Cool History

This Brave Pit Bull Was America’s First War Dog

We would like you all to meet Stubby, Sergeant Stubby to be more accurate. He’s a decorated WWI Hero, friend to presidents, and a total looker.

sergeant stubby 1

In 1917, Stubby, a Pitbull puppy with a “stubbed” tail, was living on the streets of New Haven, Connecticut near an Army training camp at Yale University. It was there that a private named J. Robert Conroy found and adopted Stubby.

stubby 2

Stubby underwent major training at camp. He learned to respond to bugle calls, marched with the troops and saluted fellow soldiers.

When it came time for Conroy to ship out, he smuggled Stubby aboard the USS Minnesota in his overcoat.

stubby 4

Stubby was smart enough to know the difference between English and German. He used these skills to determine which wounded soldiers to help on the battlefield.

His language skills also came in handy in France. Stubby sniffed out a German spy, bit him on the butt and held on until help arrived! Good dog!

stubby 5

For this act of valor, Stubby became the first war dog ever to be promoted to the rank of Sergeant. This meant he now outranked his human, Corporal Conroy.

Another time, mustard gas almost killed the pup. Once he recovered, he could detect incoming attacks and alert the human soldiers. In the image below you can see the Stubby patches his regiment wore on their gas mask packs.

stubby 6

Stubby served 18 months on the Frontlines, fighting in 17 different battles and four major campaigns. He survived shrapnel wounds and carried messages under fire.

General John J. Pershing, Commander of the US Forces, personally awarded Stubby a gold medal for heroism. That wasn’t his only award. The brave pup also earned a Purple Heart, the Medal of the Battle of Verdun, and the Republic of France Grande War Medal.

stubby 8

After the war, Stubby was awarded lifetime membership in the American Legion, YMCA and American Red Cross. The pup went on to meet and charm Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Who wouldn’t be charmed by the handsome fellow?

Conroy eventually attended Georgetown University where he studied law school. While Conroy studied, Stubby parlayed his fame into a sweet gig as the Hoyas mascot.

stubby 9

In 1926, Stubby died in Conroy’s arms. He was so loved that The New York Times ran an obituary that was 3 columns wide and half a page long.

stubby dog copy

Stubby is remembered as America’s first canine soldier and one of the most selfless heroes our country has ever known.

Article originally appeared on Barkpost.

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Victorian kitchen that has remained untouched for 60 years discovered

Shrouded in a thick layer of dust and hidden under piles of junk, a complete Victorian kitchen lay forgotten for more than a generation.  Archie Graham-Palmer and his wife Philippa discovered the incredible time capsule when they began rummaging in the basement of the family home.  They found an entire kitchen kitted out as if the cook had just stepped out for a breath of air.

The old cooker in the Victorian kitchen, which has been uncovered after decades of gathering dust in a country house in mid-Wales
The old cooker in the Victorian kitchen, which has been uncovered after decades of gathering dust in a country house in mid-Wales
Cooking utensils from the Victorian era remain in place on the walls, shelves and sideboards
Cooking utensils from the Victorian era remain in place on the walls, shelves and sideboards
House proud: Archie Graham-Palmer and wife Phillippa discovered the relic in the basement of their home
House proud: Archie Graham-Palmer and wife Phillippa discovered the relic in the basement of their home
A kettle from the Victorian era left on a hotplateIt is a far cry from the stainless stell kitchens of today
The kitchen was discovered when the room, which had been used as a dumping ground, was cleared.
The kitchen’s entrance had been blocked since the Second World War with a collection of unwanted belongings.  A kettle from the Victorian era left on a hotplate
It is a far cry from the stainless steel kitchens of today.  The kitchen was stocked with everything the staff needed to prepare meals for the household, as well as a full cooking range, they discovered kettles, pots, pans, pastry cutters, antique fire extinguishers and jelly moulds.  There was a spit for roasting pigs on, as well as a table and benches in the middle of the room which could easily seat 20 staff.
The current house at Cefn Lea Park was built around the turn of the 19th century, the previous building on the site having been destroyed by fire in 1794.  In the 18th Century it had been the home of the Griffiths family before passing on to the prominent Kenyon family of Gredington.  The house was sold in 1830 at an auction held at the Wynnstay Arms Hotel. It was bought by Rev Nathaniel Roberts whose wife, Frances, was daughter of John Matthews, attorney of Chester.  However, another fire that same year meant that the house needed extensive renovations.   What we see today is likely to date from this period.  On Frances’ death in 1850, Cefn Park passed to Sir William Henry Roger Palmer, Bt, of Kunure Park, Dublin, who was married to Frances’ sister  Eleanor. It subsequently went to their son, Sir Roger William Henry Palmer in 1854.  The kitchen is thought to date back to the 1830s when the house had a full complement of servants.
Unused for more than 100 years, the kitchen was apparently briefly recommissioned during the Second World War because it offered protection from air raids.  But it was mothballed after the war and became a dumping ground.  Cefn Park near Wrexham, North Wales, has been passed down through the family since it was bought in 1830.  Mr Graham-Palmer, 41, who worked in commercial forestry, moved back to the family home this year to take over the estate from his father.  With his wife, Philippa, 37, he began investigating the nooks and crannies that had been left undisturbed for decades.  ‘The basement had been a dumping ground for years,’ he said. ‘We discovered that the room was as it would have been.  ‘We even found a cookbook. Most of the recipes would have needed an army of cooks.’  He and his wife intend to preserve the kitchen because of its links to the estate’s Victorian past and it is being redecorated in colours from the era.

