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tidbits from over here

Category: History

Todd Personal Protectograph Model 1500

This is a protectograph. Also called a check writer, this machine is a physical device for protecting a check by preventing the monetary amount, for which it was written, from being raised or altered. This particular model was primarily used by small businesses. My wife remembers playing with this one in her dad’s office. i […]

Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs

I bought my first computer in 1996. It was a Gateway PC running Windows 95. I was a Windows guy for many years. I started working at an advertising agency in 1998. It was there that I first became exposed to Apple and the Mac. It took me a while, but I bought my first […]

Laurel and Hardy Dancing

I’ve always been a fan of Laurel and Hardy. Came across this video. They are dancing to “At The Ball, That’s All”, sung by the Avelon Boys, from their classic 1937 movie, “Way Out West”.

Say Hey!

Today is Willie Mays’ 79th birthday! He celebrated with members of the California State Senate and Assembly. Images are courtesy of

Detroit and the Olympics

I never realized that the city of Detroit has bid many times to host the Olympic games. They bid on the Summer Olympics 7 times – in 1944, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968 and 1972. Their best chance of securing the Olympics was in 1968. Detroit was selected over Los Angeles, by the USOC, in […]


I came across a great website the other day. Shorpy is an online archive of thousands of high-resolution photos from the 1850s to 1950s. The site was named for Shorpy Higginbotham who was a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. The pictures on the site are absolutely amazing. The sharpness of the pictures […]

Royal Russian Mystery *UPDATE*

On November 27, 2007, I blogged about the last Russian Imperial Family – Czar Nicholas II , Empress Alexandra and their five children. On July 17, 1918, the Romanov family was lined up, believing they were posing for a photo, in the basement of the house they were being held. They were then brutally shot […]

“Can’t I Have It Right Away?”

I spent many years in jobs related to the printing industry. I came across this poem, and what it says is as true today as it was when written in 1904. “CAN’T I HAVE IT RIGHT AWAY?” By Strickland W. Gillilan I sat beside the estimator’s desk one afternoon— He hadn’t had a smell of […]

George Washington’s House

Remains of the house where George Washington was raised have been located and excavated by archeologists at Ferry Farm, just across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg, Virginia. The archeologists have been working on the site for seven years and confirm finding the foundation and cellars. Far from being the rustic cottage of common perception, the […]

Anne Frank Greeting Card

A greeting card sent by Anne Frank in 1937 has been found in a Dutch antiques shop. The card was sent to one of her best friends, Samme Ledermann. A school teacher named Paul van den Heuvel came across the card while looking through a box in his father’s shop in Naarden, near Amsterdam. The […]

Blue Eyes

According to a Danish researcher, if you have blue eyes, you’re related to a common ancestor. He found that every blue-eyed person descended from one person whose genes mutated some 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. Before that, everyone had brown eyes. Geneticist Hans Eiberg says that blue eyes occur when the human default – brown […]

Futurliner and the “Parade of Progress”

A few days ago, I came across a posting on Autoblog about a 1939 GM Futurliner that is up for sale on eBay. I remember seeing one of these once but, for the life of me, I can’t remember where it was! So, what is a Futurliner? Futurliners are a group of 12 stylized buses […]

The (Detroit) Auto Show

We went to the auto show in Detroit today. The very first Detroit Auto Show was held in 1899 at the Light Guard Armory. It was organized by the Tri-State Sportsman’s and Automobile Association. This first show featured major attractions of big-game trophies bagged in Africa and an exhibit of fishing tackle, hunting equipment and […]

“Low bridge, everybody down”

In April 2006, Bruce Springsteen released We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, a collection of songs popularized by the folk artist Pete Seeger. My favorite song on the album is Erie Canal. Erie Canal is one of those songs that I, and a lot of kids, grew up singing. But, I never really listened to […]

Old Maps, Ancient Trees

In the UK, 200 year old maps are being used to locate ancient trees. These maps show how the landscape use to look before deforestation, and also help to show where the ancient survivors are located. Ordnance Survey/Landmark has compiled a digital archive from more than 1000 maps which will be used to build the […]

Origins of Christmas Things

Have you ever wondered about the history of some of the Christmas items we are so familiar with? Here are a few examples: Christmas Lights – The use of small candles to light a Christmas tree dates back to the middle 17th century. The candles were glued with melted wax to a branch or attached […]

Catching Up to the Joneses

The U.S. Census Bureau has released a new report analyzing the most common surnames. Smith remains on top, followed by Johnson, Williams, Brown and Jones. What’s interesting is that, for the first time, two Hispanic names have cracked the top 10. Garcia comes in at number 8, and Rodriguez at number 9. You can search […]

First “America” Map

The first map ever to use the name “America” will go on display at the Library of Congress on December 13th. It was created by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller in 1507, and is also the first document to show a separate Western Hemisphere and label the Pacific Ocean as its own body of water. “America” […]

90 Year Russian Royal Mystery Possibly Solved

One of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century may finally be solved. The last Russian Imperial Family – Czar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra, daughters Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, and son Aleksei, were executed by Bolshevik revolutionaries. On July 17, 1918, the Romanov family was lined up, believing they were posing for a […]

Buried Belvedere

As Oklahoma celebrated its 50th anniversary of statehood in 1957, the city of Tulsa commemorated the occasion by sealing a gold and white 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe in a watertight concrete vault under the lawn of the Tulsa County Courthouse. The car would be unearthed 5o years later, in 2007. Among the items included […]

Thanksgiving and Pilgrim Myths

I am a direct descendant of William Bradford, a leader of the Pilgrim settlers, who crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower in 1620. He was Plymouth Colony’s longest serving governor. In learning more about him and his fellow settlers, I’ve come across many “facts” and stories about the Pilgrims that aren’t as accurate as we […]

The Gales of November

On November 10, 1975, the bulk lake freighter S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a violent storm on Lake Superior. With a length of 729 feet, she was the largest boat on the Great Lakes when built in 1958. The Fitzgerald left Superior, WI on November 9th with a cargo of 26,116 tons of taconite pellets. […]

Leaning More Than Pisa

A 90 ft. church tower in the Northern Germany village of Suurhusen, has been officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most lopsided building. It bumped the Leaning Tower of Pisa out of the top spot. The church was built in the middle 13th century and the tower was added […]

The Last Supper Scan

Leonardo DaVinci’s mural painting, The Last Supper, can now be viewed up-close by anyone on the Internet. The Italian imaging firm HAL9000 has posted a 16 billion pixel digital scan of the famous work on their website You’re able to zoom in on specific areas of the image as if you were standing right […]