Weird Universe

Oceans and Maritime Pursuits

Cornelis Van Blaaderen and his Floating Safe


After the Titanic, inventors tried to think of ways to preserve items during a sinking. Dutch inventor Cornelis Van Blaaderen came up with his Floating Safe, which never quite caught on.

This site has a brief explanation in English.

This website has the full story, but all in Dutch. Google translate should help. But even if you don't bother, there are great pictures and a film!

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Jun 20, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Disasters, Inventions, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1910's, Europe



[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

Virgil Partch

I just finished reading this great book on cartoonist Virgil Partch, who defined cartoon weirdness for several decades.

The book revealed that Partch was a great joker in real life as well. He and some buddies founded the Balboa Island Sculling and Punting Society, which was an excuse to putter around the marina, freak out the squares and get drunk. Not satisfied with those activities however, they aimed higher. First they decided to take a "boat ride" from their West Coast hangout to Las Vegas. How? By putting a boat on a truck and riding inside the craft while being driven across the desert.


Then they decided to take a train to Catalina Island, by a similar expedient.


Here's a fuller account of their exploits.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon May 19, 2014 | Comments (4)
Category: Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Comics, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1950's

By Chevy From Cuba to USA


With the recent migrant tragedies at sea around the globe, we must always recall one of the great refugee success stories: turning an old Detroit truck into an ocean-going vessel.

More photos here.

Full story here.

Doc Owens, Con Man

As early as December 1900, the notorious Doc Owens was making headlines, having established his racket of fleecing sea-going sheep.




Three years later, The New York Times did a special feature on Owens and his fellows (with his photo miscaptioned).

Click here for very readable PDF download.



But Owens was to meet poetic justice in 1912, as our final piece reveals.


Paco Rabanne Bathing Suits:  1966

[Click to enlarge. From Playboy for November 1966.]

Alex has begun a "weird bathing suit" meme, with his WOODEN BATHING SUITS post. I fear I shall have to see him his wood and raise him some plastic.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Dec 16, 2012 | Comments (9)
Category: Fashion, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1960's

Julia Pott

Belly from Julia Pott on Vimeo.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Dec 13, 2012 | Comments (0)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Death, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Surrealism

Oyster Growing on a Set of False Teeth

Oysters will grow on almost any surface, including false teeth, if that's what happens to be available. The tooth-growing oyster shown above was found in the Chesapeake Bay in 1898, and sent to the Smithsonian where they were put on display and became quite a popular attraction. But soon a paternity battle erupted around them. From The Strand magazine, 1903:

A man from Iowa claimed the teeth, saying that he had lost them, under not wholly peculiar circumstances, from a steamer passing that way. The object was too great a curiosity to be parted with, and the difficulty of the authorities in deciding whether or not to surrender the teeth was solved by a later claim for the teeth from a Philadelphia woman, and by a third claim from someone who saw the oyster on exhibition.

Half a century later, in 1954, yet another guy insisted the teeth were his, but in this case the Smithsonian was able to definitively rule out his claim since the guy hadn't even been born yet when the teeth were found. I'm guessing the Smithsonian probably still has this famous oyster hidden away somewhere in its archives.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Nov 26, 2012 | Comments (3)
Category: Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Museums, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Natural Wonders
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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.