Archive for July, 2010

Freak Patents That Have Come In With The Aeroplane

From July 31, 1910

FREAK PATENTS THAT HAVE COME IN WITH THE AEROPLANE

FREAK PATENTS THAT HAVE COME IN WITH THE AEROPLANE: Would-Be Inventors Keep the Department at Washington Busy With Schemes That Sound Flighty. (PDF)

The illustrations and descriptions of crazy flying contraptions that people applied for patents on (sometimes successfully) are fantastic. I managed to find one of the actual patents for a machine mentioned in the article that’s powered by birds. I think the technical drawings in the patent are even better than the illustrations shown here. Check it out. It’s powered by eagles!

Here’s how the article describes that invention:

From gay Paree comes Edouard Wulff, with a patented scheme for flying by means of “eagles, vultures, or condors.” True to the instincts of his native city, he fits out his birds with “corsets,” the specifications of which as to trimmings, binding, etc., are carefully set out.

By a strange oversight for one bred in the city of fashions, he fails to state what is the latest mode of wearing the feathers on his motors. With wise foresight he has provided for two aeronauts, one on top among the birds and the other below to steer the craft. This is sensible; a man busy prodding up a dozen uncouth and bewildered condors wouldn’t have much time for steering.

Not all of the inventions are outrageous in hindsight. The article takes a mocking tone at a proposed airship so big it has several floors and resembles a hotel, but of course we have multilevel jumbo jets today, some with luxury approaching that of hotels, so it wasn’t so far fetched.

Most of the invention descriptions in the article are too vague for me to find the original patents (if they truly even reached the application stage), but you can find a lot of this kind of thing using Google’s patent search engine. Here is a link to search “flying machine” or “airship” with results displayed visually in chronological order.

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Written by David

July 30th, 2010 at 10:15 am

The Loeb College Of Politeness For Customs Officers

From July 31, 1910

THE LOEB COLLEGE OF POLITENESS FOR CUSTOMS OFFICERS

THE LOEB COLLEGE OF POLITENESS FOR CUSTOMS OFFICERS: It’s First Class Was Just Graduated After a Course that It Is Hoped Will Silence Many Complaints of Tourists from Abroad. (PDF)

An interesting look at rules for customs officers, with particular attention paid to how they should handle a lady’s dainties when going through her bags:

The pupil is also taught to handle the most costly lace, lingerie, and gowns in a way which will leave no cause for complaint from the owner…

“You must be circumspect in your dealings with women,” says the text book. “Remember you come into contact with their most intimate possessions and that your observations and findings should be as sacred and confidential as the privileged communications of a profession. Neither by work nor action, look or gesture must you overstep any of the conventional proprieties that govern the relations of the sexes, if you value your position and your reputation as a man.”

Sidebar: I noticed that the dek uses the conjunction it’s when it should have used the possessive pronoun its. I thought it strange that this slipped by, so I did some research. Apparently, until a few hundred years ago it’s was in fact the proper possessive form for it. You abbreviated it is as ’tis. In the 19th century, ’tis was seen as archaic, and there was a period of overlap before our current usage became the norm. (Sources: 1, 2).

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Written by David

July 30th, 2010 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life,Recreation

How Long Should A Man’s Vacation Be?

From July 31, 1910

HOW LONG SHOULD A MANS VACATION BE?

HOW LONG SHOULD A MAN’S VACATION BE? President Taft Says Every One Should Have Three Months — What Big Employers of Labor and Men of Affairs Think on the Subject. (PDF)

President Taft said that Americans should get take two or three months vacation in the summer:

“The American People,” said he, “have found out that there is such a thing as exhausting the capital of one’s health and constitution, and that two or three months’ vacation after the hard and nervous strain to which one is subjected during the Autumn and Spring are necessary in order to enable one to continue his work the next year with that energy and effectiveness which it ought to have.”

So the New York Times Magazine asked several prominent businessmen what they thought of the proposal. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t like it.

William Ellis Corey, President of US Steel: “I am of the opinion that two or three months, as suggested by the President, is entirely too long under ordinary circumstances.”

