Algie R. Crook (or "Alja" Crook, as his name was sometimes spelled) was a professor of mineralogy at Chicago's Northwestern University. His great claim to fame, however, had nothing to do with science. Instead, it was that in April, 1901 he allegedly told his undergraduate class that he had never kissed a woman. More specifically, he reportedly said, "I have never uttered a profane word, never have smoked or chewed tobacco, drank intoxicants, nor hugged or kissed a woman."
Given that he was thirty-seven years old at the time, this was considered a remarkable admission. So remarkable that when word of it leaked to the press it became international news.
Great Falls Tribune - May 15, 1901
The media started referring to him as "Crook, The Unkissed." Acquaintances of Crook (or people who claimed to be his acquaintances) readily confirmed the tale, attributing his lack of kisses to his embrace of "austere science." One said, "the scientific atmosphere is inimical to the love germ."
Offers of marriage flooded in, from women hoping to be the one to thaw the professor's icy reserve.
Philadelphia Times - Apr 28, 1901
The French were particularly taken with the story. As reported in the Leavenworth Times
(May 8, 1901):
Leading [French] novelists and scientists have been interviewed. Some pronounce the Chicago instructor an "idiot" and a "monster," but a powerful clan uphold his theory that love for woman, even love of the ideal type, seriously impedes a man who would be great and learned.
Supposedly the news even reached as far as China where the dowager empress expressed a desire to see him.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Apr 27, 1901
Crook, for his part, was said to be "abashed and humiliated over the gossip the affair has provoked," and also furious at the "tattling undergraduates."
He issued a denial of the allegation, stating, "I have never told any one that I have refrained from hugging or kissing women, for the reason that I consider it nobody's business but my own."
He recalled having advised a student to do as he did — never to kiss, hug, swear, and so forth. And he figured that's how the story must have started. But he insisted that he hadn't said that he had never done these things at all.
However, it was too late. The story was out there and couldn't be taken back. His denial got buried in the back pages of newspapers, if it was printed at all.
In other interviews, Crook asserted that he had kissed female family members, which didn't help his case much since it implied that he had indeed never romantically kissed a woman. Also, a former student recalled that Crook had made similar claims before, noting, "He is a consistent Methodist, and his convictions sometimes cause him some trouble." So I kind of suspect that Crook really did make the no-kissing claim to his class, but denied it later out of embarrassment.
Whatever the case may have been, the tale continued to haunt him. The following year (1902) a group of students at Northwestern formed an "Anti-osculation Society," claiming that they were "following the teachings of Professor Algie R. Crook, the man who never was kissed." They elected him an honorary member.
In 1904 Crook got married, and inevitably this triggered a renewal of the no-kissing story. "Unkissed Man To Wed," reported the papers.
The Hutchinson News - Dec 28, 1904
Crook and his wife eventually had five children together. He died in 1930, at the age of sixty-six, and the kissing story resurfaced in his Chicago Tribune
obituary (June 1, 1930). It was, after all, the achievement he was most famous for:
In 1901 he won fame by being credited with having declared he was never kissed. He denied he had made the assertion after it roused world wide comment.
However, the memorial of him in the Journal of the Mineralogical Society of America
omitted the kissing story. Nor is it mentioned on the wikipedia page about him
Henry Perky invented shredded wheat. His son, Scott, was also an inventor, though not as famous. He invented and patented a bi-directional, symmetrical font
which could be read from left-to-right or right-to-left.
Perky's idea was that this would allow one to read a line of text from left to right, and then read the next line right to left, without having to move the eye back to the beginning of the line. This, he claimed, would reduce "brain fag":
The invention consists in certain means of printing alternate lines, whereby the reading can be done from left to right and from right to left in a continuous manner, and the skipping from the end of one line to the opposite end of the next is avoided.
