Weird Universe


Andrew “Bossy” Gillis, Two-Fisted Mayor of Newburyport

As intermittent mayor, he ran Newburyport, MA, from his gas station, and when out of office was not averse to punching the current mayor in the face.

There's a good summary of his antics here.

The kind of authentic politician so lacking today. The article from 1937 below gives some of his flavor.



Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Aug 04, 2014 | Comments (6)
Category: Politics, Curmudgeons and Contrarianism, 1920's, 1930's

Wolrd’s First Mobile Phone from 1922

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Jul 07, 2014 | Comments (5)
Category: Telephones, 1920's

Mystery Gadget 21


Early fecal transplants? Your best guess, before clicking through to the answer. (Scroll down half a page.)
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Jun 19, 2014 | Comments (10)
Category: Technology, 1920's

1920s Anti-Forgery Pen



To read the text better, visit original ad here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed May 21, 2014 | Comments (4)
Category: Crime, Technology, 1920's

Obsolete Vocations


Original ad here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Mar 29, 2014 | Comments (15)
Category: Self-help Schemes, Work and Vocational Training, 1920's

Gay’s Lion Farm


For almost 20 years, the only commercial lion breeding facility (and tourist attraction) "in the world."

The Wikipedia entry.

Article from 1926.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Mar 26, 2014 | Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Farming, Sightseeing, 1920's, 1930's, 1940's

Mystery Gadget 20


Taking into account the presence of a wired-up conch shell, please explain what this gadget from the 1920s does.

Answer after the jump.

More >>
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Mar 16, 2014 | Comments (10)
Category: Technology, 1920's

The Bald-Headed Men of America

Apparently there have been several instances of the formation of clubs to serve as fraternal organizations for bald men.

The New York Times has this 1896 report.


Then comes this account in 1920, also from The New York Times.


Then comes this report from 1954.


But sometime after that, the original group must have gone under, because in 1972, John T. Capps, III founded the Bald Headed Men of America. They were profiled in a PBS documentary from 1989, as partially shown below.

Apparently, they are still going strong.

Toby the Terrapin, Part 2

Back on Jan. 9, I posted about Toby the Piano-Playing Terrapin, owned and exhibited by Alexander Barbee of Savannah, Georgia back in the 1920s.

And then, about a week ago, I was contacted by Barbee's great-granddaughter, who reported that she came across my post while searching for info about her great-grandfather. She writes:

My great-grandfather was definitely a character.  He was written about by Joseph Mitchell for the New Yorker and also for his book, "Up in the Old Hotel".

My mother could tell you all about Toby, including the story of Toby's birth.  He was purportedly born in the hand of William Jennings Bryan (there's more to it).  And of course he would wink at the ladies, etc.  He is seated at one of my g-g's music boxes (there was an enormous collection of them).

She sent along some higher quality pictures of Alexander Barbee and Toby. In the first picture, Toby is a little hard to see, but you can just make him out on top of the table in the center of the photo (where he's seated at his piano).

WU is proud to be the premier online source of information about piano-playing terrapins!

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Feb 04, 2014 | Comments (4)
Category: 1920's

Hitler tamed by prison

Epic prison board fail: This guy, Hitler. Prison has changed his ways. He won't cause any trouble now!

From The New York Times - Dec 21, 1924.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Jan 13, 2014 | Comments (9)
Category: Predictions, Prisons, 1920's
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