Vinegar Valentines – unflattering Valentine’s Day cards from anonymous haters

Vinegar Valentine, circa 1900 / Public Domain

Vinegar valentines were a type of insulting cards. They are decorated with a caricature, and featured below an insulting poem. Ostensibly given on Valentine’s Day, the caricature and poem is about the “type” that the recipient belongs to—spinster, floozy, dude, scholar, etc. They enjoyed popularity from the 1840s to the 1940s. These cynical, sarcastic, often mean-spirited greeting cards were first produced in America as early as the 1840s. Cheaply made, vinegar valentines were usually printed on one side of a single sheet of paper and cost only a penny.
The unflattering cards reportedly created a stir throughout all social levels, sometimes provoking fisticuffs and arguments. Ironically, the receiver, not the sender, was responsible for the cost of postage up until the 1840s. A person in those days paid for the privilege of being insulted by an often anonymous “admirer.” Millions of vinegar valentines, with verses that insulted a person’s looks, intelligence, or occupation, were sold between the 19th and 20th centuries.
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Vintage SCI-FI photography

No matter what they are, they’re outstanding, funny and bizarre.
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Towering Wooden Railroad Bridges from the 19th century

A timber trestle over the Crooked River Gorge in central Oregon sits nearly 320 feet off of the water.

In the 1830s, the railroad boom started a new era in the building of railroad bridges pushing engineers to build incredible bridges with timber trestles that have become synonymous with the era.

Timber trestles were one of the few railroad bridge forms that did not develop in Europe. The reason was that in the United States and Canada cheap lumber was widespread and readily available in nearby forests. The Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and the province of British Columbia, Canada became the central region for hundreds of logging railroads whose bridges were almost all made of timber Howe trusses and trestles.

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Brazil’s Little Castle of Horror

By Natalia Naomi Aoi B. –, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Castelinho da Rua Apa is a residential building from the early 20th century, built by the family “Dos Reis” in 1912, having as a mold the French castles. In addition to its historical and cultural value, the Castelinho is known to have harbored a family tragedy in 1937, in which all the residents – mother and two children – were found shot dead and to this day it is unknown who was responsible – which makes  Castelinho a  mysterious haunted place. After the family tragedy the property was left without heirs passing to the patrimony of the Federal Government.
In 1996, the non-governmental organization Club de Mães do Brasil was granted the rights to use Castelinho da Rua Apa. Maria Eulina dos Reis Hilsenbeck is the founder and president of the Club and has been using the space ever since. Little Castle’s restoration was completed in April 2017, and now operates as a social assistance business, providing help to the homeless and chemical dependents in Sao Paulo.
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The stilt-walking shepherds of Landes

In 19th and early 20th century in a region of France called Landes, the roads were non-existent and the ground was marshy and uneven, so the people of Landes – mostly shepherds – developed a unique mode of transportation to allow them to get over the rough ground: they walked on stilts! The stilts of Landes were called, in the language of the country, tchangues, which means”big legs. Mounted on their stilts, the shepherds drove their flocks across the wastes, going through bushes, pools of water, and traversing marshes with safety, without having to seek roads or beaten footpaths. Moreover, this elevation permitted them to easily watch their sheep, which were often scattered over a wide surface. The stilts were pieces of wood about five feet in length, provided with a shoulder and strap to support the foot.
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Photochroms of Norway in late 19th Century

Tvinde Waterfall and hotel

Landscape and marine views of late 19th Century Norway created by the Detroit Publishing Company using the Photochrom process.
Photochrom, invented in the 1880s, is a process for producing colorized images from black-and-white photographic negatives via the direct photographic transfer of a negative onto lithographic printing plates. The process is a photographic variant of chromolithography (color lithography).
Images: Library of Congress

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Victorian Bathing Machines

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The bathing machine was a device, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, to allow people to change out of their usual clothes, change into swimwear, and wade in the ocean at beaches. They resembled wooden changing booths, with wheels and wooden steps that led inside. The bathing machine was part of etiquette for sea-bathing more rigorously enforced upon women than men but to be observed by both sexes among those who wished to be proper.

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