Weird Universe Blog — May 1, 2021

Work continues during gas attack

"So business will not be interrupted if enemy airplanes should loose gas bombs on Rome before quitting time, a new transparent gas mask that enables a typist to see clearly while enjoying protection from noxious fumes has been introduced into the war-minded Italian capital."

Elmira Star-Gazette - Feb 4, 1935

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 01, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: War | 1930s

April 30, 2021

Mail-Delivering Cats

1879: Reports reached America of experiments conducted in the city of Liege, Belgium to determine if cats could be used to deliver mail. Three dozen cats were said to have been placed in bags and then taken several miles out of the city. They were then released, after a message had been tied to each one. The cats reportedly made it back to their homes in Liege before the humans did.

Plans were said to be in the works "to establish a regular system of cat communication between Liege and the neighboring villages".

Lancaster Intelligencer Journal - Mar 26, 1879

The Chicago Inter Ocean - Oct 28, 1879

Posted By: Alex - Fri Apr 30, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Cats | Nineteenth Century | Postal Services

“Dumbbell Lethal”

Source: The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington) 25 Jun 1960, Sat Page 19

Posted By: Paul - Fri Apr 30, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Accidents | Death | Hollywood | 1960s

April 29, 2021

A-Bomb Detergent

Wash away radioactive particles with Flobar!

Life - Nov 20, 1950

This ad later made its way into a 1982 piece by artist Winston Smith.

Trust Your Mechanic

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 29, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Advertising | Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters | Baths, Showers and Other Cleansing Methods | 1950s

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 34

Walter Quirt (1902–1968), "The Future Is Ours" (1935)

Posted By: Paul - Thu Apr 29, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Art | Surrealism | 1930s

April 28, 2021

The Crash at Crush

Sep 15, 1896: Over 30,000 spectators watched as two locomotives were deliberately collided head-on. The event was a publicity stunt staged in Texas, about midway between Waco and Hillsboro. It was named the "Crash at Crush" after the railroad agent William George Crush, who had dreamed up the spectacle.

The event didn't exactly go as planned. The boilers of the locomotives exploded upon impact, despite the earlier assurances of engineers that this wouldn't happen, sending shrapnel into the crowd. Several were killed. Many more were injured. According to

The [railroad] did have some claims by irate relatives of the victims, but refunds, cash payments and lifetime passes took care of them. A lifetime railroad pass in the 1890s was like winning the lottery.

There's now a historical marker at the site of the collision.

More info: Farm Collector

source: Baylor University

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 28, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Disasters | Nineteenth Century | Trains

Owney, the Taxidermy Post Office Dog

Mail clerks raised money for preserving their mascot and he was taken to the Post Office Department's headquarters in Washington, DC, where he was on placed on display for the public. In 1904 the Department added Owney to their display at the St. Louis, Missouri, World’s Fair. In 1911, the department transferred Owney to the Smithsonian Institution. In 1926, the Institution allowed Owney to travel to the Post Office Department’s exhibit at the Sesquicentennial exhibit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 1964-1992, he was displayed at the Smithsonian museum now known as the National Museum of American History and in 1993 he moved to the new National Postal Museum, where he remains on display next to a fabricated Railway Post Office train car.


Posted By: Paul - Wed Apr 28, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Travel | Trains and Other Vehicles on Rails | Dogs | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century | Postal Services

April 27, 2021

Little Mr. Tritium

The Japanese government recently created an animated character that definitely belongs in our ongoing series of strange spokesbeings. It was a "cute fish-like creature with rosy cheeks" that was intended to represent a radioactive hydrogen isotope. The government was hoping that this creature would help gain public support for its plan of releasing contaminated water from Fukushima into the sea.

While the government didn't give this creature a name, people have been calling it "Little Mr. Tritium".

More info: The Guardian

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 27, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Government | Corporate Mascots, Icons and Spokesbeings | Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters

Jiminy Cricket’s Safety Songs

The first song from the album is in the video, but the entire album is here for your listening pleasure.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 27, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Death | Insects | Movies | Music | PSA’s | Children | 1950s

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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