Trivia

Hard

What Dangerous Substance Was Used Liberally On Early Movie Sets?

Asbestos
Butane
Mercury
Arsenic

Answer: Asbestos

If you were a movie star in the early 20th century and you found yourself in a scene that required snowfall, you’d find yourself completely covered in none other than asbestos–the same substance that, in the later 20th century, science would firmly establish as a horrible contaminant responsible for lung cancer and other ailments.

In the early years, however, when the dangers of asbestos were unknown (and it was toted as a wonder material that should be, and was, used for all manner of things), it was used as fake snow on movie sets. Buckets and buckets of dangerous friable asbestos were dumped from the rafters onto actors to simulate snow fall.

It wasn’t just movie stars of the day who were at risk, either. Department stores used asbestos snow to decorate their store front displays and festive home owners would sprinkle the perfectly white powdery fibers over holiday decorations, train sets, and windowsills.

The most bizarre aspect of the decades long use of asbestos as simulated snow is that it replaced cotton batting in the role–a completely harmless and inert substance. Asbestos snow fell out of favor around World War II when the U.S. government began buying up all the asbestos for the war effort.

Trivia

Hard

Which Iconic Sci-Fi Character Is Immortalized As A Grotesque On The Washington National Cathedral?

Trivia

Easy

Tim Burton Was Fired From Disney Over Which Of These Animated Shorts?

Trivia

Hard

Early Bootleg Records Sold In Russia Were Made Of?

Trivia

Hard

The Name of Google’s Short-Lived “Wave” Collaboration Framework Was Inspired By Which Sci-Fi Show?

Trivia

Hard

What Medicine Is Radically More Effective When Produced In Zero Gravity?

Trivia

Hard

The Largest Manta Ray Sanctuary In The World Is Located In?

Trivia

Hard

Grasshopper Mice Have An Adaptation That Makes Them Immune To The Effects Of?

Trivia

Hard

The First Station In The U.S. To Broadcast Digital TV Was Located In?

Trivia

Easy

Robert Lucas, the 1995 Nobel Prize Winner In Economics, Lost Half His Award Money To?

Trivia

Hard

One Of The Hills Of Rome Is Composed Almost Entirely Of What?