This weekend I was diving into a wonderful new manuscript. Part of my job as the second set of eyes is to ask questions. Since I work in history and biography, a lot of my questions are about when something was invented, or when it came into common use.
Example: dynamite. In conjunction with a book about building the transcontinental railroad, I was interested in how construction crews dealt with things that were "in the way." Turns out they blew holes (called tunnels!) in the mountains. But, in 1860, there was no dynamite. (That comes into use a few years later). The crews used black powder, which is like gun powder. I had a good laugh at the idea of a bunch of guys standing around shooting at a mountain to build a tunnel. (They didn't of course, but what an image!)
Other research topics: where and when were first sidewalks of New York?; where did ships land in New York?; who was the Queen of Belgium in 1924 (and was she a Queen, or a Princess)?; when was the partition of Palestine?; and, when did Standard Oil become Exxon?
I'm probably safe from a visit from the browser police for now, but there have been some days anyone taking a gander would wonder what the hell I was up to.
So, what's the weirdest thing you've researched recently (or ever!) and what were you researching it for? Tell us in the comments column!