Archie Graham-Palmer and his wife Philippa discovered the below-stairs kitchen in the 200-year-old stately home in Cefn Park

Archie Graham-Palmer and his wife Philippa discovered the below-stairs kitchen in the 200-year-old stately home in Cefn Park

Bells so the staff knew when they were being summoned to each roomA relic from a bygone era hanging on the wall
Bells so the staff knew when they were being summoned to each room, a relic from a bygone era hanging on the wall.

The bells with which the servants were summoned, as well as an unidentified weighted pulley system, remain mounted on the walls
The Cefn Park house is surrounded by 50 acres of land near Wrexham

Article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.

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The Dog Sack

The Dog Sack invention first appeared in the June 1935 issue of Popular Mechanics.

It was designed to keep the car clean while giving the dog some fresh air.

According to the original article: ‘When you take your dog along for a ride, but prefer not having it inside the car, it can ride safely and comfortably in this sack, which is carried on the running board.

‘The bottom of the sack is clamped to the running board and the top is fastened to the lower part of an open window with hooks, covered with small rubber tubing to prevent marking the car.’

This invention was never added to any car models.

There was also this from December 1932:

There were other options for dog transport on running boards for those people who wanted to keep their dogs in relative danger, but couldn’t stand the idea of them actually enjoying it.
 Why Your Dog Is Probably Glad Running Boards Are Dead


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Insane Products You’d Never Be Allowed To Buy Nowadays

15 Insane Products You’d Never Be Allowed To Buy Nowadays

These goods from yesteryear are either too lethal or useless to be sold today. But they’re also just plain weird.

1. Poisonous cigarettes (to cure asthma).

Poisonous cigarettes (to cure asthma).

In case the idea of smoking to cure asthma wasn’t crazy enough, the active ingredients are Stramonium, also known as Datura, the most awful drug in the world, and Belladonna, also known as Deadly Nightshade. Yes, that Deadly Nightshade.

2. Opium-laced booze elixir.

Opium-laced booze elixir.

It’s as strong as whiskey and contains a spoonful of opium for good measure. So it makes perfect sense that this explosive cocktail was a treatment for babies as young as five days old. What exactly it cures, I’m not sure.

3. Cough medicine made out of heroin.

Cough medicine made out of heroin.

When a few drops of opium aren’t enough, why not try full-on smack? Recommended for the relief of coughs. It’s quite cheap too.

4. Morphine injection kit from Harrods.

Morphine injection kit from Harrods.

Where better to buy your needles than upmarket London department store, Harrods. They were quite a popular present for soldiers on the front during World War 1.

5. A corset, surging with electricity.

A corset, surging with electricity.

The “very thing” for ladies, apparently. What’s great about this particular advert is that it doesn’t explain how adding electricity to an item of clothing actually helped. This glaring problem was actually never explained and the product was later revealed to bea scam.

6. Do-it-yourself double chin remover.

Do-it-yourself double chin remover.

As much as I would love to reduce my enlarged glands, this device looks horrifyingly close to a contraption from the Saw series of films.

7. A machine gun, for kids.

A machine gun, for kids.

When I was a kid, we usually made do with making that ‘RATATATAT’ sound when playing soldiers. Apparently the kids of the 50s were allowed this magazine-fed automatic pellet machine gun that ‘develops deadly target skill’. I somehow doubt that this could be sold today.

8. Perversion glasses.

Perversion glasses.

