If it's Wednesday, it must be time for...Ask Mr. Knowitall.
A Mr. Larry Caplan from Scarborough Canada asks...
Dear Mr. Knowitall....."Is there really lead in a pencil?"
Dear Larry.....At your age, I kinda doubt it....Oh! You mean actually,
Not metaphorically?...OK, Not anymore. The ancient Greeks, Romans,
and Egyptians used small lead disks for drawing guidlines on papyrus before
writing with brushes with ink, and artists in Europe used metalic rods of lead silver and zinc
to make drawings centuries ago. But all that changed in 1564, when a graphite deposit was
unearthed in Borrowdale England.
But using graphite for writing wasn't new, the Aztecs did it long before the arrival of
Columbus to the New World. But it was new to the Europeans. They discovered that the
graphite-a form af Carbon- made rich dark lines. They then began carving pointed
"marking stones" out of it to write with.
The problem was that the stones marked the writer's hands as much as the paper. Eventually
people figured out that they could wrap a string around the stone to keep their hands clean,
and unwinded it as the graphite wore down, That was the 1st version of the modern pencil!
A Mr Rudolph Guliani of Queens New York asks...
Dear Mr. Knowitall..."Why is NYC called The Big Apple?"
Dear Rudy, It appears to be a jazz term. Musicians of the 30's coined many terms for different things, their travels, their music, even the towns that they stayed in. A town was an "Apple".
The head of the NYC travel Council at the time, Charles Gillett, learned of that term, and bragged..."There are Lots of "Apples" in the U.S.A., but we are the biggest and the best, we are the "Big Apple"!!!
A Mr. Richard Kildare of Hoboken New Jersey asks...
Dear Mr. Knowitall..."How heavy are our bones?"
Dear Dick, Our bones are a remarkable combination of strength and lightness, in a 160# man, only about 29 #'s less than 20% represent bone weight. Steel bars of comparable size would weigh at least 5 times that much...
OK Mr. Knowitall grows weary.....until next time.... Peace!