Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Ms. Pawlik's Class from Clinton Township. Ms. Pawlik's Class Wonders, “How do scissors cut? When were they invented?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Ms. Pawlik's Class!
When you think of the most important tools that you use on a regular basis, what comes to mind? If you build things as a hobby, maybe a hammer often comes in handy. If you're a chef, a spatula probably makes flipping pancakes much easier.
What if you need to open a package? How about if you need to make a craft? Which tool would you turn to if you want to clip coupons? If you're like most people, there's one tool you'd use for all of these tasks and so many more. What are we talking about? Scissors, of course!
Scissors help you slice paper into the shape of a heart for a homemade Valentine's Day card. They clip your hair. You might even use them in the kitchen to cut up chicken or slice pizza.
Scissors have so many uses, yet their design is elegantly simple. A comfortable handle attached to sharp blades connected at a pivot point…who invented this incredible tool?
Many people mistakenly give credit to Leonardo da Vinci for inventing scissors. Although da Vinci was brilliant, scissors were around for a long time before him. Some historians believe scissors were invented in the Middle East as long as 3,000-4,000 years ago.
For example, historians believe ancient Egyptians created a scissors-like device around 1,500 B.C. The device consisted of two bronze blades connected by a spring-like mechanism that kept the blades apart until they were squeezed together.
A pair of scissors more like our modern scissors with a cross-blade or pivoted design was developed by the ancient Romans around 100 A.D. The Romans probably made their scissors out of bronze or iron.
Pivoted, cross-blade scissors were made by hand for hundreds of years. In fact, they weren't mass-produced until 1761 when English manufacturer Robert Hinchliffe adapted the design so it could be manufactured in a factory. Hinchliffe was also the first to make scissors out of steel.
Today, there are a wide variety of different types of scissors with specific purposes. For example, scissors with a length in excess of six inches are often referred to as shears. Long shears with tough blades have been developed to cut metal and trim shrubs.
Children's or safety scissors have dull blades and rounded tips to ensure their safe use in school environments. Nail scissors were specially developed to cut fingernails and toenails. You'll also find specialty scissors used by hairdressers and seamstresses for their specific needs.