Typical House in 1900 (01:50)
Contrary to modern homes filled with products made from plastics, this home is sparse and contains only hand crafted products of wood, metal, and fabric.
Inadvertent Creation of Foam Rubber (03:55)
Professor Mark Miodownik demonstrates how Germany's Otto Bayer invented a new product in the 1930s.
Molding Foam Furniture (03:25)
Almost all "comfy" furniture is made using foam rubber. Visit a manufacturing plant and see foam and furniture in the making.
Razor Blade Mugging (02:20)
Miodownik recalls being cut while trying to flee from a robber. robber.
Producing Gillette Razor Blades (03:22)
In 1901, King Camp Gillette set out to make shaving more affordable and less time consuming. Heating steel makes it stronger. Learn about the manufacturing process.
William Armstong's Cragside (02:08)
Armstrong's country home was filled the most modern gadgets of his time. Wanting to update his labor-intensive oil lighting, he installed an arc light in 1878.
Generating Light from Electricity (01:32)
Miodownik demonstrates the problems with early electric lighting: dangerous UV light, brightness, smoke, and noise.
Problems with Carbon Filaments (03:19)
Inventors Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan experimented with carbonizing various natural products. Miodownick demonstrates how filaments were kept from burning out.
Original Household Lightbulbs (01:24)
In 1880, Lord Armstrong installed Swan's lightbulbs in his country home. It was the first home to use incandescent lighting, showing that safe indoor electric light was possible.
Inventions of the Electronic Age (01:36)
Hear ways lightbulb technology has been used since its creation.
St. Catherine's College, Oxford (01:42)
Miodownik tours an Oxford college designed by modernist architect Arne Jacobsen. The buildings represent Charles-Edouard Jeanneret's theory of architecture.
Reinforced Concrete (04:16)
Miodownik demonstrates how adding rebar to concrete prevents it from breaking.
St. Catherine's Controversial Design (03:55)
Reinforced concrete was at the center of every building. See the great dining hall. Miodownik describes the work as genius.
Making Wood Pliable (02:54)
The creation of plywood revolutionized furniture design. Visit a plywood manufacturer to learn how it is made.
Introduction of Curved Wood Furniture (02:49)
See how plywood is glued and molded into shape. Debuting in the 1930s, curved furniture was considered controversial. Miodownik demonstrates the strength of plywood.
Mosquito Warplane (01:20)
Made almost entirely of plywood, the Mosquito was the fastest aircraft in the world. See the plane under construction.
Versatility of Plastic (04:21)
Visit a toy factory that produces over 10 million toy parts daily. Plastic can be melted and solidified.
Invention of Nylon (02:06)
Plastic fibers were introduced in the 1940s. Miodownik demonstrates how to make nylon fiber by combining two chemicals.
Demand for Nylons (04:14)
Wallace Carothers developed Nylon in the late 1930s; it became popular for making women's stockings. Lycra makes modern tights stretchier.
Everyday Miracles: Home: Review (01:16)
Miodownik reviews the modern materials that make our lives more affordable, comfortable, and enjoyable.
Credits: Everyday Miracles: Home (00:40)
Credits: Everyday Miracles: Home
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