Advertised in the Los Angeles Herald
and elsewhere, late 19th and early 20th centuries:
Patented by Benjamin Oppenheimer in 1879
. I wonder if he ever tried testing it.
Be it known that I, Benjamin B. Oppenheimer, of Trenton, in the county of Gibson and State of Tennessee, have invented a new and Improved Fire-Escape, of which the following is a specification.
The accompanying drawing represents a side view of a person with my improved fire escape or safety device, by which a person may safely jump out of the window of a burning building from any height; and land, without injury and without the least damage, on the ground; and it consists of a parachute attached, in suitable manner, to the upper part of the body, in combination with overshoes having elastic bottom pads of suitable thickness to take up the concussion with the ground.
From the Lockport Daily Journal
- Mar. 21, 1890. I can't find any mention of the existence of this society after 1890, so perhaps they all failed the requirement to "shun female society," and the society promptly ceased to exist.
Disappointed Lovers Form a Society
A society of disappointed lovers has been formed at Wilmington, Del. A dozen well known young men, including a lawyer, several politicians and a merchant, met in a hotel, where the nature of the organization was explained. It is designed as a mutual consolation society, and any man to be eligible to membership must have been engaged and the engagement must have been broken by the fair one. The constitution requires every man to shun female society at all times, and a violation of the rules is punished by expulsion. The men appended their names to the constitution and related their experiences in the courting line.
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Thanks to WU-vie Mark De Novellis, we learn of a new UK exhibition devoted to the work of outsider artist Madge Gill. If you image-google her name, you get tons of examples, such as you see above.
A nice visit if you're in the UK over the next several months.
Exhibition home page.
From the Wikipedia entry
After recovering from her illness, she took a sudden and passionate interest in drawing, creating thousands of mediumistic works over the following 40 years, most done with ink in black and white. The works came in all sizes, from postcard-sized to huge sheets of fabric, some over 30 feet (9.1 m) long. She claimed to be guided by a spirit she called "Myrninerest" (my inner rest) and often signed her works in this name.
On Feb. 15, 1890, a short article appeared in the Chicago Tribune
, telling the story of a man who had an unusual deck of cards. He had found every card lying on the street. It took him twenty years to collect the entire pack. Here's the article:
AN OLD DECK OF CARDS
A Chicago Sport Has Spent Twenty Years in Picking up a Pack
Frank Damek, a member of the sporting fraternity of Chicago, has probably the queerest deck of cards in the world. He has been twenty years collecting the pack and is exceedingly proud of it. He first began by picking up playing cards in the street when he happened to run across them. In this way he got fifteen or more before he began striking duplicates. Some days he would find two or three, and then it would be months before he would see another stray pasteboard. But he persevered and always kept his eyes open to add to his strange collection.
In ten years he had all but thirteen cards necessary to complete his deck. In the next three years he considered himself lucky in finding all but four. The missing ones were the jack of clubs, the deuce of diamonds, and the trey of spades. In the course of another year he picked up the eight of diamonds and six months later was overjoyed to find what he at first thought was a full deck of cards lying on the sidewalk on Dearborn street, between Adams and Jackson streets.
He thought his long search was at an end and that he could easily complete his wonderful deck. The jack of clubs and the trey of spades were there all right, but five or six cards were missing, and among them the deuce of diamonds. It seemed as though he would never be able to secure his fifty-second card, but the other day he entered one of the suburban trains on the Northwestern, and almost the first thing he saw was the deuce of diamonds face upwards in the aisle. It was gilt-edged and glossy backed, the finest of them all. He had been searching for it for five and a half years, and breathed a sigh of relief. The pack is composed of cards of all qualities, from the cheapest to the highest prices. Some are clean and bright and others are soiled and well worn.
I'll add this to the list of weird collections
. Though, honestly, I have some doubts that the story is true. It reads like the kind of thing that reporters back then routinely made up to fill column space.
In his post yesterday
, Chuck mentioned that police were using "earprints" to track down criminals. The use of earprints may be something new, but the use of ears to identify criminals is actually pretty old.
Back in the late 19th century, the French detective Alphonse Bertillon
developed an elaborate ear classification system, in the belief that ears could be used as a unique means of identification, in the same way that fingerprints were. The Strand Magazine (May 1904)
ran an article, with accompanying ear pictures, about Bertillon's system:
The feature that presents the greatest diversity of form and size is the ear, and, strangely enough, the ear is precisely a feature which we hardly ever consciously look at. It has been reserved for M. Bertillon to point out how admirably it is adapted for the purpose of establishing a person's identity. The size of the ear, the relative proportions to one another of the folds, its contour, the surface and shape of the lobe, the manner the lobe is attached to the cheek, and the inclination of the bottom interior ridge known as the antitragus differ most materially in every individual. Let a modern French detective describe an ear as "Deq. cav. vex. tra. sep"; all his colleagues are immediately able to form a mental image of the description of ear he means.
Bertillon's ear classification system was quite influential. It's the reason that police started taking mugshots from the side, as well as from the front, so that they could get a picture of the criminal's ear.
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An illustration from Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables
Maybe it's just me, but the notion of carrying a "vivacious chicken" around on one's shoulder strikes my funnybone just perfectly.
From Practical and Mental Arithmetic, on a New Plan, in which Mental Arithmetic is Combined with the Use of the Slate...
by Rosell C. Smith (1829). Via Ptak Science Books
Who would ever suspect that boring old Iowa was host to so many odd creatures?
Consider this winged monster from 1903
Or this account, below, found along with more Iowa monsters in UNNATURAL PHENOMENA
. (See book sidebar.)
People today know the Cuticura brand
as an elegant line of beauty products. But when they first began, they were your typical patent-medicine peddlers.
No details online of what the ingredients were for their nostrums.
I own one of those beautiful bottles, which is what got me interested in them.