Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh (born 15 July 1914 in Bangkok, Thailand; died 23 December 1985 in Barons Court Station, London), better known as Prince Bira of Siam (now Thailand) or by his nom de course B. Bira, was the only Thai race car driver to race in Formula One. He raced in Formula One and Grand Prix races for the Maserati, Gordini, and Connaught teams, among others. He also was an Olympic sailor in the Melbourne Olympics, 1956 in the Star, Rome Olympics, 1960 in the Star, Tokyo Olympics, 1964 in the Dragon and the Munich Olympics, 1972 in the Tempest. In the 1960 Games he competed against another former Formula One driver, Roberto Mieres, who finished 17th and ahead of the prince in 19th. Birabongse was the only Southeast Asian driver in Formula One until Malaysia‘s Alex Yoong joined Minardi in 2001. Prince Bira was not only a racing driver, he was also an excellent pilot of gliders and powered aircraft. In 1952 he flew the remarkable distance from London to Bangkok with his own twin engine Miles Gemini aircraft.
Prince Bira accepting the trophy for winning the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace in 1937, having driven his ERA.
Text from Wikipedia
Filed under: People, Photography, Racing, The thirties Tagged: Brooklands, Grand Prix racing, Prince Bira, Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh
Kusakabe Kimbei (日下部 金兵衛) (1841–1934) was a Japanese photographer. He usually went by his given name, Kimbei, because his clientele, mostly non-Japanese-speaking foreign residents and visitors, found it easier to pronounce than his family name.
Filed under: People, Photography Tagged: Japanese photographers, Kusakabe Kimbei
Back in 2013 I posted a series of posts based on the 1930 edition of Ward Lock & Co’s “ Illustrated Guide Book to London”. For those who have followed this blog for a while it should come as no surprise that I also have in my possession the 1910 edition of Ward Lock & Co’s illustrated guide book for the same city. And just for the record, I have the 1948 and 1956 editions too.
This will be the first post based on the 1910 edition which is surprisingly enough more richly illustrated than the one from 1930. And we start of course with the introduction and work our way through the most interesting parts of the book – Ted
No words could better serve as introduction to a Guide to London than those of Heine : “ I have seen the greatest wonder which the world can show to the astonished spirit. I have seen it, and am more astonished than ever–and still there remains in my memory that stone forest of houses, and amid them the rushing stream of faces, of living human faces, with all their motley passions, all their terrible impulses of love, of hunger, and of hate."
In this volume we can attempt only to direct the stranger’s footsteps through the “stone forest of houses" "the rushing stream of faces ”–with which no building can compare in interest–he must study for himself. Certainly in no city of ancient or modern days has there been such “fullness of life” as that which crowds the streets of the Metropolis at this period of our history, and if Dr. Johnson were alive to-day we can well believe that he would enjoy the traditional “walk down Fleet Street" With even more than his accustomed relish.
The Sightseer’s London
Although the Metropolis is so vast that it would take the best part of a lifetime to traverse its 10,000 streets, and another lifetime to know intimately every part of the suburbs, the features of interest appealing especially to sightseers are, with few exceptions, conﬁned to a central area, for the most part north of the Thames, measuring roughly some ﬁve miles from west to east, and three from north to south. We are far indeed from saying that there is not anything of interest outside this area, but we do say that the visitor, however hardy and determined, who has methodically and conscientiously “done” the orthodox sights, and taken a trip or two by way of relaxation to places like Windsor and Hampton Court, will have little heart or shoe-leather left for Islington and Kilburn, and other places in the “Middle Ring" unless the calls of business or of friendship lure him thither. We have accordingly dealt fully with the West End and the City, and outlined all the principal excursions; but the reader who is in search of detailed information respecting London’s suburban dormitories and nurseries must, we fear, be referred to volumes of greater capacity. We have done our best to squeeze a quart- ought we not rather to say a hogshead? -into a pint pot, but something has perforce been spilt in the process.
