Weird Universe


Safety Glass Tester, 1939

High-test safety glass was developed jointly by five American companies during the 1930s. It had an inner layer of polyvinyl acetal resin. This meant that you could smash a man's face into a pane of the glass, and it would crack but not shatter. As demonstrated by the safety-glass tester below.

Image source: Newsweek - Apr 10, 1939

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Nov 24, 2015 | Comments (8)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, 1930's

Alibi Goat

I've heard about people sucking on pennies or mints to hide the alcohol fumes on their breath. But keeping a goat in the back of the car is new to me. Though I guess it could be an effective strategy.

The Bakersfield Californian - Sep 14, 1937

CHICAGO, Sept. 14. — Policeman Theodore Lambert testified that Larry Radkewicz of Berwyn was intoxicated while driving an automobile, but said he could not smell the man's breath.
"Why not?" asked Judge J.M. Braude.
"He had a goat in the back of the car," said Lambert, "and I couldn't smell anything but the goat."
Radkewicz was placed on probation.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Nov 18, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Inebriation and Intoxicants, 1930's

Parrot Problem


Why is it always a parrot, rather than some other kind of pet bird, at the center of these disputes? A recent case in Rhode Island involved a lawsuit against a parrot taught to swear at neighbors.

Original article here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Nov 09, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Annoying Things, 1930's

No-Arms Golfer

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Oct 12, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Body Modifications, Human Marvels, Sports, 1930's

Knocked out by brick tied to cow tail

One of the many hazards of working on a farm, back in the 1930s. Though I'm having a hard time imagining how a cow could actually lift a brick with its tail and then swing it with enough force to knock someone out.

The Daily Free Press (Carbondale, Illinois) - Jan 21, 1931

TOLEDO, Ore., Jan 18 — Jack Horsfall, Toledo high school student, decided to stop his cow's practice of switching her tail while he milked. He tied a brick to her tail. The cow switched her tail anyway, and the brick struck Horsfall behind the ear. He fell unconscious. When he had recovered he untied the brick.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Oct 10, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Injuries, 1930's

A Giant People

Having brought you a feature on the Pygmy, I could hardly neglect the "Watussi."

Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Oct 02, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Ethnic Groupings, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1930's, Africa

Rosita Royce:  Dance of the Doves

The YouTube host of this video complains that Rosita does not use doves in her dance, but other birds, thus misrepresenting herself. But as we can see from this article, that is a mere technicality, since Rosita was quite intimate with doves also.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Sep 29, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Public Indecency, Sex Symbols, 1930's, Dance

African Pygmy Thrills

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Sep 27, 2015 | Comments (2)
Category: Ethnic Groupings, Stereotypes and Cliches, Travel, 1930's, Africa

The Violaeol


Original article here.

In 1935, one Alfred Grosjean (as named in a separate TIME magazine article) invented the "violaeol."

Some years later, luthier Josh Rieck recreated one for his own use.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Sep 26, 2015 | Comments (2)
Category: Inventions, Music, 1930's

The Stout Scarab

The 1936 Stout Scarab is referred to by some as the first minivan. Its definitely one cool car!
Posted By: patty | Date: Fri Sep 25, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Design and Designers, 1930's, Cars, Yesterday's Tomorrows
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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.