Jazz Emotions

The Rock Island Argus - Feb 8, 1926

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 24, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Babies, Censorship, Bluenoses, Taboos, Prohibitions and Other Cultural No-No’s, Music, 1920s

Peat Moss Diapers

A manual on infant care, released by the U.S. Department of Labor in 1914, recommended peat moss (aka sphagnum moss) for use in diapers:

From the Karitane Harris Hospital, in Dunedin, New Zealand, we learn of the use of sphagnum moss for these absorbent pads. The moss is that which florists use for packing plants and grows very extensively in the swamp regions of the United States, but it needs to be thoroughly dried and cleaned of sticks and stems before being used for this purpose.

Such a pad (i.e., a pad of sphagnum moss inclosed in cheesecloth) weighing only an ounce will completely absorb and retain a quarter of a pint of urine—say as much as would be passed in the night. This is infinitely cleaner and healthier than allowing the urine to spread over a wide area of napkin and nightdress, and thus cause extensive chillding and more or less irritation of the skin. Dry sphagnum forms an extremely light, clean, airy, elastic pad, which will yield in any direction and accommodate its shape to the parts.

Those living in the country where this moss grows may find it a great convenience to pick and dry the moss for this or other domestic purposes.

peat moss

Some googling reveals that Native American tribes, way back when, would often use peat moss for diapers.

And at the Earthling's Handbook you'll find an account by a modern-day couple who used peat moss for diapers and reported positive results:

it was so convenient. When it was time for a diaper change, we would simply remove the moss, and if we were home, we would compost it under a fruit tree. If we were on the trail hiking, we would simply tuck the soiled moss into the topsoil and cover it with leaves or other forest duff. On car trips, we would pull off the highway and bury it. (Once we even discreetly slipped a wad of our nitrogen-enriched sphagnum deep into the mulch under landscape shrubbery outside a shopping mall.)

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 26, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Babies, Nature

Good Things in Du Pont Cellophane

Things you can wrap in Du Pont cellophane: fresh fruits, vegetables, babies...

Source: Saturday Evening Post, 1955 - via Hagley Digital Archives

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 26, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Babies, Advertising, 1950s

St. Rumwold—the youngest saint

Due to the vagaries of medieval spelling, Rumwold is also known as Rumald, Rumbold, Grumbald, Rumbald, etc. The story goes that Rumwold was born in 662 and only lived for three days. But during that brief time he demonstrated the ability to speak and recited the Lord's Prayer. So, after his death, he was made a saint.

image source:

While a three-day-old saint is, on its own, odd enough, my favorite part of his story involves the picture of him that later hung in Boxley Abbey in Kent. It was used as a test of a woman's chastity. Those who were chaste would easily be able to lift the picture. But if a woman was not chaste, the picture would mysteriously become so heavy that she wouldn't be able to lift it.

The secret, unknown by those trying to lift the picture, was that it could be held in place (or not) by a wooden rod concealed behind it.

The story of the unliftable portrait is told by Sidney Heath in Pilgrim Life in the Middle Ages (1911):

At Boxley also was a famous image of St. Rumald, Rumbold, or Grumbald, the son of a Northumbrian king and of a daughter of Penda, King of Mercia. He died when three days old, but not before he had repeated the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed in Latin, a feat for which he gained canonisation.

His image at Boxley is said to have been small, and of a weight so light that a child could lift it, but that it could at times become so heavy that it could not be moved by persons of great strength.

Thomas Fuller, the quaint old divine, tells us that "the moving hereof was made the conditions of women's chastity. Such who paid the priest well might easily remove it, whilst others might tug at it to no purpose. For this was the contrivance of the cheat — that it was fastened with a pin of wood by an invisible stander behind. Now, when such offered to take it who had been bountiful to the priest before, they bare it away with ease, which was impossible for their hands to remove who had been close-fisted in their confessions. Thus it moved more laughter than devotion, and many chaste virgins and wives went away with blushing faces, leaving (without cause), the suspicion of their wantonness in the eyes of the beholders; whilst others came off with more credit (because with more coin), though with less chastity."

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 01, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Babies, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, Religion, Medieval Era

Howard makes clothes for men who make babies

Howard was a New York clothes store for men. The theme of their 1966 ad campaign was that they made clothes for virile men.

