Category:
Nineteenth Century

The Language of Deseret

I was unaware that Brigham Young created a new alphabet for his followers. "However, the alphabet failed to gain wide acceptance and was not actively promoted after 1869."

Here is a page at the official Mormon site that tells of it.



Here is an encyclopedia entry with the full alphabet.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Nov 29, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Eccentrics, Inventions, Languages, Religion, Nineteenth Century

Admiral Cigarettes Film

The cigarette genie appears!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 23, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand, Advertising, Smoking and Tobacco, Nineteenth Century

The Poet Laureate of Dentistry

Note: after preparing this post, I realized that Paul had posted about the same thing two years ago. So consider this a repost.

Soylman Brown (1790-1876) was a Connecticut dentist who achieved prominence in his profession for a number of reasons. According to Wikipedia, he founded the first dental school, the first national dental society, and the first US dental journal. Plus, he became known as the Poet Laureate of Dentistry on account of his fifty-four page poem titled Dentologia - A Poem on Diseases of the Teeth, and Their Proper Remedies. It was published in 1840.



If you've got some time to kill, you can read the entire poem at the Internet Archive. Otherwise, I've sampled a brief part of it below, which should be enough to give you its general tone.

The first dentition asks our earliest care,
For oft, obstructed nature, laboring there,
Demands assistance of experienced art,
And seeks from science her appointed part.
Perhaps ere yet the infant tongue can tell
The seat of anguish that it knows too well,
Some struggling tooth, just bursting into day,
Obtuse and vigorous, urges on its way,
While inflammation, pain, and bitter cries,
And flooding tears, in sad succession rise.

The lancet, then, alone can give relief,
And mitigate the helpless sufferer's grief;
But no unpractised hand should guide the steel
Whose polished point must carry wo or weal:—
With nicest skill the dentist's hand can touch,
And neither wound too little nor too much.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 22, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Poetry, Nineteenth Century, Teeth

Health Jolting Chair

Oliver Halsted was granted a patent for an "exercising machine" in 1844. It was later marketed as the Health Jolting Chair. AKA the "wake-up chair." By pulling the levers on the side, it would bounce up and down. It was said to be a panacea for "dyspepsia, liver complaint, low spirits, general debility, constipation, 'so-called malaria,' jaundice, melancholia, and anemia."

Image source: Natl Lib of Medicine

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 27, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, Health, Inventions, Nineteenth Century

US Fractional Currency, or, Paper Coins

Fractional or postage currency has a rich history. At the beginning of the Civil War people starting hoarding coins for their precious metal content. Coins became difficult to find because of the hoarding. People started to try to use stamps instead of coins as a means of commerce. The government decided to help ease the hoarding issue by issuing “paper coins” also known as postage currency or fractional currency. Fractional currency was first issued on August 21, 1862 and they were last issued on February 15, 1876. Three cents, five cents, ten cents, twenty-five cents, and fifty cents notes were all issued. Fractional currency is physically smaller than other United States money. It also does not have a serial number.


More info here. And lots more pictorial examples.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 25, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Money, Nineteenth Century

The Techno-Chemical Receipt Book



This is one of those volumes you pack away for when civilization collapses, as it give the formulas for making from scratch glass, nitroglycerin, glue, and a thousand other handy things.

Read it here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 13, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Science, Technology, Books, Nineteenth Century

The Right To Be Lazy

Happy Labor Day!

What better way to spend this annual celebration of work than by reading Paul Lafargue's 1883 treatise The Right To Be Lazy, in which he made a case for the virtues of idleness.



Some info about Lafargue and The Right To Be Lazy from RightNow.org:

A lifelong revolutionary, Lafargue was husband to Laura Marx (Karl’s daughter) and friend to Friedrich Engels. He founded the French Workers Party; he was the first socialist elected to a French parliament. He was, in other words, a serious figure, not some louche provocateur or drawing room contrarian, and while there’s an undeniably utopian element to his work, The Right to be Lazy is written as an immediate political intervention, not an exercise in whimsy.

Much of the book consists of a contrast between ideas about work in Lafargue’s day and the very different attitudes held in earlier societies, particularly in classical antiquity. Ancient Greek philosophers regarded work as an activity fit only for slaves. So where others hailed the arrival of modern industry as progress, Lafargue saw regression.

Longtime WU readers might remember that we've posted about Lafargue before. He made headlines back in 1911 for his unique retirement plan, which consisted of divvying up all he had for ten years of good living and then killing himself when the money ran out.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 07, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, Utopias and Dystopias, Books, Nineteenth Century

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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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