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Model for a “Creeping Baby Doll” patented in 1871

What child wouldn't want to be surprised by this adorable wax-headed baby doll crawling out from under their bed at 2am?

Creeping Baby Doll (Via Pickover)

The greatest toy ever made


There are too many awesome things about this to count. (Via Arcane Images)

We Have No Names

Buy And Name Us.

An awesome 1917 patent for adding dialogue to silent movies

Charles F. Pidgin came up with a great idea - a coiled paper tube with words printed on it. When actors in a silent movie needed to deliver a line of dialog, they simply blew on the tube to inflate it and show the words. Too bad all movies aren't made this way.

The Non-Talking Talkie--Soundless Talking Pictures (1917) and the Beauty of Timelessly Bad Ideas

40 outrageously offensive vintage ads

Most of the vintage ads in this Collectors Weekly round-up were designed to shame women into buying a product that would make them more attractive to their mate. The Mad Man-era ad above was designed to assure Eastern Airlines passengers that they wouldn't be served by "loser" stewardesses.

Selling Shame

The Joker goes surfing

Magic Transistor is an excellent online radio station with a cool photo Tumblr, which is where I saw this picture of The Joker posing with a custom surfboard. Why isn't he laughing hysterically?

Radio Man walks, talks, and yodels

It yodels because it is a Swiss radio man. (Via Magic Transistor)

The Real Mermaids of San Marcos, Texas

Ben Marks say: "When Collectors Weekly writer and producer Hunter Oatman-Stanford was growing up in Austin, Texas, one of his favorite places to go as a kid was Aquarena Springs in nearby San Marcos. Though the attraction boasted an alligator pit, Ralph the Swimming Pig (famous, of course, for his 'swine dive'), and an aerial gondola ride, the biggest lure was the mermaid show, in which swimmers would perform dance moves and tricks, like eating or drinking underwater, while viewers watched through thick glass windows.

"Turns out, Hunter's great-aunt, Sue Cregg, had been an aquamaid, as the performers were called, in the 1960s. So, for his article on Aquarena Springs, Hunter spoke to Cregg, as well as Peggy Sparks, who got her start at the amusement park in the 1950s. Cregg and Sparks explain what it was really like to be a mermaid, from the cold temperatures they endured in the water to the balls of frozen dog food they'd prepare to feed to the fish they swam with as part of the act."

Read the rest

Wegee photo of a man about to be executed wearing a hood with a Westinghouse logo on it

This execution brought to you by Westinghouse? I'd have guessed that Thomas "DC current is safer" Edison was behind it, but this fellow is in the gas chamber, not on an electric chair.

From the Getty Images description: circa 1945: An American prisoner, sentenced to death, is strapped into a chair in the gas chamber. The black hood carries a Westinghouse Electric Company logo.

See full image here

Gallery of "terrifying beauty treatments"

Anorak has a gallery of creepy "20th Century contraptions designed to make you the belle of the ball."

Strange Medicine, by Nathan Belofsky: exclusive excerpt

In Ancient Egypt, doctors applied electric eels to patients with migraines. In the medieval times dentists burned candles into patients’ mouths to kill off those pesky invisible worms gnawing at their teeth.

Read the rest

Vintage plaster and chalk nude statuettes

Deanna of Kitsch-Slapped takes us on a tour of vintage plaster and chalk nude statuettes.

[Some] vintage plaster or chalkware figurines have little fabric skirts or loincloths, which may come on as modest cover-up... Surprise, these vintage pieces show the genitalia! Aren’t you just dying to flip the grass skirt made of string aside on this vintage piece by what appears to be Ferguson Studios?

Odd and inappropriate Valentine's cards of yesteryear

Here's a small sampling of artist Mitch O'Connell's fabulous Valentine's card collection gallery. (These are real cards, not something Mitch made up.)

Just in time to send to your Valentine sweetheart, a huge selection of the offbeat, odd, perplexing, inappropriate, outlandish, bizarre, sexist, eccentric and far-out funny cards, all collected in one place ...for YOU (with love)!

Subject matter includes anger issues, from punching, stabbing, shooting your loved one to running them over with your car. "A woman's place is in the home" themes with pots 'n pans, brooms and dust pans expressing how your heart beats for them. "Find the hidden penis" is a M.O'C Blog Valentine favorite with suggestively placed rulers, logs, bananas, balloons, rocket ships, and hot dogs showing how you really, REALLY feel!

Unintentionally Hilarious Vintage Valentine's Day Cards! See the top 100 Risque, Rude and Sexy examples of all time!

Mitch also has a new art book -- Mitch O'Connell, the World's Best Artist by Mitch O'Connell! Look for an exclusive preview soon on Boing Boing. It's available for pre-order on Amazon, or directly from Mitch's site.

What is this bizarre Indian "health gadget" from 1950s Bombay?

Crate-digging for old records on eBay, my brother found this bizarre health gadget identified as having been produced in Bombay in the 1950s. The seller writes:

Very rare and old Twin Transilluminator in Box from India 1950 in good condition. Its medical Instrument for sinuses and Eye therapy. Its made of steel and backlit. its electrical. on box has some description and photos about how to use this Instrument. Its rare and unique medical Instrument and must for medical instruments collectors. The size of box is 9 inch in length, and its width is 5 inch.

What the heck is the history behind this gizmo? More photos below.

Read the rest

Then 'Lady Life Guards' of 1940s Brooklyn

The New York Times' City Room blog explores “Lady Life Guards,” an "oddly racy newsreel" made around 1940 about female lifeguards on a beach in Brooklyn. The video made the rounds on blogs this week after being featured on blog Sheepshead Bites. The Times' Andy Newman describes it as "a gently leering 10-minute tour de force of visual double-entendre and soul-stirring call-of-duty gee-whiz."

The film was uploaded to YouTube last week by a user who found it in the Library of Congress’s Prelinger Archive at archive.org.

(thanks, Michael Roston!)