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Body Odor Through the Ages: A Brief History of Deodorant

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I got my first stick of deodorant as a preteen. It was Teen Spirit and made me smell like baby powder and berries. From the first swipe I loved it "“ it called me TEEN "“ and have continued to love this special product that keeps me so fresh and so clean. I wouldn't call it an obsession "“ I reserve that for my books and shoes "“ but these days I keep at least a dozen different kinds of deodorant and antiperspirants on hand. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my love of smelling good. On many occasions throughout history, things have gotten downright funky.

Being stinky and human evolution

When we lived in caves and had just figured out the whole standing upright thing, we were less concerned about body odor. Put simply, humans stunk. Anthropologists now believe that our funky selves helped keep us from being some predator's dinner. Our scent was so rank that the animal about to eat us would actually recoil in horror at the smell and would move on to eat something less repulsive. Now that's a defense mechanism.

Ancient Egyptians

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When they weren't building pyramids, the ancient Egyptians were working hard at masking their own stench. They invented the perfumed bath and would follow it up by applying a liberal amount of perfume to their underarms. Egyptians also tried using carob, incense, and even porridge as deodorant. Women would place globs of scented wax on their heads that would slowly melt throughout the day, spreading the pleasing scent as well as masking the not so pleasant. Messy, but effective.

Ancient Romans and Greeks

The ancient Greeks took a page from the Egyptians, constantly bathing and dousing themselves in perfume. Greek poet Homer once said that good hosts offered their guests baths and aromatic oils. Romans were so fanatical about smelling good that they not only took baths in perfume, they soaked their clothes in it, doused their horses in it, and even perfumed their household pets.

The Middle Ages

Things took a turn for the stank during the Middle Ages, when the church decided that being naked was bad. Even in the bath. So people all but stopped cleaning themselves. Those with the money for it tried to cover the stink by using perfume, a practice that continued well into the 19th century. Those without money just remained fragrant.

Mums the word

The first trademarked deodorant "“ Mum "“ came out in 1888. Created by an unknown Philadelphia inventor, Mum was a paste applied to the underarms. It was soon followed by Everdry, the first effective antiperspirant. Everdry was an aluminum chloride solution that was dabbed on with a cotton swab to less than desirable results. Everdry took forever to dry, was messy, and had a nasty habit of stinging the user and eating through clothes. But hey, at least you weren't sweating. In the mid 1950s, inspired by the ball point pen, the first roll on (Ban) was released. Ten years later, the first aerosol (Right Guard) launched a multi-billion dollar industry.

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[1971 Right Guard ad courtesy of my Rear in Sears.]

Today, about 95% of Americans use deodorant. Whether you wear roll on, use a crystal, take an internal deodorant pill (does that really work?) or even make your own home concoction, just know that the rest of us truly appreciate it.

Stefanie Fontanez is an occasional contributor to mentalfloss.com. Her last story was about the plague.

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This Week's Best Amazon Deals You Can Still Get
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Amazon

As a recurring feature, our team combs the Web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, August 20.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

GADGETS, TOYS, AND MEDIA

Crosley CR7007A-MA Patriarch Turntable with Radio, CD Player and Aux-In (Mahogany) for $103.00 (list price $169.95)

TaoTronics Bluetooth Headphones, Sweatproof Wireless In Ear Earbuds, Sports Magnetic Earphones with Built in Mic (IPX5 Splash Proof Rating, aptX Stereo, Up to 7 Hours of Talk Time, Ceramic Antenna) for $25.99 (list price $69.99)

New Matter MOD-t Desktop 3D Printer | Built-In WiFi, Easy to Use, Safe and Quiet for $269.10 (list price $399.00)

Parrot Zik 2.0 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones (Yellow) for $124.95 (list price $124.95)

Samsung Gear VR - Virtual Reality Headset (US Version with Warranty) for $34.11 (list price $49.99)

JS Portable Mini Wireless Bluetooth Nut Speaker with Sling for iPhone iPad Android and More for $11.88 (list price $25.99)

[The Smallest] Jackery Mini 3350mAh Portable Charger - External Battery Pack, Premium Aluminum Power Bank, Portable iPhone Charger for iPhone 7, 6s, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6 (Black) for $11.99 (list price $29.99)