John Dustin Archibold, VP of Standard Oil: “For people who conserve their powers carefully in their current work, reasonably short periods ought to suffice.”

John Wanamaker, former Postmaster General: “I cannot see the President’s two or three months idea at all, except to repeat that it should not be taken too seriously.”

And so on. I’m not sure how many vacation days Taft himself took during his Presidency, but these days the media keeps track of Presidential vacations pretty closely.

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Written by David

July 30th, 2010 at 9:45 am

Posted in Politics,Recreation

“The Country Needs A Period Of Rest And Readjustment”

From July 31, 1910

THE COUNTRY NEEDS A PERIOD OF REST AND READJUSTMENT

“THE COUNTRY NEEDS A PERIOD OF REST AND READJUSTMENT” This Is the View of Roger W. Babson, Expert Economist, Who Thinks This Is a Time for “Cainting Ourselves to the Floor and Thinking” — A Careful Analysis of Financial Affairs (PDF)

The more I read about economist Roger Babson, the more I realize that he’s a hard guy to sum up in a blog entry. He was an economist who believed the business cycle followed the laws of nature. He thought that stocks were like gravity, so what goes up must come down. He didn’t just use gravity as a metaphor, but really believed the planet’s gravitational pull was a literal influence on business. He eventually founded the Gravity Research Foundation to study gravity (and the possibility of anti-gravity) in 1949.

Babson College, a business school he founded in Massachusetts, includes this note in their official biography of Babson:

His pseudoscientific notion, that the laws of physics account for every rise and ebb in the economy, had no more validity than the ancient beliefs that the stars govern the destinies of men or that base metals could be transmuted into gold or silver.

But it turns out that he did have some good ideas, and successfully predicted the crash of 1929 (I’m not sure how many crashes he may have predicted that didn’t come true, but that one he got right).

He was also the Prohibitionist Party’s candidate for President in 1940. I had no idea such a party still exists, but here is the tribute to him on their website.

Fun fact: The prohibitionist party mascot is a camel.

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Written by David

July 30th, 2010 at 9:30 am

Posted in Development,Politics

Ice Water From Sunshine

From July 31, 1910

ICE WATER FROM SUNSHINE

ICE WATER FROM SUNSHINE (PDF)

The article describes the Mexican olla, a clay vessel which uses evaporation of water on the surface to cool the vessel’s contents enough to keep perishables from spoiling. I’d never heard of it before, but it makes sense.

The next step, I suppose, it getting ice from fire. For that, see The Mosquito Coast.

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Written by David

July 30th, 2010 at 9:15 am

Posted in Science,Technology

Experts Foretell The Wonderful Feats Of Surgery

From July 31, 1910

EXPERTS FORETELL THE WONDERFUL FEATS OF SURGERY

EXPERTS FORETELL THE WONDERFUL FEATS OF SURGERY: View of Drs. Charles Mayo, John H. Gibbon, Edward Martin, John B. Murphy, Roswell Park, and Others. (PDF)

The doctors in this article give rather sensible and reasoned responses when asked to predict the near future of surgery. They look forward to better anesthesia, simplification of procedures, etc. But one doctor makes several references to a man named Dr. Carrel, whose work in the area of transplantation he feels has a lot of potential. This got me curious.

So I looked up this Dr. Carrel. What a guy. Dr. Alexis Carrel was the first person to successfully suture blood vessels together. He developed methods of preventing infection during surgery. He worked with Charles Lindbergh to build a machine that circulates blood through organs outside the body. In 1912, he won the Nobel Prize for his work. Sounds good so far.

But there’s a strange and dark side of Dr. Carrel. He kept a chicken heart alive in his office for decades (it even outlived him). His laboratory walls were all black, and he insisted that his staff wear black clothes. He promoted the idea that people can be preserved in suspended animation for hundreds of years. And he was denied tenure at the University of Lyon medical college after he told colleagues that he witnessed a woman miraculously cured by divine intervention.

