Completely Useless Facts of the Week – Issue 40

Daniel Ganninger
July 3, 2015

uselessfacts header40The weekly collection of useless and fun facts.  In this week’s edition: Yahtzee Origins, The Golden Gate’s Color, Isolated Hawaii, The Real Chef Boyardee, and The Amazing Cardboard Box.
Yahtzee logo

Yahtzee is the ever popular game where you roll dice and try to fill up your card with the best possible poker hand matches to get the high score.  But where did the name Yahtzee come from?  It was invented by a wealthy Canadian couple in 1954 who played it with their friends on their yacht.  During that time, they called it, “The Yacht Game”.  The names of the couple aren’t known, but their friends really liked the game.  So much so that they asked for copies of it to play on their own.

The couple went to a toy maker named Edwin Lowe and had him make up a few sets of the game so they could give it away to their friends who had asked for it.  Lowe got a taste of the game and liked it so much that he asked the couple if he could buy the rights to it.  They agreed to a proposal for Lowe to buy the cost of the first thousand games he made.  He later changed the name to Yahtzee, and on April 19, 1956, he filed the game at the U.S. Patent Office.

The game didn’t sell well until Lowe started throwing “Yahtzee parties”.  Word of the game spread, and Lowe sold 40 million copies.  Milton Bradley bought the game in 1973, and it now sells around 50 million copies a year.  Source

golden gate bridge 690711 640The Golden Gate Bridge isn’t gold at all and a sort of orange hue, but the official color of the bridge is called “International Orange”.  Architect Irving Morrow chose the color since it blended with the natural scenery surrounding the bridge.  The color also enables the bridge to be seen more easily by ships passing through the area.  The U.S. Navy wanted there to be yellow and black stripes painted on it to give the bridge even more visibility.  Thank goodness they didn’t get their way.  The paint for the bridge is currently supplied by Sherwin Williams who won by a competitive bidding process, and the paint can even be matched since the color formula is well known.  That’s just in case you wanted to paint your house the same color.

The Golden Gate Bridge is named after the Golden Gate Strait, the entrance from the Pacific to San Francisco.  The strait was named by Army Captain John C. Fremont around 1846, and it resembled a harbor he knew in Istanbul that was called Chrysoceras, or Golden Horn.  Source

hawaii 466462 640Hawaii is the most isolated population center and landmass on earth.  It is 3,850 miles from Japan, 5,280 miles from the Philippines, 2,390 miles from California, and 4,900 miles away from China.  The islands stretch around 1,600 miles and are composed of about 130 different land masses.  It is also the widest state in the United States from east to west.  It doesn’t seem that remote since it has a population of over 1.3 million people, but it does sit alone.  Here are some other extremely remote places that don’t have the population of Hawaii where you really would feel alone.  Source

box 550594 640Who didn’t have fun playing in a box as a kid?  It rivaled even some of the best toys.  In 2005, the cardboard box was rewarded for its enjoyability and was inducted into the “National Toy Hall of Fame”.  The cardboard box had a humble beginning.  It was invented by the Chinese in 1600s, and the English came out with the first commercial cardboard box in 1817.  A cardboard box that could be flattened and then folded into a box was created by an American named Robert Gair in 1879.  Kids later found any number of uses for the cardboard box.  They created forts, houses, rockets, and almost anything else that their imagination could come up with.  It’s no wonder that it found its way into the hall of fame.  Source

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Mike Mozart/Flickr

Chef Boyardee was an actual chef who founded the company, except his real name was Chef Hector Boiardi. That’s really him on the can.  Boiardi founded the company in 1928 with his brothers.  They had just immigrated from Italy and found their way to Cleveland.  They opened a successful Italian restaurant there and began to teach their customers how to cook their Italian dishes at home by sending them home with the required ingredients.  This led to them coming up with the idea to start bottling and selling their own sauce.  They eventually set up a factory in Milton, Pennsylvania so they would be close to their tomato supplies and imported large amounts of Parmesan cheese and olive oil from Italy.  They even grew their own mushrooms there.

The Boiardis operated 24 hours a day during World War II to supply rations to the troops, but after the war was over they decided they would sell the company to a larger corporation so that everyone working there would continue to have a job.  Chef Boyardee continues to go strong today and continues to supply quick and easy Italian fare, as well as the original sauce that started it all.  Source

That’s it for another edition.  Until next time, and as always, use these facts to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.  Everyone will appreciate you for it.  Feel free to comment below and share.

Past Issues of the Completely Random Facts of the Week