Quirky PCORP-GY01 Cordies Pop Wire and Cable Organizer, Grey for $10.00 (list price $14.95)

Satechi Aluminum USB Headphone Stand Holder with Three USB 3.0 Ports and 3.5mm AUX port - Suitable For All Headphone Sizes (Gold) for $34.99 (list price $39.99)

Canon PowerShot G9 X Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom, Built-in Wi-Fi and 3 inch LCD touch panel (Silver) for $399.00 (list price $529.00)

Invoxia Smart Portable Speaker with Amazon Alexa, Green for $199.00 (list price $199.00)

Withings Activité Pop - Activity and Sleep Tracking Watch for $99.99 (list price $179.99)

KITCHEN

The Keyboard Waffle Iron for $54.75 (list price $69.99)

Curva Artisan Series Double Wall Beverage Glasses and Tumblers - Unique 8 oz Thermo Insulated Drinking Glasses, Set of 4 for $26.31 (list price $26.31)

MatchaDNA Handcrafted Matcha Tea Bowl - White for $16.89 (list price $29.99)

Nordic By Nature Insulated Neoprene Lunchbox Tote Lunch Bag Made For Women, Men and Kids | Includes 12" Big Bottle Cooler | Lightweight | Rugged Lunch Box | Washable | Designer Camo Pattern Bags for $19.99 (list price $27.99)

One White Apple Wooden Spoons Disposable, 6" Length Eco-Friendly Biodegradable Compostable Birchwood (Pack of 100) GO GREEN! for $12.98 (list price $16.98)

Bento Lunch Box by Lifemark Labs - Stylish Leakproof Lunch Kit with 3 Compartments - For Kids & Adults - Easy Portion Control - Container is Dishwasher & Microwave Friendly for $19.97 (list price $34.95)

Bellemain 4 Piece Airtight Acrylic Canister Set , Food Storage Container for $22.95 (list price $39.95)

koziol KASIMIR Hedgehog Cheese Grater, transparent red for $12.95 (list price $14.40)

Joseph Joseph 40085 Nest 9 Nesting Bowls Set with Mixing Bowls Measuring Cups Sieve Colander, 9-Piece, Blue for $40.00 (list price $42.99)

Cafe Du Chateau 34oz French Press, 4 Level Filtration System, 304 Grade Stainless Steel, Heat Resistant Borosilicate Glass for $22.95 (list price $27.95)

Bekith Brushed Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle / Spice Grinder / Molcajete for $13.98 (list price $49.99)

Oster 2-Pound Expressbake Bread Machine with 13-Hour Delay Timer, CKSTBRTW20 for $43.12 (list price $59.99)

HOME

Vornado VFAN Vintage Air Circulator Fan, Vintage White for $95.00 (list price $119.99)

Saganizer Hamper with Wheels Rolling Cart Heavy Duty Triple Laundry Organizer/Sorter, Chrome/White for $37.99 (list price $49.99)

Bronze Dimmable Accent Table Lamp with 1 Vintage Edison Style Bulb, Plugin, Brooklyn Bulb Co. Hoyt Collection, Inset Switch, ETL Listed for $69.99 (list price $129.00)

T4U 3 Inch Ceramic Cameo Double Layer Howllow Design succulent Plant Pot/Cactus Plant Pot With Saucer Full colors Package 1 Pack of 3 for $19.93 (list price $49.86)

Rexford Mid-Century Walnut Table Lamp Set of 2 for $119.98 (list price $179.99)

Seville Classics 3-Tier Resin Slat Utility Shoe Rack, Espresso for $29.99 (list price $34.40)

Byredo - Burning Rose Candle for $68.24 (list price $95.00)

K&H Manufacturing Mod Dream Pod Gray/Black 22" (unheated) for $38.39 (list price $45.59)

Deco 79 68135 Metal Bookend Pair for $28.40 (list price $57.00)

Mini Ceramic Hanging Succulent Planters Flower Pots for Home Decor - White 2 Pieces HakkaGirl for $9.89 (list price $16.54)