But the most appalling thing is that Dr. Carrel promoted eugenics. He advocated that gas chambers be used to kill people who are genetically inferior, criminal, or insane. He wrote about this in his book Man, The Unknown, a later edition of which included a note in praise of the Nazis’ “energetic measures.”

In light of this, I was disturbed to come across a 1999 Mother’s Day speech by the late John Cardinal O’Connor of the New York Archdiocese in which he praises Carrel as a good Catholic for standing by his statement that he witnessed divine intervention. O’Connor states, “Dr. Alexis Carrel undoubtedly believed in the extraordinary statement from our Divine Lord in today’s Gospel [Jn. 14:15-21]. ‘If you love me, keep my commandments.'” I think the Cardinal did not do his homework on that one.

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Written by David

July 30th, 2010 at 9:00 am

Will Future Generations Lose Historical Records Of To-Day?

From July 24, 1910

WILL FUTURE GENERATIONS LOSE HISTORICAL RECORDS OF TO-DAY?

WILL FUTURE GENERATIONS LOSE HISTORICAL RECORDS OF TO-DAY? Scientists Point Out the Probably Destruction of Newspaper Files in a Few Centuries — The Wood Pulp Problem (PDF)

In the late 1990s, I was a photographer for Christie’s auction house. I shot for every department, and even though the historic letters and documents were not a challenge to shoot, they were still among my favorite things to photograph. I felt privileged to handle (carefully) important documents from history, including one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, letters from America’s founding fathers, the diary of a Civil War soldier, etc. Since many of today’s documents exist only digitally, our ancestors won’t have these kinds of physical objects hundreds of years from now. While looking at digital files can give me a similar feeling of connectedness with the past, there’s a feeling I get when I’m holding a piece of paper in my hand that was signed personally by George Washington that I just can’t get from a digital copy of the same document.

Preserving those kinds of historic documents has always been a challenge. This article mainly concerns newspapers and the switch from rag-based to wood-based paper in the late 1800s (wood-based paper being more difficult to preserve). Microfilm was already around in 1910, but the article does not discuss the possibility that newspaper copies could be preserved on film. Microfilm didn’t really become popular until the mid-1920s, and it wasn’t until 1935 that Kodak’s Recordak division began preserving the New York Times in that format.

Incidentally, if you do have a wood pulp newspaper you want to archive, the website historybuff.com has a pretty good overview of how historical newspapers can be preserved.

Today, newspapers are usually created digitally, and so are easy to preserve digitally. But even digital records can become impossible to retrieve as formats become obsolete. And the fluid nature of the internet, where most publishing takes place these days, makes it a difficult medium to preserve. But the non-profit Internet Archive is making a great effort.

I’m glad that people were thinking about preserving their archives 100 years ago. If they weren’t, I’d have a much harder time with this website.

Side note: As a photographer, I think a lot about future-proofing my digital archive. I began shooting digitally in 1997 — at Christie’s, where the studio was on the cutting edge of digital photography — and recently came across some old images in file formats that I couldn’t open. (It took some hunting but I finally found legacy software that allowed me to convert the images to a modern format.) If you save the raw files from your digital camera, chances are good that they are in a proprietary format that may one day be obsolete. Some of the best writing I’ve found about future-proofing your digital photo archives is by Peter Krogh. If these issues concern you, I recommend his book on Digital Asset Management for photographers.

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Written by David

July 23rd, 2010 at 10:15 am

Personally Directed Sports Are Popular With Children

From July 24, 1910

PERSONALLY DIRECTED SPORTS ARE POPULAR WITH CHILDREN

PERSONALLY DIRECTED SPORTS ARE POPULAR WITH CHILDREN: Park Commissioner Stover Finds that This Plan Makes Play More Attractive to the Youngsters of the Streets (PDF)

Around 1900, a group called the Playground Association organized sports for boys in some of the city playgrounds. It was going well until the city took over the playgrounds, and ended the supervised games. The city figured that “play was just play, and if the spaces were there the boys would go, whether an instructor presided or not.” But they didn’t. It turned out that streets were just as fun to play in, and had more shade to cool down in.