London at a Glance
It will greatly assist the stranger to keep his bearings in the crowded streets of Central London if he forms at the outset a mental picture of the direction and intersections of the principal thoroughfares. To this end we have prepared a special sketch map showing “ London at a Glance,“ believing that this will be more helpful than pages of elaborate directions. Bear in mind that the river runs from west to east, with a syphon-like northward bend from Vauxhall Bridge to Waterloo; and that the two chief thoroughfares, Oxford Street with its continuations, and the Strand with its continuations, follow approximately the same course from west to east, eventually meeting at the Bank of England. Connection north and south between these two great thoroughfares is provided by Regent Street in the west; by Kingsway and Aldwych, between Holborn and the Strand; and by Chancery Lane at the City boundary.
“From the top of a ‘Bus, Gentlemen"
“The way to see London", said Mr. W. E. Gladstone once to some American tourists, “ is from the top of a bus- the top of a ‘bus, gentlemen." A shilling or two judiciously invested in penny and two penny fares will enable all the main thorough-fares to be traversed, and a much wider range of view will be secured than would be possible from a cab or carriage. The destinations of the various lines of omnibuses are clearly shown on the front and rear, and the chief places passed en route on the panels. Care should be taken to ascertain whether the omnibus is going to or from the point the visitor is desirous of reaching.
Click image for larger view
Filed under: Article, Holidays, London, The 1910s, Traveling Tagged: 1910 Edition, Illustrated Guide Book to London, Ward Lock & Co’s
It all started 45 years ago, when Drummond Randall took his three-and-a-half-year-old son for a day out on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, on the South coast.
"I remember very clearly what happened when we got home," recalls Drummond. "My son turned to me and said, ‘Dad, are you going to build me a locomotive?’" The answer was yes. And while most fathers might have made do with buying their son a little electric train set and putting it in the loft, Drummond went one further and constructed an entire, working miniature railway, around the garden of the family home in Kent.
There’s a little station at which passengers can get on, an engine shed where the trains sleep overnight, and, rather than just chuffing around in a boring circle, the locomotives wind their way through holes in hedges, into long, dark tunnels, around the edges of attractive flower beds and across dramatic bridges that span ponds.
Plus, on each circuit of the garden, the train passes just a couple of feet in front of the spectacular half-timbered, 17th-century home in which the Randalls live. Step out with a cup of tea, and if you didn’t look where you were going you could find yourself being struck at kneecap level (it’s a miniature railway, remember) by one of Drummond’s immaculately polished trains. Maybe the gleamingly caramel-coloured locomotive Crowborough, or perhaps its elegant, powder-blue cousin Dunalistair. Or conceivably Toby the shunting diesel, powered by silent electricity, rather than roaring coal fires and wheezing steam.
In all there are seven trains running on Drummond’s network, which he still lovingly maintains, although his son left home some time ago. So is he fulfilling one of his own boyhood fantasies? "No question about it," he says with a laugh. "When I was a teenager, I built my own small version of this railway in my back garden. But my mother wasn’t very keen on it, and when I got called up to do National Service, she pulled all the track up."
Article from The Telegraph written by By Christopher Middleton – 21 Jan 2015
Filed under: Entertainment, Pastime, People Tagged: Garden trains, Irresistible, Model trains
Watch as mad scientist Dr. Lorenzo Cameron turns his handyman into a werewolf in this clip from the 1942 low-budget horror film The Mad Monster. It stars Johnny Downs, George Zucco, and Anne Nagel. The tagline for this film is "The blood of a wolf he placed in the veins of a man… and created a monster such as the world has never known!". It was released on May 15, 1942.
Found on retroyoutube
Filed under: Movies, Tackieness, The forties Tagged: 1942, Horror movies, Monsters
The R360 was Mazda‘s first real car – a two-door, four-seat coupé. Introduced in 1960, it featured a short 69 inch (1753 mm) wheelbase and weighed just 838 lb. (380 kg). It was powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled 356 cc V-twin engine putting out about 16 hp (12 kW) and 16 lb·ft (22 Nm) of torque. The car was capable of about 52 mph (84 km/h). It had a 4-speed manual or two-speed automatic transmission. The suspension, front and rear, was rubber “springs” and torsion bars.
Within a few years of introducing the R360, Mazda had captured much of the lightweight (kei car) market in Japan. It was augmented by the Mazda P360 “Carol” 2+2 in 1962, as well as a convertible version in 1964. Production of the R360 lasted for six years.
