Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The best thing since sliced bread

Germany... the land of discovery and scientific advancement.
The country where Alzheimer's Disease and Morphine were first discovered.
Where the planets Neptune and Uranus were identified.
Where dinosaurs such as Plateosurus and Teratosaurus were classified.
Where the theory of relativity finds its origin.
Where the processes of Miosis and Mitosis were recognised.
Where the humble Petri dish originates from.
Where the idea of continental drift was conceptualised.
Where the Diesel engine, airbag and jerry can were invented.
Where the first printing press made text accessible.
Where they discovered a whole lot of other stuff I don't have a clue about in the realms of physics, chemistry, geology, medicine, maths, weapons, and electronics.
The birthplace of glue sticks, adhesive strips, hole-punches, coffee filters, harmonicas, accordions, Christmas trees, advent calendars, and The Settlers of Catan.
The homeland of von Humboldt, Einstein, Hertz, and Liebniz.
Thanks, Wikipedia.

Seriously, I'm impressed!

So then, it's not surprising when I arrive here and discover inventions that have not only filled me with a certain amount of terror and awe, but have also amused and entertained me.

I present to you my 3 Favorite gadgety-things that make life better/easier/more fun. 

1. Tilt-and-Turn-Windows. 
I actually don't know if this is the official name for these, but they are terrifying and wonderful windows. The hinges change according to the position of the handle : if it's down then it's locked; if it's horizontal then it hinges on the vertical hinges and swings open as usual (Top picture); if it's up then it tilts and hinges on the bottom hinges (Bottom picture).
They swing open inwards; allowing for easy cleaning and, if wide open, a huge obstacle that one can walk into.
The tilted position allows a cool breeze in and provides a rush of adrenaline and terror when it feels like it's going to fall inwards and shatter and break ones skull.
They close tightly, keeping the weather outside where it belongs.

2. Electric shutters 
We didn't know we had these for the first night here, and if we weren't so exhausted from travelling I doubt we would have slept at all with the summer-sunshine streaming through at 11pm.
Fortunately, we were introduced to these!
Metal shutters that, at the flick of a switch, roll down over the window. They first have little holes in them allowing privacy and a small amount of light, and then one can continue to close them until they're tightly shut (like the bottom half of the top picture). No need for eye-masks or burglar guards. Although I do kind of feel like I'm in a garage, or a shop in the main street of PMB. But at least it's dark and I can sleep.

3. Bread-cutting machines 
This might come as a surprise, as it did to me, but there are alternatives to our bread cutting machines in SA! You know how they tend to squash bread quite a lot and leave fresh bread mangled? Never mind the safety aspect as the blades are uncovered and able to cut kiddies who want to pinch that piece of fresh crust that has fallen away from its loaf?
Well, let me introduce you to the highlight of my grocery shopping - the moment when I get to use THIS mean-machine.

You place the bread and then close the glass shield over, which can't be opened while in operation. Then you choose the thickness of the slices. Thereafter, the guillotine gets into action and slices the bread with a super sharp blade. The glass unlocks and one can get the bread out, place it on the shelf and slip the bag over it. Yes, I video'd it, there were people waiting behind me... I don't think they share my fascination and awe.

And THAT my friends, is how amazing German innovation continues to amaze. Thank you, Germany!


  1. My husband calls those shutters the "blast doors". Unfortunately our landlord did not put them in our bedroom window, so we're blinded by the light early every morning in the summer. And I love those bread slicing machines! :)

    1. Ah I love them and am SO thankful that they're on all our windows except the kitchen which faces west anyway. How on earth do you sleep?! :) Only a couple times I've forgotten to flip the switch back and it's been "opening" all day which can't be too good!