Over the last century, humanity and technology have gone through some pretty drastic evolutions. And the faster these things progress, the easier it becomes for people to forget the past. Understandably, no one wants that!
With the current technology boom and the way in which things are made today, it’s easy to take many things for granted. But with a little research, you can learn to appreciate the way things have progressed.
Just take these 17 examples of crazy headlines from things that happened more than 100 years ago. You’re not going to believe what people were doing back then!
1. World War I soldiers used bed mattresses as lifejackets: Unfortunately, what the military didn’t know was that the mattresses themselves were made of absorbent material. So they actually did the complete opposite of their intent—often pulling the sailors underwater.
2. Camouflage was a lot different: Long before camouflage had advanced to being available in hundreds of shades like it is today, World War I soldiers wore these black-and-white striped suits to make themselves more difficult to target instead of making them blend in with their surroundings.
3. Ten thousand German soldiers were killed on June 7, 1917, during a British blast: The explosion took place after 19 mines were detonated inside tunnels beneath the German soldiers stationed at La Boisselle in Messines, France. It was apparently so loud that people in Dublin and London could hear it. Additionally, the mushroom cloud was seen 4,000 feet in the air and resulted in a 200-feet-deep by 450-feet-wide crater.
4. One woman filed a complaint about her husband for not bathing: Yes, you read that newspaper headline correctly: It turned out that the man in question refused to wash himself because he claimed he was too fat to fit in their tub. For his “crime” he was sentenced to probation, and if he failed to bathe, he would be placed in jail.
5. The Human Fly entertained the masses with his dangerous balancing act: A famous acrobat a century ago, John Reynolds would push the boundaries of balancing high in the sky. On any given day, he could be expected to draw a crowd upwards of 1,500 people.
6. Army personnel attempted to listen for enemy planes with gigantic ear trumpets: This was, of course, before modern radar technology was invented. Unfortunately for the officers, their large inventions didn’t work very well.
7. R.B. Armitage, a male doctor, wrote and published a sex advice book for women: Of course, Private Sex Advice to Women contained quite a few inaccuracies. Armitage claimed that feeling pain during menstruation wasn’t normal and that people shouldn’t have sex during pregnancy. His ultimate goal was to “enlighten young wives and young women who plan to marry.”
8. A massive German zeppelin crashed in France: The giant aircraft fell into a valley after it was hit by bullets from a French fighter plane 16,000 feet in the air. In total, the ship was sized at 550 feet long by 70 feet wide.
9. Pigoens were trained by German military to carry cameras: Once the camera was placed in a harness and attached to the pigeon, officers would set a timer to automatically take pictures at specific intervals.
10. United States immigration services placed a child in the mail: A child actually arrived in the United States after making a 7,000-mile trip in the mail. She was returned when immigration services pinned a return address to her and left her at the post office.
11. People used radioactive suppositories: Sadly, when this happened in 1917, people were still unaware of the harmful side effects of radiation exposure. Instead, they believed it would “bombard organs with health-giving electric atoms.”
12. A cookbook titled A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband with Bettina’s Best Recipes was released: Not only was this an actual book, but it was wildly popular, too. It followed a fictional couple, Bob and Bettina, and taught women how to cook dishes like creamed tuna on toast and jellied beef. Talk about outdated…
13. One mom made poisoned pancakes: In 1917, arsenic was commonly found in people’s homes as a form of pest control. And, unfortunately for one mother, it also happened to look similar to flour. So much so that she accidentally used it to make her family pancakes. Yikes.
14. An ostrich farm was a booming tourist attraction: No one had any idea that when entrepreneur Edwin Cawston sent 50 South African ostriches to California, he would be creating not only the first ostrich farm in the country, but one of its largest tourist attractions to boot.
15. The first plastic surgery took place in the United Kingdom: In 1917, Harold Gillies performed a flap graft on Walter Yeo after he discovered a way to make the body resilient enough to withstand a skin graft.
16. Mata Hari, a Dutch exotic dancer, was executed by firing squad in 1917 after being accused of being a German spy: As a popular exotic danger, Mata often performed for many wealthy people, one of whom happened to be a German officer. As a result, a French court concluded she must be a spy and double agent.
17. Two young girls fooled everyone with hoax fairy photos: In 1917, nine-year-old Frances Griffith, and her cousin Elsie, 16, claimed they saw fairies in the latter girl’s garden. After borrowing her dad’s camera, Elsie took photos of Frances with said fairies. While the public took an interest in the resulting photo, it was later proven to be a hoax.
Things sure have changed a lot over the past 100 years. It makes you wonder what the world will be like 100 years from now…
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