Text from wikipedia
Filed under: Automobiles, Facts, The sixties Tagged: Japanese cars, Mazda R360, Micro cars, mini cars
Irene Dunne (December 20, 1898 – September 4, 1990) was an Irene Dunne American film actress and singer of the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. Dunne was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Actress, for her performances in Cimarron (1931), Theodora Goes Wild (1936), The Awful Truth (1937), Love Affair (1939) and I Remember Mama (1948). She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1958.
Born Irene Marie Dunn in Louisville, Kentucky, to Joseph Dunn, a steamboat inspector for the United States government, and Adelaide Henry, a concert pianist/music teacher from Newport, Kentucky, Irene Dunn would later write, “No triumph of either my stage or screen career has ever rivalled the excitement of trips down the Mississippi on the river boats with my father.” She was only eleven when her father died in 1909. She saved all of his letters and often remembered and lived by what he told her the night before he died: “Happiness is never an accident. It is the prize we get when we choose wisely from life’s great stores.”
After her father’s death, Irene, her mother, and her younger brother Charles moved to her mother’s hometown of Madison, Indiana. Dunn’s mother taught her to play the piano as a very small girl. According to Dunn, “Music was as natural as breathing in our house.” Dunne was raised as a devout Roman Catholic. Nicknamed “Dunnie,” she took piano and voice lessons, sang in local churches and high school plays before her graduation in 1916.
She earned a diploma to teach art, but took a chance on a contest and won a prestigious scholarship to the Chicago Musical College, where she graduated in 1926. With a soprano voice, she had hopes of becoming an opera singer, but did not pass the audition with the Metropolitan Opera Company.
Irene, after adding an “e” to her surname, turned to musical theatre, making her Broadway debut in 1922 in Zelda Sears‘s The Clinging Vine. The following year, Dunne played a season of light opera in Atlanta, Georgia. Though in her own words Dunne created “no great furore”, by 1929 she had a successful Broadway career playing leading roles, grateful to be at centre stage rather than in the chorus line. In July 1928, Dunne married Francis Griffin, a New York dentist, whom she had met in 1924 at a supper dance in New York. Despite differing opinions and battles that raged furiously, Dunne eventually agreed to marry him and leave the theatre.
Dunne’s role as Magnolia Hawks in Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II‘s Show Boat was the result of a chance meeting with showman Florenz Ziegfeld in an elevator the day she returned from her honeymoon. Dunne was discovered by Hollywood while starring with the road company of Show Boat in 1929. Dunne signed a contract with RKO and appeared in her first movie in 1930, Leathernecking, a film version of the musical Present Arms. She moved to Hollywood with her mother and brother and maintained a long-distance marriage with her husband in New York until he joined her in California in 1936. That year, she re-created her role as Magnolia in what is considered the classic film version of the famous musical Show Boat, directed by James Whale. (Edna Ferber‘s novel, on which the musical is based, had already been filmed as a part-talkie in 1929, and the musical would be remade in Technicolor in 1951, but the 1936 film is considered by most critics and many film buffs to be the definitive motion picture version.)
During the 1930s and 1940s, Dunne blossomed into a popular screen heroine in movies such as the original Back Street (1932) and the original Magnificent Obsession(1935). The first of three films she made opposite Charles Boyer, Love Affair (1939) is perhaps one of her best known. She starred, and sang “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes“, in the 1935 Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers film version of the musical Roberta.
She was apprehensive about attempting her first comedy role, as the title character in Theodora Goes Wild (1936), but discovered that she enjoyed it. She turned out to possess an aptitude for comedy, with a flair for combining the elegant and the madcap, a quality she displayed in such films as The Awful Truth (1937) and My Favourite Wife (1940), both co-starring Cary Grant. Other notable roles include Julie Gardiner Adams in Penny Serenade (1941) (once again opposite Grant), Anna Leonowens in Anna and the King of Siam (1946), Lavinia Day in Life with Father (1947), and Marta Hanson in I Remember Mama (1948). In The Mudlark(1950), Dunne was nearly unrecognizable under heavy makeup as Queen Victoria.
