Category:
Nineteenth Century

Victorian Lady in Her Boudoir



Oldest striptease on film?

Posted By: Paul - Sat Mar 30, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Fashion, Movies, Sexuality, Sex Symbols, Nineteenth Century

Stedman Whitwell’s Rational System of Nomenclature

Back in the 19th century, English architect Stedman Whitwell decided that there must be a way to name cities and towns that could not only provide a unique name but also convey geographic information. His idea, as described by George Browning Lockwood in The New Harmony Communities (1902):

Whitwell noted some of the incongruities in American nomenclature, and deplored the repetition which was producing “Washingtons” and “Springfields” in every state in the Union. He proposed to give each locality a distinctive name by expressing in a compound word the latitude and longitude of the place, thus enabling one to locate any community geographically when the name was once known. Letters were proposed as substitutes for the numerals used in expressing latitude and longitude, as follows:



The first part of the town name expressed the latitude, the second the longitude, by a substitution of letters for figures according to the above table. The letter “S” inserted in the latitude name denoted that it was south latitude, its absence that it was north, while “V” indicated west longitude, its absence east longitude.

Extensive rules for pronunciation and for overcoming various difficulties were given. According to this system, Feiba Peveli indicated 38.11 N., 81.53 W. Macluria, 38.12 N., 87.52 W., was to be called Ipad Evenle; New Harmony, 38.11 N., 87.55 W., Ipba Veinul; New Yellow Springs, Green county, Ohio, the location of an Owenite community, 39.48 N., 83.52 W., Irap Evifle; Valley Forge, near Philadelphia, where there was another branch community, 40.7 N., 75.25 W., Outeon Eveldo; Orbiston, 55.34 N., 4.3 W., Uhi Ovouti; New York, Otke Notive; Pittsburg, Otfu Veitoup; Washington, Feili Neivul; London, Lafa Vovutu.

The principal argument in favor of the new system presented by the author was that the name of a neighboring Indian chief, “Occoneocoglecococachecachecodungo,” was even worse than some of the effects produced by this “rational system” of nomenclature.


I think the chart above is slightly misleading, as it implies that the top line is for latitude and the bottom for longitude. But if you look at the names Whitwell was coming up with, it's clear that this wasn't the case. It seems, instead, that one had to choose whether to start the name with a vowel (top line) or consonant (bottom line).

If I've understood his system correctly, then the 'rational' name for San Diego (32.71 N, 117.16 W) could be Fena Baveeby. And Los Angeles (34.05 N, 118.24 W) could be Fotu Avapek.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 20, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Geography and Maps, Odd Names, Nineteenth Century

Hostetter’s Bitters





Hostetter's "Celebrated" Bitters was a nostrum developed by Dr. Jacob Hostetter of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His son, David Hostetter, put the formula into large scale production in 1853 and it soon became a national best-seller. During the Civil War, Dr. J. Hostetter's Stomach Bitters was sold to soldiers as "a positive protective against the fatal maladies of the Southern swamps, and the poisonous tendency of the impure rivers and bayous." The original formula was about 47% alcohol -- 94 Proof! The amount of alcohol was so high that it was served in Alaskan saloons by the glass. Hostetter sweetened the alcohol with sugar to which he added a few aromatic oils (anise, coriander, etc.) and vegetable bitters (cinchona, gentian, etc.) to give it a medicinal flavor. From 1954 to 1958, when it was no longer marketed, the product was known as Hostetter Tonic.


More info here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 21, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Antiques, Anachronisms and Throwbacks, Advertising, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, Alcohol

Frozen Sections of a Child

Back in 1881, Dr. Thomas Dwight of Harvard Medical School authored Frozen Sections of a Child, which sounds like the kind of book one might find in the library of a serial killer. As the title indicated, the book consisted of anatomical illustrations of frozen cross-sections of a three-year-old child.

