Category:
1920s

The Sex Detector

The Sex Detector made its debut around 1920. It was a gadget, sold by "Sex-Detector Laboratories," that promised to be able to detect the gender of an egg — or any piece of biological matter whose sex one might want to find out (oysters, butterflies, caterpillars, beetles, worms). It supposedly even worked on blood. So police could use it to discover the sex of a criminal.

It was basically an empty rifle shell suspended on a piece of string. When held over an egg (or whatever) it would reveal through the direction of its motion the sex of the chick inside.

It was probably more accurately described as an idiot detector... the idiot being the one holding the string.

For a while it was heavily advertised in poultry journals, but when inspectors at the U.S. Dept of Agriculture investigated the efficacy of the device, they found it to be useless. It worked no better than a piece of cardboard attached to a thread. Advertisements for the product were banned.

The Leghorn World - Feb 1921



Wilmington Evening Journal - May 4, 1928



Williams News - July 8, 1921



San Francisco Chronicle - Oct 17, 1920



St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Feb 5, 1922

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 25, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Inventions, 1920s

Mystery Illustration 43



What hideous problem afflicts this man? Halitosis? B.O.? Blackheads?

The answer is here.

And after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Mon Apr 24, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Body, Advertising, 1920s

Mystery Gadget 47



What is going on here? Find out at this link.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Mon Apr 17, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Technology, 1920s

Chicago Bar Association Annual Musical Revue





Who knew that Chicago lawyers and judges and other legal folks have been doing a theatrical production for nearly 100 years?

Their home page.

The origin story is told in the 1954 review below.

The videos reveal that none of these folks should leave their day jobs.



Posted By: Paul - Wed Feb 22, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Entertainment, Law, 1920s

Roy L. Gray, the Most Average Man

In 1927, William S. Dutton, a writer for American magazine, decided to locate America's most average man. The requirements were that whoever it was had to be:

A native-born American, of average age, average size, average education and average viewpoint. He had to own an average home on an average street, drive an average automobile and be head of a family of four, which is the average used by the census bureau. He had to be engaged in an average one-man business, be neither a leader nor a laggard in public affairs, neither prominent nor obscure, popular or unpopular.

To conduct his search, Dutton used the census report, a map, and a weather chart to select America's most average city, which he decided was Fort Madison, Iowa. Then he conducted a survey of Fort Madison's residents to determine who the most average man living there was.

He finally settled on Roy L. Gray, owner of a clothing store. Gray was 43 years old, married, and had two children.

Dutton knocked on Gray's door and informed him that he was the most average man in America. Gray seemed to take the news in stride. He agreed to an interview, and then was whisked off to Chicago where he was given the VIP treatment, which included getting to meet the mayor. Then he returned to his average life, and as far as I can tell never made the news again.

He should have tried to hook up with Miss Typical.

Rushville Daily Republican - Oct 26, 1927



The Lincoln Star - Oct 25, 1927

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 16, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Boredom, 1920s

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 1



Inspired by my earlier post about Khruschev's distaste for modern art, I am moved to launch this occasional series about modern art that was made prior to his premiership (1958) that would have likely offended him. I will focus on less-famous works.

If this is not an esoteric thread, I'm not sure what is!

In any case, we start with "Wrestler," 1929, by Dudley Talcott.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jan 25, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Art, 1920s, Russia

Akmo Hair Grower



Unlike most patent remedies, there is no information that I can find for Akmo. I wonder what ingredients were in it.

Original ad here.

I assume it could be safely used with this product.



Second ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 28, 2016 - Comments (0)
Category: Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, 1920s, Hair and Hairstyling

Killed by a watermelon

One for the weird death file.

1924: Thomas Collins, 21-years-old, drove by a farmer with a truck full of watermelons and called out to the farmer to toss him one. The farmer obliged. The watermelon landed on Collins' head, snapped his neck, and killed him instantly.

Louisville Courier-Journal - Sep 28, 1924

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 11, 2016 - Comments (6)
Category: Death, 1920s

Miss Stardust of 1948

A couple of points about this beauty queen.

1) Mother was also a beauty queen, "Miss Brooklyn of 1928." Alas, I can find no pix of the elder Bayes.

2) Should a beauty queen who represents the "falsie" industry be considered for her natural endowments, or her falsie-assisted curves?

3) Note the loving care and extra attention that WU brings to all its posts, as we present the previous year's winner below, as a supplement.

image

Original pic here.


image
image

Original article here.

image

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 01, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Body Modifications, Children, Parents, 1920s, 1940s

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

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