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The Boot Scoop

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Hey, Boot Boys and Girls!

These boots are made for walking. It’s not just a catchy line in a song; it’s a fact. Boots were designed for walking through snow, shallow water, and mud while keeping your feet clean, dry, and protected. The closely stitched design of leather, rubber, and canvas (or other similar materials) keeps it so everything on the outside STAYS on the outside.

Some boots, like a hiker, have tongue and laces like your everyday tennis shoe. Other boots, like rain boots, don’t have those different parts because they seal everything out. And yet, other kinds of boots, like a winter boot, may have insulation to provide you with warmth. We’ll explore this more in a minute.

With so many styles, purposes, and functions, how did such a versatile invention get started? Well, boots evolved as new conditions were encountered. For example, people didn’t need winter boots until they started expanding their territories into colder climates. So what was the original boot? When was it made and for what purpose?

Began in Pieces
Because of depictions in cave paintings that geologists date back to about 15,000 years ago, it’s suggested that boots are at least that old. Other, historical evidence shows us that early boots were made of separate coverings: a two-piece—one piece to cover the foot and another piece for the lower leg. It was about 3000 years ago now that we see the two coverings welded together as the single unit of footwear we know today. 

Cold Feet
Back that long ago, it was common for people to just walk around barefoot for everyday activities. A trip across longer distances would maybe get sandals or wooden shoes. Boots were for journeys across rough terrain, hunting, and sports. Boots were a natural need for nomadic cultures. People traveled from Asia to China to India to Russia and pushed into colder lands. Alaskan Eskimos began wearing animal parts, lining the inside with fur as early means of insulation.

War Boots
Militaries throughout the years and all over the world supplied their soldiers with the proper footwear for battle: boots! In fact, they’re responsible for developing a number of different styles such as boots that featured thick soles and turnover tops, designed to protect soldiers on horseback. Thigh-high boots were worn by Hessian soldiers of the American Revolutionary War which brought a big influence on the iconic cowboy boots of the American West cattlemen. For commanding officers in more recent years, boots have become more of a symbol of rank as opposed to any practical purposes.

Be sure to check out the boots we have available here at everyone’s favorite online store for kids camping gear, Everything Summer Camp. Appreciate it every time you strap on your boots that you can go muck it up or trudge through hills of snow while keeping your feet perfectly comfortable. Until next time, Camp Folks! And, as always, thanks for reading!

 

- John


Frisbee Fun

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Hey, Frisbee Fans!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a flying saucer! No, I’m not talking about any close encounters of the third kind sort of flying saucer. It’s the toy flying saucer that I’m talking about. You can use it to play a game of catch unlike any other—no ball involved—along with a number of other Frisbee-centric sports such as Ultimate Frisbee or Disc Golf.

The Frisbee glides by providing its own lift as it moves through the air and its spin is what creates its stability (using angular momentum in the same fashion as a gyroscope). This allows for aim and accuracy when it’s thrown.

Such a different concept from the typical ball that most sports use, how did such an interesting toy as the Frisbee come to be invented anyway? Well, it’s a cool story—one that starts in 1937 on a Thanksgiving Day evening.

After enjoying a delicious meal, one Walter Morrison and his one-day wife, Lucille, were having some fun, tossing around the lid of a popcorn canister. They discovered how well a flat disc could travel with the proper throw.

Another day, experimenting with the same concept, Walter and Lucille were tossing a cake pan back and forth on an afternoon at the beach. They were offered 25¢ for the pan despite the fact that cake pans, at the time, only cost a fifth of the offer that was made.

The couple saw that this idea could produce a profit and Walter sketched up a new design to make the disk more aerodynamic for improved flight. They named it the Whirlo-Way after a famous racehorse, however, in the midst of increasing UFO sightings after the incident at Roswell, New Mexico, they renamed their toy the Flyin-Saucer to capitalize on the craze.

From there, Walter started his own company in 1954 and redesigned the Flyin Saucer model, calling it the Pluto Platter. Before long, he sold the rights to Wham-O. That pretty much completes the history of the Frisbee—except for how it got its name.

Ironically, the name comes from students of Yale University who started tossing around empty pie tins from the Frisbie Pie Company—just the way Walter and Lucille threw around popcorn tin lids and cake pans! Once the co-founders of Wham-O learned of this term for throwing discs, they renamed the Pluto Platter for good. Catch your own light-up Frisbee right here at Everything Summer Camp and, as always, thanks for reading.

 

- John


The History of Dry-Erase

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Hey, Camp Kids!

You may assume Chalkboards have been around for as long as school entirely! Teaching without a Chalkboard would be pretty difficult, wouldn’t it? Well, that’s how it was for a long time. Students used to have their own small slates and the teacher would have to stop by every seat to write down a math problem or some other question on each student's slate. Teaching was much more tedious back then.

Chalkboards, also referred to as Blackboards, have actually only been around for a brief blip in the history of education—since 1801 to be specific. It didn’t take long before every classroom had a Chalkboard in it.

