I love stories about people discovering how to make something new out of material that would otherwise be thrown away.
And this is a great one: two design students are making new wheels for skateboards out of old chewing gum.
Gum has long been a headache because people aren’t supposed to swallow it once they’re done chewing.
So it either ends up in landfills, where it takes decades to break down, or it ends up on the street getting stuck to all of our shoes.
Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer realized that the chewy rubbery stuff in most gum is the same flexible rubbery stuff that can make wheels and tires.
So they came up with an idea: put up “gum boards” in the French city of Nantes, where they study, to collect the chewy stuff.
Then, they clean the old gum and add stabilizing material, making one consistent solid material they can use to mold new skateboard wheels.
What was once Violet Beauregarde’s favorite stuff becomes Tony Hawk’s favorite stuff.
As Yanko Design noted, gum is flexible and colorful, both good qualities for skateboard parts.
And getting all that chewed gum off the sidewalks and streets in its stickiest and ickiest form, while helping skaters as they perfect their moves, sounds like a win-win.
Today in 1965, the Houston Astrodome opened, the first domed stadium of its kind.
And sometimes there are hiccups when you’re the first.
The field had special grass that could grow indoors, except that it didn’t work. Long story.
So the groundskeepers – who dressed as astronauts on game days, by the way – painted the dirt green for a couple seasons.
The Astroturf came later.
Photo by Iain R via Flickr/Creative Commons