Weird Universe Blog — April 13, 2021

Anti-Pollution Ventilators

1996: French engineer Yves Lecoffre proposed installing 70,000 "anti-pollution ventilators" (aka fans) around the streets of Paris to blow away the exhaust fumes from cars.

Was he joking about this? Was it some kind of April Fool joke? Not as far as I can tell. Though I can't imagine how his scheme would have made the slightest difference to Paris's air quality.

Calgary Herald - May 4, 1996



Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 13, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Engineering and Construction | Really Bad Ideas | Urban Life | 1990s

Wild Party, 1905 Style

After the article, you can view one of Madame Gabrielle Réjane's silent films.

Her Wikipedia page, with some great photos.

Source of article: The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) 05 Feb 1905, Sun Page 3





Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 13, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Dinners, Banquets, Parties, Tributes, Roasts and Other Celebrations | Movies | Publicity Stunts | Public Indecency | 1900s | Dance

April 12, 2021

B-B-B Sweatshirts

Inexplicable fashion fad: In 1962, San Francisco adman Howard Gossage came up with the idea of putting the faces of classical composers on sweatshirts and selling them for $4. Consumers could choose between Beethoven, Bach, or Brahms. He quickly sold around 60,000 of them.

If you want one of these sweatshirts today (at least, an original one), you'll have to pay significantly more. On eBay, the asking price ranges from $1500 all the way up to $9000.

Life - Mar 30, 1962



Honolulu Star-Bulletin - May 4, 1962



Oakland Tribune - Feb 8, 1962

Posted By: Alex - Mon Apr 12, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Fads | Fashion | Music | 1960s

Follies of the Madmen #505

All scholars of oddball advertising are familiar with the Maidenform Bra campaign that used the tagline "I dreamed I...in my Maidenform Bra." But I don't believe I've ever seen the campaign translated from print to 3-D.



"This is an original vintage photograph from the 1950s. It shows a surreal Maidenform Bra window display at Parsons Souders store in downtown Clarksburg, West Virginia."

Source.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Apr 12, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Business | Advertising | Underwear | 1950s

April 11, 2021

Reuben Lindstrom’s Wind Driven Vehicle

In 1940, Reuben Lindstrom was granted a patent for a "wind driven vehicle". It was a toy made out of tin cans. It resembled a model train, and the wind could make it go by itself. In his patent, Lindstrom explained that he deliberately avoided using a sail to propel the toy.

In wind driven vehicles it is desirable to avoid use of elevated wind responsive devices such as sails, windmills and the like and this is particularly true in toy vehicles simulating various types of full-sized vehicles for the reason that it is desired that the toy vehicle resemble as nearly as possible the full sized vehicle which it simulates.

Instead, he had shaped the wheels "to constitute wind responsive impeller blades".



Digging more deeply into the history of this patent, it turns out that Lindstrom was quite a character. For a start, he never cut his hair because, so he said, whenever he did he got heart trouble. In America, in the 1940s, this was unusual enough that it made the news.

Warren Times Mirror - June 28, 1949



He was a regular fixture around Wisconsin Rapids. A 2001 article in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune called him "our most unforgettable character."

In addition to his wind-driven toy train, he had built a kind of motorized bicycle, described as a "weird contraption of bicycle wheel, one cylinder gas motor, pulley, levers, scooter and miscellany." He used this to get around on roads and railroad lines.

He basically lived as a street person/free spirit, always carrying around "a picture of a woman with a large snake wrapped around her neck." Some people referred to him as the "inventor hobo".

One of the quotations attributed to him: "Fashion is the main religion of this world. If you are different, they think you are nuts. Most people stay away from me because they think I'm a religious fanatic. The girls also stay away from me."

Also: "Dirt's natural and it keeps human diseases from penetrating the skin and entering my body."

He died in 1988.

There's some more info about him at randyjack.com.

Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune - June 9, 2001

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 11, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Bums, Hobos, Tramps, Beggars, Panhandlers and Other Streetpeople | Inventions | Toys | 1940s | Trains

The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair



This drama illustrates the contribution of free enterprise, technology, and Westinghouse products to the American way of life. The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair pits an anti-capitalist bohemian artist boyfriend against an all-American electrical engineer who believes in improving society by working through corporations. The Middletons experience Westinghouse's technological marvels at the Fair and win back their daughter from her leftist boyfriend.

Memorable moments: the dishwashing contest between Mrs. Modern and Mrs. Drudge; Electro, the smoking robot; and the Westinghouse time capsule.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Apr 11, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Fairs, Amusement Parks, and Resorts | Family | Technology | Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers | 1940s

April 10, 2021

Cow-Tongue Baldness Cure

Several sources have independently reported that the way to cure baldness is to have a cow lick your head.

Regina Leader-Post - Mar 8, 1984



Colombian hairdresser says he can lick baldness
November 29, 2000

PEREIRA, Colombia -- Want to lick hair loss? A Colombian hairdresser says he has found a way to lick baldness -- literally. His offbeat scalp treatment involves a special tonic and massage -- with a cow's tongue. "I feel more manly, more attractive to women," says customer Henry Gomez. "My friends even say 'What are you doing? You have more hair. You look younger.'"

Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 10, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil | Cows | Hair and Hairstyling

10-Four, Good Buddy Board Game

Did any fad ever evaporate as quickly as CB radio?



Learn details here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Apr 10, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Fads | Games | Motor Vehicles | Technology | 1970s

April 9, 2021

Marilyke Fashion

In 1953, Reverend Bernard Kunkel of Bartelso, Illinois launched the Marilyke fashion movement. Dresses that were sufficiently modest, like the Virgin Mary would have worn (i.e. 'Marilyke'), were given a seal of approval in the form of a Marilyke tag they could display. The tags were "there to guide the Catholic girls."

It seems that only wedding dresses and formal gowns were tagged. As Kunkel noted, "There's not much to be done about bathing suits... We strongly disapprove of the trend in modern bathing suits."

More info: Aliens in this world

source: University of Dayton





Detroit Free Press - June 13, 1955

Posted By: Alex - Fri Apr 09, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Fashion | Religion | 1950s

The Mimi Award

The Wikipedia entry for MECHANIX ILLUSTRATED tells us:

A long-running feature of Mechanix Illustrated was "Mimi," a shapely young woman dressed in skimpy overalls with blue and white vertical stripes; and, in the early sixties, a matching railroad engineer's cap (later discontinued). She was in a picture holding, standing beside, sitting on, lying on or just in the picture with a new product each month. Each "Mimi" held the job for a year. Their names were never given except for the announcement of a new "Mimi" in the January issue. One Mimi did, however, hold the job for a few years in the sixties. An actress from Southern California, she left to live in Hawaii, and a readers' poll was conducted to choose a replacement from a short list. The readers' choice only lasted a short while, and was replaced by one of the runners-up. "Mimi" was discontinued with the change to Home Mechanix.


Ten more Mimi's after the jump.



More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Fri Apr 09, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Hobbies and DIY | Magazines | Technology | Sex Symbols | Twentieth Century

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