Weird Universe Blog — September 29, 2019

Arm Fall Off Boy

One of the lesser-known superheroes in the DC Comics universe. Though to DC fans he's apparently fairly well-known, or notorious, as arguably the weirdest DC superhero. His superpower: being able to remove either of his arms (or his legs) and use them as weapons.

More info: wikipedia

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 29, 2019 - Comments (6)
Category: Comics | Superheroes

September 28, 2019

The Adequate Wiring Bureau

Nowadays, to describe something as 'adequate' sounds like it's damning with faint praise. It doesn't come across a ringing endorsement. It's like getting a 'B' on a homework assignment instead of an 'A'. It's merely adequate, not great.

But evidently the word once had a much stronger positive association in general usage, as seen in the existence of the National Adequate Wiring Bureau. Many states also had their own Bureaus of Adequate Wiring. Their goal was to encourage homes to have proper, code-compliant electrical wiring.

As far as I can tell, the National Adequate Wiring Bureau came into existence as early as the 1890s, but there is no such thing today. By the 1970s, Adequate Wiring Bureaus had quietly begun to change their names, dropping the word 'adequate'.

It reminds me of the "Miss Typical" awards that used to be bestowed on young women. In today's culture, being typical or adequate no longer sounds like a compliment.

Brandon Times - Mar 12, 1953

I like this 1974 ad from the Adequate Wiring Bureau of Western New York, which used the idea of the sun suddenly going out, and the Earth being plunged into a freezing-cold apocalypse, as a way to promote the need for adequate wiring.

Wellsville Daily Reporter - Feb 13, 1974

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 28, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Languages | Odd Names | Public Utilities | Power Generation

Freedom Highway

The bus as time machine.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 28, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: History | PSA’s | 1950s | North America

September 27, 2019

Champion Chicken Picker Ernest Hausen

Ernie Hausen, of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, had one great talent. He could pick the feathers off of chickens really, really fast.

When he started picking chickens, in 1904, it took him a full half hour to defeather one. Since he was paid 5 cents per chicken, he wasn't making much money. Over the years he sped up. By 1922, he won a Chicken Picking Championship by picking his chicken clean in 6 seconds. He topped this in 1939, upping his time to 3.5 seconds. As far as I know, that record stands to this day.

His technique:

Hausen dips the chickens in 164-degree water, quickly runs his large, powerful fingers across the wings, from the tips inward; does the same with the legs, finally peels the feathers from the back and breast. Suddenly the bird is as bare as a billiard ball.... He tells of picking 1,472 birds in 7 hours and 45 minutes in a contest.
-Ithaca Journal - Feb 7, 1946

More info: Hoard Museum

Wisconsin State Journal - Jan 2, 1946

Appleton Post-Crescent - Jul 28, 1936

McAllen Monitor - Oct 28, 1946

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 27, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals | Farming | Human Marvels | World Records

Mystery Illustration 86

What is the nature of the fabric of this gown?

The answer is here.

And beyond the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 27, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Fashion | 1930s

September 26, 2019

Scented Scissors for kids

Hey kids, wanna sniff some scissors?

Available from Westcott

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 26, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Products | Perfume and Other Scents

Ten Minutes of Commercials

A fascinating variety of items you can't live without, reflective of the era, culminating in a long laundry drama.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 26, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Business | Advertising | Twentieth Century

September 25, 2019

The family that threw away $100,000

This had to hurt. As far as I can tell, they never did find the lost money.

I wonder if Doug faced any kind of punishment. Though arguably it's the mother's fault for storing such valuable financial documents in a laundry basket.

NY Daily News - July 3, 1970

Richmond Palladium Item - July 2, 1970

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 25, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Money | 1970s

Robert Wadlow Centennial

We are a bit late with this, but it's still well worth the viewing.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 25, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Anniversary | Body | Differently Abled, Handicapped, Challenged, and Otherwise Atypical | Human Marvels

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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