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Category:
Nineteenth Century

Simplex Typewriter



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Original ad here.

From 1891 to at least 1948. Not a bad run for any toy.

More info here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Jul 30, 2014 | Comments (2)
Category: Technology, Toys, Comics, 1940's, Nineteenth Century

Lord Timothy Dexter

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I just learned about a famous New England eccentric named Lord Timothy Dexter. People like this make me proud to be a Yankee.

Just one of his whimsicalities, from this write-up:

In 1798, Mr. Dexter returned to Newburyport, and August 15th of the same summer he bought the large house on High street that had been erected by Jonathan Jackson in 1771. Its situation is high, and commands an extensive view of the coast and the Isles of Shoals. The grounds were laid out by intelligent landscape gardeners. Everything about the house was in excellent order; but not to his wish. He raised minarets on the roof, and surmounted them with gilt balls. He caused it to assume a gaudiness and cheapness that was most undesirable to a person of taste.

Directly before the front door of the house, on a Roman arch, he erected a figure of Washington in his military garb, and on his left, a figure of Jefferson, and on his right one of Adams, the latter being hatless. On columns erected in the garden were figures of Indian chiefs, generals, philosophers, politicians, statesmen, and goddesses of Fame and Liberty. He changed the name of the statues by the aid of the painter's brush as he pleased. General Morgan was thus transformed into Bonaparte, and to the latter Dexter always touched his, hat. There were more than forty of these figures, including four lions, two couchant, and two passant. These images were of wood, life size, and fairly well carved. The lions were open-mouthed and looked fierce. The figures were made by a young ship carver who had just come to Newburyport, named Joseph Wilson, and were gaudily painted. The images were all in good condition when Dexter died, and the first to fall was an Indian. The remainder stood until the great September gale of 1815, when all but the presidents were cast prostrate upon the earth. The images were sold at auction, the specimen that brought the most money, five dollars, was the goddess of Fame. William Pitt was sold for a dollar, and the "Travelling Preacher," fifty cents. It is said that the arch and figures of the three presidents, all the presidents there had been in Dexter's day, cost at least two thousand dollars, the lions two hundred dollars apiece, and the other images a similar amount.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Jul 18, 2014 | Comments (8)
Category: Eccentrics, Landscaping, Eighteenth Century, Nineteenth Century

Speer’s Sambuci Wine

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What is this miraculous "sambuci wine?" I'm glad you asked.

Preparation.—Take of elder bark, parsley root, each, in coarse powder, 1 ounce; sherry wine, 1 pint, or a sufficient quantity. Form into a medicated wine by maceration or percolation, as explained under Vina Medicata, and make one pint of the preparation.

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Wine of elder is useful in dropsical diseases, especially ascites, and dropsy supervening upon scarlatina or other exanthematous diseases. Dose, 2 fluid ounces, 3 or 4 times a day.


Original ad here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Jul 10, 2014 | Comments (23)
Category: Advertising, Natural Wonders, Nineteenth Century, Alcohol

Consul the Chimp

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A once-famous resident of the Bellevue Zoological Gardens in England, known for his pipe-smoking habit.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon May 26, 2014 | Comments (7)
Category: Animals, Anthropomorphism, Smoking and Tobacco, Europe, Nineteenth Century

Cow Ghost Terrorizes Town

Rogue cows are an old theme here on WU. This one apparently went rogue in the afterlife. As reported by the New York World - Aug 9, 1896.



[via Kay Massingill]

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun May 18, 2014 | Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Paranormal, Nineteenth Century

Pearl Bryan and Bobby Mackey’s Music World



A haunted country-music club? Just visit Bobby Mackey's Music World in Wilder, Kentucky.

Fittingly, the most famous ghost, Pearl Bryan, has her own ballad.




Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun May 04, 2014 | Comments (2)
Category: Death, Horror, Music, Regionalism, Superstition, Nineteenth Century

The Republic of Indian Stream

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I love these charming bits of history that reveal a more eccentric America, where things were more fluid, creative and wild.

More info here and here.

And here's what the bustling center of the Republic and its citizens look like today.


Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Apr 26, 2014 | Comments (9)
Category: Politics, Regionalism, Curmudgeons and Contrarianism, North America, Nineteenth Century

The Bald-Headed Men of America

Apparently there have been several instances of the formation of clubs to serve as fraternal organizations for bald men.

The New York Times has this 1896 report.

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Then comes this account in 1920, also from The New York Times.

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Then comes this report from 1954.

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But sometime after that, the original group must have gone under, because in 1972, John T. Capps, III founded the Bald Headed Men of America. They were profiled in a PBS documentary from 1989, as partially shown below.



Apparently, they are still going strong.



What Is It?

A collectible "carte de visite" from the 1880s. See below in extended to find out exactly what "it" was!

More >>
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Feb 15, 2014 | Comments (6)
Category: Photography and Photographers, Nineteenth Century
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, 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.