[ Issue 20 ]

Where Three Ways Meet is one of Emily Bronto’s favourite Bikwil features

Bikwil has a thing about Trivia

Where Three Ways Meet

In Issue 20 we continue with our trivia series, Where Three Ways Meet.  This time the contributor is Bunty.

Share in the secret world of astronauts, bad musical genes, a big hill, Gilbert and Sullivan, Hamlet, the London Underground, shoes and traffic signals

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Where Three Ways Meet

The concept of changing traffic signals that regulates traffic all over the world today was created by an African-American inventor, Garrett Augustus Morgan (1877-1963), who patented the idea in 1923 after witnessing a collision between a horse-drawn vehicle and an automobile. For good measure, he invented safety helmets and gas masks for firefighters, as well as a zigzag attachment for manual sewing machines.

Astronauts are taller in space than on Earth because of the lack of gravity to weigh them down.

As everyone knows, William Shakespeare was an actor as well as a playwright. But were you aware which part he played in Hamlet? No? Well, it was the role of the ghost. (Shakespeare as true “father” of Hamlet?)

And you all know that “bloody” is called the Great Australian Adjective. But did you ever suspect that its sound-alike cousin “ruddy” was in such bad odour in Victorian England that Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan in 1887 had to change their opera from Ruddygore to Ruddigore?

The mental illness of Wagner’s patron, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, was probably genetic. His brother Otto used to suffer weeping fits and barked like a dog. He was eventually locked up as insane. His aunt, Princess Alexandra, went about asserting that she had swallowed a grand piano made of glass. Such is the power of music.

It used to be considered unlucky to put on the left shoe before the right (cf. L. sinister = “left”), or to put either shoe on the wrong foot. This latter superstition would have suited the working man, then, because it wasn’t until the 1800s that separate left/right shoes were even made for the likes of him.

The tallest mountain in our solar system is to be found on Mars. Its name is Olympus Mons and it is nearly 15 miles high.

Of all the London Underground stations, St. John's Wood is the only one with a name not to contain any of the letters of the word "mackerel”. Essential knowledge, that.

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