Exercise #36: Riddle Exercises

Exercise 36 Instructions

I thought, rather than write a story in this case, which I was invited to do if I wished, I would select three items from my everyday world and allow them to tell a bit about themselves.  Sort of like a trio of riddles.  For the sake of argument, I’ve included the name of each item after its description.  If you can’t figure it out yourself, feel free to highlight the area in brackets to view the correct answer.  Enjoy!

  1. I was officially invented in Italy around 1286.  However, incidences of properties similar to mine have been recorded as early as the 5th century BC in Egypt.  When I was originally invented, I was basically two pieces of glass in a pair of circular frames joined by a straight or bent piece of metal.  People who made use of me would usually hold me up to their faces.   Generally speaking, I was used for reading more than anything else.   Eventually, further research created other versions of me.  There was a version for older people, for example.  However, Benjamin Franklin was the first person to put two different versions of me into one.  Over time, my construction also evolved.  People came up with different ways of holding me to their faces.  Some of them used ribbons.  Some used a long stick.   Nowadays, I’m made predominantly of plastic.  I usually have two windows, joined by a piece that goes across the nose and held into place by pads at the sides of the nose and long pieces that go over the ears.  In order to use me correctly, quite often you need a prescription from a special doctor, though you can sometimes buy a version of me cheaply without a prescription for use in the sun.  Then again, scientists, carpenters and other kinds of construction workers often wear me for safety.   Of course, there are still those people who just use me for reading.  When I’m not in use, most people put me in a special case, so my windows don’t get scratched.  Can you guess what I am?  [eye glasses]
  2. I was first patented in 1848 by American inventor Henry Day.  I come in many forms.  The most familiar form of me, which was clear, was developed by Richard Drew of the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company.  The same person developed another familiar form of me, and opaque version, for use in auto body shops.  Sales were slow, though, until someone invented a dispenser for me.  I don’t always need a dispenser, but I always come in a long strip and generally, one side of that strip is sticky.  Sometimes, the sticky part has to be wetted first, but usually it’s sticky without any of that nonsense.  Sometimes, both sides of me are sticky.  Lots of different kinds of people use me, painters, artists, crafters, doctors, surgeons, teachers, mail men, plumbers, carpenters, book binders and many more.  In fact, there’s a good chance you may have used me for something at some time in your life.  What am I? [adhesive tape]
  3. Strictly speaking, I wasn’t really invented by anyone.  Technically, I’m one of the results of a volcanic eruption.  I am created when lava undergoes a simultaneous rapid cooling and depressurization, which creates some of the gasses that give me my unique properties.  Unlike my cousins, I’m unusually light.  Some scientists have compared me to a can of soda.  Both of us were formed using similar gasses.  I have many  uses.  Sometimes, people grind me up and use me to make lightweight concrete, or as an abrasive in erasers, polishes, cosmetic exfolients and in the production of certain kinds of jeans.  Sometimes, people even add me to soap and toothpaste.  However, I am sometimes used unground for removing stains from bathroom fixtures or for removing the callouses from your feet.  I’m a particular favorite of petrologists everywhere. Did you figure me out, yet? [pumice stone]


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