Until the Whiteboard came along…

Yes, even younger than the Blackboard, the Whiteboard has taken its place and Replaced Chalkboards on the walls of elementary, high school, and college classrooms as well as offices in the workplace. The Whiteboard, which also goes by the name of Dry-Erase Board, is a glossy and typically white surface. Much like the Chalkboard, Dry-Erase Boards are ready to hold markings of the non-permanent variety and can be wiped away.

Made of steel with a coating of enamel fused onto it, Whiteboards were invented and made commercially available in the early 1960s. They didn’t catch too much interest, however, for another 30 years. For whatever reason, their popularity suddenly skyrocketed, landing Dry-Erase Boards on many walls of meeting rooms, offices, classrooms, and other workplaces.

They started showing up on the doors of college dorm rooms for friends to leave quick messages when you’re not around. You’ll find them on refrigerator doors for an inventory on food and other family notes.

Two men have been credited with the invention of the Whiteboard and the mystery remains of who it truly was. Maybe they both had the brilliant idea independent of one another. The first inventor is a Korean War veteran and photographer named Martin Heit. The other is Albert Stallion, an employ at an enameled steel production company called Alliance.

Check out the Dry-Erase Board we have available from Three Cheers for Girls here at Everything Summer Camp when you click right here. And, as always, thanks for reading!

 

- John


The History of Neon Lights

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Hey, Light Lovers!

We offer some pretty cool products here at Everything Summer Camp. And the history behind the cool things we sell typically have just as cool of an origin as we peel back the years to discover how footlocker trunks looked in their beginning, what people used to brush their teeth before there was the American Dental Association, or the story of how stuffed animals came to be.

Today let’s take a look at the awesome Camp Bunk decoration we carry from iScream called the DIY Neon-Effect Light. While this is not true neon light, it looks cool and lets you spell out anything you can with three meters pink, neon effect flex! Check it out by clicking right here. So when were these interesting form of lights invented? 

Although, they wouldn’t completely be invented for another 47 years, our story begins in 1855 when one scientist Heinrich Geissler was experimenting with different types of light. Not only was Mr. Heinrich a physicist, he was a glassblower as well. Combining his passions, he was experimenting with what would happen if electricity passed through gas that was contained in a glass tube. Mr. Heinrich, however, is not the inventor of neon lights. 

Neon is a gas and one that had not been discovered until 1898. It’s a very rare gas that is collected by a couple processes called liquefaction and then fractional distillation. Georges Claude, a French inventor, engineer, and chemist

was the very first scientist to experiment with neon gas in a Geissler tube. He experimented with lots of gases.

The color of the light produced depends on the gas inside the glass tubes. Lights that contain neon gas are dark orange. Hydrogen makes red lights and helium makes yellow. Mercury glows blue. But, since it all started off with the dark orange glow of electrified neon, all other lights have adopted the ‘neon’ name.

The glassblower, Heinrich Geissler would have marveled at the art form that came from his early experiments with his Geissler tube. To make all the neon signs and images that you see outside downtown shops, malls, gamerooms, and elsewhere, the glass is heated to a specific temperature that it can be handled with tools that people use to bend and reshape the glass to form letters or images.

Have fun with the iScream DIY Neon-Effect Light (no glassblowing or bending involved). You can share you knowledge now, next time you encounter a “neon” light. Really impress your company and let them know that that blue neon light is actually filled with mercury in gas form! Until next time, Camp Fans! As always, thanks for reading!

 

- John


The History of Stuffed Animals

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Hey, Cuddly Campers!

Who doesn’t like to cozy up with a stuffed companion when it’s time to go to sleep? Having that warm company who’s always waiting for you at bedtime is a joy known to boys and girls alike. Even in adulthood, I still have Bobo the monkey—my favorite stuffed animal from when I turned one year old.

I wrote a Blog post a number of years back about the story behind the Teddy Bear and why it’s named after Theodore Roosevelt. You can check out the post by clicking right here. But that only tells the story of the Teddy Bear, not the history of stuffed animals altogether. 

Stuffed animal history surprisingly goes way back like so many things to the Egyptian culture, hundreds of years back. No stuffed animal remains have ever been discovered, however, they show up in paintings around Egyptian tombs. They were likely crude and not the extremely soft stuffed animals we have today. They are believed to have been comforting gifts to remember a pet that has passed on.

A more modern take on these sweet companions arrived in the USA in the 1830s when taxidermy—the art of stuffing real animals—inspired the idea for a cuddly toy. But even these were a far cry from what we have now. They were all homemade with cloth and straw and filled with a number of different types of stuffing.

It was 50 years down the road before the first stuffed animals started being manufactured on a commercial level in Germany. And it was only 20 more years after that when President Roosevelt was honored with the kid’s favorite cuddly companion, the Teddy Bear.

Be sure to give any stuffed animals you may own a big squeeze today and be thankful for their friendship! It’s important to appreciate our plushy pals. Check out these cute guys from our Melissa & Doug selection right here! And, as always, thanks for reading. 

 

- John