The article describes a movement under the new Park Commissioner to bring back directed sports in 1910. I especially like the dialogue here between a boy and a sports director:

The other day, when an instructor walked into a park to establish a new centre for games, the first thing every boy did was to take to his heels as hard as he could. The instructor was accompanied by the park guard, who was to show him the plot, and the boys knew him for a natural enemy. Only one boy stood, like Horatio, to keep the bridge — or maybe he was too lazy to run. The instructor beckoned to him, and the boy came, keeping a way eye out for an avenue of escape, but determined not to be bullied by any number of park guards.

“Look here, Johnny,” said the instructor easily, “we’re going to open a playground here, and we’re going to play baseball. Tell the rest of the boys to come back.”

“Huh?” said the boy.

The instructor repeated.

“They don’t let you play no baseball in the parks,” returned the boy scornfully, when the second explanation was finished.

“Yes, they’re going to let us. I’ve got a permit from the Park Department.”

“Park Department?” said the boy.

“Yes. Go call the boys.”

“Call ’em back?”

“Yes. Run along.”

The boy eyed the young man dubiously. The child of the streets is slow to believe, and this particular specimen stood on one foot, rubbing the other against his leg, for fully half a minute while he decided whether this was a fair offer or a trap.

Then–

“All right. Gee!” he said, and he was off like a shot.

Some of the directed activities included baseball, basket weaving, and gymnastics. No word on tag.

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Written by David

July 23rd, 2010 at 10:00 am

Posted in Development,Life,Sports

Lure of Viennese Waltz Wins Wealth For Composers

From July 24, 1910

LURE OF VIENNESE WALTZ WINS WEALTH FOR COMPOSERS

LURE OF VIENNESE WALTZ WINS WEALTH FOR COMPOSERS: The Vogue of the Music of Lehar, Strauss and Leo Fall Has Made Them Rich (PDF)

An interesting look at the popularity of Viennese waltz in the turn of the last century. As you read, please enjoy Johann Strauss’ 1866 piece An der schönen blauen Donau, known in English as The Blue Danube:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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Written by David

July 23rd, 2010 at 9:45 am

Posted in Entertainment,Music

If You Are Bald You’ll Stay Bald

From July 24, 1910

IF YOU ARE BALD YOU'LL STAY BALD

IF YOU ARE BALD YOU’LL STAY BALD: That’s What a Tonsorial Artist Says and He Always Has His Reasons Therefor (PDF)

The logic here seems to be: If there were a cure for baldness, barbers would know about it. Barbers don’t know about it. Therefore there is no cure for baldness. Modus tollens.

But the real gem is this quote: “Some are born bald. Some achieve baldness. Some have baldness thrust upon them… The born bald usually get over it and live to get it again.” Sage words.

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Written by David

July 23rd, 2010 at 9:30 am

Posted in Humor,Life,Science

New York’s Real Bohemia Is Dead And Gone

From July 24, 1910

NEW YORK'S REAL BOHEMIA IS DEAD AND GONE

NEW YORK’S REAL BOHEMIA IS DEAD AND GONE (PDF)

If there’s one thing New Yorkers love to do, it’s reminisce about how great New York used to be. Apparently that was as true 100 years ago as it is today.

There was a time when New York held many haunts dear to the hearts of men whom the world called bohemians; now it holds places dear to the hearts of those who love to call themselves by that name — and have thereby made the title odious.

Many things and much genius have died as a result of overpopularity. At some time enthusiastic admirers scaled the walls of bohemia and proceeded to smother it within their embraces. For fear they could not succeed in completing the delightful task they sent word broadcast of their remarkable discovery.

Before that invasion, to be a bohemian was, and is yet when rightly interpreted, a state of mind. Dress, occupation, and mode of living have nothing to do with it — no more than a love of rare roast beef may be said to typify an Englishman. Today the popular conception of a bohemian is one who washes little and indifferently, and whose manner of dress is studiously freakish, rather than carelessly following the lines of least resistance, as one is apt to do in all incidental matters when the heart is set on great purpose.

