From Quacks to Quaaludes: Three Centuries of Drug Advertising

Eli Lilly Amphedroxyn (methamphetamine) advertisement, 1951. New York State Journal of Medicine, Vol. 51, No. 1. (Via the Bonkers Institute). Portuguese physician João Curvo Semedo, 1707, sporting the extravagant locks typical of his era. Image viathe Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal. In his book Polyanthea Medicinal (Lisbon, 1697), a Portuguese doctor and seller of remedios secretos (“secret remedies”) named João Curvo Semedo […]

The World’s Tallest Statues

As to boldness of design, the examples are innumerable; for we see designed, statues of enormous bulk, known as colossal statues and equal to towers in size.– Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE), Natural History, Book 34, Chapter 9. Wikipedia has its critics (some justified, some not), but I personally love the odd ways that it organizes […]

Color Photographs of Vanished Russia

I mentioned the brilliant Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky (or Gorskii, as his last name is sometimes spelled) the other week, with a promise to write more about his work at a later date.  In a sentence, Prokudin-Gorsky was a photographer commissioned by the Russian Tsar Nicholas II to document the vast dominions of the […]

Color Film from 1922

These beautiful screen tests from 1922 were posted to Kodak’s Thousand Words blog in March of this year. Although color motion pictures had been made earlier (see 1908’s “A Visit to the Seaside”) these tests used a new process that yielded some haunting results. There’s something disorienting about seeing the past in color that I […]

South Georgia Island Church

Click to enlarge. I love the solemness and austerity of this old church in the abandoned settlement of Grytviken on one of the most remote islands in the world, South Georgia, which lies hundreds of miles to the east of Tierra del Fuego. According to Wikipedia, the church was built by Norwegian whalers in 1913. […]