Continuing our series on enterprising inventors of everyday things we take for granted, Sally Anne asks …
Who on Earth invented…the Pedal Bin?!
You’re carrying something to the bin, your hands are full and you don’t want to spill it. Thank goodness for the pedal bin! Read on to find out about the inventor who tried to make life easier.
Ergonomics is the science of making equipment which fits and works with the human body. This basically means making things work as easily and as conveniently as possible. Dr Lillian Gilbreth was a keen inventor who believed in finding the easiest way of getting things done. As such, she invented a range of gadgets to make jobs easier, including the pedal bin in the 1920s. Now we have to admit, pedal bins aren’t very exciting, but Lillian’s life definitely was.
I expect most of you have heard of antonyms, and even if you haven’t heard the word, you know them and use them every day. Antonyms are words that mean the opposite. For example, hot is the antonym of cold, rich is the antonym of poor.
But what happens when we have a word that doesn’t have another antonym – it is the antonym of itself?! You are probably wondering what on earth that could mean. Well, there are some words that have two meanings which are the opposite of each other. This makes the word its own antonym. Words like this are known as contronyms.
One very common one that we shall start with is a word that you use all the time without ever thinking about it being a contronym. This is left, which can mean “gone, departed” or “still there, remaining” . If you have gone, then you have left, but if everyone else except you has gone, then you are left!