Category:
War

Square-Wheeled Tank

In 1957, Albert Sfredda secured a patent (No. 2,786,540) for a square-wheeled tank. He explained:

A vehicle equipped with square wheels of the type contemplated by my invention gives better traction and a smoother ride when used on rough terrain than one having circular wheels. Following are the reasons: the sides of a square wheel constitute large flat surfaces for bridging ruts and cavities in the ground whereas a circular wheel follows the surface of the ground and enters many ruts; and the sides of a square wheel provide a large contacting area with the ground when they lie parallel thereto, and, hence, afford better pushing effect, whereas a round wheel affords only a small pushing area, which often results in causing a digging effect.



Sfredda was correct that square wheels would provide better traction on rough terrain than circular wheels would. The video below explains why. But the problem, of course, was that his tank would have difficulty moving on a regular, flat road.



Along similar lines, Macalester College has had a square-wheeled bicycle on permanent display since 1997. More info: macalester.edu

image source: StanWagon.com

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jul 21, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Motor Vehicles, War, Weapons, 1950s

Manicure with gas masks

Even in the middle of a gas attack, nails still need to be manicured.

Honolulu Advertiser - Nov 13, 1938



Compare this to the gas mask for typists we posted about a few months ago. Also the gas-proof pram. And the London chorus girl with gas mask. It was all part of the effort to reassure the public, during the 1930s, that poison gas attacks wouldn't interrupt everyday life.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jul 07, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, War, 1930s

Work continues during gas attack

"So business will not be interrupted if enemy airplanes should loose gas bombs on Rome before quitting time, a new transparent gas mask that enables a typist to see clearly while enjoying protection from noxious fumes has been introduced into the war-minded Italian capital."

Elmira Star-Gazette - Feb 4, 1935

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 01, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: War, 1930s

Walt Builds a Family Fallout Shelter

Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 20, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Domestic, Technology, War, Twentieth Century

Operation Cornflakes

1945: Toward the end of World War II, the American OSS cooked up a scheme to use postage stamps to demoralize the German people. The idea was to create fake 12 Pfennig stamps on which Hitler's profile was replaced by an image of Hitler with his jaw eaten away.

The Operation had no discernible effect on German morale. But it's a favorite topic among stamp collectors, who are flattered to think that anyone in the OSS ever imagined that stamps might have had such an effect.

More info: wikipedia



Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 10, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: War, Spies and Intelligence Services, 1940s, Stamps

Predicting war by mathematics

At an August 1938 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Professor Lewis F. Richardson attempted to use mathematics to predict the likelihood of war:

The professor reduced to beautiful differential equations general tendencies common to all nations — resentment of defiance, the suspicion that defense is concealed aggression, response to imports by exports, restraint on armaments by the difficulty of paying for them, and, last, grievances and their irrationality.

He concluded there was "no chance of war," which proved to be a somewhat inaccurate prediction.

The Alexandria Town Talk - Sep 27, 1938



Encyclopedia.com offers some more info on what Richardson was up to:

Richardson viewed war instead in Tolstoyan fashion, as a massive phenomenon governed by forces akin to the forces of nature, over which individuals have little or no control. Accordingly, he ignored all those intricacies of diplomatic-strategic analysis usually pursued by political historians and turned his attention to quasi-mechanical and quantifiable processes which, he assumed, govern the dynamics of the international system of sovereign states.

Despite the eccentricity of his mathematical war-prediction model, Richardson was apparently quite influential in the history of mathematics. Wikipedia notes that he did pioneering work in mathematical techniques of weather forecasting, as well as in the study of fractals.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 10, 2021 - Comments (8)
Category: Science, War, 1930s

Pickle Peace Plan

The Pickle Peace Plan was championed by the Picklers Planetary Unity Party which, in turn, was a creation of the Pickle Packers International, an industry association. It had two main planks:

  1. Instead of a red telephone or bomb button, heads of governments should have a jar of pickles handy. At the first sign of hostility, they would send pickles to each other instead of missiles.
  2. If war did break out, all politicians would be required to don uniforms and do the fighting while everyone else watched it on television.

William R. Moore, executive vice president of the Pickle Packers International, noted, "We picklers think that with such a peace plan, both sides would either come to a quick armistice or talk themselves to death. Either way, we the public would benefit by such action."

Desert Sun - Feb 2, 1979



Fort Worth Star Telegram - Nov 6, 1976



Oil City Derrick - Nov 6, 1976

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 30, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Food, War, 1970s

When Belgium Invaded England



Very good long article here.

Tip of the hat to pal Peter Danssaert.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Dec 22, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Government, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, War, Reader Recommendation, 1960s, Europe, United Kingdom

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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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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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