched.
A hot air balloon is a nonporous envelope of thin material filled with a lifting gas that is capable of lifting a suspended payload into the atmosphere. Balloons rise because of the displacement of air, applying the principle that the total upward buoyant force is equal to the weight of the air displaced.
Our love affair with ice cream is centuries old. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Jews were known to chill wines and juices.
Imitation crab meat is a seafood product made by blending processed fish, known as surimi, with various texturizing ingredients, flavorants, and colorants. First invented in the mid 1970s, imitation crab meat has become a popular food in the United States, with annual sales of over $250 million.
Instant (or soluble) coffee has been widely used for decades because of its convenience. During the height of its popularity in the 1970s, nearly a third of the roasted coffee imported into the United States was converted into an instant product, resulting in annual sales of more than 200 million pounds.
An iron-on decal is an image printed on special paper that allows it to be transferred to fabric by applying heat and pressure. Iron-ons are one of the four primary types of decals; the other three types are slide off, varnish, and pressure sensitive.
A latex is a colloidal suspension of very small polymer particles in water and is used to make rubber.
Lumber is a generic term that applies to various lengths of wood used as construction materials. Pieces of lumber are cut lengthwise from the trunks of trees and are characterized by having generally rectangular or square cross sections, as opposed to poles or pilings, which have round cross sections.
M&Ms? chocolate candies have two possible origins. Some sources say that M&Ms? were invented in the 1930s, based on a suggestion by soldiers fighting in the Spanish Civil War.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical device that uses a magnetic field and the natural resonance of atoms in the body to obtain images of human tissues. The basic device was first developed in 1945, and the technology has steadily improved since.
The Algonquin Indians called it sinzibukwud, meaning drawn from wood. It was the Algonquins and the other Native American tribes of the northeastern United States and southeast Canada who first showed French and British settlers how to draw the sap of Acer saccharum, the sugar maple, and reduce it into a sweet, thick liquid known today as maple syrup.
Markers, or felt-tip pens, serve a variety of functions. Children use them to make bright, colorful drawings.
Marshmallows are one of the earliest confections known to humankind. Today's marshmallows come in many forms, from solid (soft pillows dropped in cocoa or roasted on a stick) to semi-liquid (covered in chocolate or formed into chicks for Easter) to the creme-like (used as a base in other candies or as an ice cream topping).
Mascara is a cosmetic applied to the eyelashes to make the lashes thicker, longer, and darker. It is one of the most ancient cosmetics known, having been used in Egypt possibly as early as 4000 B.C.
A match is a small stick of wood or strip of cardboard with a solidified mixture of flammable chemicals deposited on one end. When that end is struck on a rough surface, the friction generates enough heat to ignite the chemicals and produce a small flame.
A microscope is an instrument used to produce enlarged images of small objects. The most common kind of microscope is an optical microscope, which uses lenses to form images from visible light.
Mosquito repellents are substances that are designed to make surfaces unpleasant or unattractive to mosquitos. They typically contain an active ingredient that repels mosquitos as well as secondary ingredients, which aid in delivery and cosmetic appeal.
A nicotine patch is a device designed to deliver nicotine through the skin and into the blood stream. It is used to help prevent the craving for nicotine that smokers experience when attempting to quit.
The olive and the tree on which it grows have been revered since ancient times. Archaeological digs have unearthed evidence that olive trees existed on the island of Crete in 3500 B.C.
The pacemaker is an electronic biomedical device that can regulate the human heartbeat when its natural regulating mechanisms break down. It is a small box surgically implanted in the chest cavity and has electrodes that are in direct contact with the heart.
The existence of money as a means of buying or selling goods and services dates back to at least 3000 B.C., when the Sumerians began using metal coins in place of bartering with barley. The use of paper money began in China during the seventh century, but its uncertain value, as opposed to the more universally accepted value of gold or silver coins, led to widespread inflation and state bankruptcy.
The piano may be the best known and loved of all musical instruments. It also has the broadest range of any instrument, so music for all other instruments can be composed on it.
The portable toilet is a lightweight, transportable, efficient and more sanitary variation of a common facility for the elimination of human waste that existed before the advent of indoor plumbing—the outhouse. Before indoor plumbing allowed for the development of a system for transporting human waste from a receptacle to a sewer system through a series of pipes and other plumbing apparatus, humans often attended to their need to eliminate waste in an isolated stall located outside of living and working quarters, if they elected to use any type of structure at all.
Potato chips are thin slices of potato, fried quickly in oil and then salted.
Propane is a naturally occurring gas composed of three carbon atoms and eight hydrogen atoms. It is created along with a variety of other hydrocarbons (such as crude oil, butane, and gasoline) by the decomposition and reaction of organic matter over long periods of time.
Rammed earth is essentially manmade sedimentary rock. Rather than being compressed for thousands of years under deep layers of soil, it is formed in minutes by mechanically compacting properly prepared dirt.
A reclining chair is an upholstered chair with a metal mechanism activated by the user so that the back is pushed out and a foot rest rises up to accommodate the user's lower legs. Most recliners are armchairs, meaning they include arms.
