Category:
Buildings and Other Structures

The Total Environment Room

In 1963, GE engineer John L. Matrone came up with the idea of creating a "total environment" room. It would be capable of creating any environment (the deck of an ocean liner, a beach in Hawaii, a rainforest in Tasmania) inside your own home.

Components for the fun room have long been on GE drawing boards.
The space would be 20 feet by 10 feet, with approximately 10 feet of overhead to contain a special piston arrangement and an "atmospheric preparation tank" for creating the real atmosphere of the desire scene.
(You could easily make it snow, said Matrone, but the problem would be "shoveling" all that stuff out afterward.)
One of the room's walls would be arced in 180 degrees for 3-D and motion location scenes.

I don't believe a "total environment" room was ever built, but it sounds quite a bit like the Holodeck in Star Trek (minus the holograms).

The Shreveport Times - Nov 3, 1963



The Shreveport Times - Nov 3, 1963



The Lincoln Star - Nov 3, 1963

Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 11, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Inventions, 1960s

Manure Glass

1973 saw the debut of Envirite (aka Glass-Dung, Manure Glass, or Pasture Glass), a promised-to-be revolutionary building material made out of glass and cow manure.

It actually seems like it was a pretty good idea. The concept was that you could take old glass bottles, combine them with cow manure, heat both together in a furnace, and the manure would act as a foaming agent fusing the glass together into a versatile building material. So you'd be repurposing two waste products (old glass and manure) into something useful.

The problem, it seems, was actually getting architects and builders to use the stuff. I found a 1990 article that credited the "inherent conservatism of the building industry" with denying us our glass-manure houses.

Somewhere in here there's a joke about what people who live in glass-manure houses shouldn't do.

Lansing State Journal - July 25, 1973



Los Angeles Times - Aug 23, 1973



The Alexandria Town Talk - July 26, 1973

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 22, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, 1970s

Yuma Swastika Bridge

I spent New Year's Day in Yuma, Arizona, where I had a chance to see a local oddity — the Swastika Bridge, which can be found out in the desert just north of the city.

According to local legend, the swastikas were carved into the bridge by German POWs held nearby during WWII. Another story has it that the bridge was designed by the Nazis and shipped to Arizona from Germany.

The reality is that the bridge was built in 1907 by the U.S. Reclamation Service. The engineers decorated it with swastikas after seeing similarly designed and decorated bridges during a trip to India.

The bridge was part of the larger effort to dam the Colorado River and create an agricultural oasis around Yuma.

More info at the Yuma Sun or smoter.com.

And you can find a lot of other examples of the pre-Nazi use of swastikas in American culture at the American Swastika blog.



Posted By: Alex - Sat Jan 07, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Evil, Signage

Mystery Illustration 33

image

Was this structure ever built? And if so, what was its purpose?

The answer is here.


And after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 21, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, 1950s

Moonlight Towers



The antique form of streetlights called "moonlight towers" exists today only in Austin, Texas, as seen above in a picture taken from this fine post. There's something pretty science-fictional or steampunk about them, especially in a vintage picture as seen here.

In some other timeline, moonlight towers dot the nation in the year 2016.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 11, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Technology, Urban Life, Nineteenth Century

The Bone House


What to do when you run out of room in the local grave yard? In Hallstatt, Austria they built a Bone House with the remains. It no longer gets new additions but many of the skulls in there already have their names on them. RIP

Posted By: patty - Mon Jul 25, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Skulls, Bones and Skeletons

Lived in a box

Joseph Porcos of Chicago lived in a box. In hindsight, perhaps he could be seen as a pioneer of the tiny home movement.

The Columbus Republic - Jan 24, 1957

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 10, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Bums, Hobos, Tramps, Beggars, Panhandlers and Other Streetpeople, 1950s

Home Sweet Home


So making homes out of shipping containers is a thing. It is kind of similar to modular homes that are usually installed on a slab. Some of the ones featured above are very nice, impressive even. Reuse, renew, recycle in action. Also a cool idea.

Posted By: patty - Sun Apr 03, 2016 - Comments (8)
Category: Architecture, Buildings and Other Structures

Gingerbread Overlook Hotel

image
The Overlook Hotel was the hotel in the movie The Shining. Check out the very cool gingerbread version above, more pictures at the link.

Posted By: patty - Fri Dec 25, 2015 - Comments (5)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Food, Holidays, Horror

Car Vending Machine


Thousands of dollars to buy a car, hundreds more to travel to the location, picking up your new car from a vending machine priceless.

Posted By: patty - Sat Nov 14, 2015 - Comments (8)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Retailing, Transportation

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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 books such as Elephants on Acid.

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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.

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