Tag Archives: Futility Closet

Thinking Big

https://archive.org/details/americanairportd00lehi/page/48

For a 1929 airport design competition, H. Altvater of New York proposed a huge wheel of interlocking runways set atop a ring of skyscrapers.

The judges ruled it “beyond the expressed purpose of the competition” but noted that “it is quite possible that in the future some of the features considered objectionable today will prove entirely practical.”

By: Futility Closet
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries
Source: http://j.mp/2NMQReC

Things to Come

In 1899, preparing for festivities in Lyon marking the new century, French toy manufacturer Armand Gervais commissioned a set of 50 color engravings from freelance artist Jean-Marc Côté depicting the world as it might exist in the year 2000.

The set itself has a precarious history. Gervais died suddenly in 1899, when only a few sets had been run off the press in his basement. “The factory was shuttered, and the contents of that basement remained hidden for the next twenty-five years,” writes James Gleick in Time Travel. “A Parisian antiques dealer stumbled upon the Gervais inventory in the twenties and bought the lot, including a single proof set of Côté’s cards in pristine condition. He had them for fifty years, finally selling them in 1978 to Christopher Hyde, a Canadian writer who came across his shop on rue de l’Ancienne-Comédie.”

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The Dancing Plague

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dancingmania1.jpg

In July 1518, a woman named Frau Troffea stepped into a street in Strasbourg and began to dance. As onlookers gathered it became clear that she could not stop; after many hours of exertion she collapsed and slept briefly but then rose and again began the dance. After three exhausting days she was bundled into a wagon and taken to a shrine in the Vosges Mountains, but her example had had its effect. Within days more than 30 more people had begun to dance uncontrollably, and their numbers grew; according to one chronicle, within a month 400 people were dancing.

The fact of the plague is well attested; a manuscript chronicle in the city’s archives reads:

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