Ribbons are useful and decorative fabrics that are almost infinite in their variety, texture, and color. Modern ribbons are manufactured from every kind of fabric, from velvet and satin to synthetics like nylon and rayon.
Sand is a loose, fragmented, naturally-occurring material consisting of very small particles of decomposed rocks, corals, or shells. Sand is used to provide bulk, strength, and other properties to construction materials like asphalt and concrete.
A saw is a hand tool with a toothed blade used to cut hard materials such as wood or bone. They are among the oldest known tools.
Scissors are cutting instruments consisting of a pair of metal blades connected in such a way that the blades meet and cut materials placed between them when the handles are brought together. The word shears is used to describe larger instruments of the same kind.
Scratch 'N Sniff? is the trade name for a special kind of perfume or scent saturated printing in which the scent is enclosed in minute capsules, which can be broken open by friction. Individual beads of scented oil too small to be seen with the naked eye are encapsulated in plastic or gelatin, and with specialized printing techniques, the beads are printed on paper.
Screws are part of a family of threaded fasteners that includes bolts and studs as well as specialized screws like carpenter's wood screws and the automotive cap screw. The threads (or grooves) can run right handed or left, tapered, straight, or parallel.
Before 1900, women spent many of their daylight hours sewing clothes for themselves and their families by hand. Women also formed the majority of the labor force that sewed clothes in factories and wove fabrics in mills.
Shampoos are cleaning formulations used for a wide range of applications, including personal care, pet use, and carpets. Most are manufactured in roughly the same manner.
Roofing shingles are made from several types of materials. Wood shingles are sawed from red cedar or pine.
Silver was one of the earliest metals known to humans, and it has been considered a precious metal since ancient times. Silver has been used as a form of currency by more people throughout history than any other metal, even gold.
The Slinky toy is a coil of wire or plastic that has the ability to "walk" on its own, usually down a flight of stairs.
Sometimes called a couch or a davenport, a sofa is a long upholstered seat with both arms and a back. Today, it is a common luxury that indicates humans' progression away from the nomadic "pack and evacuate" lifestyle of our recent past.
In just one second, the Sun gives off 13 million times the energy that is generated by all the electricity consumed in one year in the United States. Only one millionth of the Sun's energy reaches Earth, but this scant amount would be more than sufficient to meet the energy requirements of our entire planet.
Soy sauce is one of the world's oldest condiments and has been used in China for more than 2,500 years. It is made from fermenting a mixture of mashed soybeans, salt, and enzymes.
The Stetson hat, named after its inventor, John B. Stetson, is synonymous with the more generic cowboy hat.
Sunglasses are eyewear designed to help protect the eyes from excessive sunlight. Eyes are extremely light sensitive and can be easily damaged by overexposure to radiation in the visible and nonvisible spectra.
Power line disturbances occur on an average of four times a day, according to studies by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). These disturbances—increases in current that can damage electronic devices plugged into outlets—may be caused by lightning or other weather-related incidents; traffic accidents affecting power lines; the use of electrical products such as motors, compressors, and fluorescent lights; high-powered electrical equipment and voltage fluctuations initiated by a power company; and high-frequency noise.
The hypodermic syringe, also known as the hypodermic needle, is a device used by medical professionals to transfer liquids into or out of the body. It is made up of a hollow needle, which is attached to a tube and a plunger.
Most people born in this century have probably encountered teddy bears during their lives, for the teddy bear was developed around the turn of the century. Toy bears developed out of admiration for real bears.
Among the technical developments that have come to dominate our lives, television is surely one of the top ten. In the United States, more than 98% of households own at least one television set and 61% receive cable television.
The game of tennis dates back officially to 1873, when the first book of rules was published by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield of north Wales. But tennis has antecedents in ball games played with the hand that evolved in Europe before the Renaissance.
Facial tissues belong to a class of paper products used extensively for personal hygiene in modern society. Other products of this type include paper towels, napkins, and sanitary (or toilet) tissue.
Toothpaste has a history that stretches back nearly 4,000 years. Until the mid-nineteenth century, abrasives used to clean teeth did not resemble modern toothpastes.
A trampoline is an elevated, essentially buoyant webbed bed or canvas sheet supported by springs or elastic shock cords. It is surrounded by a metal frame and used as a springboard for tumbling.
Vitamins are organic compounds that are necessary in small amounts in animal and human diets to sustain life and health. The absence of certain vitamins can cause disease, poor growth, and a variety of syndromes.
Wallpaper is a nonwoven (paper) or woven (fabric) backing, decoratively printed for application to walls of a residence or business. Wallpaper is not considered essential to the decoration of a structure; however, it has become a primary method by which to impart style, atmosphere, or color into a room.
Wigs are worn for either prosthetic, cosmetic, or convenience reasons. People who have lost all or part of their own hair due to illness or natural baldness can disguise the condition.
Yarn consists of several strands of material twisted together. Each strand is, in turn, made of fibers, all shorter than the piece of yarn that they form.
A yo-yo is a toy that has two disks connected together and sandwiching a long string. Traditionally made of wood, the disks are now commonly made of plastic.