And so with New York’s bohemian resorts. The places not killed by prosperity have been driven out by commerce.

Today commerce imitates bohemia. Look at the cartoon on the top right, the guy with a coffee cup, and newspapers and magazines scattered all around. The caption says, “With a Cup of Coffee He May Read Undisturbed as Long as Possible.” The article laments the loss of the old German cafe where this was possible. Now it might as well be a Starbucks.

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Written by David

July 23rd, 2010 at 9:15 am

Posted in Development,Life

Why Some Children Are Always Lazy

From July 24, 1910

WHY SOME CHILDREN ARE ALWAYS LAZY

WHY SOME CHILDREN ARE ALWAYS LAZY: Experts Have Made a Study of This Familiar Weakness in Childhood and Suggest a Cure (PDF)

Maybe your child isn’t deliberately lazy. He might just be defective. Keeping in mind that a healthy child takes 8 years to complete 8 school grades, you can use this handy guide to see how long it might take your child to finish school, depending on what kind of defect your child has:

Defective vision: 8 years
Defective teeth: 8.5 years
Defective breathing: 8.6 years
Hypertrophied tonsils: 8.7 years
Adenoids: 9.1 years
Enlarged glands: 9.2 years

Woe is the child with enlarged glands and defective teeth. Luckily, these defects can all be counteracted with proper nutrition. This scientific study is based on a sample size of 27 children.

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Written by David

July 23rd, 2010 at 9:00 am

Posted in Education,Science

Should Dark or Light Clothes Be Worn On Hot Days?

From July 17, 1910

SHOULD DARK OR LIGHT CLOTHES BE WORN ON HOT DAYS?

SHOULD DARK OR LIGHT CLOTHES BE WORN ON HOT DAYS? Interesting Experiments by Government Experts on the Effect of the Color of Garments (PDF)

Summer heat getting to you? Cool off with this lengthy look at experiments carried out in an effort to determine whether you should wear light clothes, dark clothes, light clothes over dark clothes, or some other combination to beat the heat.

The problem of the undergarments has been taken up by the Federal Government very seriously of late and exhaustive tests have been made. The experiments have been carried out on an elaborate scale recently in the Philippines, where a thousand men have been used in the tests which have been carried on for upward of a year. If the soldier can be made to march further, carry more weight, and fight better in hot weather merely by changing his shirt, naturally the United States Government wants to know all about it.

It’s actually pretty interesting to see the lengths they went to, the blood tests, the dietary monitoring, the consideration of dark skin versus light skin, etc., in their research. The conclusion at the time was that our bodies suffer from the short wavelength light rays more than the actual heat, so opaqueness of clothing matters more than the color.

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Written by David

July 16th, 2010 at 10:30 am

Posted in Nature,Science

Women Triumph In National Educational Association

From July 17, 1910

WOMEN TRIUMPH IN NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION

WOMEN TRIUMPH IN NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION: Mrs. Eliza Flagg Young Placed at the Head of the Organization Heretofore Controlled by Men (PDF)

I don’t want to gloss over the main point of this article, which is that Eliza “Ella” Flagg Young became the first female head of the NEA, so take a moment to let her great accomplishment settle in. Now there’s something else I found while researching this article that I want to discuss.

For some reason, Eliza Flagg Young comes up in several articles on-line about homeopathy. This excerpt at homeopathic.com quotes from a book called The Consumer’s Guide to Homeopathy by Dana Ullman, who also runs the site and is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post. He wrote:

Eliza Flagg Young, MD, a nineteenth century physician, once said, “Every woman is born a doctor. Men have to study to become one.” Although this may be a controversial statement, what isn’t controversial is that women tend to be the primary health care providers in most families. In the vast majority of homes women are responsible for watching over the health needs of the children, and by their shopping and cooking, they are responsible for fulfilling the nutritional needs of the family.

Because homeopathic medicines are considerably more amenable to home care than are conventional drugs, it is predictable that American women have had a history of interest in homeopathy.

