Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues

Mechanical Hair-Brusher

I came across this description of a mechanical hair-brush published in Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Nov. 23, 1863. It operated by means of "an endless band of vulcanised india-rubber... that descends to within about a foot of your head and is made to revolve by machinery." Here's a description of it in action:

When I went in to get my hair thus brushed, had sat down before the glass, and been tucked in as usual, with bib and dressing-gown, the hair-dresser took up one of his circular brushes and hitched it to the revolving band over my head. In a moment I felt a silent fanning, as if some monstrous butterfly were hovering over me; this was the air of the twirling brush, which caught my hair up and laid it down, and traveled all over my head with incessant gentle penetration. It crept down my whiskers and searched my beard with the same tender and yet decided effect. There was no scratching, not even of the neck and ears, but the skin of cheeks and chin was reached and swept. It was a new sensation. I felt as if I should like to be brush continously for a month.

Evidently mechanical hair-brushes never caught on, because the only picture of one I could find was this:

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 20, 2012 - Comments (18)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Inventions, Hair Styling

Where Women Look Best

This Clairol ad claimed that "The average American woman looks her best in the bathroom." Which suggests the ad-men must have spent a lot of time spying on women in bathrooms to find this out.

(via Kitchen Retro)

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 09, 2012 - Comments (4)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Advertising

Some Unusual Beauty Pageants

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 31, 2012 - Comments (7)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues

Creepy-Ass Dolls


This new book definitely ties in to a thread on WU!

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 13, 2011 - Comments (3)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Horror, Toys, Books

Weird Science – Watch and Learn

Outside it is not much to look at, little more than a discoloured rock dredged up from the sea floor. But an x-ray scan of the object, actually a pocket watch recovered from a 17th century shipwreck, has revealed that the internal mechanism has been perfectly preserved. The computer aided tomography system used was sensitive enough to pick out the tiniest details, included the engraved name of the master watchmaker, one Niccholas Higginson of Westminster, London (Gizmodo).

As if more proof were needed that they don’t build them like they used to, a UK group has started collecting donations to build the first fully working version of Babbage’s “Analytical Engine”. The original design, dating from 1837, was never completed, possibly due to a combination of the strict engineering tolerances needed and Babbage’s notoriously prickly temperament. If the final machine works as advertised, it will be very strong confirmation of the claim that Babbage designed the first general purpose, programmable computer (BBC News).

Meanwhile, in Slovenia, Borut Povse and his team are busy teaching a modern descendant of Babbage’s design to hit people. Somehow Povse has convinced six volunteers to let an industrial robot hit them on the arm with various sharp or blunt implements in an effort to determine how much pain each blow causes. Obviously this has a beneficial use in that robots can be programmed not to exceed certain levels of force near a human obstacle, but will also be of immense interest to the machines during any future robot uprising (New Scientist).

Another robot out to supplant humans is HRP-4, a gynoid (female android), that has learnt to sing by copying the inflection and expressions of a human performer, right down to the breathing. The hope is to make robots behave in a more convincingly natural way, and so overcome the so called ‘uncanny valley’. From the video, it looks like they’ve still got a way to go (Daily Mail).

More in extended >>

Posted By: Dumbfounded - Fri Oct 22, 2010 - Comments (5)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Charities and Philanthropy, Futurism, History, Archaeology, Injuries, NGOs, Robots, Science, Technology

What’s The Loss Of Your Hair Worth?

When I saw the words 'hair insurance', I thought "What a great idea! Finally people who suffer from any type of genetic baldness can relax." So I was disappointed when I followed the link and read the article. Turns out it's not some fabulous hair loss coverage plan. Instead, Troy Polamalu (who plays Football for the Pittsburgh Steelers) has gotten his long, flowing locks insured for one million dollars. The insurance is covered by Lloyd's of London and was purchased by shampoo brand Head and Shoulders. You can read more about it here.

Posted By: Nethie - Thu Oct 07, 2010 - Comments (5)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Body, Eccentrics, Sports, Hair Styling

Chatanooga Hookers Meet Rival Team!

Longtime WU-vies will certainly recall the legendary ugliness of the Chatanooga Hookers. Well, Chuck Shepherd's home state of Florida now puts in a rival bid.

See article and larger photos here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 23, 2010 - Comments (25)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Regionalism

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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.

Chuck Shepherd
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

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

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