Tag Archives: Unusual

The Wonderful Two Headed Girl – 1869

Advertising The Wonderful Two Headed Girl

The Story of A 19th Century Oddity – Millie Christine

Wonderful Two Headed Girl

While recently highlighting one of the silliest movies ever made, The Thing With Two Heads, we came across stories of other human anomalies.

Co-joined twins Millie and Christine (or Christina) McCoy (or McKoy) were famous in the 19th century, sometimes billed as “The Wonderful Two Headed Girl,” “The Two-Headed Nightingale,” or “The Eighth Wonder of the World.”

The truth about this “two headed girl” was quite different than what was advertised. Continue reading

What’s So Unusual About Platt Rogers Spencer’s Tombstone?

This Tombstone Is Unique. Do You Know Why?

The Penmanship of Platt Rogers Spencer

Why is it that when we see an old postcard people remark that the handwriting is so beautiful? The graceful penmanship all looks similar because millions of people in the mid-nineteenth and up to the early twentieth century were taught a single method of handwriting.

This calligraphy type of writing was invented by Platt Rogers Spencer and called the Spencerian style and method of penmanship.

Spencer’s unique tombstone at Evergreen cemetery in Geneva, OH is the first grave marker to display the cursive handwriting that he developed and popularized.

Platt Rogers Spencer

Platt Rogers Spencer was the youngest of a family of ten children. He was born November 7, 1800, in East Fishkill, New York. He lived there and in Windham, N. Y., until he was nine years old, when he moved with his widowed mother and family to Jefferson, Ohio, which was then wilderness country.

There, Spencer developed his love of writing and devoted his life to the art of penmanship. Continue reading

Worst Product Design & Print Advertisement Of The 21st Century

What Are They Selling?

Phallic perfume bottle ad Donna Karan

There is subliminal advertising. Then there is the advertising trying to be subliminal, yet it’s not. It’s a step above subliminal, painfully obvious and the equivalent of blunt force trauma.

It hits so hard that if you turn the page without stopping, you will stop and say “wait a second, what did I just see?” And then turn back a page to double-check.

No, this product shown above is not from the Adam and Eve sex catalog.

I’m not quite sure which magazine this ad appeared in possibly Vogue or an in-flight magazine.  It ran sometime in the early to mid-2000s.

When I saw it, I tore it out, saying to myself this has to be a joke no one would believe this.

Donna Karan phallic perfume ad

Donna Karan Phallic Perfume bottle ad text (click to enlarge –  no pun intended.)

But it’s real. I folded it up showed it to a few friends. Then I saved it in my shoebox full of oddities with the funny poem, the wooden nickel and a mood ring. Continue reading

The Lighthouse Without A Light

 Sir John Barrow’s Unlit Lighthouse

Lighthouse or Memorial Sir John Barrow

Sir John Barrow Memorial Hoad Hill Ulverston Cumbria, UK

The “lighthouse” is in the town of Ulverston, a bucolic seaside town which hosts various festivals throughout the year. There’s an annual Dickens Festival each November in which many of the citizens dress in Victorian attire. Then there’s “Another Fine Fest” held in June. The title is a takeoff on the admonishing words “Well… that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!” Oliver Hardy says these words in countless films to his comedic partner Stan Laurel. Ulverston’s modern claim to fame is as the birthplace of comedian Stan Laurel, who lived here until he was six-years-old.

Levity aside, viewed from afar, the 100 tower off the northern English coast of Cumbria sure looks like a lighthouse. Continue reading

What Was It Used For? 5 Strange Inventions From The Turn-of-the-Century

Can You Guess What These Turn-Of-The-Century Inventions Are For?

Below are five inventions that were filed with the U.S. Patent Office between 1899 – 1904.

As we noted in our other story regarding bra patents, Americans are innovative and resourceful. When opportunity knocks they will be there to answer. All of these people thought their inventions would take off. None of them did.

Originally the patent office required you to build a model of your invention. Eventually they dropped that requirement. When you see the words no model, it means a prototype was not presented. After you discover what the invention is you will understand why some of these never had a model built.

So what are they?

