03 July 2017

Macintosh - an apple, a raincoat and a computer


In 1823, a Scottish chemist named Charles Macintosh sold the first raincoat.

He had been trying to find uses for the waste products of gasworks. He discovered that a substance called coal-tar naphtha dissolved India rubber and allowed the melted rubber to bond to wool. That created a waterproof fabric.

These first raincoats unfortunately smelled like coal tar and rubber. They also were stiff in cold weather, and gummed up in hot weather, but they found a market. Farmers, fishermen, and firemen were early fans.

The coats were so popular in Great Britain that people said “Mac” or a “Mack” when they meant the generic raincoat, even if it wasn't actually a Mackintosh. The Mac or Mac-style raincoats are still made today.

Another eponym story is that of the the McIntosh apple variety. Popularly known as a Mac, this apple cultivar is the national apple of Canada.

The fruit has red and green skin, a tart flavour, and tender white flesh, which ripens in late September. It is considered an all-purpose apple, suitable both for cooking and eating raw.

John McIntosh discovered the original McIntosh sapling on his Dundela farm in Upper Canada in 1811. He and his wife bred it, and the family started grafting the tree and selling the fruit in 1835.

Once one of the most common and popular of apples in North America, the fruit's popularity has fallen the past few decades, but U.S. Apple Association website says it is still one of the fifteen most popular apple cultivars in the United States.

Speaking of apples, Apple Inc. Macintosh computer has been with us since 1984. It has been branded as the "Mac" since 1998, though the Mac name was popularized by users almost as soon as it was introduced.

This series of personal computers was the company's first mass-market personal computer featuring an integral graphical user interface and mouse

Apple Inc. employee Jef Raskin is credited with conceiving and starting the Macintosh project for Apple in the late 1970s and for selecting that variety of apple as the name for the new computer line that followed the Apple IIe computer.

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