Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Make a Snowman, 1895

"The first process in this, as in all large constructions in snow, is to roll up large snowballs; two large ones are wanted for the body, and one of lesser dimensions for the head... Having selected a suitable site, one of the great snowballs must be rolled thither, and firmly set in its place by mounding up and ramming the snow all round it, and the top flattened off to receive No. 2. Now comes the difficulty how to lift No. 2 into its place. A hand-barrow, shutter, or hurdle are the best things, but if none of these be available, a very effectual substitute may be extemporized out of a few stout sticks lashed crosswise... No. 3 must be set up in like manner, and the block now stands ready for the sculptor. The elaboration of detail must, of course, depend upon the genius of the carver... the most satisfactory tool to work with is a pointed mason's trowel: with this the whole of the carving, however elaborate, may be done... By the way, it is quite useless to attempt to stick limbs or features on–they must all be cut out of the solid mass. Your snow giant complete, the more eccentric the accessories with which you can provide him the better, such as a shocking bad hat, a long pipe, a besom for a sceptre, or, best of all, a good big dilapidated umbrella; and having got him you may do what you like with him; but decidedly the very worst use you can put him to is to knock him to pieces." 
J. G. Wood, The Modern Playmate
In olden times, men were giants and snowmen were snow giants.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How to Cure Stomach Pain, 1697

Conrad Gesner, Historiae animalium
"If you apply a living duck, the feathers being pulled off behind, to the Stomach, it will ease the Pain of the Cholick." 
John Pechey, A Plain Introduction to the Art of Physick
Feeling a little crampy? What you need is the soothing touch of a duck's bare bottom.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How to Use a Standing Desk, 1888

"The desk at which the individual stands when writing, should slightly incline from the front upward. It would so project as to give ample room for the feet beneath, which should be so placed as to be at nearly right angles with each other, the right foot forward, the principal weight of the body resting upon the left. Incline the left side to the desk, resting the body upon the left elbow, as shown in the above engraving, thus leaving the right arm free to use the muscular or whole arm movement, as may be desired. The desk should be so high as to cause the writer to stand erect, upon which the paper should be placed with the edge parallel with the desk." 
Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms
Between the mustache and the standing desk, the 1880s have all the style cues you need to be the hippest guy in the office.