What does having a red door say about your house? Ever wondered where the term ‘It’s Raining Cats & Dogs’ came from, or what Bubble Wrap was originally invented for?
Take a look at these 10 fascinating facts about houses, property and buildings and find out what a having a housewarming party really meant!
RED FRONT DOORS
A red front door has been a symbol for many different things. In early American tradition, a red door meant “welcome.” Similarly, in the Chinese Feng Shui philosophy, a red door is known to create a welcoming energy. In Scotland, homeowners paint their front doors red when they’ve paid off their mortgage, and in Biblical times, a red door symbolized protection from the Angel of Death.
The term “housewarming party” comes from the literal tradition that used to occur before electricity. Every time a person built or bought a new home, guests would bring firewood as gifts and light fires in the home’s fireplaces. This not only “christened” the house, but was said to ward off evil spirits.
When straw was used to cover slate and stone floors in order to keep them cold, homeowners had to find a way to keep the straw inside when the front door was opened. To do so, they built a wooden floorboard in the doorway in order to “thresh” (or separate) the straw from the outside. This became known as a threshold.
BUBBLE WALL PAPER?
Bubble wrap was invented by engineer Al Fielding and Swiss inventor Marc Chavannes in 1957. The two were not, however, trying to make a product to be used as a packaging material. Rather they were trying to create a textured wallpaper. Needless to say, this wallpaper idea didn’t sell too well.
SELF CLEANING DOOR KNOBS
Brass doorknobs disinfect themselves. The ions in the metal have a toxic effect on spores, fungi, viruses, and other germs, eliminating the infections within eight hours.
A MAN’S HOME IS HIS CASTLE
The primary purpose of a Castle’s moat was to prevent attackers from digging tunnels under the walls, not getting to walls to climb over!
CATS AND DOGS
The phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs” has several different origin theories. One is that when houses used to have thatched roofs, pets and other small animals (squirrels, groundhogs, etc.) used to nestle into the straw for warmth. When it would rain, however, the straw would become slippery and the animals would slide out, creating the illusion that it was literally raining cats and dogs.
WHERE TO PARK MY BLIMP
The needle at the top of the Empire State Building was originally intended as an anchor for blimps.
In several major cities like London, Toronto, New York, and elsewhere around the world, there are entire buildings and developments that exist solely for the purpose of hiding vent shafts, utilities, mobile phone masts, railways, and simply to give off the illusion of occupation.
THE ULTIMATE PENTHOUSE
When the Eiffel Tower was constructed, the designer Gustave Eiffel, included a secret apartment for himself at the very top.