Home-Gad(A) Essay, Research Paper
The Toilet – Thomas Crapper SanitationYes…those tales you’ve heard are true. The toilet was firstpatented in England in 1775, invented by one Thomas Crapper,but the extraordinary automatic device called the flush toilethas been around for a long time. Leonardo Da Vinci in the1400’s designed one that worked, at least on paper, and QueenElizabeth I reputably had one in her palace in Richmond in1556, complete with flushing and overflow pipes, a bowl valveand a drain trap. In all versions, ancient and modern, theworking principle is the same. Tripping a single lever (the handle) sets in motion a seriesof actions. The trip handle lifts the seal, usually a rubberflapper, allowing water to flow into the bowl. When the tankis nearly empty, the flap falls back in place over the wateroutlet. A floating ball falls with the water level, openingthe water supply inlet valve just as the outlet is beingclosed. Water flows through the bowl refill tube into theoverflow pipe to replenish the trap sealing water. As thewater level in the tank nears the top of the overflow pipe,the float closes the inlet valve, completing the cycle. From the oldest of gadgets in the bathroom, let’s turn toone of the newest, the toothpaste pump. Sick and tired oftoothpaste squeezed all over your sink and faucets? Doesyour spouse never ever roll down the tube and continuallysqueezes it in the middle? Then the toothpaste pump isfor you!When you press the button it pushes an internal, groovedrod down the tube. Near the bottom of the rod is a piston,supported by little metal flanges called “dogs”, which seatthemselves in the grooves on the rod. As the rod moves down,the dogs slide out of the groove they’re in and click intothe one above it. When you release the button, the springbrings the rod back up carrying the piston with it, nowseated one notch higher. This pushes one-notch’s-worth oftoothpaste out of the nozzle. A measured amount of toothpasteevery time and no more goo on the sink. RefrigeratorsOver 90 percent of all North American homes with electricityhave refrigerators. It seems to be the one appliance thatNorth Americans can just not do without. The machine’spopularity as a food preserver is a relatively recentphenomenon, considering that the principles were known asearly as 1748. A liquid absorbs heat from its surroundingswhen it evaporates into a gas; a gas releases heat when itcondenses into a liquid.The heart of a refrigerator cooling system is the compressor,which squeezes refrigerant gas (usually freon) and pumps itto the condenser, where it becomes a liquid, giving up heatin the process. The condenser fan helps cool it. Therefrigerant is then forced through a thin tube, or capillarytube, and as it escapes this restraint and is sucked backinto a gas again, absorbing some heat from the food storagecompartment while it does so. The evaporator fan distributesthe chilled air. In a self-defrosting refrigerator/freezer model, moisturecondenses into frost on the cold evaporator coils. Thefrost melts and drains away when the coils are warmedduring the defrost cycle which is initiated by a timer, andended by the defrost limiter, before the frozen food melts.A small heater prevents condensation between the compartments,the freezer thermostat turns the compressor on and off, andthe temp control limits cold air entering the fridge, bymeans of an adjustable baffle.
Smoke DetectorsIs your smoke detector good at scaring to death spiders whocarelessly tiptoe inside it? Have you ever leapt out of theshower, clad only in you-know-what, to the piercing tones ofyour alarm, triggered merely by your forgetting the close thebathroom door? Is it supposed to do this?There are two types of smoke detectors on the market; thephotoelectric smoke detector and ionization chamber smokedetector. The photoelectric type uses a photoelectric bulbthat shines a beam of light through a plastic maze, called acatacomb. The light is deflected to the other end of themaze where it hits a photoelectric cell. Any smoke impingingon this light triggers the alarm (as do spiders and waterdroplets in the air!). The ionization chamber type containsa small radiation source, usually a man-made element calledAmericium. The element produces electrically-charged airmolecules called ions, and their presence allows a smallelectric current to flow in the chamber. When smokeparticles enter the chamber they attach themselves to theseions, reducing the flow of current and triggering the alarm. Both types are considered equally effective and may bebattery-powered or wired to the home’s electrical system.No matter which type you choose, if you don’t have oneinstalled, put down this article and go buy one now!And while you’re signing that credit card voucher for thenew smoke detector, pause for a moment and gaze at thatother technological marvel you are probably holding in yourhand, the ball-point pen. Ever wonder why it’s called aball-point? Because it has a ball. The first Europeanpatents for the handy device were issued in the late 19thcentury, but none of the early pens worked very well untila Swiss inventor named Lazio Josef Biro designed the firstmodern version in 1939. He called it a birome.Commercial production was delayed by World War II, andthen in 1945, an American firm, Reynold’s, introduced “themiraculous pen which revolutionizes writing” at Gimbel’s inNew York City. The new pen didn’t work very well and cost awhopping $12.50 U.S., but it was an instant success. TheHenry Ford of the ball-point industry, Marcel Bich, launchedthe Bic pen in 1949, after developing the Biro design for twoyears to produce a precision instrument which wrote evenlyand reliably and was cheap. By the early seventies, Bic pensbecame the world’s largest manufacturer of ball-point pens,and today some two and one-half million Bic ball-points aloneare sold every day in North America. Ink feeds by gravity through five veins in a nose cone,usually made of brass, to a tungsten carbide ball. During thewriting process, the ball rotates, picking up a continuousink supply through the nose cone and transferring it to thewriting paper. The ball is a perfect sphere, which must fitprecisely into the extremely smooth nose cone socket so thatit will rotate freely yet be held tightly in place so thatthere is an even ink flow. Although it sounds deceptivelysimple, perhaps the most amazing thing about ball-point pensis the ink. Why doesn’t it just run out the end? Why doesn’tit dry up in the plastic cartridge? Bic describes the ink as”exclusive, fast-drying, yet free flowing”. The formula is,of course, secret. In the 19th century, writer and thinker Ralph Waldo Emersonexpressed a fear that perhaps we all feel to some extent, that”things are in the saddle and ride Mankind”. But with the helpof good household reference books, friendly referencelibrarians, and helpful manufacturers only too willing to helpconsumers understand their products, we can at least get arein on the technology in our homes.