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Category:
Nineteenth Century

Bile Beans

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One of the less-alluringly named nostrums. Full story here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Feb 28, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Drugs, Scams, Cons, Rip-offs, and General Larceny, Advertising, Excrement, Nineteenth Century, Diseases

The Hairy Water Tortoise of China

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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.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Feb 21, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Asia, Nineteenth Century

Counterfeit Ferris Wheel Certificates

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So popular and prestigious was a ride on the first Ferris Wheel, that riders were given a certificate testifying to their experience.

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Naturally enough, this soon lead to a market for counterfeits!

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Original article here. (Scroll down.)

Flesh Prices

The purpose of this graphic was to show how high the price of meat was during the 1870 Siege of Paris. But what I find odd about it is the inclusion of elephant and bear meat, which apparently were on sale during the siege and had a set price. So if you wanted an elephant steak, it would have cost you 15 shillings (or $3.60) a pound. Assume that the modern currency equivalent would be a lot higher.

Source: Illustrated World, April 1918.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Jan 27, 2015 | Comments (12)
Category: Food, Nineteenth Century

Welbeck Abbey

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A famous eccentric, the Fifth Duke of Portland spent a fortune over twenty-five years constructing fantastical additions to his estate, Welbeck Abbey, including fifteen miles of underground tunnels.

The Duke was very introverted - he did not want to meet people and never invited anyone to his home. His rooms had double letterboxes, one for ingoing and another for outgoing mail. His valet was the only person he permitted to see him in person in his quarters - he would not even let the doctor in, while his tenants and workmen were told never to acknowledge his presence (a workman who saluted him was reputedly dismissed on the spot) and they received all their instructions in writing.

His business with his solicitors, agents, and the occasional politician was handled by post. The Duke maintained an extensive correspondence with a wide-ranging network of family and friends, including Benjamin Disraeli and Lord Palmerston. He is not known to have kept company with any ladies, and his shyness and introverted personality increased over time.

His reclusive lifestyle led to rumours that the Duke was disfigured, mad, or prone to wild orgies, but contemporary witnesses and surviving photographs present him as a normal-looking man.

He ventured outside mainly by night, when he was preceded by a lady servant carrying a lantern 40 yards ahead of him. If he did walk out by day, the Duke wore two overcoats, an extremely tall hat, an extremely high collar, and carried a very large umbrella behind which he tried to hide if someone addressed him.

If the Duke had business in London, he would take his carriage to Worksop where he had it loaded onto a railway wagon. Upon his arrival at his London residence, Harcourt House in Cavendish Square, all the household staff were ordered to keep out of sight as he hurried into his study through the front hall.

He insisted on a chicken roasting at all hours of the day, and the servants brought him his food on heated trucks that ran on rails through the underground tunnels.



Wikipedia page.

Long essay here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Jan 27, 2015 | Comments (7)
Category: Architecture, Eccentrics, Europe, Nineteenth Century

Mystery Illustration 4

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What household product is kept inside this lovely container?

The answer is here. (Scroll up a bit.)
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Jan 15, 2015 | Comments (7)
Category: Products, Nineteenth Century

Paradise Regained

1898 ad for the Florida East Coast Railway/Steamship line running from Jacksonville to Key West. I think all of us here at WU would agree that Florida definitely is special.


via Mappenstance and Library of Congress
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Jan 04, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Advertising, Nineteenth Century

Tom Edison Jr.‘s Electric Mule

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This cover could hardly be improved upon for macabre glee and impartial offensiveness.

Read the story here.

The Angel of Hadley

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I had long been aware of the WWI legend of The Angel of Mons, in which a piece of deliberate fiction was accepted as literal truth.

But I was unaware until recently that right in my own backyard, in nearby Hadley, Massachusetts, a similar bit of fiction-as-history existed, the Angel of Hadley, the account of how a mysterious elderly warrior saved settlers from the Indians.

Another good piece on the subject here.

Tatcho

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[Click to enlarge]

Who ever knew that a nice day at the beach could cause such horrors?

Explanation of Tatcho.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Dec 22, 2014 | Comments (4)
Category: Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Nineteenth Century, Hair and Hairstyling
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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.