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

By Greg Jenner

Who invented beds? whilst did we commence cleansing our tooth? How previous are wine and beer? Which got here first: the bathroom 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 previous. established round one traditional day, A Million Years in an afternoon reveals the staggering origins and improvement of the day-by-day practices we take without any consideration. during this gloriously interesting romp via human historical past, Greg Jenner explores the gradual―and usually 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 exciting, excellent, and occasionally downright foolish ancient nuggets from our past.

Drawn from internationally, spanning 1000000 years of humanity, this booklet is a smorgasbord of historic delights. it's a background of all these stuff you continually puzzled about―and many you have got by no means thought of. it's the tale of your lifestyles, a million years within the making.

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

Sample text

Having noticed the world snooze through dawn, Hudson’s paper suggested that by simply shifting the clock forward, a whole extra hour of daylight could be conserved for use when most people were awake. The idea was good, but it wouldn’t be Hudson’s voice that carried the day. Instead, the world trundled on unchanged for a decade until another chap came to the same conclusion. William Willett was a resplendently moustachioed English businessman who ran a respectable house-building company noted for its upmarket clientele.

The problem is that no Egyptian examples – whether written, archaeological or illustrated – actually show any evidence of a crossbar ever existing. Basically, we don’t actually know how shadow clocks worked, or if they even had crossbars at all. We can be a bit more authoritative about sundials, though. By the eighth century BCE, the Egyptians had developed elegantly sloping stone blocks to better capture the sun’s position in the sky, and translate that into detailed measures by tracking the drifting shadow along its exposed face.

But enough of all that! It’s time we got up, and, after a long night’s sleep, the first thing we must do is answer the call of nature. Whereas the mounting housework can be cheerfully ignored, the same doesn’t apply to the bladder. So, let’s start this day by scooping our feet into our bedside slippers and shuffling hastily to the bathroom. m. ANSWERING THE CALL OF NATURE Having dragged ourselves out of bed, we suddenly feel the pressing pangs of hunger as we wander past the kitchen. Caffeine and cornflakes would be delicious and stimulating at this juncture, but the demands of the bladder will always outgun those of the stomach, and right now it’s holding us to ransom like a piss-filled terrorist.

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