Weird Universe


Corpse by Mail


Original article here.

Was she found innocent or guilty?

The answer is here.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Nov 22, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Death, 1950's, Postal Services

Atomic Armor for Children, 1951

Designed by Lee Pauwels of Los Angeles to protect his six-year-old son from harmful atomic rays given off by a nuclear explosion. He noted that the suit wouldn't protect his son from the concussion of the blast, "But authorities believe a person could survive the blast at much closer range if he were lying down and wearing the suit. Afterward he'd be able to leave the area that had become contaminated by harmful rays."

I wonder if this suit still survives somewhere, stored in someone's attic. Well, it must be around if even atomic rays couldn't harm it. This is the kind of thing that should be on display in the Smithsonian (if I were running it).

The Eugene Guard - Jan 1, 1952

Traverse City Record-Eagle - Dec 26, 1951

via USC Digital Library

via USC Digital Library

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Nov 21, 2015 | Comments (7)
Category: Armageddon and Apocalypses, Fashion, Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, 1950's

Push Button Weather

The miraculous Chronotherm! First line of defense!

Sad to contemplate that all these decent-paying job that once provided a good living for so many families have been farmed out to robots and other nations today.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Nov 19, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Technology, Industry, Factories and Manufacturing, Appliances, 1950's

Follies of the Madmen #265


Hey, wait, most beaches don't allow pets!

Original ad here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Nov 17, 2015 | Comments (0)
Category: Animals, Fashion, 1950's, Women

Texas Ranger Cowboy Outfit


[Click to enlarge]

Original image here. (Page 10).
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Nov 12, 2015 | Comments (19)
Category: Costumes and Masks, Comics, 1950's

Army puts price tags on equipment

Back in 1951, the U.S. Army was told it needed to cut costs, so it initiated the "cost-consciousness" program. This involved putting price tags on all the equipment, so that the soldiers could see how much everything cost. The theory was that this would make them use the equipment more "wisely and well."

After the program was implemented, one Army Reserve staffer said, "It looks just like a department store here."

There were claims that the program saved the Army millions of dollars. So I wonder what caused it to be shelved?

The News-Herald (Franklin, Pennsylvania) - Dec 14, 1951

The Spokesman-Review - Feb 27, 1952

Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Nov 12, 2015 | Comments (14)
Category: Military, 1950's, Armed Forces

The Atom Blanket

Tuck your kids into bed with the "Atom Blanket" and you know they'll be safe from surprise nuclear attacks!

Atom Blanket: An American blanket manufacturer is widely publicizing this lead-lined model ($49.50), said to shield wearers from atomic radiation, fire, and shock 10 miles from blast center. Civil-defense experts have not changed their view that basement shelters are more effective.

Source: Newsweek - Apr 26, 1954

Note: Although Newsweek claimed this blanket was widely publicized, I haven't been able to find any references to it in papers and magazines from the 1950s -- beyond the reference in Newsweek itself. Perhaps it was advertised in trade publications that have never been scanned and placed online.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Nov 11, 2015 | Comments (9)
Category: War, Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, 1950's

Follies of the Madmen #264

That young couple is stopping not to admire the tablecloth but to gawk and laugh at the grade-school-dropout, simpleton-style hat worn by Dad.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Nov 10, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Family, Baths, Showers and Other Cleansing Methods, Headgear, 1950's

Killed by washing machine while reading comics

A number of things puzzle me about this 1955 news story. First of all, why was the washing machine outside beneath a tree?

Second, was the kid really so lazy that he felt the need for an elaborate method of supporting his head while reading? Or was he trying to kill himself?

Finally, what kind of washing machine has a lid that rotates? I found a picture (below) of a washing machine from the late 1940s that may have a lid that could rotate, but it doesn't look like it would have been comfortable to sit on, which would support the suicide theory.

But whatever happened to John Mattson, his death clearly demonstrates the danger of reading comic books.

Gettysburg Times - July 20, 1955

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Nov 06, 2015 | Comments (9)
Category: Death, 1950's

Woman tailed by suspicious truck, 1955

I can't find any more info on this story, but I'd be curious to know if the woman locked bumpers with the truck while it was empty or being driven (in the latter case, the driver would have bailed when he realized that she wasn't stopping). I'm guessing there was a truck driver originally, 'cause if the truck had been parked and empty its brakes would have probably been on, making it more difficult to pull.

Kansas City Times - Nov 17, 1955

Jonesboro, Ark., Nov. 16 — A woman drove into a service station last night and said to the attendant in a confidential whisper:
"I wish you would check that guy behind me; I think he's drunk."
Police said the "guy" behind was a driverless pickup truck, whose bumper was locked with the rear bumper of the woman's car.
She was charged with driving while intoxicated.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Nov 05, 2015 | Comments (15)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, 1950's
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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.