Weird Universe Archive

September 2021

September 15, 2021

Gee Geronimo the Snail

I'm not aware of many famous snails. Gee Geronimo, as far as I know, may be the only one. Back in the 1970s, the Guinness Book of Records declared him to be the world's biggest snail. His owner was Christopher Hudson. Gee Geronimo died in 1976.

Christopher Hudson with Gee Geronimo
source: 1978 Guinness Book of Records



Connellsville Daily Courier - Nov 27, 1976



Hudson was apparently more in love with his snails than he was with his wife.

Honolulu Advertiser - Feb 4, 1977

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 15, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals, World Records, Marriage, 1970s

Two Milk Trucks



Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 15, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Motor Vehicles, Advertising, Twentieth Century

September 14, 2021

Miss Gum Spirits of Turpentine

According to the archives of the American Turpentine Farmers Association, the first 'Miss Gum Spirits of Turpentine' was crowned in 1940 at the ATFA annual convention.

New Miss Gum Spirits of Turpentine continued to be crowned for over half a century. I'm not sure exactly when the contest ended (I'm assuming it has because I can't find any info about recent winners), but it continued at least into the 1990s.

The Georgia Museum of Agriculture reports that it has a traveling exhibit of portraits of the Miss Gum Spirits of Turpentine winners dating from 1946 to 1961. They have a brief slideshow on their Facebook page with some of these pictures (they're the color ones below). And I've added photos of a few other winners.

"Miss Gum Spirits of Turpentine Winners," Undated
source: American Turpentine Farmers Association



Miss Gum Spirits of 1946
The Columbia Record - Apr 20, 1946



Miss Gum Spirits of 1951
image source: Walter J. Brown Media Archives Blog



Miss Gum Spirits of 1956



Miss Gum Spirits of 1959



Miss Gum Spirits of 1961



Miss Gum Spirits of 1967
The Tampa Tribune - Apr 21, 1967



Miss Gum Spirits of 1976
Tallahassee Democrat - Sep 15, 1976

Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 14, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests

The Perma-Lift Line of Undergarments

I'm surprised no one has revived this trade name.









Posted By: Paul - Tue Sep 14, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Advertising, Underwear, Twentieth Century

September 13, 2021

Aluminum Al

In 1952, scientists at the General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady created the aluminum version of a Chia Pet. They called him "Aluminum Al".

Source: Google Arts and Culture



Science has not yet discovered how to grow hair on a billiard ball, but chemists in the General Electric Research Laboratory here can grow a handsome head of "hair" of a beard on "Aluminum Al," who is nothing more than a sheet of pure aluminum cut out in the shape of a mans head. As shown above, "Al" in a few minutes time can go from complete baldness through the tomahawk-type haircut to the tonsorially-respendent "Mr. Esquire hairdo. Amusing though he is, "Al's" purpose is a serious one of helping provide a better understanding of the most effective ways of using aluminum, which is replacing copper in many critical applications. According to GE scientist, aluminum could be not be used were it not obliging enough to furnish its own protective coating, a thin film of aluminum oxide, when cut. The film keeps air away and prevents further oxidation. "Al" demonstrates a condition under which this does not occur. When his surface is scratch under mercury, the film does not form. Instead the oxide sprouts out along the scratches is an uncontrolled, hair-like growth. Prof. J. H. Hildenbrand, University of California, is credited with the idea of first trying the oxidation principle on a cut-out head.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 13, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Science, 1950s, Hair and Hairstyling

Ameta

I like the tornado effect towards the end.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 13, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Entertainment, Dance, Special Effects, 1900s

September 12, 2021

Pierre Cardin’s Moon Dress

Pierre Cardin unveiled this dress in August 1969, immediately following the first moon landing.

It doesn't seem like it would have been possible to sit down while wearing it.

Central New Jersey Home News - Aug 31, 1969

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 12, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Fashion, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, 1960s

Follies of the Madmen #515

Either an eensy-teensy chopping block and cleaver, or a very large can of tuna.



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 12, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Enlargements, Miniatures, and Other Matters of Scale, Food, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1960s

September 11, 2021

Grant’s Negative Incentives

As Grants department store lurched towards bankruptcy in the mid 1970s, its senior management instituted a program to motivate store managers to meet sales goals — with a particular emphasis on trying to get more customers to sign up for credit accounts. This program involved using "negative incentives," which was a euphemism for publicly humiliating managers whose employees didn't meet sales goals. Details from Leadership Theories and Case Studies by Garry Wade McGiboney:

The employee motivation plan was labeled the "Steak and Beans" incentive program. It focused on motivating store managers to meet their sales and credit quotas each month. However, it was based on negative incentives instead of positive motivation. Managers that did not meet their sales and credit quotas received a visit from a regional manager who would gather all of the store employees together and in front of them slam a pie in the face of the store manager for his failure to meet quotas. Other negative incentives included cutting the underperforming store manager's tie in half, requiring managers to push peanuts with their nose across a table, and making managers run backward around the store...

Stories of the company's focus on outrageously negative motivation seemed exaggerated, but court documents from bankruptcy hearings confirmed the stories. At the time, W.T. Grant's bankruptcy was the second largest in business history...

The negative motivation led to store managers threatening and intimidating their store employees to the point that they were giving credit to almost every customer without any effort to discern if the customer had the means to pay the credit card bill. This negative-based practice spiraled out of control and eventually put the company in debt of over $200 million in unsecured credit.



According to newspaper reports from the time, one store manager was forced to walk around a hotel lobby dressed only in a diaper. Another was thrown into a blow-up swimming pool full of ice.

And sometimes these humiliations were forced upon store managers even if their employees met sales goals, because the company executives "believed it would somehow motivate employees if they saw the boss suffer some indignities." So really, whatever the managers did, they were going to be humiliated.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 11, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, 1970s

USA-Issued “Explosives and Blasting Procedure Manual”

Despite a Federal history of discouraging DIY explosives handbooks, the OFFICE of SURFACE MINING RECLAMATION and ENFORCEMENT is happy to host their own explosives guidebook online.

Read it here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 11, 2021 - Comments (6)
Category: Explosives, Government, Hobbies and DIY, Industry, Factories and Manufacturing

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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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