Easel Does It

Factoid Department: Did you know that an easel is an old Germanic synonym for donkey? Its equivalent is the only word for both animal and apparatus in various languages, such as Esel in German and ezel in Dutch (the easel generally in full schildersezel, ‘painter’s donkey’), themselves derived from the Latin word Asinus. In Danish, however, the word for easel is staffeli and donkey is æsel. Easels are known to have been in use since the time of the ancient Egyptians. Interesting, no?



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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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