Great historical disasters in papercraft form


Here's a series of "Disaster Dioramas" (dioramae?) -- papercraft models of historic disasters to download and print. Included in the set are the Titanic, the Hindenberg, Sir Shackleton's Endurance, Apollo 13, the Boston Molasses Disaster and the Chicago Fire, pictured here.

Spitefuls: [Disaster Dioramas!] (via Making Light)

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  1. Just so everyone’s clear, the story about Mrs. O’Leary and her cow starting the Chicago fire is a fabrication. The reporter who wrote the story later admitted he made it up, and the exact cause of the fire has never been conclusively determined.

    1. …the exact cause of the fire has never been conclusively determined.

      So you’re saying we can’t rule out the cow? Good enough!

    2. Although there is a working theory offered by the docents at the Chicago History Museum which seems convincing: a known ne’er-do-well who hung out in the area, sleeping off his drinking binges wherever he could find shelter.  He had been caught in the O’Leary barn a couple of times before.

    3. That can’t be true, because it’s in the song.

      Three nights ago
      when we were all in bed
      Old Lady Leary left a lantern in the shed
      and when the cow kicked it over
      she winked her eye and said
      “There’ll be a hot time
      in the old town
      to-ni-i-i-ight!”

    4.  It’s very upsetting that tall, skyscraperish buildings are depicted in the model as well. Those didn’t come along until the Home Insurance Building started the trend in 1884. A whole generation of children will toil in ignorance because of this silly papercraft project.

  2. I made the Hindenburg diorama a few years ago. (Although satisfying, it’s more work than it appears.) I admired it for a week or so but did not want to keep it forever. So I burned it. It was spectacular! 

    1. I sacrificed a three-foot long Pharaonic funeral procession some years back after drinking a bottle of Akvavit.

    2. I did something similar with a tissue paper hot air balloon I had made, it wasn’t going to fly as well as I had hoped and so I ‘accidentally’ caught it with the burner. Woomph! My own private Hindenburg.

  3. I hope you realize that the popular story how Mrs. Catherine O’Leary’s cow started the Great Chicago Fire is fiction and the product of anti-Irish bigotry which ruined the life of a woman.

    Edit: I could swear matt’s comment wasn’t here when I started typing. Oh well.

    1. …the popular story how Mrs. Catherine O’Leary’s cow started the Great Chicago Fire is fiction and the product of anti-Irish bigotry which ruined the life of a woman.

      I bet the cow never lived it down either.

  4. I don’t think the cow in question was Holstein.  Jersey, maybe.  Holstein, no.  We can argue about the fire later, but first please fix the color on that cow!

  5. Seems like there should be a BB commenters meet-up at the site of the barn, which is now the Chicago Firefighter Training Academy.

    I love taking tourists by the place.  The back side of the building looks like it’s been damaged by multiple fires…which, of course, it has.

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