In 1948, the Continental Can Company ran a series of magazine ads presenting "uncanny" facts about the history of canning. One of these facts was the great technological achievement from 1852 of packing an entire sheep into a huge can.
The ad didn't bother to say who exactly did this, but after a bit of googling I figured out that it was the French inventor Raymond Chevallier-Appert (1801-1892). Before Chevallier-Appert, canned food kept spoiling. He figured out that it needed to be cooked at higher temperatures. Here's the rest of the story from the Stravaganza blog
Studying the problem, [Chevallier-Appert] decided that higher degrees of heat were needed in cooking. The apparatus called the autoclave, a closed vessel in which steam under pressure gave heat much greater than boiling water, had never been used for cooking food, however, and there was danger of over-cooking, because it lacked apparatus to measure and regulate the heat. Chevallier-Appert equipped the crude autoclave with another crude device, a manometer, which had been used for measuring heat in boilers. It would measure differences of only twenty degrees. He made it an instrument of precision, capable of measuring half a degree, and patented the invention in 1852. With greater heat, and an instrument to measure and control it, the difficulties of canning were overcome to such a degree that in June, 1852, Chevallier-Appert exhibited to scientists a whole sheep that had been cooked and sealed in a huge can in his autoclave four months before.
Once upon a time, some crooks thought it would be a good idea to rob the grave of Abe Lincoln and hold the corpse for ransom.
One account here.
More detailed account here.
Why do we never hear about such jolly madmen these days? Probably because we don't let people die from syphilis
Original article here.
People acted weird in familiar NOTW fashion even over a century ago, as this Montreal newspaper
Back in the Victorian era, this was apparently a popular hobby. From Collectors Weekly
Affluent Victorians often spent hours painstakingly collecting, drying, and mounting these underwater plants into decorative scrapbooks... Part of the appeal was what a seaweed collection said about the collector. Anyone could appreciate and collect flowers, but painstakingly obtaining, preserving, and mounting seaweed specimens demonstrated patience, artistic talent, and the refined sensibilities necessary to appreciate the more subtle beauties of nature. Queen Victoria herself made a seaweed album as a young lady.
And yes, the seaweed did smell bad. But Collectors Weekly reminds us that the Victorian era was "a more pungent time."
This sounds like it could have been the start of a horror movie. The feline version of The Birds
Source: San Francisco Call - May 26, 1890
. via WSIHN
...The more they stay the same. A sinkhole developed on a city street in Dublin. The reason being there was a 19th
century tunnel running between what was then the building housing Parliament and a brothel. Politicians and sex scandals are timeless.
One of the less-alluringly named nostrums. Full story here.
I cannot figure out if this is a legitimate species, or a freak. This article
seems to imply it was a common tortoise with vegetation affixed to its back.
So popular and prestigious was a ride on the first Ferris Wheel
, that riders were given a certificate testifying to their experience.
Naturally enough, this soon lead to a market for counterfeits!
Original article here.