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Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday links

FDR's Bomb Shelter was located in an old vault under the Treasury, connected to the White House via tunnel. 

Recreating History - side by side comparison of real historical footage with movie re-creations.

These brothers built a mine-sweeping drone.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include the war over cookie butter patents, the anniversary of the United States joining World War I, and instructions from 1650 on how to dye your hair blond.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

1860s series of photos illustrating the '5 stages of inebriation'

Australia never enacted full Prohibition (wiki) as the United States did, but there were campaigns against alcohol consumption there, as well as here. These photographs, dated between 1863 and 1868, are believed to be propaganda from a New South Wales temperance group. They coincide with the 1866 “Drunkard’s Punishment Bill”*, suggesting there was a bit of a local alcoholism problem. The photographer, Charles Percy Pickering, was commissioned by the NSW government. 

Decades after these photos were taken, the Australian temperance movement seemingly scored a victory when mandatory early closures were enacted for pubs and hotel bars as an austerity measure during World War I. This backfired, however; the early closing times created the “six o’clock swill,” as people dashed from work to bars and drank as heavily and quickly as possible, ending up like the model in these photos before the sun was down.

Stage 1:

Stage 2:

Stage 3:

Stage 4:

Stage 5:

The 'Drunkard Punishment Bill: 1866' from an article in The Illustrated Sydney News: 15th Sept. 1866:
The following is the Bill introduced by Mr. Martin and passed by the Legislative Assembly:-
Clause 1. "Any person who shall be found drunk in any highway, street, or public place, shall be liable, on conviction, as hereunder mentioned, to a fine or penalty not exceeding twenty shillings.
Clause 2. "Any person who shall be found drunk and disorderly in any highway, street, road, or public place, shall be liable, on conviction, as hereunder mentioned, to a fine or penalty not exceeding forty shillings.
Clause 3. "It shall be lawful for any constable to apprehend and confine in any watchhouse, until he can be taken before a Justice of the Peace, to be dealt with as hereunder mentioned, any person whom he may find drunk, or drunk and disorderly, in any highway, street, road, or public place.
Clause 4. "It shall be lawful for any Justice of the Peace, before whom any person shall be taken as aforesaid, and charged without any formal information, with a breach of either the first two sections of this act, to enquire into and adjudicate upon such charge in a summary way, and, on conviction, to direct that such person shall pay such fine or penalty as is hereinbefore provided, and, in default of immediate payment, to commit such person to any gaol or house of correction for any period not exceeding seven days, with or without hard labour.
Clause 5. "This act may be cited for all purposes as the 'Drunkards' Punishment Act of 1866."
Related posts: 

Winston Churchill's Doctor's Note Allowing Him to Drink "Unlimited" Alcohol in Prohibition America.

Thursday links

These 10 companies control everything (edible) that you buy

In 1650, here's how you could dye your hair blond.

Map: watch as the world’s cities appear one-by-one over 6,000 years.

Victorian ‘Coffin Torpedoes’ Blasted Would-Be Grave Robbers.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and are all April Fool's Day related: history, pranks, and hoaxes.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917.

The War was decided in the first twenty days of fighting, and all that happened afterwards consisted of battles which, however formidable and devastating, were but desperate and vain appeals against the decision of Fate. 

~ Sir Winston S. Churchill (wiki) (1874-1965) (Preface to Spears, Liaison 1914)

Napoleon had said it was rare to find generals willing to fight battles. The curse [of World War I] was that so few could do anything else. 

When every autumn people said it could not last through the winter, and when every spring there was still no end in sight, only the hope that out of it all some good would accrue to mankind kept men and nations fighting. When at last it was over, the war had many diverse results and one dominant one transcending all others: disillusion. 

~ Barbara Tuchman (1912-1989) (The Guns of August, "Afterward") 

Today is the 100th anniversary - the centennial - of the entry of the United States into World War I on April 6, 1917, when the House of Representatives passed the declaration of war proposed four days earlier by President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) (wiki) and adopted by the Senate on the 4th. The United States only joined the Allies after nearly three years of war, provoked beyond endurance by Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare campaign and the German "Zimmermann telegram" (wiki) - intercepted by British intelligence - which promised Mexico the return of her "lost territories" in the southwest United States in return for an alliance with a victorious Germany. 

Ultimately nearly two million American troops joined French and British counterparts on the Western Front and provided the final impetus for breaking the stalemate that had lasted there since late 1914. The United States lost over 53,000 men killed or missing in action, plus 204,000 wounded.* In his call for a war declaration, President Wilson noted,
Zimmerman Telegram
"It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war ... We shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest our hearts - for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own Governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free."
Alas, these noble aspirations were largely unrealized, and the primary legacy of World War I - the worst calamity to afflict Western Civilization in our times - was World War II.

* N.B. The U.S. dead were only a small percentage of the total number of those killed on both sides - 5-1/2 million. It's also notable that the United States military suffered even more deaths to other causes, mostly the influenza pandemic that struck in 1918. 

A brief documentary on the entry:

From the BBC: 
In this collection of archive footage and interviews, the introduction and training of United States soldiers to the Allied cause in the First World War is discussed.

The text above is adapted from Ed's Quotation of the Day, only available via email - leave your email address in the comments if you'd like to be added to his list. Ed is the author of Hunters and Killers: Volume 1: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1776 to 1943 and Hunters and Killers: Volume 2: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1943.

If you're interested in further information on the subject there are hundreds of books and films - the best books I know of (and unlike Ed, I'm no expert) are Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August (which won a Pulitzer back when they meant something) and John Keegan's The First World War.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

In 1650, here's how you could dye your hair blond

So, are the old ways always the best? I tend to think so, being a grandma. In this particular case, however, I'd recommend more modern methods, although the advice on removing all of the filth before you start is still relevant.
Nicolas Arnoult, Recueil des modes de la cour de France (1687), LACMA
"How to make ones haire to become of a yellow Golden Colour. Take the rinde, or outward parings of Rhubarbe, and put them to steep in Whitewine, or clear Lye; wet a spunge or linnen cloth therein, and anoint your haire therewith, and let them dry before the fire or sunne; the oftener you do this the sooner they will become yellow: note that before you use this, it is good to clear your head and hair from sweat, and all other filth whatsoever."
~ A Brief Collection of Many Rare Secrets, La Fountaine, Edward (1650) (text of the entire book is available here).

Sunday, April 2, 2017