The ad claiming that they made clothes "for men who make babies" was refused by every New York paper except the Times, which ran it once, and then never again, due to a complaint from the "Improvement of Advertising Content Committee".

New York Times - Mar 4, 1966

NY Daily News - Mar 3, 1966

NY Daily News - Mar 24, 1966

Posted By: Alex - Sun Oct 24, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Babies, Advertising, 1960s, Men

The Twilight Sleep Association

Rendering a pregnant woman unconscious in the delivery room is pretty much frowned upon nowadays, except for emergencies. But at one point, it was regarded as the newest sophistication of the birthing process.

Article from 1915 here.

Modern essay here.


Posted By: Paul - Thu Apr 15, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Babies, Medicine, Twentieth Century

Dancing on the Moon

Posted By: Paul - Wed Apr 14, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Babies, Cartoons, 1930s, Sex Lives Worse Than Yours

The Kiddie-Koop

Children in cages!


Posted By: Paul - Mon Apr 05, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Babies, Domestic, Inventions, Chindogu, Advertising, 1950s

Sounds of the Unborn

Musician Luca Yupanqui is releasing her first album, Sounds of the Unborn, in April.

Though she had some help from her parents. Luca was still in her mother's womb when her parents recorded her in utero using electrodes and then used "biosonic MIDI technology" to transform the sounds into something like music.

It's being promoted as the "world’s first LP made from sounds inside the womb".

More info: The Guardian

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 16, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Babies, Music

Use your children as dumbbells

Harold J. Reilly, owner of a New York gym during the 1930s and 40s, promoted the idea of using children as exercise equipment. Pick them up and swing them around, he urged parents, as one would a dumbbell or kettlebell.

The advantage of using kids as dumbbells, he pointed out, was that as they grow older their weight will increase, thereby naturally helping the parents to develop their strength.

It's an intriguing idea, although a set of dumbbells is a lot cheaper than having children. And won't break if you drop them.

Minneapolis Star - May 31, 1942

"Reilly recommends that parents (or grandparents) work out by swinging their youngsters around from childhood. Says it helps both out."
NY Daily News - May 2, 1948

Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph - Aug 3, 1941

Text from the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph - Aug 3, 1941:

Some years ago Mr. Reilly was thumbing through a volume of Greek mythology when he read how Hercules, as a boy, started lifting a small calf every day. As the calf grew, so did Hercules' strength so that when it became a full-grown bull Hercules could still lift it.

Mr. Reilly thought that the story could be given a modern twist and proceeded to do so. He became "Hercules" and his infant son and daughter the small "calves."...

For years he carried out this theory conscientiously with his own children and it worked so well that it prompted him to write a recent book about physical culture in which he advocates that both fathers and children will benefit greatly if the former raise the latter as dumb-bells.

"I'm not suggesting that you bring a bull calf into the house and go to work on it. After all you're not Hercules," Mr. Reilly points out in "The Secret of Better Health," published by Carlyle House, "But you can work out the same idea by starting to exercise with your pride and joy when he's only a year old, and keeping it up until he's ten, 15 or even 20. The child will benefit, and so will you...

"You may start when your child is an infant," says Mr. Reilly. "But as babies are delicate, don't begin by wrestling with him. Just manipulate the baby's arms and legs. Wiggle them around, being careful not to twist harshly... Then as the child begins to walk, you can swing him by the arms."...

"From three to six, you can become a little more strenuous. Pick the child up and swing him around, holding him by the arms. Let him lie on his back and take his two hands in one of yours and his ankles in the other and swing him around that way, back and forth, sideways and between your legs as though he were a medicine ball...

Mr. Reilly says that the swinging-around game should be kept up during the six-to-nine period of the child's age. In addition he should be picked up by the ankles and walked around, wheelbarrow fashion...

"From nine to 15 keep up the same exercises, if you can, and begin to box and wrestle with him," says Mr. Reilly. "It is just as easy with a daughter, for a little girl is a natural tomboy. She doesn't begin to be a female until around 12 years when adolescence sets in. Then a certain amount of care is necessary. But until then, treat your daughter the same as your son."

Update: Found a video of a guy using his kids as weights.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 26, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Babies, Exercise and Fitness, Babies and Toddlers, Children, 1940s

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Alex Boese
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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