A recent letter to The Express (UK) offered a list of “Ten things you never knew about… nutcrackers.” Here is the list:
- The earliest known nutcrackers have been identified by archaeologists as pitted stones used to crack nuts between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago.
- The earliest known metal nutcracker dates back to the 3rd or 4th century BC.
- Metal screw nutcrackers became popular in the 18th and 19th centuries with the development of the screw-cutting lathe.
- The earliest known mention of nutcrackers in English is in Customs Accounts of 1481.
- There is a Nutcracker Museum in Leavenworth, Washington. It is home to over 6,000 nutcrackers.
- According to German legend, nutcrackers bring good luck to your family and protect your home.
- For that reason, nutcrackers were popular Christmas presents for children.
- The heroic Nutcracker of Tchaikovsky’s ballet comes from a story The Nutcracker And The Mouse King by ETA Hoffmann.
- According to Guinness World Records, the largest nutcracker measures 10.10m (33ft 1in) high and was made in Germany in 2008.
- Aristotle is said to have invented the first nutcracker with a lever action.
With all due respect, anthropologists would add an important number 11: our primate relatives, chimpanzees, have been cracking nuts for millennia.