Category:
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

The toenails of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy

Victor Emmanuel II, who was king of Italy from 1861 to 1878, had a strange habit which isn't recorded on his wikipedia page.

Each year he would let the nail of his big toe grow. Then he would cut the nail off and have a jeweler polish it and frame it in gold. The king would then present this oddity to his mistress (and eventual wife), the Countess Rosa Mirafiori. She eventually accumulated fifteen royal toenails.

I assume these royal toenails must be preserved in a museum somewhere. But if so, I haven't been able to track down where. Nor can I find any pictures of them.

Unless, of course, the story is an urban legend. The lack of good sources does make me a bit suspicious.

Chicago Tribune - Mar 26, 1961



Nebraska Advertiser - May 15, 1896

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 27, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Royalty, Nineteenth Century, Feet

S.S.S. Tonic

Created by Charles Swift, this patent medicine is still for sale today. (Two separate links in that last sentence, if you're interested in following them!) And yet for some reason they make no claim about "purifying and invigorating polluted blood" or "inherited taints."




Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 15, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century

Cottolene

As the Wikipedia page tells us:


Cottolene was a brand of shortening made of beef suet and cottonseed oil









Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 07, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Food, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, Nausea, Revulsion and Disgust

Chief Long Hair

The modern-day Vietnamese man named Tran Van Hay reputedly had hair "over 22 feet long."



Other modern record-holders are in the 18-ft range.

But they can't hold a patch to Chief Long Hair of the Crows.

Itchuuwaaóoshbishish/Red Plume (Feather) At The Temple (born ca. 1750, died in 1836) A Mountain Crow leader during fur trade days and signer of the 1825 Friendship Treaty. Traders and trappers called him Long Hair because of his extraordinarily long hair, approximately 25 feet long. At his death, his hair was cut off and maintained by Tribal leaders.


Now because Long Hair lived before photography, there is no visual record of this. However! Supposedly his tresses are part of the exhibit at Chief Plenty Coups State Park in Montana. (Plenty Coups was a descendant of Long Hair.)



Source of quote.

If any WU-vie is passing by the museum, perhaps he or she can confirm!

Here's a photo of another Crow tribe-member named "Curley."



Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 30, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Human Marvels, World Records, Eighteenth Century, Nineteenth Century, Hair and Hairstyling, Native Americans

Occupation: Woman

The year 1850 was also a time when one large life insurance company's records showed its first policy issued to a female, reports the American Council of Life Insurance. She was one Caroline Ingraham, 36, of Madison, N.J. The policy register of November 19th, which contains the entry of Miss Ingraham's policy, lists her occupation as "Woman."

Dixon Evening Telegraph - Nov 19, 1976

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jul 18, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, Gender, Women, Nineteenth Century

Human-Powered Flight

"Vélocipède aérien," proposed by Jean Jacques Bourcart, Paris, August, 1866



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jul 11, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Death, Flight, Technology, Nineteenth 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, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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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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