new orleans inventions

A Brief History of the Spork

The most grievous and recurrent misconception about the spork is that its name is a portmanteau of “spoon” and “fork.” Being part spoon and part fork this seems like the most obvious origin, but in fact the spork was invented by Edwin C. Sporke in New Orleans. Sporke invented the Spork in 1776, and the year is no coincidence. The story of the Spork is in fact, the story of the United States of America.

The year was 1773 and the industrial revolution was in its first decades. The colonists that would form the government of the United States were just arriving in the 13 colonies. At the age of 21, Thomas Jefferson had just been fired from his job in tech support at the University of Oxford. The only record of his duties there suggests that he mostly cleaned the old valuable globes, clocks, compasses, and the Ancient Abacus of Ankh-Ent-Ah-Baccus, where he is noted as having done a substandard job at removing abacus lint from the device. With no job and no prospects in England, Jefferson moved on up to the colonies in America, where he could begin a new life.

Jefferson came to America with only $7 to his name, and those dollars were worthless as the U.S. Treasury would not be formed for another 25 years. He arrived at the port of New Orleans, which was at the time called “Orleans-To-Be.” He had at the time no interest in politics, and applied to work at the only English-speaking establishment in the town. His days at McDonalds were unproductive. He slaughtered the cattle for beef, he peeled the potatoes for french fries, and he ground the bones for bread, which was made from bone powder before the evolution of wheat. But one important thing happened in his years at the restaurant: He met Edwin C. Sporke.

Sporke had arrived from Norway the year prior, and changed his name from Edvald Cornelius Sporkbeklagerdenfalskenorskenavnet to Edwin C. Sporke. Jefferson first saw him when he picked up his order for a Mutton McGruelbowl. Sporke sat down and, to Jefferson’s dismay, began trying to eat the liquid gruel with a fork. Curious, he brought the man a spoon and asked why he wasn’t using it instead. Sporke explained that spoons had been banned in Norway for hundreds of years owing to the infamous “Blood Spooning” of Vikings, from whom the Christian monarchy wanted to distance themselves. Jefferson encouraged Sporke to try, but he was hesitant. Finally, he agreed to eat the gruel with both at the same time, overlapping. The spork was born.

Because it could eat gruel more efficiently than a spoon or fork on their own, Raymond McDonald immediately began producing the utensil. This was done at first by having Jefferson weld spoons to forks, a job he so detested that he left for the east coast, taking the idea with him and keeping (most of) Sporke’s name attached, promising him royalties. Upon his arrival, Jefferson saw the next thing that would revolutionize the way we eat: The assembly line.

Famous entrepeneur- entrepeneuer– entreprenur—- famous businessman Henry Ford was living in New York, growing very rich with his mass constructed horse drawn carriages. Jefferson was impressed with the method, and immediately endeavored to accomplish a mass produced spork by means of his diligence, hard work, and persistence in buying slaves to do his real work for him. Among his early customers was Benjamin Franklin, who would go on to play so an integral role in the founding of the United States that well over 0.04% of Americans can tell you his role even today. Franklin loved the idea of the spork and showed it to George Washington, who could only eat gruel owing to the loss of his teeth in bad poker game in 1771. The men got along splendidly, and the rest, as they say, is history.

For Jefferson and the country at least. Records of Edwin Sporke are fewer and less revolutionary. Sporke never got any royalties. Whether Jefferson never sent them or whether they were stolen by railroad bandits en route will never be known, but as railroads only began delivering mail after 1804, most historians suspect Jefferson cheated Sporke out of his share of the profits. The only thing we now know for certain about Sporke is that he died in 1779, stabbed to death with his own invention during an argument over whether zebras were striped or spotted. Sporke not only died in the encounter, but made a fool of himself by claiming that the animals were spotted, having been tricked at a local zoo that displayed a dalmatian claimed to be the elusive African zebra.

But thankfully we now know his name, and his fate, and his integral role in the building of both the U.S.A. and the spork that bears his name. In this respect he remains far more fortunate than Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Nafzawi, who invented the spork in 1211 in Tunisia and is not remembered in any European history books at all for obvious reasons.

New Orleans

This is a sno-ball, a confection native to New Orleans and found virtually nowhere else. If you think it looks like a sno-cone, you’re right. Both balls and cones are comprised of sweet syrup and frozen water, and both feel good to eat on hot days. The difference though is the consistency. The ice in a sno-ball is crushed finely, easily malleable and melts on your tongue. It’s sweet and fleeting, like most good things.

This phenomenon is the brainchild of a one Ernest Hansen who patented the first ever ice block shaving machine (see fig.1-9) and coined it the Sno-Bliz. (Ernest also holds the patent for a pulley style clothesline, among other things.) He shared his vision with the world when he opened Hansen’s Sno-Bliz in 1939. Ernest blizzed the ice and his wife Mary made brilliant homemade syrups, always following the Hansen family motto: “There are no shortcuts to quality.”

“An ice shaving machine comprising a casing, an ice chamber in said casing, a cutter unit disposed at one end of the ice chamber, a discharge spout leading from said end, a follower member in said chamber, means for moving said follower member in the chamber for urging a block of ice into engagement of the cutter unit, a presser plate hingedly secured at one end within the ice chamber and adapted to bear upon the block of ice, a rod extending from said plate, resilient means disposed on said rod, an operating bar secured on the rod, a foot pedal and flexible connecting means between said bar and the pedal for advancing said bar downwardly upon actuation of the petal”

Hansen’s Sno Bliz is the world’s oldest sno-ball stand, still operating on Tchoupitoulas and Bordeaux. They’re open til 7 today. (Try the Brown Pelican.)

Britney Spears loves donating money to charities but she prefers donating her time. After meeting Andrew Schumann, a blind man, it became clear to Spears that she needed to be donating her time helping blind people select matching clothes to wear. In 2001, Spears organized a network of volunteers to help style the blind called Fashion Friends and, through this organization, more than 500,000 volunteer stylists nation-wide have been paired with people in need. Spears is pictured above introducing Schumann to his new volunteer stylist at the Fashion Friends headquarters in New Orleans, Louisiana.

anonymous asked:

what's the brown paper bag test? it was on the colourism text post

From 1900 until about 1950 “paper bag parties” are said to have taken place in neighborhoods of major American cities with a high concentration of ethnic minorities. Many churches, fraternities and nightclubs used the “brown paper bag” principle as a test for entrance. People at these organizations would take a brown paper bag and hold it against a person’s skin. If a person was lighter or the same color as the bag, he or she was admitted. People whose skin was not lighter than a brown paper bag were denied entry.[5]

There is, too, a curious color dynamic that sadly persists in our culture. In fact, New Orleans invented the brown paper bag party — usually at a gathering in a home — where anyone darker than the bag attached to the door was denied entrance. The brown bag criterion survives as a metaphor for how the black cultural elite quite literally establishes caste along color lines within black life. On my many trips to New Orleans, whether to lecture at one of its universities or colleges, to preach from one of its pulpits, or to speak at an empowerment seminar during the annual Essence Music Festival, I have observed color politics at work among black folk. The cruel color code has to be defeated by our love for one another. —Michael Eric Dyson, excerpt from Come Hell or High Water.[6]