The Orgatron, or, Tote-a-Tune

Ad source.

Another pre-digital electronic keyboard.

Some background here.

And here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 28, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Music, Technology, 1930s, 1970s

Self-Propelled Aquaplane

It looks like the guy is about to send the girl flying into the air, but apparently he was demonstrating some kind of water rescue device, not a rocket.

"S. Shapiro, inventor, strapping his Shapson aquaplane on Miss Margaret Travis for demonstration at Santa Monica, Cal. The model is 44 inches over all and is operated by cranks which the swimmer turns to propel the plane. A speed of 12 knots can be obtained." — Chicago Tribune - Mar 3, 1935

East Liverpool Evening Review - Mar 1, 1935

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 24, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Inventions, 1930s

The Maid of Cotton Pageant

Continuing our intermittent look at oddball beauty pageants.

The Maid of Cotton pageant began in 1939. The annual pageant was sponsored by the National Cotton Council (NCC), Memphis Cotton Carnival, and the Cotton Exchanges of Memphis, New York, and New Orleans. The pageant was held in Memphis, Tennessee, in conjunction with the Carnival until the 1980s.

In mid-December every year the NCC released a list of contestants. Contestants were required to have been born in one of the cotton-producing states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas or Virginia. They might have also been born in the cotton-producing counties of Alexander, Jefferson, Massac, Pulaski, Williamson or Madison, Illinois or in Clark or Nye counties of Nevada. There were usually twenty contestants each year.

Contestants were judged on personality, good manners, intelligence, and family background as well as beauty and an ability to model. A Top Ten were chosen and then a Top Five, and finally second and first runners up and a winner. Winners served as goodwill and fashion ambassadors of the cotton industry in a five-month, all-expense tour of American cities. In the mid-1950s the tour expanded globally. In the late 1950s a Little Miss Cotton pageant was begun but lasted only until 1963 before being discontinued. In the mid-1980s Dallas,Texas took over the pageant, in conjunction with the NCC and its overseas division, Cotton Council International. In 1986, to bolster interest and participation, the NCC eliminated the rule requiring contestants to be born in a cotton-producing state. The pageant was discontinued in 1993, one of the reasons being that Cotton Inc. stopped contributing scholarship money as well as waning public interest and changing marketing strategies.

More details here.

And also here.

The 1952 winner.


Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 21, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Contests, Races and Other Competitions, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s

Toilet Tissue Illness

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Scott Tissues ran an advertising campaign that sought to convince the American public that there was such a thing as 'Toilet Tissue Illness,' and that it was one of the great public health crises of the time. Toilet Tissue Illness was caused by using cheap toilet paper. It could lead to serious complications, possibly requiring rectal surgery to fix. So the ads suggested.

The most notorious ad in the campaign was the 'black glove' ad below.

Here's some background info about the Scott Tissue campaign from Richard Smyth's Bum Fodder: An Absorbing History of Toilet Paper:

The image is stark: a clinically white sheet, an array of gleaming surgical instruments, and a hand, clad in a glove of thick black rubber. 'Often the only relief from toilet tissue illness,' the slogan reads (managing to suggest that 'toilet tissue illness' is a recognised medical condition). Consumers who managed to get past the photo and slogan without dropping everything and running for the high hills were then subjected to another lecture from the haemorrhoid-fixated Scott ad-men. It's the usual litany: 'Astonishing percentage of rectal cases ... traceable to inferior toilet paper ... protect your family's health ... eliminate a needless risk.' The words are so much prattle — but the image of the black rubber glove lingers in the mind. Following criticism from the American Medical Association, Scott eventually back-tracked on its doom-laden claims — but pledged to undertake trials in order to prove beyond dispute that 'improperly made toilet tissue is a menace to health'.

And a few of the other ads featured in the campaign:

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 20, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Health, Advertising, 1920s, 1930s

Murder by Flypaper

Original story here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 19, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Death, Scary Criminals, Children, 1930s

Celery Bikini

Another plant-themed bikini. This time it's Evelyn Hayes who, as "Celery Queen" of National City, CA in 1939, got to wear a celery bikini.

Though, again, it wouldn't yet have been called a bikini. More like a celery hula skirt and top.

Pittsburgh Press - Apr 2, 1939

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 16, 2017 - Comments (9)
Category: Fashion, 1930s

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 5

"Lazy, nihilist capitalist tulip cannot stand up straight and proud like honest, hardworking Soviet tulip!"

André Kertész,"Melancholic Tulip," 1939

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 16, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Art, Nature, 1930s, Russia

Streamlined ice cream tricycle

Streamlined for speed? Also, nice hairdo.

popular mechanics - May 1936

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 14, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Bicycles and Other Human-powered Vehicles, 1930s

Myrtle Reinhart, trade show model

As a model at Chicago's Merchandise Mart in the late 1930s, Myrtle Reinhart got to dress up in things like lampshades, curtains, and streamlined underwear beneath a coverall of cellophane.

Could this be her obituary from July 2007? The city (Chicago) and age seems about right.

"You've heard women say they haven't anything to wear. Well, next time they say it, men, look around the house a bit and see what you can find. Miss Myrtle Reinhart at the Chicago Merchandise Mart's home furnishing show produced this lampshade outfit." (continued below)

Pittsburgh Press - July 18, 1937

"Golfing Outfit: At least it would draw attention away from those dubbed shots. It wasn't really designed for the links, however, but to demonstrate the new streamlined underwear. Myrtle Reinhart and Don Fristy do a bit of golfing on the roof of Chicago's great Merchandise Mart with the above-mentioned streamlined undies and a coverall of cellophane for appearance's sake."
Star Tribune - July 17, 1938

Greenfield Daily Reporter - Oct 14, 1937

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 13, 2017 - Comments (10)
Category: Fashion, 1930s

Bugs for Dolls

From the Pittsburgh Press - Oct 23, 1938:

Dead Crickets Are Toys in China

In China, where life is hard and patience strong, the toy man is a favorite of old and young. On the streets of Peiping he displays his wares and children flock to see — and if they have pennies — to buy. A set of his most fascinating wares are fashioned from skins of dead crickets, dressed up to satirize the many street vendors in the ancient city.

"This cricket has been mounted to represent a vendor of flowers and plants."

"These crickets represent a barber shaving a customer."

"Barbers bring their trade to the customer in China. They carry their 'shops' on long poles which they balance on one shoulder. Above is a Chinese cricket-barber carrying his tools along the street, offering to shave the head of any he meets."

"Bicycles fill the streets of Peiping. Hence the toy-man's set would be incomplete without a cricket astride a wheel."

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 10, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Toys, 1930s

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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.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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