Prevue Pet Products Kitty Power Paws Multi-Platform Posts with Tassel Toys, Natural for $71.95 (list price $82.74)

HERNGEE Deer Head Single Wall Hook / Hanger Animal shaped Coat Hat Hook Heavy Duty, Rustic, Decorative Gift , Grey for $12.98 (list price $14.98)

OFFICE, SCHOOL, AND CRAFTS

Eames Style Aluminum Group Management Office Chair Reproduction Leather White for $345.00 (list price $1,345.00)

Acrylic Desktop, Folder and Makeup Palette Organizer - Mail, Paper/Paperwork Organizer - File Sorter; File Folder Holder - Laptop Rack - by Unum - Black and Clear, 9" x 6.75" x 6.5" for $20.99 (list price $29.99)

Microsoft Designer Bluetooth Mouse for $23.53 (list price $29.95)

Arteza Real Brush Pens - 24-Colors - Watercolor Markers - (Set of 24) for $21.99 (list price $66.99)

KABB Modern Digital Mechanical Retro Flip Dоwn Clock wіth Internal Gear Operated (Black) for $43.99 (list price $89.99)

Block Sketch Desk Tidy, Blue for $29.06 (list price $38.00)

Sharpie Tank Highlighters, Chisel Tip, Assorted Colors, 12-Count for $4.99 (list price $12.96)

Scotch Magic Tape, 3/4 x 1000 Inches, Boxed, 6 Rolls (810K6) for $9.89 (list price $11.45)

Wilson Jones 3 Ring Binder 3 Inch, Round Ring View Binder, Basic, 362 Series, Customizable, White (W362-49W) for $4.89 (list price $7.18)

eBoot 12 Inches Plastic Ruler Straight Ruler Plastic Measuring Tool for Student School Office, Clear, 2 Pack for $6.99 (list price $8.99)

Mead Composition Notebook, College Ruled, 100 Sheets, 5 Pack (72930) for $13.90 (list price $20.30)

Personal Daily Planner Organizer Will Help You to Keep Work-Life Balance & Achieve a Little More Goals - NO DATES Calendar Planner ( 8,5 X 5,7 ) - Diary Notebook for Man and Women 2017 / 2018 / 2019 for $18.99 (list price $29.99)

HEALTH AND BEAUTY

Conair Oval Shaped Double-Sided Lighted Makeup Mirror, 1x/7x magnification, Polished Chrome Finish for $26.09 (list price $34.99)

Mudder Silicone Cosmetic Containers Cream Jar with Sealed Lids, 3 Pieces (20 ml) for $8.99 (list price $14.99)

Dukes Daily Age-Defying Facial Moisturizer Cream 4oz - Anti-Aging Lotion - Day/Night Face Wash Fuel for Men – All Organic for $19.99 (list price $45.00)

Himalayan Pink Salt Bar Soap Bar with Rose (Everest) (4 Oz)- Handmade Organic with Essential Oils. Natural Moisturizing Body Soap for Skin and Face. With Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Natural Glycerin for $7.99 (list price $9.00)

Umbra Stowit Jewelry Box - Modern Keepsake Storage Organizer with Hidden Compartment Drawers for Ring, Bracelet, Watch, Necklace, Earrings, and Accessories for $42.05 (list price $60.00)

Gentleman Jon Deluxe Wet Shave Kit | Includes 8 Items: Safety Razor, Badger Hair Brush, Shave Stand, Canvas & Leather Dopp Kit, Alum Block, Shave Soap, Stainless Steel Bowl and Astra Razor Blades for $75.00 (list price $95.00)

Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo with Peppermint, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus Botanicals, 16-Ounces for $11.43 (list price $12.00)

Buxton Men's Addison Leather U-Zip Hanging Travel Kit, Cognac for $37.88 (list price $70.00)

Eye Cream Anti Aging Moisturizer - for Dark Circles, Puffiness, Wrinkles and Bags - Best Natural & Organic Ingredients - Use Day & Night - 1.7 OZ for $17.99 (list price $25.99)

