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Brazilian Barbies ‘Speak’ Portuguese

Estrela (Star) Barbie dolls, the Brazilian version of Barbie dolls, have been marketed primarily on the quality of the dolls and the fashions they are wearing, rather than on the special gimmicks included with most of the Barbie dolls marketed to children in the United States. Until 1990, most of them came with arms which could be posed, made with embedded wires making it possible to bend the arms and hands (These wires apparently violate child safety laws in the United States.)

When found on the secondary market, they are often confused with Spanish or Mexican dolls because of the writing on the box, which is mistaken as Spanish. Actually, Portuguese is the language of Brazil, and that is what appears on the boxes. And Brazilian dolls often look European in appearance, since more than half of the ancestry of Brazil is from Western Europe.

For examples of Estrela Barbie dolls, see Barbie Around the World by J. Michael Augustyniak (Collector Books.)

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Health Issues Nothing New

…a note from history

“The movement in the American pottery trade to eliminate tuberculosis by the best methods known to science took form at Sebring, O., the other night when a mass meeting of operative potters decided that each workman must appear for work every Monday morning wearing a clean apron. The potters adopted as a rule of procedure that no man would be permitted to work unless he wore a clean apron. Then followed a general cleaning up of the shops, the different managers lending their aid to bring about better conditions. A health committee was formed whose orders must be obeyed. This committee got down to work without delay and soon had the various Sebring potteries in excellent condition. The work is to be continued at stated intervals.

“In other potteries of the western district the same transformation is going on. Already some manufacturers have inaugurated systems by which the plants are kept free of dust and accumulations of clay, and the health of the operatives subserved in consequence. The co-operation of the operative potters’ union and the manufacturers in this movement is the first instance on record, and it is proving so successful that the movement is expected to spread to other branches of industry, particularly to the glass houses.”

From China, Glass and Lamps, February 24, 1913.

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Thermometer Developed Slowly
In Early Stages

Galileo is given credit for inventing the first thermometer, in 1592. It was strictly a laboratory instrument and inconvenient to use. Furthermore, no one seemed to find it a very necessary piece of equipment.

Various adaptations were made sporadically for the next 150 years. In none of them were accurate readings possible.

Among the non-standard features were what should be used as the fixed ends of heat on the instrument, and what scale should be used for changes in temperature. For a while, the fixed points were the temperatures of freezing water and melting butter.

In the early 1700s, scientific interest in the idea of a thermometer became more serious, and the present-day fixed points of freezing and boiling water were adopted. The scale in between was not standardized, however, and gaps between the ends were filled in as one wished.

Fahrenheit developed his model and scale in 1717, using mercury as the movable liquid. A scientist named Reaumur developed a model that used spirits of wine to expand and contract. The Centigrade, or Celsius, scale was developed in 1742.

An individualist named deLisle worked in the opposite direction. His thermometer used 0 as the point at which “Water boyles vehemently” and 160 as “Just Freezing.”

Most of the problems concerning thermometer making were settled by the 19th century, and the instrument came into common use for a variety of purposes.

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