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In the early 1960s, the Danish mathematician–turned–poet Piet Hein invented the “super-ellipse,” a precise geometrical cross between an oval and a rectangle. He applied his new mathematical formula to everything from a Swedish traffic hub to designs for tables and chairs and, in 1965, to the 1.5-inch-tall brass nugget he called the “super-egg.”

The super-egg was a three-dimensional expression of the super-ellipse—an egg that could stand on its tip. At first, it was marketed as a thinking person’s drinking game. Tip the super-egg over; if it lands on its head, drink. If it lands on its side, drink.

Kinfolk Magazine Issue 21 cover

This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-One

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