5 Things You Didn't Know Were Named After People

Franz Mesmer wasn’t a cheap
vaudeville hypnotist. He was a doctor inthe 18th century. And … he was sort of
a quack. But just about everyone was a
quack in those days; medical successes
were measured by the least amount of
people killed. So when Mesmer began
to advocate a new healing technique
he’d discovered, the use of what he
called “animal magnetism,” people
were open-minded. He believed that
simply by sitting with a patient, looking
in their eyes, and touching them in
various medically appropriate places,
he could cure them through natural
magnetic force. The medical community
didn’t buy it, but the public liked it. In
the mid-1800s, long after Mesmer’s
death, the term “mesmerize” had
morphed into a synonym for hypnosis,
and then later gained an even more
fantastical definition, as “mesmerizing”
became a popular stage act for
magicians and vaudevillians.
Alexander Graham Bell, man. He’s
everywhere. Since he revolutionized
how sound is transmitted and recorded,
it seems fitting that his name should be
used to help measure it. A “decibel” is
one-tenth (deci) of a little-used unit of
measurement called a “bel,” named, of
course, after the Great One himself.
Luigi Galvani’s original work had
nothing to do with covering metal with
zinc to prevent rusting. It was actually
much cooler. Galvani was an 18th
century Italian scientist who
electrocuted dead frogs to see their
muscles twitch, which was pretty
amazing at the time. So “to galvanize”
originally meant to cause something to
jolt into action, as if shocked by
electricity. Then it meant shocked by
electricity. Which is the base of
electroplating, which is an earlier
iteration of the chemical process we
know as galvanization. See? It all
checks out.
Sylvester Graham, a 19th-century diet
proponent, felt that people should
ingest mostly fruits, vegetables, and
whole grains while avoiding meats and
any sort of spice. The upside of all of
this bland food sounds a bit curious to
the modern reader: Graham thought his
diet would keep his patients from
having impure thoughts. Cleaner
thoughts would lead to less
self-service, which would in turn help
stave off blindness, pulmonary
problems, and a whole host of other
potential pitfalls that stemmed from
moral corruption. Graham invented the
cracker that bears his name as one of
the staples of this anti-self-abuse diet.
Adolphe Sax invented and improved on
a lot of horns during the 19th century.
But you know him for the saxophone,
which in itself represents an entire
family of instruments. He wanted to
make an instrument that blew like a
horn but could be manipulated with the
agility of a woodwind. Other designers
attacked his patents and, despite
inventing an instrument that altered
modern music as we know it, he was
declared bankrupt twice before his
death in 1894.

#Anticipate – Law Gots Talent

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