Victorian era exercise equipment

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
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Ladies and gentlemen of the Victorian era naturally wanted to be physically fit, particularly if they rode trains and might have to fend of a railroad lunatic or two. However, physical labor was for the lower classes, so they needed a rather more civilized and gentile method of exercising.

As the Daily Mail chronicles in their article Inside the Victorian gym, the Swedish physician Dr. Gustav Zander solved their dilemma by inventing numerous exercise machines for use in spas and gyms worldwide.

Pictures here, and after the jump, are some of his machines. There are more, as well as information about Dr. Zander at the above Daily Mail link.


On pondering nature

Saturday, October 14, 2017
Anonymous, Eyes on the Fly.
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“Everything made by human hands looks terrible under magnification--crude, rough, and asymmetrical. But in nature every bit of life is lovely. And the more magnification we use, the more details are brought out, perfectly formed, like endless sets of boxes within boxes.”

-- Roman Vishniac



Shake, Rattle and Roll

Friday, October 13, 2017


Get ready for a domestic weekend with Big Joe Turner and his band.
 

Soviet Photography

Thursday, October 12, 2017
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Sovetskoe Foto (Soviet Photography) was a magazine aimed at amateur Russian photographers. It features articles on technique, equipment and examples of photographers work. These are covers from Sovetskoe Foto, and as you can see many of them in the style of Soviet realism so familiar from their propaganda posters.

They're from the Magazine Rack's archive of  Sovetskoe Foto, a site that digitizes magazines. At that site the contents of the magazines are archived as well, so you can flip through them and get all their content. There are more covers after the jump, and many more at the link.


Making paper in Bhutan

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Columbus Day

Monday, October 09, 2017
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One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. - André Gide


Victorian Railroad Lunatics

Saturday, October 07, 2017
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We have scary clowns popping up on roadsides, the Victorians were plagued with railroad lunatics. When railroads were a new development there were numerous reports in the papers of normal people going berserk and causing all sorts of mayhem on them.

It was thought that the very act of riding a train could trigger such behavior, From Atlas Obscura:
As the railway grew more popular in the 1850s and 1860s, trains allowed travelers to move about with unprecedented speed and efficiency, cutting the length of travel time drastically. But according to the more fearful Victorians, these technological achievements came at the considerable cost of mental health. As Edwin Fuller Torrey and Judy Miller wrote in The Invisible Plague: The Rise of Mental Illness from 1750 to the Present, trains were believed to “injure the brain.” In particular, the jarring motion of the train was alleged to unhinge the mind and either drive sane people mad or trigger violent outbursts from a latent “lunatic.” Mixed with the noise of the train car, it could, it was believed, shatter nerves.

In the 1860s and ‘70s, reports began emerging of bizarre passenger behavior on the railways. When seemingly sedate people boarded trains, they suddenly began behaving in socially unacceptable ways. One Scottish aristocrat was reported to have ditched his clothes aboard a train before “leaning out the window” ranting and raving. After he left the train, he suddenly recovered his composure.
There was also a concern that insane asylums were often situated close to rail lines and that escaped inmates would gravitate to the trains to escape the area and cause all manner of mischief in the process.

Finally, trains allowed women to travel alone, and so there was an aura of sexual danger in riding them. From the same article:
After going on a particular train ride, female novelist George Eliot stated with tongue firmly in cheek that upon seeing someone who looked wild and brutish, she was reminded of “all the horrible stories of madmen in railways.” Elliot seemed to relish the excitement of a possible confrontation and sounded rather disappointed when the figure turned out to be an ordinary clergyman.