Category:
Nineteenth Century

The Ross Unicycle

The birth of the Monowheel? See videos below.

The patent is here.





From SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN:








Posted By: Paul - Sat Jun 04, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Bicycles and Other Human-powered Vehicles, Inventions, Nineteenth Century

Vinous Rubber Grapes

Vinous Rubber Grapes, patented in 1885, were rubber grapes filled with various types of alcohol (wine, brandy, whisky, etc.). The idea was that they would allow people to drink discreetly even in places where alcohol wasn't served. Or, as the advertising copy put it, the rubber grapes provided "a ready means for a refreshing stimulant whenever needed, without reservation, even in the most criticising surroundings."

Apparently they sold quite well, right up until the passage of the 18th amendent in 1920.

I don't think that anything quite like them can be bought nowadays.



The Topeka Lantern - Feb 19, 1887



The Judge's Library - Apr 1889

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 01, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Patents, Nineteenth Century

Death’s Doings

Next time you need cheering up, have a gander at this jolly volume, available at the Internet Archive.



Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 26, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Books, Nineteenth Century

Mystery Illustration 105

What are these women making?

Answer is here.

Or after the jump.



More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Thu Apr 21, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Industry, Factories and Manufacturing, Nineteenth Century

A New Method for getting Gold from Wheat

In 1884, Harry Fell of South Norwood Park was granted Patent No. 14,204 by the British Patent Office for a "New Method for getting Gold from Wheat". This begs the question, what was the old method of getting gold from wheat?

I haven't been able to find a copy of the patent, since 19th-century British patents (unlike American ones) aren't readily available online. However, the March 5, 1997 issue of Science offered a full transcript of Fell's patent, "including the peculiar use of punctuation marks".

That in the steeping of the mixture of half, measure, 'the whole wheat straw cut info fine square snips the width of the straw and half' the grains in a jar of ordinary cold water "I let the steep remain still for ten hours at a temperature of fifty-nine degrees Fahrenheit varying with temperature, and then straining off the liquor into a shallow pan of some such cool substance as china or earthenware, I leave this liquor to stand in this pan for yet twenty-four hours at sixty degrees also varying with temperature; these durations of times of ten hours and twenty-four hours speaking for a very inferior brown straw much knocked about and the grains those, of a very good quality, of red wheat; and then catch up the skim on a cylinder of some such cool substance as china or earthenware," and then let this skim dry, so getting some results of films of Gold.

The April 24, 1885 issue of The Photographic News offered an easier-to-understand summary of Fell's method:

The material (whole-wheat straw) is steeped in slightly warm water for ten hours, and strained off into a shallow pan; the pan being allowed to stand in a moderately warm place for twenty-four hours, a scum appears on the surface of the liquid, and this is caught on a cylinder of some cool substance, as china or earthenware. "Then let this skim dry," says the alchemist, "so getting some results of films of gold."

Of course, what Fell had failed to mention was that the wheat would first have to be grown in soil containing a lot of gold. Then, yes, I think it would be possible to get gold from wheat using his method. Though it would probably be easier to get it by directly filtering the gold out of the dirt.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Mar 21, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Patents, Nineteenth Century

America’s Fattest Presidents

A 2013 article at this link ranks the weightiest of our leaders. Of course, former-President Trump is not included. This official 2020 health report puts him at 244 pounds, making him, by my calculations, Number Three.

Number Two, Grover Cleveland, tried many times to lose. His personal physician, Dr. John Gibbs, was fond of a new German treatment.





Read more in this book, which is partially available via Google Books.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Mar 19, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Government, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Nineteenth Century, Twenty-first Century, Obesity

Unlikely Reasons for Murder No. 8




Source: NYT for 9/23/1899.




Source: NYT for 1/6/1900.



Source.



Source: Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania)01 May 1900, Tue Page 3

Posted By: Paul - Fri Mar 11, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Crime, Death, Theater and Stage, Women, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century

Druid Priest William Price

Dr. William Price (1800-1893) led a highly eccentric life. Some details from an article about him on bbc.co.uk:

  • He "ate no meat, drank mainly champagne, eschewed the wearing of socks and prescribed a vegetarian diet for his patients instead of medicine."
  • He had a liking for outlandish costume, "notably a fox-skin headdress with the legs and tails hanging down over his shoulders and back."
  • "He became fascinated by the old druidic rites and even held druidic ceremonies at the rocking stone outside Pontypridd."

Price in 1884 wearing his druid attire. Source: MarkBerePeterson.com



However, his main claim to fame is that he helped to bring about the legalization of cremation in Britain.

Supporters of cremation had been trying to get it legalized throughout the nineteenth century. But Price caused the issue to come to a head by burning the body of his five-month-old son, Jesus Christ, on a funeral pyre, after the child had died a natural death. Yes, he had named his son Jesus Christ, or "Iesu Grist" in Welsh.

Price was arrested and charged with the crime of illegal cremation. His eventual acquittal led directly to the passage of the Cremation Act, which made it legal to burn bodies in Britain.

When Price himself died in 1893 he was cremated on a giant funeral pyre as thousands of spectators watched.

However, it's worth noting that while cremation is now legal (and commonplace) in the UK and USA, open-air pyres aren't legal, as far as I know.

More info: wikipedia

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 04, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Death, Eccentrics, Nineteenth Century

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