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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Here's the backstory, so far as I can find out.
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...
Hurff is a fine forgotten piece of what cartoonist Robert Crumb calls "weird old America."
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.