About Sparkfiles Research Staff

Find more about me on:

Here are my most recent posts

Author Archives: Sparkfiles Research Staff

Tarheels of North Carolina

In the 1700’s and 1800’s Great Britain relied heavily on the strength of their Navy both for national defense and for trade. Part of having an efficiently running Navy means having the proper gear and keeping it in working order. … Continue reading

Posted in Etymology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Origin of Sir and Ma’am

Did you know that Steven Spielberg was knighted in 2001 by the Order of the British Empire and thereby is known as Sir Steven Spielberg in Britian? The “Sir” in his name is a surname that is intended to be … Continue reading

Posted in Etymology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Golf gets its Start

Originating in Scotland in the late 1400’s the modern version of the game we now know as golf began in an area of Scotland known as Fife. Fife is, not surprisingly, where St. Andrews golf course is located and is … Continue reading

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Days of the Week: Origins

Not surprisingly the days of the week were originally based on astronomy. The original naming of the days is, by most accounts, attributed to the early Romans who associated the seven days with seven planets (and stars). Some of the … Continue reading

Posted in Time | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Pounds to Lbs –An abbreviation’s origin

Most of the time when a word is abbreviated its plain to see how one would designate such an abbreviation based on the original word. For example, altitude turns into alt., gallons turns into gal., and hours turns into hrs. … Continue reading

Posted in Abbreviations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Whole Nine Yards

Though most phrases are often thought of as antiquated this phrase wasn’t actually seen in print until the early 1960’s. There are a few competing theories as to its origins but perhaps the most plausible comes from WWII. During pre-flight … Continue reading

Posted in Etymology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin –when giants walked the Earth

Forming in 1968 this band was comprised of the same four members for the 12 years that they produced music. Even after the death of their drummer, John Bonham, in 1980 they never replaced him and decided to dismantle the … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t call it a comeback! –L.L. Cool J

On January 14th, 1968 an American hip hop artist was born. His name was James Todd Smith and he would later go on to change his name to a more appealing stage name; “L.L. Cool J” which translates into “Ladies … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Foot: What’s so special about 12 inches?

In the early days (and especially in rural areas) when measurements had to be made there wasn’t often any calibrated and standard measuring device handy. Therefore people did what people do best and improvised with what they had available to … Continue reading

Posted in Standards | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Rock n’ Roll: Origins of the Phrase

It is the case that this phrase developed at different times in history within a different context. In the beginning, the phrase was used to describe the movement of ships at sea but with respect to music it really described … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment