History

Jugglers exhibiting monkeys and bears. Good times. 13th century image.

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Not that far off, really. The size of the wheels is especially interesting.

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What? Enclosed driver’s seat? Preposterous! (1911)

November 13, 2012

This automobile has its driver’s seat inclosed in the same manner as the rear seat!

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Life imprisonment in Mongolia (1914)

November 9, 2012

“Political offenders in parts of Mongolia are punished by lifetime immolation in coffinlike boxes stored away in dark dungeons. These boxes are only large enough to contain a man. There is but one aperture, and that no larger than his head. His hands are manacled, and twice a day attendants bring food and drink which [...]

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Innovative solution for movie theater segregation

November 9, 2012
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Parlor games on the verge of impropriety (1853)

October 21, 2012

These images of parlor games from a 1853 book provide adequate proof of repressed sexuality. Complete with inappropriate touching, provocative poses, sensual symbolism and all manners of frivolity. Astonishingly, the book’s subtitle states that it comprises “explanations of the most approved games for the social circle.” One fears to imagine what less approved games existed, [...]

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No bathing today!

June 24, 2012

There is a term retro-future. Well, this is retro-past. Although the actual prehistoric people in this 1894 cartoon from Punch look very much like the Flintstones or any later depictions of our cave ancestors, the fauna of the planet Earth is very different from what our kids see in the “dinosaur” books. I am also [...]

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Carnival

April 27, 2012

Carnival on the island of Java, late 19th century. Characters with over-sized heads are common on many festive occasions of this sort, but it must be especially challenging to ride horses with the center of gravity so strangely misplaced.

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Underwater circus

April 19, 2012

Le Nouveau-Cirque in Paris picked up the Ancient Roman tradition of holding aquatic spectacles. Underwater performances were very popular. This particular picture shows a game of cards being played in front of an audience. There is no indication of diving gear, so it was probably part of the entertainment to see how long the actors [...]

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Papesse Jeanne

April 19, 2012

This is an illustration from Histoire des Papes, crimes, meurtres, empoisonnements, parricides, adultères, incestes, depuis Saint Pierre jusqu’à Grégoire XVI (circa 1844). The story of a woman who pretended to be a map and thus achieving the highest position in Catholicism appears to be fictitious. Curious stuff, nonetheless.

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