An Extra Leap for Magnetic Personalities

frogs levitate in a strong-enough magnetic field

Mark Twain (who is featured in multiple posts here on Commonplace Fun Facts) wrote about the lengths some people will go to in order to get a frog to outjump other frogs. One trick that wasn’t discussed in The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County was magnetism.

If only he had known that if you put a frog in a strong-enough magnetic field, it will levitate.


Mark Twain: Patently Multi-Talented

Mark Twain patents scrapbook garment strap memory game
Mark Twain (upper left) received patents for three inventions: a scrapbook (upper right), memory improvement game (lower left), and adjustable strap for garments

Mark Twain was much more than an accomplished author. He was also an inventor who was awarded patents for three different innovative devices. Ironically, because of his inventions, this well-known author’s most profitable book was blank.

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Fellow Authors Are the Hardest to Please

Mark Twain
Mark Twain

It would be an understatement to say that Mark Twain was not a fan of Jane Austen.

“She makes me detest all her people, without reserve. Is that her intention? It is not believable. Then is it her purpose to make the reader detest her people up to the middle of the book and like them in the rest of the chapters? That could be. That would be high art. It would be worth while, too. Some day I will examine the other end of her books and see.”

The great Missouri humorist described his reaction to Austen’s most famous work: “Every time I read Pride and Prejudice, I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”


He’s Just the Type Who Would Type

Remington Rand typewriter ad featuring Mark Twain and his daughter, COLLIER’S MAGAZINE, February 24, 1945


Mark Twain was the first significant author to submit a typewritten manuscript to a publisher.

By his own accounts, Mark Twain admitted that he did not actually do the typing himself, but rather hired someone to type it for him. In his unpublished autobiography, the famous American author stated he believed he was the first to “apply the type-machine to literature” and even claimed that the literature in question was his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, published in 1876. However, according to typewriter historian Darryl Rehr, Mark Twain was apparently erroneous in his claim, confusing both the timeline of his submission and the novel submitted. Meticulous research on the part of literary historians support Rehr’s statement, showing it was actually another of Twain’s novels that he submitted as a typewritten manuscript; the actual Twain novel submitted was Life on the Mississippi published in 1882.