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William Makepeace Thackeray

Back in the day

History

Mary Anderson Patents the Windshield Wiper

Today we take for granted the fact that we are able to flip a switch and clear our windshields of precipitation or debris, but this was not always the case. Early drivers were forced to manually clear their windshields of snow, rain, dirt, and the like, that is, until Mary Anderson invented the first effective windshield wiper system. It was not long before windshield wipers were standard equipment on American cars. What inspired Anderson to invent a windshield-clearing device?

Feature

Article

San Serriffe

On April Fools' Day 1977, Britain's The Guardian newspaper reported on the curious—but fictional—island nation of San Serriffe. The article described two islands—Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse—inhabited by colonists known as "colons" and "semi-colons," who celebrate events such as the Festival of the Well-Made Play. Since the article predated personal computers, typography was not widely known, and plays on words like "sans serif" eluded many readers. What is San Serriffe's national bird?

Born on a day like today

Article

Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy

Charles the Bold was the last of the great dukes of Burgundy. An opponent of Louis XI of France, Charles sought independence for Burgundy and had great success casting off French rule, extending Burgundy's possessions and building a centralized government until he was defeated and killed in battle against the Swiss. Prior to his death, he arranged for his daughter to marry the son of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III. How did this pairing affect the course of European history?

Last updated on Sunday, 10th November 2013

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