Eliza Flagg Young, MD? Was the first female head of the NEA, who dedicated her life to education, also a physician? That seemed unlikely, so I researched further. In fact, Eliza Flagg Young did receive a doctoral degree from the University of Chicago in 1900, but it was a Ph.D in education, not a medical degree.

I found the quote correctly attributed to “Dr.” Ella Flagg Young, as that was her title, in several places including medical books. But I only see the false attribution of an “MD” degree on homeopathy sites. I’m not sure if the error predates Ullman, or if he made the illogical jump himself.

Coincidentally, while researching another article I posted this week about a movement to get kids to stop kissing, I came across a relevant quote by Flagg Young in an Ohio newspaper. Here is the quote (emphasis mine):

The rumor that a campaign was to be instituted in the public schools of Chicago to enroll pupils and teachers in the new organization was met with a denial by Supt. Ella Flagg Young, says the Chicago Inter-Ocean.

“I think more harm is done by directing children’s attention to disease than can be offset by the new ideas advanced by kissing,” she said last night. “As to the merits of the scheme to stop the practice of kissing, I cannot say. I am not a doctor.

Is it really possible that a homeopathic expert didn’t check his facts? That he made an assumption unsupported by evidence? That he found a connection where there is none? That seems so unlike homeopathy.

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Written by David

July 16th, 2010 at 10:15 am

Posted in Education,Science

An Electric Farm To Be Tried On Long Island

From July 17, 1910

AN ELECTRIC FARM TO BE TRIED ON LONG ISLAND

AN ELECTRIC FARM TO BE TRIED ON LONG ISLAND (PDF)

I expected this article to just be about a farm that’s run on electricity, which would have been a novelty in 1910. But it’s actually about a farm that electrocutes its crops to see what happens:

Plants have been compared growing under natural conditions and with the stimulant of the electric treatment, so that an exact measurement might be made. It has been found that after 104 hours of the electric current marked results were obtained. The tobacco plants increased 39 per cent. faster under the electric treatment, beets increased 12 per cent. faster, lima beans, 11 per cent., and carrots 8 per cent. faster.

The practice, known as electro-culture seems to have been unsuccessful in the long term. For more information, read this section of the book Questions of Power by Bill Luckin.

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Written by David

July 16th, 2010 at 10:00 am

Out Of Door Schools Are Growing In Popularity

From July 17, 1910

OUT OF DOOR SCHOOLS ARE GROWING IN POPULARITY

OUT OF DOOR SCHOOLS ARE GROWING IN POPULARITY: Germany Adopted Them with Unusual Results and New York, Boston and Other Cities Are Experimenting Along the Same Lines (PDF)

For some reason, it seems to have been difficult for poor people to spend time outdoors:

One of the most perplexing problems that parents or teachers used to face is that of the delicate school child. Some little girl had scarlet fever. She was quite well, but had been left pale and anaemic. The doctor sagely said that she should be kept in the open air. She, on the other hand, did not care to lose a year in her standing at school, and perhaps she could ill-afford to do so. Or, again, a boy whose parents were delicate began to show signs that he might have inherited some tendency to disease. Again the mandate, “Open air”; and the parents, if they were poor, were likely to reply, “Yes, but how?”

With the rich this situation was always easily handled. There are schools which make a specialty of outdoor exercise, or a child may be taken out of the classroom and sent to the country with a tutor. Neither education nor health suffers in such case, but with the poor it has been a very different matter. Their children have barely time to go through the elementary schools before they must go to work, and, in fact, only a minority of them accomplish even this; and even if it was readily decided that health is the first consideration, the only fresh air available was to be found in the streets or in parks where the all of the “gang” may come upon the child at any moment.

The solution: outdoor schools!

The ideal open air school is one situated either in the woods or in some park large enough to be a satisfactory imitation… In New York, so far, there has been no such school camp, but at the present time twenty classrooms are being remodeled so that they may be used for open air classes, while on the famous out-of-commission ferryboats anchored off hospital piers there have been ungraded schools for some time. The remodeled classrooms consist of three walls and some shade. Except in rainy weather the children are as much outdoors as though they were on a veranda. The children who need it are given a rest hour and made to lie down and sleep in the middle of the day. It is a good idea, only a trifle less good than the really truly out-of-doors school.