She retired from the screen in 1952, after the comedy It Grows on Trees. The following year, she was the opening act on the 1953 March of Dimes showcase in New York City. While in town, she made an appearance as the mystery guest on What’s My Line? She also made television performances on Ford Theatre, General Electric Theatre, and the Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, continuing to act until 1962.
Dunne commented in an interview that she had lacked the “terrifying ambition” of some other actresses and said, “I drifted into acting and drifted out. Acting is not everything. Living is.
Text from Wikipedia
Filed under: Actresses, Hollywood, Movies, People, The fifties, The forties, The thirties Tagged: American film actresses, American singers, Irene Dunne
For centuries, doctors had been treating women for a wide variety of illnesses by performing what is now recognized as masturbation. The "pelvic massage" was especially common in the treatment of female hysteria in Great Britain during the Victorian Era, as the point of such manipulation was to cause "hysterical paroxysm" (orgasm) in the patient. However, not only did they regard the "vulvar stimulation" required as having nothing to do with sex, but reportedly found it time-consuming and hard work.
In 1902, the American company Hamilton Beach patented the first electric vibrator available for consumer retail sale as opposed to medical usage, making the vibrator the fifth domestic appliance to be electrified, after the sewing machine, fan, tea kettle, and toaster, and about a decade before the vacuum cleaner and electric iron. The home versions soon became extremely popular, with advertisements in periodicals such as Needlecraft, Woman’s Home Companion, Modern Priscilla, and the Sears, Roebuck catalogue. These disappeared in the 1920s, apparently because their appearance in pornography made it no longer tenable for mainstream society to avoid the sexual connotations of the devices.
Time-consuming and hard work my ass – Ted ;-)
Filed under: Retro technology, Vintage Science Tagged: Electric vibrators, Female hysteria, Hamilton Beach, Hysterical Paroxysm, Vulvar stimulation
The Dynasphere (sometimes misspelled Dynosphere) was a monowheel vehicle design patented in 1930 by J. A. (John Archibald) Purves (7 August 1870 – 4 November 1952) from Taunton, Somerset, UK. Purves’ idea for the vehicle was inspired by a sketch made by Leonardo da Vinci.
Two prototypes were initially built: a smaller electrical model, and one with a gasoline motor that attained either 2.5 or 6 horse power depending on the source consulted, using a two-cylinder air-cooled Douglas engine with a three speedgear box, also providing reverse. The Dynasphere model reached top speeds of 25–30 miles per hour (40–48 km/h). The gasoline-powered prototype was 10-foot (3.0 m) high and built of iron latticework that weighed 1,000 pounds (450 kg). The next generation version had ten outer hoops, covered with a leather lining, shaped to present a small profile to the ground.
The driver’s seat and the motor were part of one unit, mounted with wheels upon the interior rails of the outer hoop. The singular driving seat and motor unit, when powered forward, would thus try to "climb" up the spherical rails, which would cause the lattice cage to roll forward. Steering of the prototype was crude, requiring the driver to lean in the direction sought to travel, though Purves envisioned future models equipped with gears that would shift the inner housing without leaning, thus tipping the Dynasphere in the direction of travel. The later ten-hoop model had a steering wheel engaging such tipping gears, and was captured in a 1932 Pathé newsreel, in which the vehicle’s advantages are first described and then demonstrated at the Brooklands motor racing circuit. A novelty model was later constructed by Purves that could seat eight passengers, the "Dynasphere 8", made specifically for beach use.
Purves was optimistic about his invention’s prospects. As reported in a 1932 Popular Science magazine article, after a filmed test drive in 1932 on a beach in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, he stated that the Dynasphere "reduced locomotion to the simplest possible form, with consequent economy of power", and that it was "the high-speed vehicle of the future". An article in the February 1935 issue of Meccano Magazine noted that though the Dynasphere was only at an experimental stage, "it possesses so many advantages that we may eventually see gigantic wheels similar to that shown on our cover running along our highways in as large numbers as motor cars do to-day." According to the 2007 book Crazy Cars, one reason the Dynasphere did not succeed was that "while the [vehicle] could move along just fine, it was almost impossible to steer or brake." Another aspect of the vehicle that received criticism was the phenomenon of "gerbiling"—the tendency when accelerating or braking the vehicle for the independent housing holding the driver within the monowheel to spin within the moving structure.