Red Clay Honey Mask 9 fl oz for Anti Aging Facial Treatment, Facial Cleanser, Pore Reducer, Anti Aging Mask, Acne Treatment, Blackhead Remover, Cellulite Treatment & Natural Moisturizer for $15.95 (list price $49.99)

Dental Tool Set, ElleSye Dental Hygiene Tool Kit for Home Oral Care, Stainless Steel Tartar Remover Dental Pick Dental Scaler Dental Tweezers Anti-fog Mouth Mirror for Personal and Pet Use for $11.69 (list price $29.99)

OUTDOORS, GARDEN, AND SPORTS

Poler Men's Retro Rolltop Backpack, Black, One Size for $63.71 (list price $74.95)

Everstryke Match Pro Lighter - Waterproof Fire Starter Especially for Survival and Emergency Use for $9.99 (list price $29.95)

JOOLA Midsize Table Tennis Table for $144.98 (list price $219.95)

Streamline Rainbow Color Wheel Umbrella for $23.99 (list price $26.81)

mKitchen World Marshmallow Roasting Sticks | Telescoping Smores Skewers Hot Dog Extending Stainless Steel Fork | Extra Long 3.75 FT-45’’|Set of 5|Fire Pit, Camping, Campfire, Bonfire Kids Accessories for $16.99 (list price $37.64)

Schwinn Discover Women's Hybrid Bike (700C Wheels),White,28" for $249.39 (list price $275.37)

Running Belt – Fanny Pack – iPhone 6 , 7 Plus Pouch for Runners - Best Fitness Gear for Hands Free Workout – Reflective Waist Pack by Sport2People for $14.97 (list price $37.47)

Joovy Bicycoo Balance Bike, Red for $117.87 (list price $129.99)

eBags Crew Cooler II (Blue Yonder) for $34.99 (list price $49.99)

2 Pack Swimming Cap - TURATA Waterproof Unisex Premium Earmuffs Silicone No-Slip Swimming Cap for Adults Kids Woman and Men One Size Hat - Black & Blue for $11.99 (list price $29.99)

SEMOO Water Resistant ,2-3 Person,1 Door,3-Season Lightweight Tent for Camping with Carry Bag for $42.99 (list price $79.98)

Moon Lence Outdoor Ultralight Portable Folding Chairs with Carry Bag Heavy Duty 242lbs Capacity Camping Folding Chairs Beach Chairs for $34.99 (list price $67.99)

TOOLS

Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner for $65.00 (list price $69.99)

True Utility FIXR Multi-Tool (20 Tools in 1) for $4.09 (list price $14.99)

GlowGeek 120 to 3000 Grit Sandpaper Assortment, Dry/Wet, 9 x 3.6 Inch, 42 Pieces,Sand Paper for Automotive Sanding, Wood Furniture Finishing, Wood Turing Finishing for $9.96 (list price $24.99)

First Aid Kit (275 Pieces 40 Unique Items) Family Emergency Disaster Earthquake & Survival. Large Portable Bag Ideal for Home Car Boat Kayak Backpack RV Sports Camping Hiking. Protect Your Loved Ones for $44.95 (list price $69.95)

Dremel 2200-01 Versa Flame Multi-Function Butane Torch for $39.00 (list price $42.99)

Plus Pen Style Compact Twiggy Scissors with Cover, White (34609) for $4.36 (list price $5.99)

Dremel 8220-1/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool for $79.00 (list price $99.00)

Southwire Tools & Equipment POUCH4 Leather Tool Pouch for $15.28 (list price $17.98)

NoCry Safety Glasses with Clear Anti Fog Scratch Resistant Wrap-Around Lenses and No-Slip Grips, UV Protection. Adjustable, Black & Green Frames for $9.39 (list price $10.49)

Signstek 45 in 1 Professional Portable Opening Precision Screwdriver Hand Tools Kit Set with Tweezers & Extension Shaft for Precise Repair Maintenance for $8.00 (list price $19.99)

Bingogous 5.0Ah 20V Max Premium XR Lithium Li-ion Replacement Battery for Dewalt DCB205 Dewalt DCB180,DCB204-2,DCB205-2,DCB200-2,DCB200 Dewalt DCD/DCF/DCG Series Dewalt 20V Battery 2 Pack for $59.99 (list price $99.99)

