Beer took us to the moon

Never underestimate where simply trying to make others happy can take you.

In the 16th Century, brewing beer in Germany in summer was illegal, due to the method of brewing used…nearly all beer in summer came out so bad they literally outlawed it.

Imagine going to jail for making terrible beer. I like this story already. 

So in about 1870, some brewers decided they wanted to get permanently shizenfaced all year. But they needed to keep the vats pretty cold for the brewing process to work properly in summer. So a bloke called Carl Von Linde went off, and used compressed ammonia gas to invent one of the worlds first super cool refrigerators.  The same basic system is still in most refrigerators in houses nowadays, except now we use much safer gases.

As the process got better and temperatures got lower, people found out they could liquefy gases at very cold temperatures. You could store a LOT of gas in a very small space if it’s compressed all the way down to a liquid. Which wasn’t immediately useful. Why? Take Hydrogen for instance. Liquid Hydrogen likes to evaporate, and nobody had invented a way of containing it. Until Mr Dewar invented the common thermos, which we now use to keep coffee warm for ages…A good insulating flask, making picnics dope ever since.

Another German had the bright idea to use a big-ass thermos, to hold a lot of very cold, very liquid, very compressed, very flammable gases. Then drop them as massive bombs on London. The thermos let them store these gases as liquids on a plane, for a long time, safely. Until they dropped em with a nice big detonator on the end.

After that, some bright lad got the idea to strap the two explode-happy gas filled thermos’ together, ignite them, and run away. Which was essentially a rocket. Powered by exploding ammonia and hydrogen.

And this is the simplified version of how, thanks to a few blokes that wanted to get everyone pissed all year, and a few more that just wanted to bomb the crap out of entire cities, we invented the chemical rocket engines that eventually got us to the moon.


So keep in mind next time you raise a glass.  People like you inspired others to make you happy.  Which got us to the moon.

You never know just what your “little” project might end up achieving.

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