Randy Ludacer of Beach Packaging Design
It is hardly necessary to allude to the strain upon the eyes and brain, which results from much reading. To students, researchers and others whose lives are cast among books, any device which promises to facilitate reading in such wise as to lessen fatigue of the optical tract, and consequent headache and brain fag, will appear of unusual importance.
took the time to set the first three lines of Perky's patent
in the bi-directional font, so you can experience what it would be like to read it:
Humans have invented mechanical devices, such as bicycles, that allow us to move faster by amplifying the power of our limbs. Madeleine Ravier of Paris argued that what works for people should also work for animals. So she invented and, in 1907, patented a "Cycles pour animaux," or 'bicycle for animals'.
is in French, but the automatic translation is fairly comprehensible
. Here's part of it.
Man has understood the vital interest he had in developing the means to go fast, long and far; for this purpose, he enslaved animals to his use, he acquired science, in particular mechanical science, and he used it to employ at his pleasure, or almost, some of the different forms of energy , like heat, electricity, chemical affinity.
Quite recently (less than 50 years ago), understanding the imperfection of his own limbs, he endowed them with mobile mechanisms, he put cycles, devices formed of 2 or 3 wheels between the legs. and of a few light and simple organs, with which he has prodigiously increased the extent of his movements without the help of external energy.
He thus achieved 370 kilometers in 12 hours (cyclist Cadolle), and even 45,764 kilometers (record of cyclist Bouhours), while excellent athletes, on their limbs, did not achieve, at most, at the same time of 12 hours than the already very high distances of 113 kilometers (walker 5o Hibbird) or ikh kilometers (rowell runner)....
What man did for himself he can do it for animals, or at least for some of them; There is a way to increase the efficiency of their limbs by the intercalation, between these limbs and the field of motion, of mechanical devices receiving the reciprocating motion of the limbs, transforming it into continuous rotary motion, and ending in rotating parts; and the result obtained can be used to make animals move man faster and farther than has hitherto been done by using them.
Ravier imagined making bicycles for all kinds of animals including "mules, donkeys, elephants, camels, dromedaries, etc.". But she started with a bicycle for horses, as shown below.
I have no idea if she ever built and tested one of these horse bicycles. The language barrier makes researching this a challenge.
A "remedy for obesity" marketed circa 1906. It supposedly was made from the "Rengo fruit". In Nostrums and Quackery
(1912) the American Medical Association offered this analysis:
Rengo used to be known as "Rengo Fruit" and the claim was made that its active constituents were derived from a luscious tropical fruit which grows in clusters similar to grapes...
Rengo has been analyzed and, according to Dr. Kebler's analysis, contains: Thyroid gland, Poke root, Cascara, Cassia fistula.
That the prolonged administration of thyroid gland will sometimes bring about a marked reduction in weight is true but its use even under skilled medical supervision is fraught with danger. It is little less than criminal that ignorant quacks of Kellogg's type should be permitted to distribute indiscriminately drugs that have the potency for harm that is possessed by the thyroid preparations.
He's three-months dead but still looking good, thanks to Bisga embalming fluid!
The ad ran in funeral trade magazines such as The Sunnyside
, circa 1902 and 1903.
source: cult of weird
The historian Jani Scandura offers some commentary about the ad in her article "Deadly Professions: 'Dracula,' Undertakers, and the Embalmed Corpse".
A 1902 advertisement for Bisga embalming fluid finally reveals what is at stake in embalming. The advertisement portrays a perfectly preserved corpse, embalmed three months previously, fully dressed in business attire, seated, and holding a newspaper. At first glance, the advertisement seems to suggest that through embalming one can retain one's middle-class appearance, and thereby the status achieved in life in the grave. Certainly, this was a perception that circulated in mass culture...
But in appearing to reaffirm middle-class markings through embalming, the Bisga advertisement reveals a more ominous truth: because of the laws regulating the use of corpses, the apparent gentleman's body most certainly belonged to an individual who had been destitute. He simply was remade to appear middle class.