Category:
1940s

Horizontal Theater

Back in 1945, Thomas Curtis Gray of Washington, DC was granted a patent for a theater in which the patrons would view the movie while lying-down. To facilitate this, the movie was projected onto a screen anchored to the ceiling.

Gray argued that his horizontal theater had several advantages over a traditional theater. First, it would be more comfortable to watch a movie while reclining. Second, a patron's view would never be obstructed by someone in front of them. And finally, the screen could be located at a closer-to-equal distance from all viewers.

I've never heard of a horizontal theater being built. But arguably his patent foreshadowed the rise of the modern-day luxury cinemas where you can relax in seats that recline almost all the way back.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Aug 09, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Architecture, Inventions, Movies, 1940s

Change-o-Color Men’s Jewelry



For the 1949 Metrosexual. But, alas, did not catch on.

Source.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 04, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Jewelry, 1940s, Men

The LUX RADIO THEATRE “Most Beautiful 15-Year-old Contest”

Part of our "strange beauty contest" series.

It seems highly unlikely that any company could stage this today.

Full article here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 23, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Radio, 1940s

The rare 1943 copper penny

1943 copper pennies are among the most-sought after coins by collectors. In 2010, one of them sold for $1.7 million. Although around $200,000 seems to be what most of them fetch.



The reason for their value is that so few of them exist. In 1943, due to the war, pennies were made out of zinc-coated steel. But somehow approximately 40 copper ones were made by accident.

For several decades the US Mint denied the existence of 1943 copper pennies (see news clipping below). It wasn't until a few showed up, and were authenticated by experts, that the mint changed its tune. Now it states:

Approximately 40 1943 copper–alloy cents are known to remain in existence. Coin experts speculate that they were struck by accident when copper–alloy 1–cent blanks remained in the press hopper when production began on the new steel pennies.

Some strange rumors have circulated about the 1943 copper pennies. Such as that if you found one the Ford motor company would give you a free car. Not true, though if you find one, you could afford to buy quite a few cars. And a few of these pennies are potentially still in circulation.

More info: definition.org

Battle Creek Enquirer - Mar 7, 1963

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 13, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Money, Collectors, 1940s

The Glmite Bomb

Before the atomic bomb, other "super bombs" were dreamed up and invented. One of the more notorious was Lester Barlow's Glmite Bomb. Barlow claimed it could kill everything within a 1000-yard radius, but when the U.S. military tested it in 1940, exploding it in a field surrounded by goats, it failed to kill, or even injure, a single goat.

Glmite also has to be one of the worst names ever for an explosive. It was created by combining the words 'Glenn' and 'Dynamite'.

More details from The Ordnance Department: Procurement and Supply, by Harry Thomson and Lida Mayo —

Mr. Lester P. Barlow, an employee of the Glenn L. Martin aircraft factory, submitted to the Senate Committee on Military Affairs a bomb filled with liquid oxygen. Called "glmite" in honor of Mr. Martin, the explosive was said to give off violent vibrations of the air waves that would kill every living thing within a radius of a thousand yards. Senator Gerald P. Nye was so impressed that he called in reporters to watch while minutes of the committee meeting were burned—"so great was the military secrecy of the subject!... an explosive so deadly it might even outlaw war!!!"

Tests of the Barlow bomb took up a good deal of the time of Ordnance planners in April and May, extending down into the most anxious weeks in May. When the newspapers announced that goats would be tethered at varying distances from the bomb to determine its lethal effects, Congress and the War Department were deluged with letters of protest from humane societies and private citizens. All the concern turned out to be wasted. At the first test, the bomb leaked and did not go off; at the second, held at Aberdeen Proving Ground in late May, the explosion occurred, but the goats, unharmed, continued to nibble the Maryland grass.


Barlow supervising the set up of the Glmite Bomb.



The Algone Upper Des Moines - June 18, 1940



Explosion of the Glmite Bomb at Aberdeen Proving Ground
Note the goats in the right foreground, unharmed

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 09, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: 1940s, Weapons

Follies of the Madmen #478



The horrifying Hotpoint Corporate Spokesbeing, with a giant Hotpoint logo wedged into its brain, appears to a mother and child.

Source.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 01, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Aliens, Business, Advertising, Corporate Mascots, Icons and Spokesbeings, Domestic, Surrealism, 1940s, Brain Damage

Exercise Wings

Richard Burgess's 1941 patent (No. 2,244,444) describes a pair of feathered wings that could be attached to the arms of an individual, who would then flap the wings up and down. This, claimed Burgess, would create a sense of buoyancy, while simultaneously providing physical exercise. In particular, it would "develop the chest, back, arm and leg muscles, while also tending to create accelerated breathing and thus general physical tone." It would do all this, he said, while also being "very diverting and accordingly attractive."

How did this product never take off?

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 10, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, Inventions, 1940s

Undies Are Gossips!

LUX Soap's 1942 ad campaign warned of the danger of talking underwear.



Some analysis by Melissa McEuen in Making War, Making Women: Femininity and Duty on the American Home Front:

Exerting personal control over one's own laundry could be empowering, LUX ads suggested to female audiences. Women would have to wage a tough fight against their underclothes, which seemed to take on lives of their own in [J. Walter Thompson Company's] wartime advertising. Animated lingerie starred in LUX ad copy in the early 1940s. Flying, chattering bras, slips, camisoles, and girdles claimed to harbor their owners' unpleasant secrets. In some promotions the sneaky garments threatened to release this information, while in other ads, they expressed pity for the oblivious young women who wore them. In one group of ads featuring the wily articles, a headline announced, "UNDIES ARE GOSSIPS!"…

The "Undies Are Gossips" campaign radiated a core message familiar to Americans early in the war: the power of talk. U.S. government propaganda connected conversations with death and destruction for U.S. troops: "Somebody blabbed — button your lip!" and "A Careless Word… A Needless Sinking" warned viewers to check their conversations. One resonant quip suggested "Loose Lips Might Sink Ships."

Spokesman Review - Mar 1, 1942



Philadelphia Inquirer - July 19, 1942

Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 25, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Advertising, Underwear, 1940s

Shreddies vs. Shredded Wheat



Source of ad.

The Wikipedia entries for Shredded Wheat and Shreddies fail to explain the overlapping existence of two identical cereals from the originator, Nabisco. Much investigation needs to be done. Was one more for the Canadian market?

Posted By: Paul - Fri Apr 24, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Advertising, Cereal, 1940s, North America

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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, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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