Trivia

Hard

What Dangerous Substance Was Used Liberally On Early Movie Sets?

Mercury
Butane
Arsenic
Asbestos

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 Bit Of Sci-Fi Technology Was Created To Get Around Network Regulations?

Trivia

Hard

ABC Interrupted Regularly Scheduled Programming To Announce The Reintroduction Of What?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Advent Of Smartphones Put A Dent Into The Sales Of?

Trivia

Very Hard

Many Civil War Soldiers Survived Wounds Sustained At The Battle of Shiloh Thanks To?

Trivia

Hard

The Skinny Tie Entered American Culture As A Result Of?

Trivia

Hard

The Original Macintosh Keyboard Was Missing What Common Modern Keyboard Feature?

Trivia

Hard

The Vine B. Trifoliolata Is The Only Plant In The World Known To?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Movie Theater Staples Was Originally Banned In Early Movie Theaters?

Trivia

Very Hard

19th Century Abolitionists Used Which Of The Following For Baking As A Form Of Political Protest?

Trivia

Easy

Fingernails Are Primarily Composed Of A Compound Known As?