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Postmortem Photography It seems a little bit creepy today--well, actually it seems extremely creepy by modern standards--but it was quite common in the late 19th century to photograph your loved ones in lifelike poses after they had died! Photography was generally very expensive in the 19th century. Often families had no photographs of loved ones while they were alive. Accordingly, as part of a funeral ritual, the recently deceased person would be dressed, posed in a very lifelike position--much like the gentleman in this example--and his/her image was preserved for posterity. Frequently they were posed alongside siblings and parents as part of a family portrait. Because of the slow shutter speed of cameras in those days, dead people were actually the best subjects for photographers as they were guaranteed to stay still. Postmortem photography was surprisingly commonplace in Europe and North America (especially of dead children because childhood mortality rates were very high). It remained quite common until photography became cheaper and families were more likely to have photos of their relatives taken while they were still in the land of the living.
Tags: postmortem  photography 
Added: 9th March 2015
Views: 947
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Posted By: Lava1964
Ampersand - The 27th Letter of the Alphabet There are 26 letters in the English alphabet, right? That's only the modern count. For many years the ampersand was considered the 27th. Nineteenth-century text books almost always had the ampersand listed as an additional letter. According to scholars, the ampersand was created by combining the letters E and T, which forms the French word for "and": "et". Today is it considered bad form to write an ampersand in place of the word "and" in any scholarly work. It survives mostly in business names such as Barnes & Noble. The word ampersand comes from a corruption of the phrase "and per se and" that concluded the recitation of the alphabet in the 19th century.
Tags: ampersand  alphabet  English  language 
Added: 23rd May 2015
Views: 889
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Posted By: Lava1964
1917 Blackboards Uncovered In June 2015 workers doing renovations at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City, OK made a remarkable discovery. When they removed the old-style blackboards to replace them with modern "smart boards" they found that four older blackboards, last used in 1917, were hidden behind them. They were wonderfully preserved. They contained beautifully written cursive handwriting for a lesson about the Pilgrims, arithmetic exercises, a music lesson, and some very good drawings to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. They had been signed and dated by the school's janitor, the last one bearing the date 'December 4th, 1917.' It is suspected that the janitor left the old blackboards as they were as a something akin to a time capsule and then installed the new blackboards on top of them. School officials say the blackboards will be preserved for their historic value.
Tags: 1917  blackboards  found  school  Oklahoma 
Added: 9th June 2015
Views: 1277
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Posted By: Lava1964
Exhumation of President Taylor - 1991 President Zachary Taylor became the second American chief executive to die in office when he succumbed to gastro-intestinal problems on July 9, 1850 at age 65. Known for generally having robust health, Taylor had been ill for five days with severe stomach cramps and diarrhea. The cause may have been Taylor's overindulging in cherries covered in iced milk following a Fourth of July ceremony on the site where the Washington Monument was going to be erected. Doctors tried to cure the president with blood-letting and laxatives, but to no avail. The cause of Taylor's death was officially listed as "cholera morbus"--which apparently was an all-purpose answer whenever someone died suddenly from digestive problems in the middle of the 19th century. There was no autopsy. The dead president's body was preserved in ice for five days but never embalmed. More than 140 years later a historian named Clara Rising claimed Taylor had actually been poisoned by arsenic, perhaps by political enemies. (Taylor, despite being a slaveholder, was an outspoken pro-Union man. He had threatened to use the army to quash any secessionist movements.) Rising's compelling arguments--plus her willingness to pay $1200 in fees--persuaded officials in Kentucky to exhume Taylor's body from his crypt and perform modern scientific tests on it. The exhumation was carried out on June 18, 1991 with about 200 curious onlookers watching silently from a respectful distance. Modern forensic examination of Taylor's fingernails, sideburns, and even pubic hair showed no signs of arsenic poison whatsoever. Taylor was re-interred alongside his wife at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, KY. Today the medical community believes that the purgatives that Taylor was given by his physician to cleanse his system may have contained mercury which may have hastened the president's demise.
Tags: exhumation  Zachary  Taylor 
Added: 19th July 2015
Views: 2716
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Posted By: Lava1964
Nickelodeon Reminiscing The 90s Tags: Nickelodeon  The  Splat    Rugrats,  Aaahh!!!  Real  Monsters,  Angry  Beavers,  Hey  Arnold!,  Rocko's  Modern  Life,  Rocket  Power,  CatDog,  and  The  Wild  Thornberries 
Added: 15th September 2015
Views: 680
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Posted By: Cathy
Henry Ford Invents Charcoal Most people realize that Henry Ford was responsible for the assembly line--a groundbreaking factory innovation that made the manufacturing of automobiles (and everything else) go much faster. Few people, however, know that Ford also invented modern charcoal briquets! Amazingly, Ford's auto assembly line led to the development of the blackened fuel chunks. Here's what happened: One day in the 1920s Ford visited his Dearborn automobile plant and was aghast at the amount of wood that was wasted in the manufacture of his Model T cars. Ford found all types of waste to be unacceptable, so he wanted the wood bits left over from his cars' wheels and interiors to be put to a good and profitable use. He figured that since wood chips were highly flammable, they could be used as a handy portable fuel source. He consulted with some chemists and came up with the idea of charcoal pieces suitable for barbecues. Furthermore, they fit in nicely with promotional literature of the era that encouraged American consumers to buy Ford automobiles for peaceful, long drives in the country. What better way to cap off a serene weekend drive than to have a cookout using Ford's charcoal? This photo shows a package of 1920s briquets bearing the familiar Ford logo.
Tags: Henry  Ford  charcoal  inventor 
Added: 11th February 2016
Views: 1103
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Posted By: Lava1964
Helen Wills - Tennis Champion Tennis player Helen Wills (later Helen Wills Moody), a California girl, captured the U.S. National Championship at Forest Hills at age 17 in 1923--the second-youngest female to manage the feat at that time. In an era when male sportswriters believed that being a female sports champion and being a beauty were incompatible, Wills proved them wrong. Wills' natural good looks turned heads wherever she played and won. She won often. The fact that Wills captured 19 Grand Slam singles tiles between 1923 and 1938 also enhanced her popularity. One writer said of Wills that "every male between the age of six and 60 was a little bit in love with her." In a six-year period from 1927 to 1933, Wills won every singles match she played without dropping a set! Standing about 5'7" with a muscular frame, Wills rarely showed emotion on the court and was dubbed Miss Poker Face. The nickname was coined by a New York sports journalist named Ed Sullivan. (Yes--that Ed Sullivan!) Charlie Chaplin, an avid tennis fan and a fan of attractive women, said the most beautiful thing on Earth was watching Helen Wills play tennis. Wills struck the ball with great power from an irregular stance: Her body faced forward rather than to the side when she made contact with the ball. Late in her life, Wills was asked if the modern, larger-faced racquets would have improved her game, she said, "No, I always struck the ball in the middle of my racquet, so I don't think a larger size racquet would have made any difference." Wills lived to be 92 years old, passing away on New Year's Day 1998.
Tags: tennis  Helen  Willis 
Added: 19th April 2018
Views: 486
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Posted By: Lava1964

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