Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Archive for January, 2014


Photochrom of Champs-Élysées, Paris, ca.1890’s


Togo the cat was a mascot of the HMS Dreadnought, ca. 1900’s


The launch of the H.M.S. Dreadnought in 1906 was quite a big deal. The new “all-big gun” design of the battleship was revolutionary for the era, not to mention her steam-turbines – never having been used on a warship of her size before.

As such, she gave her name not only to the class of ship (of which she was the only one, the Bellerophon-class immediatly following her with minor improvements to the design, mainly for torpedo protection), but to the entire style, as all those preceding her were immediately seen as obsolete.

The HMS Dreadnought sported a compliment of ten 12-inch guns – which Togo seems to use as a playground – paired into five turrets, four guns facing aft, two guns to the bow, and two each on either flank, allowing an eight gun broadside to either side.

Visible on top of the turret is one of the 12-pndr guns originally placed atop the casements. This were later abandoned when it was realized not only that the crews were left terribly exposed when manning them, but also that the vibrations of the main guns damaged their smaller compliments.

Photo part of the collection of the Imperial War Museum.

B-54 Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM) – The Backpack Nuke



  • Loading the Nuke Backpack:



In 1914, German soldiers burned down the university library of Louvain, as a punishment for a shooting in the city destroying over 300.000 books, 800 incunables and 1000 manuscripts


The Germans leveled almost the entire city of Leuven (Louvain in French) just to punish the Belgians for their resistance….

1950’s automated hot dog machine in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Swedish text translates as "grilled sausage in 22 seconds".

The Swedish text translates as “grilled sausage in 22 seconds”.

A kid with an Indian headdress emerges from a coal hole, 1954

Today this kid would be labeled culturally insensitive and charged with terroristic threats.

Today this kid would be labeled culturally insensitive and charged with terroristic threats.

If you were wondering. ..

A coal hole is a hatch in the pavement (sidewalk, in US usage) above an underground coal bunker. They are sometimes found outside houses that existed during the period when coal was widely used for domestic heating from the early 19th century to the middle 20th century.


“The Burial of The Dead at The Battle of Wounded Knee, South Dakota” January 17, 1891



Thaddeus Lowe and members of the Union Army Balloon Corps with a balloon named Intrepid, Gaines’ Mill, Virginia, 1862. The man sitting at the table in front of it is operating a telegraph machine.


88-year-old Mrs. Sally Fickland, a former slave, looking at the Emancipation Proclamation in 1947.


She would have been 3 years old when Lincoln signed the proclamation in 1862.

Due to its fragile condition—it was printed on both sides of poor-quality 19th-century paper, unlike the Constitution, which is written on more durable parchment—the Emancipation Proclamation can only be displayed for 30 hours each year.


Unpacking the head of the Statue of Liberty, 1885