ORIA 86 in 1 Precision Screwdriver Set, Magnet Repair Tool Kit with Portable Bag for iPhone/ Cell Phone/ iPad/ Tablet/ PC/ MacBook and Other Electronics for $29.99 (list price $89.99)

Hole Saw Sets,16 Pcs Hole Saw Kit 3/4"-5" Inch Metal Circle Cutter Wood Steel Saws with Mandrels and Install Plate for Door Knob Lock for $16.14 (list price $18.99)

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Big Questions
Should You Keep Your Pets Indoors During the Solar Eclipse?
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PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

By now, you probably know what you’ll be doing on August 21, when a total solar eclipse makes its way across the continental United States. You’ve had your safety glasses ready since January (and have confirmed that they’ll actually protect your retinas), you’ve picked out the perfect vantage point in your area for the best view, and you’ve memorized Nikon’s tips for how to take pictures of this rare celestial phenomenon. Still, it feels like you’re forgetting something … and it’s probably the thing that's been right under your nose, and sitting on your lap, the whole time: your pets.

Even if you’ve never witnessed a solar eclipse, you undoubtedly know that you’re never supposed to look directly at the sun during one. But what about your four-legged family members? Shouldn’t Fido be fitted with a pair of eclipse glasses before he heads out for his daily walk? Could Princess Kitty be in danger of having her peepers singed if she’s lounging on her favorite windowsill? While, like humans, looking directly at the sun during a solar eclipse does pose the potential of doing harm to a pet’s eyes, it’s unlikely that the thought would even occur to the little ball of fluff.

“It’s no different than any other day,” Angela Speck, co-chair of the AAS National Solar Eclipse Task Force, explained during a NASA briefing in June. “On a normal day, your pets don’t try to look at the sun and therefore don’t damage their eyes, so on this day they’re not going to do it either. It is not a concern, letting them outside. All that’s happened is we’ve blocked out the sun, it’s not more dangerous. So I think that people who have pets want to think about that. I’m not going to worry about my cat.”

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, a veterinarian, author, and founder of pawcurious, echoed Speck’s statement, but allowed that there’s no such thing as being too cautious. “It’s hard for me to criticize such a well-meaning warning, because there’s really no harm in following the advice to keep pets inside during the eclipse,” Vogelsang told Snopes. “It’s better to be too cautious than not cautious enough. But in the interest of offering a realistic risk assessment, the likelihood of a pet ruining their eyes the same way a human would during an eclipse is much lower—not because the damage would be any less were they to stare at the sun, but because, from a behavior standpoint, dogs and cats just don’t have any interest in doing so. We tend to extrapolate a lot of things from people to pets that just doesn’t bear out, and this is one of them.

“I’ve seen lots of warnings from the astronomy community and the human medical community about the theoretical dangers of pets and eclipses, but I’m not sure if any of them really know animal behavior all that well," Vogelsang continued. "It’s not like there’s a big outcry from the wildlife community to go chase down coyotes and hawks and bears and give them goggles either. While we in the veterinary community absolutely appreciate people being concerned about their pets’ wellbeing, this is a non-issue for us.”

The bigger issue, according to several experts, would be with pets who are already sensitive to Mother Nature. "If you have the sort of pet that's normally sensitive to shifts in the weather, they might be disturbed by just the whole vibe because the temperature will drop and the sky will get dark,” Melanie Monteiro, a pet safety expert and author of The Safe-Dog Handbook: A Complete Guide to Protecting Your Pooch, Indoors and Out, told TODAY.

“If [your pets] have learned some association with it getting darker, they will show that behavior or at a minimum they get confused because the timeframe does not correspond,” Dr. Carlo Siracusa of Penn Vet Hospital told CBS Philly. “You might put the blinds down, but not exactly when the dark is coming but when it is still light.” 

While Monteiro again reasserts that, "Dogs and cats don't normally look up into the sun, so you don't need to get any special eye protection for your pets,” she says that it’s never a bad idea to take some extra precautions. So if you’re headed out to an eclipse viewing party, why not do your pets a favor and leave them at home. They won’t even know what they’re missing.

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