Historian Col. John Maietta, retired, will present the program, "The Amazing History of Ordinary Things," from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29 in the Lowry Room of the third floor of the Welch Family Wing at the James V. Brown Library.
The talk will highlight the fascinating stories behind 20 ordinary items - from aspirin to the zipper.
Participants will learn about the first matches, more hazardous than the cigarettes they lit; the table fork, once considered a shocking novelty; 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.
A Williamsport native and Bucknell graduate, Maietta has been a fan of history his entire life. For many years, he operated a public relations and photography business in the Harrisburg area, while simultaneously serving as a public affairs officer with the Pennsylvania National Guard. Starting in 2002, he volunteered for numerous active-duty assignments with the Army, in Washington, D.C., Europe and Iraq.
Now retired from both the military and business professions, he is pursuing a master's degree in applied history at Shippensburg University.
The program is free and open to the public. Registration is suggested but not required.
The program is part of the statewide literacy initiative of PA Forward, helping libraries build communities one person at a time.