Text from Wikipedia
Filed under: Article, Automobiles, Retro technology, The thirties, Vintage Science Tagged: John Archibald Purves, Leonardo da Vinci, The Dynasphere
The picnic season is right around the corner people. Here’s a little historic view on the subject from my other blog to set you in the right mood. Get your picnic baskets out of the cupboards and start planning
Originally posted on RecipeReminiscing:
Food historians tell us picnics evolved from the elaborate traditions of moveable outdoor feasts enjoyed by the wealthy. Medieval hunting feasts, Renaissance-era country banquets, and Victorian garden parties lay the foundation for today’s leisurely repast. Picnics, as we Americans know them today, date to the middle of the 19th century. Although the “grand picnic” is generally considered a European concept, culinary evidence confirms people from other parts of the world engage in similar practices.
The earliest picnics in England were medieval hunting feasts. Hunting conventions were established in the 14th century, and the feast before the chase assumed a special importance. Gaston de Foiz, in a work entitled Le Livre de chasse (1387), gives a detailed description of such an event in France. As social habits in 14th century England were similar to those in medieval France, it is safe to assume that picnics were more or less the same…
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Filed under: Retro
Jack Ruby has been sentenced to death after being found guilty of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F Kennedy. Ruby’s defence team is to launch an appeal after the jury in the Dallas court returned the guilty verdict and decided he should die in the electric chair.
The jury of eight men and four women deliberated for two hours and 19 minutes.
Oswald, who was accused of firing the gun that killed the president, was shot two days later by Ruby in the basement of the Dallas police headquarters.
There was uproar in court and Ruby’s defence said the verdict was "a victory for bigotry".
"This was a kangaroo court, a railroad court and everyone knew it."
Melvin Belli, chief defence counsel:
At 12:23 local time, Judge Brown read out the verdict: "We the jury find the defendant guilty of murder with malice as charged in the indictment and assess his punishment as death."
When the judge asked if this was a unanimous decision, all the jurors raised their right hand to signal that it was. They were then discharged. Ruby, who pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, was quickly led away to prison, where he will remain as his appeal gets under way.
The district attorney said after the trial that he thought the jury had been persuaded by Dallas police officers who reported that Ruby had planned to kill Oswald for two days and had meant to shoot him three times instead of once.
The jury had been asked to consider its verdict after hearing more than five hours of summing up by prosecuting and defence barristers. Prosecutors argued that Ruby should die in the electric chair "because he mocked American justice while the spotlight was on Dallas".
Defence lawyers had suggested that the prosecution wanted Ruby to go to the electric chair to compensate for their frustrations due to their inability to try Lee Harvey Oswald. They also argued that there was medical evidence to suggest that Ruby suffered from epilepsy and was subject to seizures and mental blackouts.
Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested after John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, in 1963, but he was murdered before facing trial.
Following Jack Ruby’s trial for killing Oswald, three psychiatrists recommended that he should have a "sanity hearing" amid reports that he was mentally ill.
In an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, Ruby’s lawyers argued that he could not have received a fair trial in Dallas due to the excessive publicity.
The court agreed and ruled that his motion for a change of venue before the original trial court should have been granted, and so Ruby’s conviction and death sentence was overturned.
While awaiting a new trial, Ruby died of a pulmonary embolism in hospital on 3 January, 1967.
Text from BBC’s OnThisDay
Filed under: Article, People, The sixties Tagged: Jack Ruby, Lee Harvey Oswald, President John F Kennedy
Great-grandson of Duncan Phyfe, the iconic furniture designer of the early republic, Herold Rodney Eaton "Hal" Phyfe was born in Nice, France, to a New York society family. Trained as a sculptor in France and a painter in Italy, Hal Phyfe began pursuing photography an an enlistee in World War I documenting an aviation unit of the U.S. Army in Europe. He made a specialty of aerial photography. After the war he supported himself as an illustrator supplying magazines with covers rendered in pastels. He opened his photography studio in 1926.
