April 24, 2003, 01:37
siapa yg nemuin dan sejak kapan sikat gigi digunakan secara luas?
April 24, 2003, 05:17
5,000 years ago: pretty little Egyptian branches…
XVth – XXth centuries: hair, feathers, and gold
1937: the miracle brush
1950: the miracle improves
1997: more little branches…
Brushing our teeth -- such a commonplace activity today, has been around for a long time. Imagine: Egyptians were already concerned about their dental hygiene! We know this today because they also had the good habit of being entombed with all their treasures... So we were able to discover that tombs from 3000 years before Christ contained small tree branches whose ends had been frayed into soft fibers. It’s comical to imagine an Egyptian stopping to brush his teeth after a meal, on his break from building a pyramid!
The true ancestor of our toothbrush, however, was invented by the Chinese in the XVth century and brought back to Europe by travellers. This toothbrush was made of hairs from the neck of a Siberian wild boar which were fixed to a bamboo or bone handle. The people of the Occident, however, found the wild boar hairs too stiff. At the time, very few people in the Western world brushed their teeth, and those who did preferred horse hairs, which were softer than those of the wild boar! In Europe, it was more customary after meals to use a goose feather toothpick, or one made of silver or copper.
Other animals’ hair was also used for dental care, right up until this century. But it was the poor Siberian wild boar that took the brunt of it. The animal was imported for its neck hairs for a long, long time... in fact, until nylon was invented, in the XXth century!
In 1937, in the Du Pont laboratories in Nemours, U.S., nylon was invented by Wallace H. Carothers. In 1938, this new material became a symbol of modernism and prosperity through the commercialization of nylon stockings and of Dr. West’s miracle toothbrush with nylon bristles. The wild boars were finally off the hook!
At first, even if there were many advantages to using this new brush instead of the one made with wild boar hairs (which fell out, wouldn’t dry very well or became full of bacteria), the consumers were not entirely satisfied. This is because the nylon bristles were very stiff and hurt the gums. In 1950, Du Pont improved their toothbrush by giving it softer bristles.
Today the brands, types, and colours of toothbrushes on the market are almost endless. In spite of this, certain African and American populations still use tree branches to care for their teeth!
L’origine merveilleuse des choses de tous les jours, Charles Panati, Éditions F1RST, 1989.
Le livre mondial des inventions, sous la direction de Valérie-Anne Giscard d’Estaing, Éditions Fixot, 1996 et 1997.