How did it get so smart?

There’s certainly a lot of discussion currently in the media about “healthy eating” and school lunch control. That got me thinking about what baby boomers took to lunch when we went to school, but even more about how we took that lunch with us.

Almost all of us had his or her own special lunch bucket. Those lunch buckets certainly had to reflect not only our unique personalities, but also our current hero or heroine. Popeye and Olive Oyl or Roy Rogers and Dale Evans? Some guys, who had outgrown fictional heroes, brought lunch buckets that were miniaturized versions of the ones their fathers carried with them to the factory.

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The lunch bucket’s contents were certainly important, and might have even been healthy.  What we brought along to drink was possibly even more important. Our beverage of choice came in a thermos bottle. Thermos was actually a company, founded in 1904, but it was also the term, used generically, to refer to a drink container that went into the lunch bucket.


The thermos bottle had a very fragile liner inside it. It didn’t take much for that liner to break. If a kid dropped a thermos on the floor, that bottle was almost always unusable until a new liner could be inserted.


And that brings me to the subject issue. If your mother put a cold beverage in the thermos bottle, it stayed cold. On the other hand, if your mother put a hot beverage in the thermos bottle, it stayed hot. Cold milk was cold at lunch and hot soup was hot at lunch. Simply stated, how did that thermos bottle know what to do at the right time?