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Written by David

July 16th, 2010 at 9:45 am

Posted in Education

Tricks Of The Short Weight And Short Measure Men

From July 17, 1910

TRICKS OF THE SHORT WEIGHT AND SHORT MEASURE MEN

TRICKS OF THE SHORT WEIGHT AND SHORT MEASURE MEN: Comm’r. Driscoll Wages War on Hucksters and Dealers Who Cheat in Their Sale of Foodstuffs (PDF)

This is an interesting overview of the tricks salesmen used to cheat their customers. By using containers with false bottoms, they created the illusion that there was more product than there really was.

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Written by David

July 16th, 2010 at 9:30 am

Posted in True Crime

Modern Crusaders Take Up Arms Against Kissing

From July 17, 1910

MODERN CRUSADERS TAKE UP ARMS AGAINST KISSING

MODERN CRUSADERS TAKE UP ARMS AGAINST KISSING (PDF)

A woman in Connecticut started a group called the World’s Health Organization (not to be confused with the later UN organization with a similar name) and got a lot of publicity for her “Kiss Not” campaign:

A little child shall lead them, says the organization, and is endeavoring to procure the indorsement of the various Boards of Education, as school children are said to be the most persistent and reckless kissers of them all, the girls particularly kissing each other in greeting and parting, kissing the smaller children and chance babies, and sometimes their teachers. The proposition is for the school children to become members of the organization — which costs them nothing — and to pledge themselves to an agreement not to kiss any one or to be kissed, and to wear buttons bearing the motto “Kiss Not.”

I managed to find a copy of the pledge in a June, 1910 edition of the Mt. Vernon, Ohio newspaper The Democratic Banner:

In order to encourage good health and lesson the spread of consumption, I desire to join the World’s Health Organization and hereby pledge myself to discourage the custom of kissing on the lips whenever it is in my power.

It appears to have gone over about as well as Jerry Seinfeld’s anti-kissing stance.

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Written by David

July 16th, 2010 at 9:15 am

Posted in Life

Odd Rentals That Are Paid For Famous Properties

From July 17, 1910

ODD RENTALS THAT ARE PAID FOR FAMOUS PROPERTIES

ODD RENTALS THAT ARE PAID FOR FAMOUS PROPERTIES: A Rose Pays for a Church, a Clover Blossom for a School, Fish for a Clubhouse and Flags for Great Ducal Estates (PDF)

This article is all about weird things that are paid for rent of a building, usually by a group or organization. Just before the article was written, Flint Union School in Michigan made a great deal with the landowner: a 99-year lease in exchange for a single clover blossom each year. This means the lease should have just expired last year, but I can’t find any information about this school and whether or not it still exists, let alone whether they’ve had a rent hike since then (a condition of the lease was that using the land for anything other than school purposes would terminate the lease).

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Written by David

July 16th, 2010 at 9:00 am

Posted in Education,Life

Problems Of First Transatlantic Balloon Trip

From July 10, 1910

PROBLEMS OF FIRST TRANSATLANTIC BALLOON TRIP

PROBLEMS OF FIRST TRANSATLANTIC BALLOON TRIP: Peculiar Conditions Face the Aeronauts Who Will Attempt to Cross the Ocean in the Dirigible America Under the Auspices of “The New York Times,” the Chicago Record-Herald, and the London Daily Telegraph. (PDF)

By 1910, Walter Wellman had made three unsuccessful attempts to fly an airship to the North Pole when he set his sites instead on crossing the Atlantic. This article describes the ambitious trip and explains how Wellman and his crew will overcome the obstacles they will surely face.

Spoiler alert! They didn’t make it. But they did manage to fly 1,000 miles before needing a rescue. That’s significant because if Wellman had managed to fly 1,000 miles on his earlier expeditions to the North Pole, he would have reached it.

Wellman lived another 24 years, but after this trip he never flew again.

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Written by David

July 9th, 2010 at 10:15 am

Posted in Adventure,Technology