During the 1920s he built a reputation for his theatrical portraiture (sketches and photographs) shot on commission for various magazines. He became the principal photographer for Florenz Ziegfeld during 1930-31. He became famous for his dictum that no smiles were allowed during sittings. During the late 1920s he owned a dog who became something of a Broadway celebrity. Legend holds that he turned down a remunerative long-term contract with a magazine in the wake of his dog’s death, which disabled him from talking business. During the early 1930s he habitually wore a black tie in mourning. His melancholy was somewhat tempered when bootlegger Owney Madden entrusted his red tabby cat to Phyfe’s keeping when he was put away in Sing Sing. Phyfe’s notorious eccentricity of dress extended to wearing moccasins instead of shoes and dressing down in denim at debutante balls during that period when he was official photographer to High Society.
He was one of the best amateur cooks in Manhattan, with recipes appearing in papers as far away as Los Angeles. In 1931 he was hired on a three month contract by Fox. He went to Hollywood and was besieged for portrait sittings. He preferred the social life of New York, so he returned to New York and resumed a career as one of the central society and theater photographers in the city. A sociable man, he was invariably on the committees for the beaux arts balls in the 1930s, or serving as judge in various charity photo contests. In June 1950 he leased a penthouse in the Parke-Bernet Galleries at 980-990 Madison Avenue for his studio.
As adept at portraying men as women, Phyfe produced some of the most dynamic male portraits of the late 1920s. He preferred not to portray performers in costume. A master of middle grays, his exhibition and portfolio prints of the late 1920s display exquisitely refined shading. During the late 1920s he indulged in the penchant among New York portraitists to vignette heads. There would be strong graphic intervention at the perimeters of the image, suggesting a drawing. In the 1930s he opted for a straighter style of portraiture, full body, often with the subject seated. His Society portraits of the 1930s are well posed and understated, suggesting refinement rather than ostentation. His popularity among Hollywood performers derives from his disinclination to overstate elegance. He signed original prints in red crayon in distinctive squared letters. His Hollywood portraits are signed on the negative in white.
Periodically Phyfe published advice about how women should prepare for a photo shoot. These are from January 1940.
 A clean face, with a dusting of fine Rachel powder.
 No foundation cream of grease beneath the powder.
 A light lipstick–red photographs black–but an indelible one. Shape the lips in their usual lines, rub in the lip rouge, press the lips against a facial tissue to remove every speck of excessive rouge.
 Very little mascara, and what you use concentrated on the tips of the lashes to accent their length. Artificial eyelashes are fine if they are the kind which are applied at the end of each natural lash, and not the fringe strip type which drag the eyelids down out of shape.
 Natural eyebrows–of course yours are habitually disciplined to a clean, well groomed line, camera sitting or no!–unless you are a very pale blonde, when a teeny bit of mascara may be used. The lens, however, will catch considerable accent from even blonde eyebrows.
 No greasy highlights. Let the photographer add them if he wishes, about the eyelids.
 A little dry eye shadow discreetly applied.
 Choose a natural, simple and familiar hairdo, certainly one which will not date you. Your dress should be a pastel shade with a neckline which does not chop your head from your body, and it better not be of print fabric. The effect may detract from your face, confuse the issue. Too, print designs tend to date you, as do hats and strange hairdos."Facial construction must be definite, even bold. And the eyes must be the pivot of the expression. For if the eyes have "it" everything else will be forgotten in their vivid, compelling attraction. Eyes create individuality, they are the spokesman for the soul, the character, the mind. For the rest–complexion, hair, features–for he knows that art and the will to achieve a certain amount of beauty can, and does do wonders."
Phyfe on faces: "Facial construction must be definite, even bold. And the eyes must be the pivot of the expression. For if the eyes have "it" everything else will be forgotten in their vivid, compelling attraction. Eyes create individuality, they are the spokesman for the soul, the character, the mind. For the rest–complexion, hair, features–for he knows that art and the will to achieve a certain amount of beauty can, and does do wonders."
Text from BroadwayPhotographers
Filed under: Article, People, Photography, Portraits Tagged: American photographers, Hal Phyfe