Ah, pervy old X-ray Specs. Not that they ever worked – either to see through clothes or through to people’s bones (this advert weirdly seems to imply that they do both). What it doesn’t say is how dangerous it would be to wear a radiation source as spectacles.

9. Radioactive face cream.

Radioactive face cream.

It really makes you glow. Unlike X-Ray Specs, these products really did have a highly radioactive source in them – radium. Before the deadly effects of radium were discovered, it was hailed as a miracle cure and was added to almost everything, including beauty products like this.

10. Radioactive toothpaste.

Radioactive toothpaste.

I really do mean everything. This is for if you wanted to rub radium into your teeth.

11. Radioactive water.

Radioactive water.

Or you could just outright drink it. Remember, your health is your wealth.

12. Radioactive chocolate.

Radioactive chocolate.

Nothing is sacred.

13. An electronic, vibrating finger. For oral use.

An electronic, vibrating finger. For oral use.

Obvious jokes aside, even if someone did want their gum massaging why the hell would they want to use some horrible chubby finger on a stick?

14. Kidnapping-simulation tool.

Kidnapping-simulation tool.

Nothing wrong with ventriloquism, but there’s something sinister about this. Besides having some nondescript ‘instrument’ lodged in your mouth, this ad seems to indicate that the most fun you can have throwing your voice is pretending that people are trapped inside trunks.

15. Jeans designed for roundhouse kicks.

Jeans designed for roundhouse kicks.

It’s hard to believe that this isn’t a photoshop from 2005, but Chuck Norris did actually promote these ‘action jeans’. Wait, what am I saying, of course these would sell. Memes don’t get old, right?

Article originally appeared on BuzzFeed.

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Staff Rules in 1878

And you thought you were having a rough day.

Imagine working in the 1800’s, in a time when daily prayers were mandatory and there was no talking allowed during business hours.

Fortunately, workplace conditions have improved substantially and we’re all afforded much greater leniency than the people who lived and worked 127 years ago had.

1. Godliness, cleanliness and punctuality are the necessities of a good business.

While there’s nothing wrong with cleanliness and punctuality, a lot of people today would have problems with ‘godliness’ being a business requirement. Religion was much more popular and ordinary 127 years ago.

2. The firm has reduced the hours of work, and the clerical staff will now only have to be present between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Phew. Workdays are now only 11 hours long. Wait… how long were the clerical staff required to be present before this rule was put into place?

3. Daily prayers will be held each morning in the main office. The clerical staff will be present.

This one would easily be in violation of Charter rights today, pretty much regardless of whatever country you live in. Good thing it would now be illegal to enforce this rule.

4. Clothing must be of a sober nature. The clerical staff will not disport themselves in raiment of bright colours, nor will they wear hose, unless in good repair. Overshoes and topcoats may not be worn in the office, but neck scarves and headwear may be worn in inclement weather.

While dress codes still exist in most workplaces, it would be rare to find any codes this specific by today’s standards. What would happen if the good people of 1878 were shown the black and blue (or gold and silver) dress? Would it be allowed?

5. A stove is provided for the benefit of the clerical staff. Coal and wood must be kept in the locker. It is recommended that each member of the clerical staff bring four pounds of coal each day during cold weather. 

Keep in mind that the clerical staff probably had to carry all that coal each day as they walked to work through the bitter cold. We shouldn’t take cars and heating systems for granted, that’s for sure.

6. No member of the clerical staff may leave the room without permission from Mr. Rogers. The calls of nature are permitted and clerical staff may use the garden below the second gate. This area must be kept in good order.

At least bathroom breaks were okay, but to use the garden? At least management probably didn’t have to worry about buying new fertilizer. This rule must have been extremely unpleasant on the days when each member of the clerical staff had to bring in four pounds of coal.

7. No talking is allowed during business hours.

Sounds like things really were all work and no play. This rule alone would be enough to drive most people insane in today’s workplace.

8. The craving of tobacco, wines or spirits is a human weakness, and, as such, is forbidden to all members of the clerical staff.

Just during work hours, right? It seems like smoke breaks weren’t a thing back then either.

9. The owners recognize the new Labour Laws, but will expect a great rise in output of work to compensate for these near Utopian conditions.

Mr. Rogers and the other managers would probably have a heart attack if they saw the working conditions and standards of today. Contrary, most of us would have a difficult time adjusting to the Utopian conditions of 127 years ago.

If these rules for staff in 1878 tell us anything, it’s that maybe we don’t have it so bad today after all. Does your workplace enforce any insane rules?

