Brown Library to present program

The James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., will host the program, “From Aspirin to the Zipper: The Amazing History of Ordinary Things,” at 6 p.m. Aug. 4.

The program will be presented by historian Col. (retired) John Maietta in the Lowry Room on the third floor of the Welch Family Wing at the library.

People are surrounded by mundane objects that are used every day, but most people don’t have the faintest idea where these things came from.

The discussion will highlight the fascinating stories behind 20 of them – from aspirin to the zipper.

Participants will learn about ancient toothpaste, a nasty compound that did more harm than good; the table fork, considered a shocking novelty by medieval churchmen; the first matches, more hazardous than the cigarettes they lit; Kleenex tissues, inspired by the battlefield medical needs of World War I; and Scotch tape, honored as a “humble masterpiece” by the Museum of Modern Art and listed by the Encyclopedia Britannica as one of the greatest inventions of all time.

Maietta is a native of Williamsport and retired from military and business professions. He launched a third career in adult and community education. He recently received a master’s degree in applied history from Shippensburg University.

The program is free and open to the public. Registration is suggested, but not required.

To register or for more information, visit or call 570-326-0536.

The James V. Brown Library is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 24/7 at