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Donn King


Who bought the first?

There are things we take for granted that, if you stop and think about it, you have to wonder how they got started as a thing you could buy. Here are a few that come to mind. Perhaps this will help you see things with just a little more wonder.


    1. FAX machine.

    Nothing is more useless than one FAX machine. Who bought the first one? Did s/he buy two and give one to another person so they could send FAXes to each other? This same question can be asked about a lot of things on this list.

    2. Printed book.

    Yes, people were writing things down for a long time. People were making copies by hand. Writing came before reading, otherwise what would you read? Books were expensive until Gutenberg. Who bought the first book that wasn't a Bible?

    3. Box of matches.

    I assume people made matches for their own use long before they made them and sold them to other people. Who first thought about selling them, and who bought the first ones instead of just making their own?

    4. Record player.

    Whether one of those wax cylinder things or a turntable, who was the first to buy one? No use buying one unless you had a record you wanted to play. Did s/he buy the record first? Buy the record and the player as a set?

    5. Radio.

    I have heard that the first radio stations were started by companies like RCA so that people would have something to listen to when they bought a radio. That makes sense, but who bought the first radios? Was it before they started the radio stations? Did they put up a radio station and then give away the first few sets to get people to experience it?

    6. Bag of coffee beans or ground coffee.

    Sure, people were harvesting coffee beans and making coffee for themselves, so eventually they would sell it to someone else. Although you have to wonder also who was the first person to think, "I'll bet we could take this fruit, throw the fruit away, but 'cook' the pits and grind them up and make a drink out of it." Once they got past that hurdle, did someone else come along and say, "Hey, what are you drinking? Could I buy some of what looks like dirt?"

    7. Telephone.

    I guess Alexander Graham Bell had to give one to Watson. Was the first person to actually buy a telephone someone who wanted to be able to talk to Bell?

    8. Mushrooms.

    The kind you eat. For that matter, the kind you ingest. Right after who tried the first one, and who took notes to figure out which ones you really don't want to eat/ingest.

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