Category:
1900s

Rat-Killing Lessons, 1907

Back in the day, students were taught the important subjects at school, such as how to kill rats. Here's a description of rat-killing lessons at the Farm and Trade School on Thompson's Island, circa 1907. From Rats and Rat Riddance (1914), by Edward Howe Forbrush:

At the Farm and Trade School on Thompson's Island, where the boy pupils are taught to kill rats, as all boys should be, there is a henhouse built with a cement foundation, but it has an earth floor and no foundation wall on the south side; therefore it is not rat-proof. The wooden floor of the main house is raised about three feet above the earth, leaving a space below it for a shelter for geese. Here the rats have burrowed in the earth, and as it was considered unsafe to use carbon bisulphide there on account of the fire danger, water was suggested. Two lines of common garden hose were attached to a near-by hydrant, the ends inserted into rat holes and the water turned on. All rat holes leading from the henpens to the outer world were closed with earth, and several boys were provided with sticks, to the end of each of which a piece of hose two feet long had been attached. A fox terrier was introduced into the henpens, and in about half an hour the rat war began. As the half-drowned rats came out of their holes somewhat dazed they were struck by side swings of the hose sticks, which knocked them off their feet, to be killed by other blows. If one escaped into the henpens, boy or dog killed it. This operation was repeated later from time to time. Four successive battles several weeks apart yielded 152 rats from under and about this henhouse, and no doubt many young rats were drowned in their nests. Where no high-pressure water main is available burrows on the banks of pond, river or ocean might be cleared in this way by means of a powerful sewer pump and hose.

The pictures show the schoolboys showing off their kill, as well as the rats strung up.



Posted By: Alex - Mon Dec 31, 2012 - Comments (6)
Category: Animals, School, 1900s

Dying pigs’ squeal used to sell pianos

Found in Popular Mechanics, October 1907:

It has long been the boast of the Chicago packing houses, that in killing hogs everything is utilized — except the squeal. The squeal has now been turned to account in this way:

An ingenious piano salesman travels through the country, taking several instruments with him. To draw a crowd he gives a free evening entertainment with a moving picture machine. Between each series of views he demonstrates on the pianos. One of his pictures shows the progress of events at a packing house. To make the scenes in the killing room realistic he visited the plant and secured some phonograph records of the porkers as they let out some vigorous remarks. Now when the moving picture reaches the pig sticking act, he turns on his phonograph and his visitors can see and hear just as if they were actually present at the original scene of operations.


I wonder how many pianos he sold using this method.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Dec 23, 2012 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Music, Advertising, 1900s

Prince Ranjit, King of Curry

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Even in this current age of celebrity chefs, no one has thought to impersonate a foreign Rajah in order to attract publicity for his restaurant, like "Prince Ranjit" did a century ago.

Full story here.

Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Dec 07, 2012 - Comments (3)
Category: Eccentrics, Food, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, Restaurants, 1900s, India

Edgar Larkin

I'm always fascinated by scientists who are also bonkers about the supernatural. Even Isaac Newton dabbled in the occult, which was more understandable for his era.

But here's a twentieth-century fellow who led such a double life: Edgar Lucien Larkin.

I'm sure you will want to read all 366 pages of his masterwork to be found here.

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Posted By: Paul - Mon Dec 03, 2012 - Comments (4)
Category: Eccentrics, New Age, Religion, Rituals and Superstitions, Science, 1900s

Swastika Clown Puzzle

This puzzle appeared in The Strand magazine, December 1903, demonstrating that swastikas and clowns had an affinity for one another even before the Nazis came along. (Technically it's a Sauwastika Clown Puzzle, not a Swastika one.) The answer is below in extended.



More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 21, 2012 - Comments (9)
Category: Clowns, Evil, Quizzes, 1900s

Follies of the Mad Men #193

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I just don't know... That lion looks pretty forbidding to me, for a suitable company mascot, as if he's saying, "Yeah, pal, just try to take my caffeine fix away from me!"

And won't the creatures of Narnia complain that we're using Aslan as a shill?

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Nov 18, 2012 - Comments (11)
Category: Animals, Business, Advertising, Products, Food, 1900s

Noah’s Ark Found—in Alaska!

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The supposed remnants of Noah's ark have been "discovered" in a wide range of places.

But this 1902 discovery in Rampart, Alaska, on the Porcupine River, seems totally forgotten now.

I wonder if a followup expedition ever was mounted...?

Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 13, 2012 - Comments (10)
Category: Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Regionalism, Religion, Unsolved Mysteries, Myths and Fairytales, 1900s, North America, Native Americans

Mrs. Jones’ Flesh Grower

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Who knew bioengineering and stem cells were in use so long ago?

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Oct 10, 2012 - Comments (7)
Category: Body, Bodybuilding, Body Modifications, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Self-help Schemes, 1900s

Follies of the Mad Men #187

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If Zu Zu were witnessed offering cookies to a child today, he'd be in the sniperscopes of a SWAT team's rifles faster than a cocaine-covered bank robber.

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 03, 2012 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Clowns, Food, 1900s

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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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