Do you know how common everyday items, such as mirrors, fireworks or sunglasses work? This collection of Innovation articles explores the workings of objects you may come into contact with on a regular basis.

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There's a peculiar type of honey, called mad honey, that contains a neurotoxin. In small doses, it can cause hallucinations, but in large amounts, the substance can be highly poisonous. Over the centuries, people have used it as a medicinal drug, a recreational drug and even a bioweapon.

By Marie Look

Learn about the Glass Armonica, a unique musical instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin. The glass armonica produces beautiful, haunting sounds by rubbing wet fingers on tuned glass bowls.

By HowStuffWorks

he Revolutionary Heating Invention That Changed America - Franklin Stove. Learn about the history, design, and benefits of this iconic stove.

By HowStuffWorks


The Revolutionary Writing Tool That Made Duplication Easy - Electric Pen. Learn about the history, design, and benefits of this iconic pen.

By HowStuffWorks

The Old-School Copy Machine That Revolutionized the Way We Communicate. Learn about the history, design, and benefits of mimeograph

By HowStuffWorks

The Revolutionary Recording Device That Changed the Way We Work - Dictaphone. Learn about the history, design, and benefits of dictaphone.

By HowStuffWorks

The assembly line didn’t kick off with Henry Ford and the Model T, but Ford played a big role in changing the landscape of manufacturing forever.

By Yara Simón


The 20th century would have been very different without the contributions of General Foods chemist William A. Mitchell, who tapped into the American appetite for convenience and novelty.

By Laurie L. Dove

We're talking the science of aging beer with the brewmasters of Sweetwater Brewery.

There's a lot of controversy surrounding the two one-time work colleagues turned bitter rivals. Find out more with our quiz.

By Nathan Chandler

"Candy Queen" Jackie Sorkin took her love of sugary sweet candy and turned it into a crazy, colorful world of art and illusions.


Who invented the toilet? While we wish it were so, it wasn't Thomas Crapper. Surprisingly, toilet design hasn't changed much since the first "water closet" patent in the 1500s.

By Kathryn Whitbourne & Jesslyn Shields

A Rube Goldberg machine is intentionally designed to perform a simple task in the most indirect and circuitous fashion possible. Meet the funny man behind these one-of-a-kind contraptions.

By Stell Simonton

HowStuffWorks explains the secrets of static electricity.

Food spoilage is an urgent issue for the millions of people with unreliable electricity — or no electricity at all. A supercool $35 fridge could change that common scenario.

By Tracy Staedter


You can find porta-potties at festivals, construction sites and concerts across the planet – but how do they work? Get a closer (non-messy) look here.

Mice are small and reproduce quickly, but they're more than just an animal of convenient size and libido. Mice have some truly special genetic gifts that it doesn't take a scientist to appreciate.

By Kate Kershner

When you think of sports drinks, chances are Gatorade comes to mind. But was it the first one? Or just the beneficiary of clever marketing?

By Becky Striepe

Behold the humble spork! Made of the cheapest plastic and seen mostly at public school cafeterias and fast food chains, it doesn't have an inspiring pedigree. But it's been around for a long time.

By Laurie L. Dove


Next Thanksgiving when you find yourself sleeping on Aunt Martha's pullout sofa, it might cheer you up to know that the convertible bed has a long, illustrious history.

By Laurie L. Dove

It's been part of people's diets around the world for centuries, but has recently become a health-food staple. Are you one of the people who seek a little culture every day?

By Laura Castellano

Even in its simplest form, chocolate is a pleasure to eat. But these days, there are some truly quirky chocolate products out there that’ll blow your mind – and your taste buds. Click your way through this chocolaty gallery (and try not to drool too much).

By Rachel Frank

Everyone knows what a sandwich is. Most may even know how the snack got its name. But did you know who invented it? That's a tougher question to answer.

By Stephanie Watson


Primitive batteries date back a lot longer than you might guess. But when were scientists finally able to produce and store electricity and then use it to create a continuous, controllable current?

By Christopher Neiger

At one time, sharing files between computers meant carrying a box of punch cards from one machine to another. The Internet changed all that, but who's responsible for creating this network of networks?

By Jonathan Strickland