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Hot water bottles

I'd like to blame the morass of germs which gathers when the academic year begins for my ear infection, but it would be untrue - I'm not likely to catch cold from across an ocean. So here I am with one sick ear and the rest of me doing just fine. A hot water bottle helps it quite a bit, as does tea.

Did you know the rubber hot water bottle was a Croatian invention? Eduard Slavoljub Penkala was a madly productive inventor, better known for his work in developing a kind of mechanical pencil (patented in 1906). While he was at it, he developed a fountain pen with solid ink, the thermos flask, a rotating toothbrush, various railway-related innovations, and built a biplane. Presumably his invention of the hard rubber from which gramophone records were once made was related to his invention of the hot water bottle and thermos flask.

I can't tell you quite how true all these claims are. I suspect most of them are mostly right, but the history of invention is usually more complicated than it looks on the surface, and these claims for Penkala's accomplishments all come from either Wikipedia or websites devoted to praise of the inventor. Versions of mechanical pencils, for example, were in development from at least 1822. As for the hot water bottle, if superficial web searches have any more to tell me about its origins, I haven't found them. But then again, I wasn't looking too hard. After all - I am nominally sick. Well. One of my ears is anyways.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 21st, 2007 11:15 pm (UTC)
Ugh. I'm sorry: earaches are awful!
Aug. 21st, 2007 11:54 pm (UTC)
D: Ear infections totally stink! I hope you feel better soon!
Aug. 22nd, 2007 01:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Between pain killers and lots of tea, it's not as bad as it could be. But still!
Aug. 22nd, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)
I hope you feel better soon! Ear infections are no fun at all. :-(
Aug. 22nd, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
I love your icon! I've admired it before, but don't think I ever told you so.

Thank you. I'm doing my best to make sure I'm better soon. I have an expedition this weekend to be better for!
Aug. 22nd, 2007 02:47 pm (UTC)
It's hilarious, isn't it? :-D
Aug. 22nd, 2007 08:07 am (UTC)
Ah so on Facebook you say you are coveting a new ear, that's not a mis-type! My sympathies - ear infections are a bitch.
Aug. 22nd, 2007 01:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It's particularly irritating since I had one less than a year ago. (And before that it was probably when I was a kid.)

Now I'm pondering (since it's entertaining) what you thought I might have meant. I'm coveting a new bear? A new car? A new eel?
Aug. 22nd, 2007 08:56 am (UTC)
Ear infections are miserable things - hoping you feel better soon!
Aug. 22nd, 2007 01:37 pm (UTC)
Hate earaches - feel better!!!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )