History of Softball

The game of softball has an interesting history. America has always been the most innovative and inventive nations of the world when it comes to sports. Softball is one of the finest innovations in the history of American sports. Softball is another close relative of the popular sport baseball, but with slight and significant alterations. It is very interesting to note that though softball has never gained much popularity worldwide, it has its genesis right in the nineteenth century. The very first version of softball was invented in Chicago in the year 1887 by a reporter from the Chicago Board of Trade. His name was George Hancock, and he tried to innovate a winter version of baseball.

Farragut Boat Club was the first venue where the newly evolved game of what was then known as ‘indoor baseball’ was first played. There are many humorous incidents which have proven to be one of the most important developments of the game. Instead of a specialized glove for the game, a boxing glove was tied to the ball. Instead of a specialized bat, a broom handle was used to hit the ball.

IN 1895 came the first time softball was played as an outdoor game, in Minneapolis. Firefighters played it for exercise. The game of softball at that time was known as kitten ball. After years of development in the game, the first ever softball league outside the United States was organized in Toronto, Canada, in 1897. Softball’s name had itself undergone a series of changes since 1926. Some of the names include indoor baseball, kitten ball, diamond ball, mush ball, and pumpkin ball. Standard and international rules were first agreed upon only after the formation of the Amateur Softball Association in 1933.

A Brief History Of The Bucket

The bucket has been a part of human history for thousands of years. Thought to originate from the word “buc”, which meant pitcher in Old English, the word first came into use in the 13th century, and continues to be a part of our ever evolving language, from slang to computer terminology.

From early childhood – the miniature bucket and spade, enjoyed in a sand pit or at the seaside, to the end of human life when people euphemistically “kick the bucket”, this essential item is part of daily life and language, used in every part of the world.

Ancient buckets

The earliest depictions of these useful objects are found on carvings dating from around 3200 BC, which show the Pharaoh Narmer with a servant carrying a bucket. Assyro-Babylonian carvings have gods and genies with small buckets, containing lustral (holy) water in one hand and a pine cone for sprinkling in the other. Ancient Olmec carvings in Mexico also show priests with small buckets.

Greek artefacts

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has a beautifully painted Greek terracotta bucket (situla) dating from 350 BC. These buckets were used for decanting, cooling and serving wine. The museum also has very rare one made of glass with silver handles, which is most unusual, as metal situlas were far more common.

Roman fire fighters

The Vigiles, modelled on Alexandrian fire fighters, became known as the “little bucket fellows” (Spartoli), or the bucket brigades. The buckets they used were made of rope sealed with pitch. Human “bucket chains” continued to be used by firefigters, and are still used by rescuers of earthquake victims to this day.

Medieval Europe

In northern European countries, buckets were made from metal, wood and leather. Wooden buckets were made by coopers with staves or rope handles. Apart from their manifold domestic uses: milking, drawing water from wells, sanitation and building, they were also used in war machines like catapults as an early form of germ warfare, used for hurling waste, dead and diseased human body parts and animals over the fortification walls of towns, castles and keeps.

Galvanized iron buckets

Patented by Stanislas Sorel in 1837, sturdy and rustproof galvanised buckets rapidly replaced leather and wooden buckets. Metal buckets with different compartments and removable cups, were manufactured for use as lunch containers. Enameled lunch buckets known as gamelles and graniteware containers with lids continued to be made up to the last century. The basic metal bucket was further adapted for a variety of uses including coal scuttles, poultry feeders and drinkers, mop buckets and digger buckets.

The plastic bucket

Cheap, light, multi-coloured plastic buckets first became available in 1967, in a variety of shapes and sizes. They were rapidly adopted by the food industry for the sale of ice-cream, confectionery, take-away chicken and other foodstuffs. Plastic buckets are used to sell cleaning products, animal feeds, fertilisers, toys, nails, paper clips and countless other items.Their continued use seems to be assured, regardless of modern advances and inventions.

The History of Mountain Biking and the Schwinn "Klunker"

To many, the word, “Klunker” connotes a large, heavy, massive, and somewhat clumsy item. The “Klunker” was actually a bicycle model created by the Schwinn company in the late 1970’s to answer the desire for off-road biking or “Mountain Biking”.

Schwinn has a history of developing rugged, heavy, long-lived bicycles. The history of the Schwinn company dates back to just before the turn of the 20th century, in Chicago. The center of the bicycle universe was located there, and there were over 30 bicycle manufacturers making approximately one-million bikes a year from 1900 to 1905. Unfortunately for them, the automobile was becoming more popular as were motorcycles. There was a sharp decline in bicycle sales leading up to 1910.

Although many bicycle manufacturers went out of business, a few survived, including Schwinn. In the 1930’s, Schwinn designed a bike that purposely resembled the popular motorcycle. It had a steel frame, steel wheels, and huge, ballooned tires. It was rugged and built to last, and those characteristics were more important than being lightweight, at that time.

Schwinn continued to make steel bicycles, although Europe and Japan began to experiment with lightweight metals in their designs. In the 1970’s in California, boys began modifying the Schwinn Sting Ray bike and began holding off-road races. This style of off-road bicycling became known as “Mountain Biking” and the equipment used were called “Mountain Bikes”. Schwinn modified one of their Sting Ray bikes by adding a 5-speed shifter, and dubbed it, the “Klunker”. Because of its ballooned wheels and heavy steel frame, the Klunker became synonymous with heavy, clumsy objects.

European and Japanese bicycle manufacturers also modified their lightweight bikes to satisfy the new rage in off-road bicycling. Schwinn thought it was going to be a short-lived fad, and ignored the market, at first. When freestyle bike tricks, known as BMX became popular, Schwinn called it “unsafe” and “dangerous” behavior. Both mountain bikes and BMX were here to stay, and Schwinn began to adapt to late to catch most of the increase in bicycle sales throughout the 1970’s.

Today, the Schwinn bike is remembered for the Sting Ray, and the well-built, long-lasting bikes of the 1950’s and 1960’s. The younger generation has a different view of Schwinn, and hardly recognizes the name, at all. The “Klunker” is no long known as a word that is associated with the bicycle manufacturer. It is a term that the older generation can easily identify, and one that the younger generation has never used.

Schwinn declared bankruptcy in 2001, and their name and assets were bought by other bicycle manufacturers. Unfortunately, the quality and long-lasting attributes associated with that name no longer have any meaning in the bicycling world, today.