Reddit | DogeSexy

40 Facts That Show Time Is A Lot Messier Than We Think It Is

We often find that as we get older, time seems to go by faster and faster. The effect is subtle at first, but before you know it, you realize that it's been over 20 years since people were worried about the Y2K computer bug.

And it's not just the big moments we actually lived through that feel like they happened later or earlier than they should have. Hindsight has a way of making history seem a lot neater and more orderly than it actually is and it's easy to forget that the experience of living in one place in 1975 (for example) was vastly different from how it felt to live in another.

And that's why the facts I'm about to share with you "feel wrong" even though they're quite accurate.

The fax machine is actually significantly older than the telephone.

Reddit | [deleted]

As this picture would suggest, that seems impossible considering that the heyday of this device was the '90s. However, the BBC confirmed that the fax machine was actually invented all the way back in 1842, which was about 30 years before the first working telephone was created.

Back then, Alexander Bain developed a way to electronically scan writing line-by-line and sent out a message over to some paper that was sensitive to electricity. However, this technology was both hard to perfect and protect, as Bain faced both technical challenges and legal battles for years after developing the first machine.

Women didn't have full voting rights in Portugal until 1975.

Reddit | Pikachuzita

As Maria Lucia Amaral and Teresa Anjinho wrote, this was because Portugal spent decades under a totalitarian dictatorship known as Estado Novo and a military coup had to take place before the country's democracy could be restored, which occurred in 1974.

As the BBC reported, Portugal had elections during Estado Novo, but they showed clear evidence of manipulation by the regime of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.

Women's suffrage also came late to Switzerland as women's oculdn't vote there until 1971.

Reddit | snowglobalization

As National Geographic reported, the problem here didn't concern a dictatorship as it did in Portugal because democracy in Switzerland has been direct and bottom-up since 1291.

Instead, the unfortunate reality is that enough of Switzerland's men simply voted against the electoral rights of women to consistently block them until a change of public opinion took place in 1971.

Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. were born in the same year.

Reddit | alxndrmkhl, YouTube

It's hard to process that fact when one makes history as a teenager and the other does so as an adult, but both were born in 1929.

While Frank was hiding out in her Secret Annex in Amsterdam, Dr. King was likely witnessing his father stand up to racists in Georgia.

There's a tea house in Japan that's been running for almost 900 years.

Reddit | TimSullivanArt

As the BBC reported, the small Tsuen Tea business has sat in Kyoto, Japan since the year 1160 and its owner credits this longevity with focusing on tea and not expanding too much over that time.

Interestingly, it's just one of about 33,000 businesses in Japan that have lasted for at least a century.

Before they finally broke their unlucky streak in 2016, the Chicago Cubs hadn't won the World Series since the U.S. had 46 states.

Reddit | michaelconfoy

It's staggering to think about, but their second World Series win happened all the way back in 1908. As the National Archives confirmed, New Mexico and Arizona wouldn't graduate to statehood until four years after the fact, while Alaska and Hawaii wouldn't become states until the 1950s.

By the time that America's first pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock, the Palace of Governors in New Mexico had already been standing for 10 years.

Reddit | TheBeardItches

According to Smithsonian Magazine, William Bradford and the early colonists he governed first landed in what is now Massachusetts back in 1620.

As the National Park Service confirmed Spanish settlers had already long established themselves in territory that would later become part of the U.S. by then. The Palace of Governors in Santa Fe was built in 1610 to house Don Pedro de Peralta, the first royal governor of New Mexico.

Technically, there was a McDonald's restaurant before there was American involvement in World War II.

Reddit | notbob1959

This was true inasmuch as Richard and Maurice McDonald would start their first barbecue restaurant in San Bernardino, California on May 10, 1940. The Pearl Harbor attack and America's subsequent declaration of war on Japan wouldn't take place until December of the following year.

However, it wasn't until after the war that the McDonald brothers would realize that their hamburgers were making them a lot more money than their slow-cooked barbecue options were.

Despite the fact that he was born in 1790, 10th President of the United States John Tyler has two living grandchildren.