Invention #1 Patented by Frank May 1904

patent by Frank May

#1 patented by Frank May 1904 US793004

Invention #2 patented by Monroe Griffith 1900

patent Monroe Griffith 1900 US666605

#2 patented by Monroe Griffith 1900

Invention #3 patented by Samuel McHatton 1899

patent Samuel McHatton 1899 US628111

#3 patented by Samuel McHatton 1899

Invention #4 patented by Henry Ullrich 1900

Patent Henry Ullrich 1900 US640837

#4 patented by Henry Ullrich 1900

Invention #5 patented by Joseph Karwowski 1903

patent Joseph Karwowski 1903 US748284

#5 patented by Joseph Karwowski 1903

Here are the answers with the patent inventor’s edited description:

This innocuous looking machine was electrified and quite honestly sounds extremely dangerous if used as intended.

patent by Frank May

#1 patent Frank May 1904 US793004

#1 EYE-MASSAGE MACHINE

Be it known that I, Frank Howard May a citizen of the United States, residing at Birmingham, in the county of Jefferson and State of Alabama, have invented a new and useful Improvement in eye massage machines, of which the following a specification.

My invention is in the nature. of an eye massage machine in which mechanical vibrations are imparted to the eye through an electrically-operated vibrator and which is so constructed also as to permit the direct application of either primary or Faradaic currents to the eye. Continue reading

Kings Bridge (1693) and The Farmers Bridge (1759) – Two Of New York City’s Oldest Bridges Still Exist

The Story of Two Forgotten And Buried New York City Bridges

This is Kings Bridge connecting upper Manhattan to the Bronx and Westchester. The Kings Bridge was originally constructed in 1693 under a grant from the Crown and maintained by the Philipse family as a toll bridge until the revolution.

The toll was collected on every person, animal and vehicle crossing to the mainland excepting the King’s soldiers. At night the rates doubled. The bridge was reconstructed in 1713 and altered slightly a few times in the intervening 200 years. Continue reading

The Shape Of Your Head Indicates Everything! 19th Century Quackery- Phrenology

Fowler & Wells, Phrenologists – The Art of Reading The Shape Of Your Head.

phrenologyWhat sort of foolishness did people believe in the 19th century? Phrenology, which might sound silly today, was studied and taken seriously by many people.

Phrenology is the “science” of reading character traits by the shape of your head. And of course there were plenty of experts – phrenologists – who could perform such accurate assessments.

Of course it is a pseudo-science, that is absurd, and yet there are still people today who believe in Phrenology. Continue reading

How To Choose A Mistress – In The “Politically Incorrect” 1960s

A 1960s Magazine Article on How To Choose A Mistress

In the article, “The Art of Selecting a Mistress” it is pointed out right at the beginning, “Love has nothing to do with it says this expert. You pick her like a car – for performance.”

Here is the quiz you are supposed to take before reading the article:

  1. The perfect mistress is:
    17 years of age (a)
    21 years of age (b)
    26 years of age (c)
    40 Years of age (d)
    75 years of age (e)
  2. The perfect mistress is (a) married (b) single (c) divorced
  3.  The perfect mistress is (a) in love with you (b) fond of you (c) crazy about herself
  4. The perfect mistress is (a) a working girl (b) well fixed (c) a working girl who needs a protector
  5. The perfect mistress is (a) intelligent (b) stupid (c) indifferent
  6. The perfect mistress is (a) owner of her own car (b) prefers cabs (c) likes men with expensive cars

A great number of topics written about in the 1960s would almost certainly be considered politically incorrect today. For many people, Selecting a Mistress from Monsieur Magazine by Mel Bennett would fall into that P.I. class.

Monsieur was a nudie titillation magazine published from 1957 through the mid- 1960s which  was several notches below Playboy in literary quality. Monsieur’s typical articles such as “Manhattan – Island of Sex Starved Men”, “Women Love To Be Unfaithful”, “Girl-Pinching Goes International” and “Making a Dame on A Plane” was not meant to attract many female readers.

 

While the answers to the quiz are on page 71 of Monsieur, unfortunately we can’t provide them.

The article image is from the New York Historical Society. As the Historical Society points out about this donated collection: “While not your standard scholarly fare, the Harvey Rosen and El Borracho Collection provides valuable insights into the supper club scene in New York as well as the decidedly un-feminist perception of women that characterized this era.”

France Has Got Talent!

Paris Acrobats Show Unusual Talent – 1953

Paris Acrobats April 14, 1953 photo: Acme

It would be nice to add some context to this 1953 Acme news photograph besides the date and title caption, unfortunately I couldn’t find any information on it. Not even if the photo was taken in Paris, France, or that is where the circus or performers are from. If the circus is from Paris, it might be Cirque Medrano. Continue reading