In the preface, Dwight helpfully included advice for those readers who might want to create their own frozen sections of a child:

My experience with frozen sections enables me to offer the following directions for making them. First, be very sure that the body, or part, to be frozen is in precisely the position you desire, and that there are no folds or indentations in the skin. I always use natural cold when possible. Weather much about zero (Fahrenheit) is unsatisfactory; but if the part is thoroughly chilled by several days' exposure to a pretty low temperature, a night of 10° may possibly finish it. Salt and ice, or snow, no doubt, will answer the purpose, but much time and patience are required. It is essential that the melted ice should have a chance to run off. The body should be frozen like a rock—so much so that the operator cannot tell whether he is cutting bone or muscle. Tooth is the only tissue he should be able to recognize. The sections should be made in a cold room, with a very sharp saw that has been chilled. When a section is cut, its surface is obscured by a thick half-frozen saw-dust, which is doubly thick if the freezing is not quite sufficient. It is wisest, if time allows, to remove this at once, which is done by pouring a little hot water over the section and brushing or scraping it off rapidly and carefully. This is a very delicate part of the process, and its successful performance has much to do with the beauty of the specimen. If it is to be kept, it should be laid on a piece of glass or wood, and placed at once, while still frozen, in cold alcohol.

More details: Harvard's Countway Library. You can also read the full book online via Google Books.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 15, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Body, Surgery, Books, Nineteenth Century

The Tree That Owns Itself

Recall those recent legal battles about granting new rights to animals? How about this for a precedent?

From the Wikipedia page:

The Tree That Owns Itself is a white oak tree that has, according to legend, legal ownership of itself and of all land within eight feet (2.4 m) of its base. The tree, also called the Jackson Oak, is located at the corner of South Finley and Dearing Streets in Athens, Georgia, United States. The original tree, thought to have started life between the mid-16th and late 18th century, fell in 1942, but a new tree was grown from one of its acorns, and planted in the same location. The current tree is sometimes referred to as the Son of The Tree That Owns Itself. Both trees have appeared in numerous national publications, and the site is a local landmark.


Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 31, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Law, Nature, Nineteenth Century

The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence



An honest mistaken memory, or a deliberate hoax to cash in on the early glamour of the American Revolution? You decide!

The Wikipedia page.

History Channel account.


The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is a text published in 1819 with the claim that it was the first declaration of independence made in the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution. It was supposedly signed on May 20, 1775, in Charlotte, North Carolina, by a committee of citizens of Mecklenburg County, who declared independence from Great Britain after hearing of the battle of Lexington. If the story is true, the Mecklenburg Declaration preceded the United States Declaration of Independence by more than a year. The authenticity of the Mecklenburg Declaration has been disputed since it was published, forty-four years after it was reputedly written. There is no verifiable evidence to confirm the original document's existence and no reference to it has been found in extant newspapers from 1775.[citation needed]

Professional historians have maintained that the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is an inaccurate rendering of an authentic document known as the Mecklenburg Resolves. The Mecklenburg Resolves were a set of radical resolutions passed on May 31, 1775, that fell short of an actual declaration of independence. Although published in newspapers in 1775, the text of the Mecklenburg Resolves was lost after the American Revolution and not rediscovered until 1838. Historians believe that the Mecklenburg Declaration was written in 1800 in an attempt to recreate the Mecklenburg Resolves from memory. According to this theory, the author of the Mecklenburg Declaration mistakenly believed that the Resolves had been a declaration of independence, and so he recreated the Resolves with language borrowed from the United States Declaration of Independence. Defenders of the Mecklenburg Declaration have argued that both the Mecklenburg Declaration and the Mecklenburg Resolves are authentic.


Posted By: Paul - Sat Jan 12, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Antiques, Anachronisms and Throwbacks, Confusion, Misunderstanding, and Incomprehension, Government, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, Politics, Eighteenth Century, Nineteenth Century

Home for Incurables

As late as 1952, "homes for incurables" were a going concern. Contemporary medicine seems to have abandoned the term "incurable" in favor of others that are perhaps less of a downer.



Source.



Source.



Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 03, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Architecture, Charities and Philanthropy, History, Medicine, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century

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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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