Weird Universe Archive

November 2019

November 20, 2019

Anti-Eating Face Mask

Patent No. 4,344,424, granted to Lucy L. Barmby of Sacramento, California in 1982. From the patent description:

a primary object of this invention is to provide a new and novel device for preventing the consumption of food by an individual.

It goes into more detail about who the invention might benefit:

The temptation to eat which leads one to eat excessively is ever present and the ready availability of attractively prepared, taste-tempting foods makes the temptation to eat and therefore to over eat virtually irresistible. Frequently, this temptation is so great that compulsive eating is not uncommon and many persons are virtually without the strength of will to resist overeating. The average person, therefore, does have a problem as to the over consumption of food but, even worse, when certain individuals are exposed to food constantly such as chefs, cooks, restaurant personnel or the like, it is a foregone conclusion that these individuals will consume far more food than is proper particularly when such food is usually readily available at no cost. Typical of such groups of individuals is the housewife who must frequently cook meals during the day which generally includes the preparation of such fattening foods such as pies, pastries, and the like. During the preparation of such meals not only is there the temptation to nibble on the food being prepared but it is generally necessary that the food be tasted during preparation thereby constantly stimulating the appetite and promoting the consumption of large quantities of food.

I'm imagining a husband preparing to go to work and strapping the anti-eating face mask on his wife before he leaves.

But couldn't the wearer just lift the mask off? Nope. It's locked on, though "under emergency conditions, the strap may be cut and the face mask of the invention removed."

Edmonton Journal - Oct 8, 2006

The invention reminds me of the Scold's Bridle, aka 'muzzle for ladies,' that some women were forced to wear back in olden times.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 20, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Inventions, Dieting and Weight Loss

Mystery Illustration 89

What occasion brings all these young lads together?

The answer is here.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 20, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Ceremonies, 1950s

November 19, 2019

The Pedestrian Horn

We've posted before about Los Angeles auto dealer Hilton Tupman who, back in 1948, invented a "pedestrian horn" that he used to honk at motorists.

Great ideas like that tend to get recycled. So, recently artist Yosef Lerner unveiled a pedestrian horn for the 21st century. His intent was satirical. He wanted to make the point that honking at people can be obnoxious, whether you're on foot or in a car. But for a while he was actually offering his pedestrian horn for sale on his website, at $699 each. He decided to stop selling them because (as he told Gizmodo) he didn't want "to contribute to any more noise in this city!”

For the record, Tupman didn't invent the idea of a pedestrian horn. Actress Eleanor Whitney had rigged one up in 1932.

Chambersburg Public Opinion - Apr 9, 1932

And as early as 1927, there's a report in the NY Times about an unnamed man from Southampton, England who had attached a "miniature but noisy motorhorn" to his walking stick and then "sounded warning blasts to the more fortunate ones in automobiles when he was about to cross."

New York Times - Oct 7, 1927

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 19, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Motor Vehicles, Cars, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

The Philco Safari

More info.

More pics.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 19, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Technology, Television, 1950s

November 18, 2019

Weirdo the Cat-Killing Superchicken

Weirdo was a giant among chickens. He weighed a colossal twenty-three pounds — about four times the size of an average rooster. Throughout much of the 1970s and 80s, he was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the heaviest chicken in the world. He was said to have the strength and stamina of an ostrich.

"Grant Sullens holds his prize 23-lb. White Sully rooster. Note the gloves he is wearing for protection. Note also that the photographer stayed on the safe side of the fence." Source: Farm Journal - Nov 1971.

However, Weirdo had a temper and ferocity that matched his size. His violent exploits were legendary. He killed two cats and pecked out the eye of a dog. He routinely tore bits of metal off his feed bucket, demolishing feeders at a rate of one per month. When an ungloved visitor made the mistake of trying to touch him, he removed their fingertip. He shattered the lens of a camera. And, in his crowning achievement, he managed to rip through a wire fence and attacked and killed one of his own sons, an eighteen-pound rooster.

Just as unusual as Weirdo himself was the story of how he came to exist. He was the result of a seven-year chicken-breeding program conducted by a teenage boy, Grant Sullens, of West Point, California. Sullens had decided that he wanted to create a breed of "superchickens," and he actually achieved his goal, succeeding where highly paid poultry researchers had failed.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 18, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Farming, 1970s

Follies of the Madmen #453

The wealthy always employ midgets to help them dress. Seriously, what size is that person standing on the chair? Maybe the gal in undergarments is a giant?


Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 18, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Ambiguity, Uncertainty and Deliberate Obscurity, Business, Advertising, Confusion, Misunderstanding, and Incomprehension, Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough, Surrealism, Underwear, 1940s

November 17, 2019

When the Cook Can’t Look

A cookbook for the blind, written by Ralph Read, and published in 1981.

A sample of some of his tips and techniques, from a review in the Austin American-Statesman (Sep 22, 1980):

Many of his suggestions are common sense. For instance, for liquid measurements, he uses the dipstick method — having an index finger in the right place at the right time. He uses a teaspoon to spread instead of a knife, allowing himself “one finger to check corners.” And he initials canned foods with raised letters from a plastic tape marker and arranges them alphabetically.

You don’t need to alphabetize bags of things, he says, because you can just pinch them. Split peas do not feel like elbow macaroni.

Tactile memory is very important, for things like knowing which end of a milk carton has the spout. Spices don’t need labeling because you can smell them. Smell and hearing are important factors in cooking without sight. They tell you when things are almost done.

He generally cooks slowly to help “prevent things from getting away from me.” Read has no special gadgets for cooking, though he says friends have shown him catalogs with specialty items for the blind. “Ninety-nine percent of that gadgetry is useless — though I’m interested in the fact that Amana has a blind consultant working with them in Dallas to help develop a microwave oven for the blind.”

There are some definite “don’ts,” Read says, such as not using dangerous items such as an electric beater or broiler. You can get the same desired results without unnecessary risk by using a hand beater or pan-broiling a steak.

You can read the entire book at

Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 17, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Food, Cookbooks, Books, Differently Abled, Handicapped, Challenged, and Otherwise Atypical

November 16, 2019

Glue Perfume

Sold by Demeter Fragrances, which specializes in weird perfumes.

Some of their other scents include Condensed Milk, Dirt, Earthworm, Fireplace, Funeral Home, Laundromat, Pizza, Play-Doh, Sawdust, and Stable.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 16, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Perfume and Cologne and Other Scents

Right and Wrong in Fashion

"Street Fashion Critic:" good excuse to ogle women.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Nov 16, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Experts and Authority Figures, Fashion, 1940s

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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 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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