Reddit | nate223

As CBS News reported, this was due to the fact that some of his children were born to a much younger second wife. His son Lyon, in particular, would end up being born by the time Tyler was 63.

Lyon ended up with a similar family life to his father as he would also end up marrying a much younger woman after the death of his first wife and was 75 when his son Harrison was born in 1928. Harrison is now 92-years-old.

Some Japanese soliders continued fighting World War II almost 30 years after it had ended.

Reddit | Prufrock451

As The Guardian reported, soldiers like army intelligence officer Hiroo Onada were stationed at remote outposts and believed that reports of Japan's surrender were either enemy propaganda or a plot by a pro-U.S. government in Tokyo.

So he persisted with guerrilla war tactics in the Philippines until 1974, when his former commander went out to his hideout and officially relived him of duty. He reportedly wept uncontrollably when he realized the truth and laid down his rifle, which still worked after all that time.

One of the Wright brothers lived long enough to see Chuck Yeager break the sound barrier.

Reddit | Fnoret

As the National Parks Conservation Association reported, Orville Wright would survive until 1948, by which point he had already seen the work he and his brother Wilbur had done give way to the jet engine and the world's first supersonic flight.

This was confirmed by Yeager himself on Twitter, who said Wright was impressed by the feat when he met him.

By the time she arrived at Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo, Harriet the tortoise was already old enough to have met Charles Darwin.

Reddit | Nikhilvoid

According to ABC News the fact that she belonged to a subspecies of tortoise that weren't found on any of the Galapagos Islands that Darwin visited suggested that she may not have actually encountered him.

The point, however, is that she was alive when he made his famous voyages and died as late as 2006 at the age of 175.

By the time that the Great Pyramids of Giza were built, there will still woolly mammoths.

Reddit | FishMonkeyCow

According to National Geographic, these pygmy variants weren't quite the towering mammoths we're used to seeing, but they nonetheless survived on Wrangel Island in the Siberian region until around 2000 BC.

For comparison, the pyramids were estimated to have finished construction by about 2560 BC.

Betty White is technically older than sliced bread.

Reddit | Maymayfish

Obviously, people have been cutting bread for longer than we can trace, but Time reported bread wasn't available for purchase in a pre-sliced form until 1928.

Betty White was born in 1922.

Ecstacy was invented in the same year that the Titanic sank.

Reddit | DogeSexy

It's unlikely that anybody gave it that name yet, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse confirmed that MDMA was developed by a German pharmaceutical company in 1912 as a means of controlling bleeding.

It doesn't seem to have been very effective in that role since it languished without clinical trials or FDA consideration for humans for decades, but it developed a following among some psychiatrists in the late 1970s and early 1980s who thought it might help their patients open up. It wasn't long before the drug would instead be declared illegal.

Marilyn Monroe and Queen Elizabeth II were roughly the same age.

Reddit | kirbyfood

Monroe was born in June of 1926, while the monarch entered this world in April of the same year. Had Monroe survived to the time of this writing, she would have been 93-years-old.

George Washington never had the opportunity to learn what a dinosaur is.

Reddit | needsarandomnamebtn

Although Discovery explained that the first known dinosaur fossil was discovered in 1677 by Robert Plot, he didn't understand it as such and figured that it belonged to an ancient, giant human.

So if Washington was aware of this discovery, he wouldn't have had any reason to think differently.

Such fossils weren't correctly identified until 1815, when Oxford geology professor William Buckland came across some in his travels. Even then, he referred to the large carnivorous lizard he envisioned as a "Megalosaurus," so even he might look at you a little strangely if you said the word "dinosaur."

Washington, however, would have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

Oxford University was around for hundreds of years before the Aztec Empire was founded.

Reddit | golden_an

While Oxford University has no set founding date, evidence of teachings goes back to 1096, with attendance really spiking in 1167. Meanwhile, the Aztec Empire wasn't even formed until 1428!

The oldest continuously operating company in the world was a construction company in Japan.

Reddit | lopezjessy

The company was called Kongo Gumi, and they specialized in building Buddhist temples. It was established in 578 BC, Buddhism having been introduced to Japan in 538 BC. They ran until 2007, which means they had a life of 1429 years.

