Weird Universe

Nineteenth Century

Horsford’s Acid Phosphate



What was once a patent medicine for "tired brains" and "seasickness" is now a hipster cocktail ingredient.

Full story here.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Feb 08, 2016 | Comments (4)
Category: Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Nineteenth Century, Alcohol



Full story here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Jan 30, 2016 | Comments (6)
Category: Body, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, 1950's, Nineteenth Century

Carnivorous Buffaloes


Nothing much about California has really changed since this 1849 warning, has it?

Original article here.

The Eccentric Club

For over 230 years there has been one or more organizations known as "the Eccentric Club." I think every WU-vie should be a member by birthright.

Here is a tongue-in-cheek account of a party at an NYC branch from 1889.


Original article here.

Profile of the current London version.

Present-day USA version.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Nov 11, 2015 | Comments (11)
Category: Eccentrics, Eighteenth Century, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, Twenty-first Century

Tornado-Proof House With Tail

The idea, from an 1890 patent, was to make the house aerodynamic (long and narrow) and then attach it to a turntable, so that it could turn to face the wind.

I'm sure there must be some basic flaw in the concept. I imagine the entire house being spun like a top by the wind.

Source: Popular Mechanics - Apr 1910
Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Nov 04, 2015 | Comments (19)
Category: Inventions, Nineteenth Century

Civil War Nurse Barbie

First of all, there's actually such a thing as a Civil War Nurse Barbie. (But no Civil War Soldier Ken, featuring horrific battle injuries).

Second, it's been pointed out in a number of places (such as here and here) that the doll is historically inaccurate. So it teaches kids bad history.

Dorothea Dix, Superintendent of Female nurses, famously set strict guidelines for all Union nurses: "They were required to be between 35-50 years old and plain-looking. [No attractive young nurses!] They were to dress in black or brown dresses and were not allowed to wear jewelry of any kind."

This is what an actual Civil War nurses' uniform looked like, complete with bloodstains:

Unlike the Union, the Confederates didn't have a nurses organization that defined what nurses should wear. But Confederate nurses tended to dress in simple, plain dresses, because that was practical.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Oct 30, 2015 | Comments (12)
Category: Toys, War, Nineteenth Century

How to Cook Husbands


Alas, I wanted this 1898 book to be a tract by an angry feminist cannibal, but it is not--as you can see for yourself, if you go here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Oct 22, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Cannibalism, Feminism, Food, Books, Nineteenth Century

Mystery Gadget 32


The original article provides the answer.

But you might also like to visit this site, which shows the item in contemporary use.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Sep 30, 2015 | Comments (10)
Category: Regionalism, Technology, Nineteenth Century

Savage Catfight

Can I say it before any other WUvie does? That boyfriend must have been some cocksman!


Original article here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Sep 11, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Death, Women, Nineteenth Century, Love & Romance

Follies of the Madmen #259


Original ad here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Sep 07, 2015 | Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Domestic, 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.