This article originally appeared on What to do when bored.

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1930’s dating rules

‘The last straw is to pass out from too much liquor. Chances are, your date will never call you again!’ Hilarious 1930s dating rules show some things don’t change

  • The 1938 dating guide includes sepia photo illustrations
  • Book also warns against going braless and and chewing gum
  • Says public displays of affection will ‘humiliate’ your date
  • Also advises not to talk to your date while dancing

Some sound like common sense. Others appear ridiculously old-fashioned. But, whether now or in the 1930s, getting absolutely plastered on a first date probably won’t do you any favours.

The ‘don’t get drunk’ rule is part of the advice doled out to women in an amusingly illustrated dating guide published by Click Parade magazine in 1938.

Along with laying off the booze, other pearls of wisdom from the American publication include not being too sentimental, an exhortation not to sit awkwardly and a stern warning about being careless.

Boring! Women are advised not to talk about fashion or clothes if they want to impress their date

Boring! Women are advised not to talk about fashion or clothes if they want to impress their date

Want to chew gum? It's not advised but if you have to, do it with your mouth closed. And don't sit awkwardly

Want to chew gum? It’s not advised but if you have to, do it with your mouth closed. And don’t sit awkwardly

Others highlight the perils of being over-affectionate, talking while dancing and skipping your brassiere when dressing.

‘Don’t be familiar with your escort by caressing him in public,’ reads the caption under a sepia photograph of a very worried looking man and his amorous date.

‘Any open show of affection is in bad taste, usually humiliates or embarrasses him.’

Another pearl of 1930s wisdom reads: ‘Don’t be familiar with the head waiter, talking about the fun you had with someone else another time.

‘Men deserve, desire your entire attention.’

Faux pas: Over-familiarity with the head waiter is a big no-no according to the dating guide

Faux pas: Over-familiarity with the head waiter is a big no-no according to the dating guide

Don't be sentimental: Men don't like tears in public places, advises the 1930s dating guide

Don’t be sentimental: Men don’t like tears in public places, advises the 1930s dating guide

Oh no! It's much better to be fully dressed BEFORE he arrives
Don't forget your bra! Wrinkled stockings aren't good either

Dressed for dating:  Make sure you’re fully dressed before your date arrives – and don’t forget that bra!

Minimal make-up: Keep your lipstick to yourself, says the guide, and definitely not on his handkerchief

Minimal make-up: Keep your lipstick to yourself, says the guide, and definitely not on his handkerchief

Although the old-fashioned rules are unlikely to win them many admirers among feminists, others, such as the many exhortations not to drink to much, will appeal to many.

One particularly entertaining example reads: ‘Don’t drink too much as a man expects you to keep your dignity all evening.

‘Drinking may make some girls seem clever, but most get silly.’

Another says: ‘Don’t be conspicuous talking to other men. The last straw is to pass out from too much liquor. Chances are, your date will never call you again!’

Few men – or women – could take issue with that.

Don't be careless! And try not to talk to him while you're dancing - the 1930s man doesn't like it

Don’t be careless! And try not to talk to him while you’re dancing – the 1930s man doesn’t like it

Drinking - it's not clever: Worse, says this old-fashioned pearl of wisdom, it makes most girls very silly indeed

Drinking – it’s not clever: Worse, says the guide, it makes most girls very silly indeed

Bad idea: Talking to other men and getting plastered is a one-way ticket to getting dumped

Bad idea: Getting plastered and flirting with other men is a one-way ticket to getting dumped

Article originally appeared on the Daily Mail and was written by Ruth Styles.

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Customers line up at the very first McDonald’s restaurant in 1954

Customers line up at the very first McDonald’s restaurant in 1954

Raymond Albert Kroc was born in Oak Park, Illinois, to Luis and Rose Kroc. He had two younger siblings, Robert and Lorraine. As a child, his mother called Ray “Danny Dreamer” because he would daydream all the time. Rose Kroc was a piano teacher, and she taught young Ray to play.

Kroc’s first job was with his uncle, Earl Edmund Sweet, in a soda fountain the summer before he started high school. The next summer Ray dropped out of school, and he used the money he made the previous summer to rent a building with two friends. They sold sheet music and small instruments, but after a few months the business failed.

During World War I, Kroc lied about his age and became an ambulance driver for the Red Cross. He returned to Chicago after the war and held various jobs, including work as a jazz pianist and as a real-estate salesman. In the summer of 1919, Ray played in a band at Paw-Paw Lake, Michigan, where he met his future wife, Ethel Flemming. Ray and Ethel married in 1922, but only after he satisfied his father’s requirement of getting a steady job—selling paper cups for the Lily Tulip Cup Company, where he worked for seventeen years.

