Weird Universe


Is your railroad invested in atomic research?

An ad placed in Time magazine (April 26, 1948) by the "Federation for Railway Progress" boasted about their investment in atomic research, and urged railroads to join the federation to benefit from all the great advances that atomic research would soon bring to the transportation industry:

Will your railroad have a place at the atomic research table?
No industry stands to benefit more from atomic "vitamins" in its diet than the undernourished railroads...
A new, lighter and stronger metal—which could be applied to the construction of light-weight freight and passenger cars—may well come out of atomic research.
There is also the promise of new and more efficient lighting and heating systems, and other possibilities which only properly directed research could uncover.

Almost 70 years later, is it possible to say if U.S. railroads actually did benefit in any way from atomic research? I've never thought of railroads and atomic research as being in any way related.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Aug 26, 2015 | Comments (8)
Category: Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, Trains and Other Vehicles on Rails, 1940's

Mystery Illustration 8


Why is this woman placing her bare foot atop a crocodile's head?

The answer is here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Aug 26, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Animals, 1940's, Women

Father Pierre Monastery Herbs


Original ad.

I wish I could find a picture on the internet of the packaging for this product. Or learn who the legendary Father Pierre was. Alas, even the mighty Web does not have the answer to everything.

But I did find out the ingredients.


As to the recipe's effectiveness, I cannot attest.

Apparently, this current-day Russian product also known as "Monastery Herbs" has a different composition.


"Ingredients: rose hips, currant leaves, birch leaves, roots and rhizomes Elecampane, grass oregano herb St. John's wort, willow (willow-herb)."

Russian page.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Aug 25, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Body, Nature, Religion, Advertising, Excrement, 1940's, Russia

Beautiful Bodies by Chambers

The Washington DC mortuary of W.W. Chambers caused a scandal when it issued a calendar for 1948 featuring scantily-clad models to advertise its embalming business. Tagline: Beautiful Bodies by Chambers.

Time magazine (Jan 12, 1948) criticized it as "frank vulgarity." Although that didn't stop them from reprinting a page of the calendar (below) for the benefit of its readers.

You can read an obituary of Chambers himself here. He died in 1954 and was quite a character.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Aug 24, 2015 | Comments (8)
Category: Death, 1940's

Party Record:  The Urinal

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Aug 17, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Bathrooms, Humor, Body Fluids, 1940's, Genitals

Follies of the Madmen #257

Housewife wielding an axe?!? Don't get your hopes up. There is no John-Waters-style carnage ahead in this commercial.

Man, that appliance is huge. Where would it fit in a modern urban kitchen? Maybe in a McMansion....

What do you think the cherry cobbler cooked adjacent to the ham and sweet potatoes is going to taste like?
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Aug 12, 2015 | Comments (7)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Domestic, Appliances, Food, 1940's

Siwash, the Duck Who Fought with the Marines in WWII



[Click text to enlarge]

Original article here.

Did Siwash actually have a little tailored uniform? Because that would be the greatest thing ever.



Original article here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Aug 05, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Animals, War, 1940's

Mystery Gadget 31


What is going on here?

The answer is here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Aug 04, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Technology, 1940's

“All you fella die finish!”


Nothing makes for better reading than white men, savages and explosives.

Read the story here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Aug 03, 2015 | Comments (2)
Category: Destruction, Literature, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1940's, South Pacific and Polynesia

Man vs. Horse, 1947

The experts predicted that the man vs. horse tug-of-war organized in Waterloo, Oregon back in 1947 would be no contest at all. The man, 225-pound Chester Fitzwater, was lying on the ground, his feet braced against a wood block. To win, he simply had to remain in place for three minutes. The horse, Big Baldy, was said not to have a chance.

Scientists Favor Man
Dr. Raymond T. Ellickson, physics professor at Reed College in Portland, estimated 1900-pound Baldy would have to exert about 16,000 pounds worth of effort to up-end Fitzwater.
Ellickson figured it would take a 3000-pound pull just to get the long rope taut, and then Baldy would have only an angle of 1 degree from the horizontal to pull against.
Other scientists advised about the same, and an even more discouraging report—for old Baldy—came from rope dealers. They said the one-inch rope would break at approximately 9000 pounds of pull—far short of the 16,000 Dr. Ellickson believes necessary.

It took about a second for Big Baldy to prove the experts wrong. As soon as the rope tightened, "Fitzwater lurched into the air, knocked over a photographer and some spectators, and crashed into the mud."

Several other brawny men subsequently challenged the horse to the same contest, believing they would last longer. They didn't.

The News-Review (Roseburg, Oregon) - Dec 12, 1947

The News-Review (Roseburg, Oregon) - Dec 15, 1947

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Jul 28, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Sports, 1940'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.