Star wars came out the same year as the last guillotine execution in france.


Beloved movie series Star Wars made its debut in the U.S. on May 25, 1977. That same year, in France, the final guillotine execution would take place. The last man executed was Hamida Djandoubi, who tortured and killed a young woman.

In 1889, Van Gogh painted "Starry Night". It was also the year that the Eiffel Tower was built.

Reddit | DavidSouthpaw

Two renowned pieces of western art were created in the very same year. Funnily enough, the Eiffel Tower was built solely as the entrance to the World Fair which was being held in Paris, but stayed a permanent fixture instead!

The first underground line in London was opened while the Civil War was ongoing in the U.S.

Reddit | InItsTeeth

The idea for an underground train had been floating around in London since the 1830s, but it wasn't until January 10, 1863 when one was first open for business. At that time, the Civil War was still raging across the ocean, and would continue until 1865.

More of a modern example, but the first iPhone model was released the same year that a famous book series was ending.

Reddit | IdlersDream85

That's right, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows was published and released to the public in the summer of 2007. The same summer, Apple would make a massive splash in the world by releasing the first iPhone model. Both of these would continue on to have amazing legacies, so 2007 was a good year for culture.

In 1973, the world was shook by the release of Pink Floyd's most iconic album. The world was also shook by the death of a famous artist.

Reddit | Kornichon

Regarded as one of the most influential and highly regarded artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso passed away in 1973. He created art movements that had never been seen before, and had a major impact on the art world.

As did Pink Floyd's album Dark Side of the Moon, which as also released in 1973. That album would go on to sell over 45 million copies, the band's most successful album.

The last known widow of a Civil War veteran passed away in 2008, which was also the year that Barack Obama won his first presidential election.

Reddit | Itsjorgehernandez

Maudie Hopkins married William M. Cantrell in 1934, so long after the war had passed. She was 19 at the time and he was 86, and she says that it was poverty that drove her to that arrangement. Cantrell passed in 1937, but Hopkins lived on to 93, and got to see the first African-American president as the widow to a former Confederate States Army soldier.

Nintendo was founded in 1889, while Jack The Ripper was still on the loose in London.

Reddit | badhorse4444

Nintendo, the Japanese video game company most known for series such as Super Mario Bros. and Pokémon, actually started out as a playing card company making cards for a game called hanafuda. During this time, Jack The Ripper was still on a rampage in the Whitechapel district of London. In fact, a murder he was a prime suspect in named 'The Pinchin Street Torso' happened only weeks before Nintendo's creation.

Harvard University was founded before calculus was even invented.

Reddit | NthAttempt

Harvard University was established in 1636, making it the United States' oldest university. It is now considered one of the most prestigious as well, with a long and rich history of higher learning. For the first few years though, it couldn't hold what is now considered a rather basic math course, calculus, for it hadn't been invented yet! Calculus would go on to be created in the mid-17th century by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler were both born in 1889.

Reddit | sersleepsalot1

While this alone is astounding to think about, what's even funnier is that Charlie Chaplin would go on to write, direct, produce, score, and star as Adolf Hitler in The Great Dictator, a political satire film released in 1940.

In 1977, it was technically possible to receive an Apple computer on Christmas Day and read about the death of Charlie Chaplin hours later.

Reddit | John_Barleycorn

As Variety reported, Chaplin had died in his sleep at age 88 that Sunday morning.

According to the Library of Congress, Apple had been founded a year earlier and would have recently made the decision to include a monitor, keyboard, and casing to their first line of computers.

Two pieces of U.S. history collide in 1876, with the Brooklyn Bridge being built at the same time as the Battle of Little Bighorn.


The Battle of Little Bighorn was a fight between the joined forces of the Lakota, Nothern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes against the United States Army. The U.S. left defeated, and this battle was considered the most significant in the Great Sioux War of 1876.

Meanwhile, the world's first steel-wire suspension bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, was being built. The bridge still stands today and carries over 150,000 people across it every day.

Olivia De Havilland is the oldest living Academy Award winner.