The McDonalds had started with a group of hot-dog carts, and now had a chain of restaurants.

In 1954, Kroc went to San Bernardino, California, to see the McDonald brothers’ restaurant, which used an assembly-line format to prepare foods. Kroc decided to set up a chain of drive-in restaurants based on the McDonalds’ format and convinced the brothers to sell him the rights to franchise McDonald’s restaurants nationwide. His first restaurant opened on April 15, 1955, in Des Plaines, Illinois. Kroc also began selling franchises on the condition that the owners managed their restaurants. Kroc was known for his obsessive cleanliness, and he wanted the restaurants kept very clean. In 1961, Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers for $2,700,000. At this time he had established 228 restaurants, and sales had reached $37,000,000. By 1963 more than 1 billion hamburgers had been sold.

Kroc served as the company’s president from 1955 to 1968, as chairman of the board from 1968 to 1977, and as a senior chairman from 1977 until his death. He also was the owner of the San Diego Padres professional baseball team. Kroc died on January 14, 1984, in San Diego, California. He is remembered as a pioneer in the fast-food industry, and was named as one of Time magazine’s “Builders and Titans” of the twentieth century.

McDonald’s Worldwide

By 2004, McDonalds had become a $40 billion global enterprise with more than 30,000 restaurants in 120 countries and more than half its sales outside the United States. International outlets are adapted to local cultures. In Saudi Arabia, for example, single men are seated separately from women and children. Indian McDonald’s restaurants serve no beef or pork, but feature instead such menu items as a Chicken Maharaja Mac, a Paneer Salsa Wrap, and a McAloo Tikki Burger. In Japan, where the “r” sound is difficult, Ronald McDonald goes by the name Donald McDonald. As the chain faces slowing sales in a mature domestic market, the pace of its international expansion has increased. In China, where there are already 500 McDonald’s, the chain plans to open more than 100 new branches a year. The company has become a major employer worldwide, with more than 1 million employees. However, despite (or because of) its international success, McDonald’s has frequently come under attack as a symbol of American cultural imperialism. In 2000, anti-globalization protesters in a French farm town smashed windows in a half-built McDonald’s franchise, highlighting the struggle between small farmers and big business in the global agriculture market. And after the United States began bombing Afghanistan in 2001, McDonald’s outlets in Pakistan and Indonesia were vandalized. Attacks on McDonald’s have been recorded in more than 50 countries.

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Steiff – the worlds most expensive teddy bears


Appolonia Margarete Steiff was born July 24, 1847 in Giengen, Germany. As a baby she was crippled with polio, which confined her to a wheelchair whole her life. Despite her disability, she went to primary school and in the 1850s she got sewing lessons with her two older sisters. She learned to operate a sewing machine, she used her strong arm to operate the device. Margarete was a skilled seamstress and from 1879 on, she sold self-made women’s clothing under her own name.

As a hobby she made stuffed animals. Soon she sold pincushions in the shape of elephants to family and friends. Children began to play with her animals as well, so she made more toy animals such as dogs, cats and pigs. An elephant with a curled-S trunk, was the first Steiff trademark.

They increasingly began to focus on toys. In 1893, Margarete Steiff GmbH was founded and they began to focus on toys only, because this transcended the sales of clothing. Although the parents of Margarete Steiff feared that her siblings were destined to work hard to support their sister their entire lives, it was the wheelchair-bound Margarete who started a family dynasty, which lasts for over a century. Margarete died on May 9, 1909 in Giengen of pneumonia.

In 2000, Steiff teamed up with the luxury brand Louis Vuitton to create the world’s most expensive bear. Wearing a designer coat and hat, and accompanied by a miniature Louis Vuitton suit case, the bear sold at a Monaco charity auction in 2000 for an amazing $2.1 million. The buyer was renowned Korean collector Jessie Kim, and the bear now resides at the Teddy Bear Museum in Jeju, Korea.


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The real Shrek

This is Maurice Tillet  who was born in 1903 and died August 4, 1954.
Tillet was a French wrestler with acromegaly known as The French Angel.  Tillet was a leading box office draw in the early 1940s and was twice recognized world heavyweight champion by the American Wrestling Association.  He spoke 14 languages and was also a poet and actor.   He was a perfect example of ‘never judge a book by its cover’ and he was also used as the inspiration for the movie Shrek.
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