In the early 1900s, sex glands from animals were transplanted into human males in an effort to rejuvenate their sex hormones and counteract aging. Unsurprisingly, it did not work as intended. And the side effects were often fatal.

In 1925, a Massachusetts woman agreed to give her husband a divorce, provided that he built for her an exact duplicate of the house that they shared in the local town. He built her house: on an uninhabited island without a fresh water source. Because the house had to be an exact replica it had pipes and running water -- filled with unusable saltwater. The house is affectionately known as "The Pink House" and is now owned by the US government as part of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit to Shawn Fitzgerald

Who Invented Paint-By-Numbers?

If you guessed "whatever man is in that self-portrait" you would have been half-right. Leonardo da Vinci was the original paint-by-numbers inventor: he used numbered background patterns for his students and apprentices. During the 1940s, Dan Robbins (the guy in the self-portrait) heard about da Vinci’s method. He worked for Detroit's Palmer Paint Company, and Robbins convinced his boss to try it out, coming up with kits featuring landscapes, horses, kittens, and puppies. Things that amateurs would want to paint, in other words. And they were a hit! Sales hit a record $20 million in 1955.

Unfortunately for the Palmer Paint Company, the idea of paint-by-numbers is very simple. Which makes it easy for other companies to copy the idea. As competitors flooded the market, the Palmer Paint Company could not keep up, and was eventually sold. But Robbins -- and Da Vinci -- had made their mark. Paint-by-numbers kits have been continuously sold since they were first invented in the 1940s, and Robbins’s work of making art accessible to all has been celebrated by the Smithsonian Institution.


"Technology is the reason we get old enough to complain about technology."

Garry Kasparov (1963- ), a Russian chess grandmaster, former world chess champion, writer, and political activist.

Russian Cavalry Officer’s Helmet, circa 1855-1914.

Part of the uniform of Her Majesty Empress Maria Fyodorovna's Cavalry Guards Regiment. With a three-headed eagle on top, almost the size of the helmet itself! Must have been ceremonial. Because only a fool would wear that unwieldy thing into battle

During Germany’s Weimar Republic in the 1920s, hyperinflation made paper money so devalued that some enterprising boys made kites out of what would otherwise be worthless paper!

  Yeibichai -- a female mask -- carved by Navajo artist Clitso Dedman (1897-1953). I was not able to find much clear information on Yeibichai online. If anyone knows about their place in the Navajo universe, I would love to hear about it -- just message me through tumblr or the website!     Image courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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