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Useless Information (part two)

S.O.S pads. Where did they come from? Well, hold on to your butts, because I'm about to tell you.

It starts back in 1917 with a travelling door-to-door pot salesman named Edwin Cox. Yes, I said pot. But, he was selling pots to cook in, not marijuana. Now some of the pots that he sold may still be around today being used to cook meth in, but that's another story.

As the story goes, Mr. Cox was a terrible salesman. For whatever reason, he just couldn't sell pots like the other pot salesmen who were making a great living. So, he decided that he needed a gimmick.Looking back at the very short complaint list that he had he realized that the most-popular complaint was that food stuck to the pans. So, he got to work. He took rolls of steel wool (largely used in the automotive industry at this time for cleaning) and formed flattenned balls with a handful at a time. He then dipped these into a bucket of very condensed soapy water and let them dry.

Housewives began to let him through their doors at the prospect of getting something for free. He gave one pad away to any woman who would listen to his sales pitch. He wasn't any more successful with sales, however orders started coming in for his soap pads. He quickly quit his pot selling job (which is good since it's wrong) and started up a small company making these cleansing marvels.

The next problem was that they didn't have a name, but Mrs. Cox had a solution. She had been calling them S.O.S. pads which stood for "save our saucepans." The name was born.

Now, some people think that there was a typographical error with the box, since it is missing the last period after the last "S". But, the reason for this is that S.O.S. was and still is a famous distress signal and could not be patented. So, by removing the last piece of punctuation the name became unique enough for the U.S. Patent Office to accept.

As a sidenote, most people think SOS, the universal distress call, means "Save Our Ships" or "Save Our Souls", but neither is correct. In reality, the three letters do not stand for anything. When Samuel Morse developed the Morse Code, he needed a simple distress call, one that those with little knowledge of the code could do. Only O and S consist of three identical signals. The O is three dashes and the S is three dots. Since a dot is shorter than a dash, he decided on SOS to minimize the time to transmit.

And, this has been another addition to the Library of Useless Information.

2 comments:

That's great! And you say it's useless, but look what I've learned here today...pot is wrong.

I never noticed that it was S.O.S
rather than S.O.S.
I feel enlightened.

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