Weird Universe


The Bullet Knife


Don't bring a bullet-knife to a gun fight. Or a knife fight. Or to any fight, really. It's just plain dumb.

Original ad here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Feb 19, 2014 | Comments (7)
Category: 1910's, Weapons

Life in America:  1915

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Feb 17, 2014 | Comments (5)
Category: Customs, 1910's, North America

No Touch Tango

From The Fort Wayne Sentinel - Jan 24, 1914:

New York, Jan 24 — Because she didn't like the tango, Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish hired its most noted exponents, the Castles, to invent a denaturized form of this dance. She calls it the "Innovation." The dancers take position 12 inches away from each other, look into each other's eyes, but never touch each other during the dance. Her guests on whom it was sprung were NOT madly crazy about it.

I found a picture on wikipedia of Vernon and Irene Castle demonstrating what appears to be this No Touch Tango developed by them at Mrs. Fish's request:

Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Jan 30, 2014 | Comments (6)
Category: 1910's, Dance

Follies of the Madmen #215

Does anyone under the age of fifty even know who Felix the Cat is anymore? Having a character born in 1919 as your "hip" cartoon representative seems a somewhat dubious move to me. And Felix is only onscreen for like a millisecond.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Jan 26, 2014 | Comments (9)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Soda, Pop, Soft Drinks and other Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Cats, 1910's

Weird 1915 Kite


What was this home handyman in Popular Mechanics smoking?

Original plans here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Dec 21, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Recreation, Toys, Surrealism, Children, 1910's, Face and Facial Expressions, Fictional Monsters



Original ad here.


Original ad here.

Read the fascinating history of this device, plus others of the "vacuum suction" mode, at this site.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Dec 04, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Technology, Baths, Showers and Other Cleansing Methods, 1910's

Why the poor are happier than the rich

From the Washington Post - April 30, 1916.

The gist of the article is summed up in the first paragraph:

The poor do not have to worry about what they are going to wear or where they will spend the summer or winter. They have good appetites and enjoy their food when they get it. They lead hard lives and so grow strong and healthy and do not have dyspepsia. They do not have to buy a burial cloth or order a mausoleum. As they have no money to leave, no one is anxious to see them die.

As far as I can tell, the Duke of Manchester (William Montagu), wrote this without a hint of irony or sarcasm. He seemed to genuinely believe that being born rich was a great burden. So it's interesting that he did his best to relieve himself of his riches and become poor. From wikipedia:

Manchester was a notorious spendthrift, and as a result of the excessive spending of both him and the prior two Dukes, the family's fortune (already low) was completely exhausted, culminating in the sale of the family's lands during the tenure of the tenth Duke. He spent much of his life abroad, evading creditors, seeking out wealthy consorts, and attempting to extract money from wealthy acquaintances. He is perhaps most well known in America from the leading case of Hamilton v. Drogo, 150 N.E. 496 (N.Y. 1926), which concerned the establishment of a spendthrift trust for the benefit of the young Duke.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Nov 10, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Money, 1910's

Little Nemo in Slumberland

[Click to enlarge]

Surely one of the most enjoyably odd of the classic newspaper comic strips was Winsor McCay's famous LITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND.

Many of the strips are finally available online at this site.

Of course, if you desire glorious hardcopy, there are plenty of books too.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Nov 02, 2013 | Comments (0)
Category: Dreams and Nightmares, Surrealism, Children, Books, 1900's, 1910's

The Man Who Owned the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army was founded by William Booth, a dedicated altruistic soul who ran it until his death in 1912.

But he also had to be a canny businessman, and in 1878 he had the entire holdings of the enterprise put into his name as sole proprietor.


That paragraph above comes from this Australian newspaper, which state that at time of Booth's death the Australian holdings alone amounted to "over half a million pounds."

I find the figure of £975,000 for worldwide holdings from this 1912 biography of Booth. An online inflation calculator for British pounds figures that sum equals £81,700,000.00 today.

So the selfless General was a multimillionaire when he was Promoted to Glory and passed on the Sally to his son Bramwell.

I can't find any data on when the Booth family gave over control of the Army to some kind of board of directors. I assume they did. Did they?

Does any WU-vie have the answer?
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Sep 23, 2013 | Comments (17)
Category: Charities and Philanthropy, Money, 1910's

They Warn the Car Behind

From the Washington Post - May 2, 1915. So whatever happened to the idea of electric gongs supplementing turn signals.? Seems like it could actually be useful.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed May 22, 2013 | Comments (9)
Category: Motor Vehicles, Cars, 1910'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.