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Download A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life by Greg Jenner PDF

By Greg Jenner

Who invented beds? while did we commence cleansing our tooth? How previous are wine and beer? Which got here first: the lavatory seat or bathroom paper? What was once the 1st clock?

Every day, from the instant our alarm clock wakes us within the morning till our head hits our pillow at evening, all of us participate in rituals which are millennia outdated. based round one usual day, A Million Years in an afternoon reveals the extraordinary origins and improvement of the day-by-day practices we take with no consideration. during this gloriously wonderful romp via human historical past, Greg Jenner explores the gradual―and frequently unexpected―evolution of our day-by-day routines.

This isn't a narrative of wars, politics, or nice occasions. in its place, Jenner has scoured Roman garbage boxes, Egyptian tombs, and Victorian sewers to deliver us the main interesting, fantastic, and occasionally downright foolish old nuggets from our past.

Drawn from internationally, spanning 1000000 years of humanity, this ebook is a smorgasbord of historic delights. it's a historical past of all these stuff you regularly questioned about―and many you've got by no means thought of. it's the tale of your existence, 1000000 years within the making.

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A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life from the Stone Age to the Phone Age

Who invented beds? whilst did we begin cleansing our enamel? How outdated are wine and beer? Which got here first: the lavatory seat or bathroom paper? What used to be the 1st clock? each day, from the instant our alarm clock wakes us within the morning till our head hits our pillow at evening, all of us participate in rituals which are millennia previous.

Extra info for A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life from the Stone Age to the Phone Age

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But how was a day parcelled up? Well, an Egyptian 24-hour Nychthemeron (sorry, it’s just such fun to type…) was not defined like our two daily halves of 12 hours, but as four phases: one hour of half-light, followed by ten hours of daylight, chased by another hour of half-light, and then 12 hours of darkness. The big questions, then, are whether Egyptians could measure hours and, if so, how? When it came to daylight hours, sundials were the preferred technology, and we’ll get to those shortly, but it’s the night hours that were much harder to track, which is what makes the Egyptian solution so ingenious.

A large British house might have several commodes, meaning at least one will probably be kept in its own walk-in cupboard, stationed next to a sink. This little room will often be dubbed the loo, toilet or lavatory. There’s some debate, but it’s plausible that these were all French words originally. ‘Loo’ is the trickiest to pin down; it’s possibly derived from the polite word lieu, meaning the ‘place’ – French eighteenth-century aristocrats called their toilets les lieux à l’anglaise (the places of the English) – but ‘loo’ isn’t really recorded in English usage until the 1920s, so there’s more likelihood of it being an abbreviation of Waterloo Cisterns, a brand frequently stamped on outdoor toilets in the early twentieth century.

On a similar note, ‘lavatory’ comes from laver, the French verb ‘to wash’. So, weirdly, the room that hosts our toilet is not labelled accordingly. Indeed, a home with only a single commode will probably have it plumbed in next to the shower or bathtub, resulting in the room losing the name ‘toilet’, ‘lavatory’ or ‘loo’ and instead becoming the ‘bathroom’, because the bath somehow trumps the bog in the naming hierarchy. Surely ‘lavatory’ would be much better suited, as it would be both a washing room and it contains a toilet!

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