Category:
1930s

Mount Mihara:  Japan’s Suicide Volcano

If you really have to do yourself in, suicide by volcano sounds pretty dramatic and exciting.






Original article here.

Wikipedia info here.


Posted By: Paul - Fri Jan 20, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Death, 1930s, Asia

Miniature Driving School

Back in the 1930s, if a Detroit judge suspected a driver was mentally unfit to be on the road, he might send the driver to see Dr. Lowell Selling, who would test the driver using a miniature street intersection to simulate various situations. However, I'm not sure what exactly this testing involved, beyond that vague description.

I found a brief note about Dr. Selling in the Law Enforcement Executive Forum (2008, pdf, p.51):

Despite the high incidence of both motor vehicle accidents and mental disorders in the general population, a literature examining correlates between the two is sparse. Almost 70 years ago, a Detroit psychiatrist, Lowell Selling, pioneered work in this area with a series of unfortunately forgotten journal articles. Beyond his seminal contributions, little has been published on this important area of crime.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Sep 13, 1936



Palladium-Item - Oct 21, 1936

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 19, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Motor Vehicles, Psychology, 1930s

Shoes for Walking on Water

Inventor K.O.F. Jacobsen of Seattle, Washington debuted his water-walking shoes in 1934 at a Cincinnati inventors' congress. He later displayed them at several other meet-ups of inventors. But although I've found several photos of models wearing the shoes, I haven't been able to find any photos of someone actually walking on water with them.

The Decatur Daily Review - Mar 30, 1937



The Cincinnati Enquirer - July 17, 1934

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 16, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Inventions, Shoes, 1930s

Alice White and Bunnies

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I am not sure why 1930s actress Alice White was made to pose with bunnies so often, but she certainly looked fetching with them.


Source of third foto.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 12, 2017 - Comments (7)
Category: Animals, Anthropomorphism, Movies, Publicity Stunts, 1930s

Anti-Cow Kicker

October 1938: Alice Anthony models an "anti-cow kicker" invented by Bill Vernia of Odebolt, Iowa.

Pittsburgh Press - Oct 16, 1938



The Franklin News-Herald - Oct 7, 1938

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 11, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Inventions, 1930s

Hardware Diet

March 1934: Forty-year-old Mabel Wolf of Brooklyn showed up at Kings County Hospital complaining of acute stomach pain and a loss of appetite. An x-ray revealed the presence of a large clump of metallic objects in her stomach. In a subsequent hour-long operation, surgeons removed 1,203 pieces of hardware from her stomach. The objects weighed a total of one pound, three ounces. Amazingly, they hadn't done her any serious harm.

Lebanon Evening Report - Mar 21, 1934


The inventory of items removed included:

  • 584 fine upholstery tacks
  • 144 carpet tacks
  • 2 chair tacks
  • 1 roundheaded thumbtack
  • 3 thumbtacks (ordinary)
  • 46 small screws
  • 6 medium screws
  • 80 large screws
  • 1 hook-shaped screw (coat hanger)
  • 30 small bolts
  • 47 larger bolts
  • 3 picture hooks
  • 3 nuts
  • 2 large bent safety pins
  • 1 small safety pin
  • 2 stray pins without heads
  • 1 matted mass of hair containing screws and pins
  • 59 assorted beads
  • 4 pieces of wire
  • 89 pieces of glass (all sizes)
  • 1 piece of teacup handle

Miss Wolf claimed that she had eaten all the objects five years earlier, in a single week, while she had been working at a Manhattan hardware store. (You have to wonder if the store had noticed the loss of inventory.)

When pressed further, Miss Wolf said, "I really don't know what started me on my diet. I guess I was just trying to be funny. Don't ask me any more about it. I only want to get well and go home."

Brooklyn Daily Eagle - Mar 20, 1934


Miss wolf had suffered minor stomach pains for five years as a result of the objects, but she had been able to self-treat the discomfort with patent medicine. She finally went to a doctor when the pain became too intense.

One mystery that the doctors weren't fully able to explain was why the metal objects all clumped together in her stomach. Dr. Edwin H. Fiske speculated that "metallic objects in the stomach take on a kind of magnetism, which attracs the individual objects to one another, so that they cling together in one large ball, as if welded together. Thus the danger of the cuts from pointed nails and pins is lessened."

Evidently Miss Wolf suffered from the eating disorder known as pica, which is a compulsion to eat non-nutritive items such as paper, metal, chalk, mud, etc. I suspect that her strange diet hadn't been confined to a single week. She'd probably been doing it for quite a while.

We've previously posted about a few other people who suffered from this disorder, including the boy who ate the Bible and the Human Ostrich.

If you're interested in the subject of pica and people swallowing weird things, you can find a whole bunch of cases discussed (including Mabel Wolf) in Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them by Mary Cappello.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 30, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Food, 1930s, Mental Health and Insanity

Damn It, Pass the Bread!

July 1930: Charles G. Wood, author of Reds and Lost Wages, when speaking before Hamilton Fish's Special Committee to Investigate Communist Activities in the United States revealed the corruption of morals that followed the adoption of communism, illustrated by the fact that children in the Soviet Union had no table manners and were being taught to say, "Damn it, pass the bread."

El Paso Evening Post - July 21, 1930



The Baltimore Sun - July 17, 1930

Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 17, 2016 - Comments (0)
Category: Politics, Reformers, Do-gooders, Agitators and SJWs, 1930s

Hurff Canned Goods

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Once upon a time, a company with the somewhat off-putting name of Hurff was big enough to advertise in a top-of-the-line national magazine like LIFE.

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Here's the backstory, so far as I can find out.

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I have found ads from them as late as 1948. Does that mean that store was selling three-year-old cans of food, given the plant-closing date of 1945? Or maybe the plant did not close, but Hurff himself was forced out? We will probably never know...

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Hurff is a fine forgotten piece of what cartoonist Robert Crumb calls "weird old America."

Posted By: Paul - Fri Dec 16, 2016 - Comments (10)
Category: Food, Regionalism, Advertising, 1930s, 1940s

Automatic Devil Dog Car Alarm



Contrary to the delightful ad, alarm did not speak phrases, but merely sounded the horn, as with modern car alarms.

See the actual device here, with explanation.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Dec 13, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Technology, 1930s, Cars

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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.

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