Reddit | Bleus4

Olivia De Havilland won the academy award for best leading actress for her role in To Each His Own in 1946, but had been nominated for Gone With the Wind and _Hold Back the Dawn years prior. She is currently 103 years old.

The first home improvement show is over 40 years old!

Reddit | [deleted]

This Old House first premiered in 1979 as a one-time, 13-part series. It started out pretty controversial, with some trade workers being worried that the show was revealing their secrets, but apparently it took off, just look at how popular home improvement shows are today!

Buttons didn't originally start as what we know them today.

Reddit | Relaxing_Cat

Buttons as a concept are over 5000 years old, but buttons as we use them today only began to appear in the 13th century. For thousands of years, buttons were used only as decoration, embellishment, or as seals rather than having a functional purpose. Because buttons weren't used for fastening for so long, there were also no buttonholes on clothing.

There is a bush in the Mojave Desert that is literally older than human civilization.

Wikimedia Commons | Klokeid

As The Guardian reported, the first city of Mesopotamia (named Uruk or Unug, depending on who you asked at the time) was founded in the fifth millennium BC.

According to Atlas Obscura the "King Clone" creosote bush would have already been around for thousands of years by then, as it is estimated to be around 11,700-years-old. It's survived by cloning a series of duplicate bushes that have grown from the original plant, which technically makes it all one organism.

Scientists were able to put people in space before they could fully confirm how tectonic plates work.

Reddit | Sourcecode12, NASA

According to Livescience, the theory of plate tectonics was first proposed by Alfred Wegener in 1912, but he didn't have an explanation for how continental drift could have happened at the time.

It wouldn't be until what is now considered the unifying theory of geology was developed between the 1950s and 1970s that this explanation could be conclusively determined.

By then, NASA and the Russian space program had not only conducted manned space missions, but Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would have already walked on the moon by the time plate tectonics found their way into textbooks as confirmed science fact.

The books of The Bible were still being written by the time Rome's Colosseum was unveiled.

Reddit | debuggerfly

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the Colosseum's inauguration happened in 80 CE.

And while the Torah or Old Testament would've long been written by then, that wouldn't have been the case for all of the books that would eventually be canonized in the New Testament. The BBC outlined, that work on some of the gospels started as early as 50 CE, but some of the Epistles wouldn't have been completed until about 100 CE.

The Secret Service was established only a few months after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Reddit | SirTalksAlot207

According to the White House website, Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865, while the Secret Service website points to July 5 of that year as the day the organization was founded.

Despite the close proximity between these dates, the Secret Service wasn't founded in response to the event as they were initially focused on combating widespread currency counterfeiting. Their duties wouldn't include protecting the president until 1901, though that decision was made in response to the assassination of President William McKinley.

King John of England doesn't look pleased to be signing the Magna Carta, but he likely would've preferred that to ruling northern China at the time.

Fine Art America

That was especially true since The New Yorker reported that he was able to convince the Pope to declare it null and void the same year he signed it in 1215.

So what was going on in China at the time? According to Smithsonian Magazine, the Mongol empire would eventually capture what is now known as Beijing, which would eventually lead to their dominion over the country at large.

By the time the Ottoman Empire collapsed, Paramount Pictures had already been running for about a decade.

YouTube | Fred Sakersky, Paramount Pictures

Although the film studio's website explained that the company wouldn't have that name until 1913, they had already released Queen Elizabeth starring Sarah Bernhardt in 1912.

10 years later, the Ottoman Empire that began in the 13th century would finally dissolve in 1922 after the sultanate was abolished, according to National Geographic. It had already been in decline for at least a century by then, but was devastated by its involvement in World War I.

The time between Pluto's discovery and declassification as a planet all took place during just one of its orbits around the Sun.

Reddit | CenturioLingerus, NASA

Crazier yet, that one orbit is still going on because according to NASA, it takes Pluto 248 years to go around the sun once.

With that in mind, the time as outlined by the Library of Congress between its discovery in 1930 and its downgrading from planet to dwarf planet in 2006 would seem like only a brief blip in Pluto's history.

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