Photos of the Day

The standoff between US and Soviet tanks at Checkpoint Charlie in 1961. In October 1961, border disputes led to a standoff and for 16 hours the world was at the brink of war while Soviet and American tanks faced each other just 300 feet (100 meters) apart. On August 1961 Washington and its British and French allies had failed to prevent the Soviets building the Berlin Wall. On October 27, after several days of escalating U.S. rebuffs to East German attempts to get American officials to show identification documents before entering East Berlin (thus indirectly acknowledging East German sovereignty, rather than Soviet occupation authority) ten U.S. M-48 tanks took up position at Checkpoint Charlie. There they stood, some 50 meters from the border, noisily racing their engines and sending plumes of black smoke into the night air. Alarmed by the apparent threat, Moscow, with the approval of the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, sent an equal number of Russian T55 tanks rumbling to face down the Americans. They too ground to a halt some 50 meters from the East/West Berlin. This was the culmination of several days escalation of actions on both sides and the face-off of the Soviet and American tanks, with guns uncovered, the first (and only) such direct confrontation of U.S. and Soviet troops.

“Ass you can see, So therefore your honour, I rest my case.” A stripper, charged with exposing her privates to a police officer, bent over to show the judge that her bikini briefs were too large to show any of her goods. 1983. The case was dismissed.

President Lincoln on the Battlefield of Antietam, Maryland, with Major General McClernand and Allan Pinkerton, Chief of the Secret Service, October 4, 1862.

Police try to escort a black man to safety during the Detroit Race Riot of 1943.

Allied soldiers burying the dead in a mass grave under German guard, c. 1917.

Lee Harvey Oswald holding the rifle he used to assassinate JFK, 3/31/1963. 

Crowd watching RFK’s funeral train as it transports his casket from New York to Washington, June 8 1968.

Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, 1844.

Last photo taken of all four Beatles together; August 22nd, 1969.

Newspaper boys pose in front of a bank in Jersey City, 1912.

Women operators in Richmond, Virginia, 1884.

Coveted Possession: A Woman Defends her Bicycle (1945)
In 1945, bicycles were a coveted means of transportation and in Berlin, a special permission was required to ride one. Here, a Soviet soldier attempts to wrest a bicycle from a German woman in Berlin. Apparently, she did not have permission or evidence thereof. Photographer unknown.

Dale Creek Bridge, Union Pacific Railway, 1885.

John F. Kennedy juggling in Nuremberg, 1937.

Scotts’ Run, West Virginia. Miner’s child digging coal from mine refuse (Mexican child).

Adolph Hitler in shorts – 1920’s.

Mother and child sit amongst destroyed buildings four months after the atomic bomb, Hiroshima, Japan, 1945. Alfred Eisenstaedt.

In June 1969, the Niagara Falls were stopped for maintenance work. For six months in the summer and fall of 1969, Niagara American Falls were “de-watered”, as the Army Corps of Engineers conducted a geological survey of the falls’ rock face, concerned that it was becoming destabilized by erosion. During this time, two bodies were removed from under the falls, including a man who had been seen jumping over the falls, and the body of a woman, which was discovered once the falls dried. Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States. From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lie mostly on the Canadian side and the American Falls entirely on the American side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also on the American side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island.

“This armorer of the R.A.F.’s middle east command prepares a bomb for its mission against the Italian forces campaigning in Africa. This big bomb is not yet fused, but when it is it will be ready for its deadly work. Photo taken on October 24, 1940.”

Scold’s bridle, Germany.This item is one of the more disturbing objects in Henry Wellcome’s collection. This example has a bell on top to draw even more attention to the wearer, increasing their humiliation. It was used until the early 1800s as a punishment in workhouses.

Scold’s bridle: instrument of torture and punishment. Gossiping women meet their match in the Scold’s Bridle.
A bizarre form of punishment reserved exclusively for women was the wearing of the iron scold’s bridle. Resembling a muzzle or cage for the head it had a padlock at the rear and a projecting spike that would have been held firmly inside the mouth when the bridle was closed. A ‘Scold’s bridle’ is a fearsome looking mask which fits tightly on to the head. A scold was defined as a “rude, clamorous woman.” The bridle was used as a punishment for women considered to be spending too much time gossiping or quarrelling. Time spent in the bridle was normally allocated as a punishment by a local magistrate. The custom developed in Britain in the 1500s, and spread to some other European countries, including Germany. When wearing the mask it was impossible to speak. The use of the bridle was first recorded in Scotland (1567) and the ‘scolds’ were presumably women whose talk was inappropriate or to use a modern legal term – ‘libellous’. There are also records to indicate that part of the punishment could have involved the offender being lead around the town as part of the ritual humiliation.Why the torture was reserved for women is unclear however references to the scold’s bridle being applied at the husband’s request raises the whole issue of female punishment throughout the ages and into the present day.

The word ‘scold’ was used to define women who disturbed their neighbours’ peace with gossiping, ‘chiding and scoulding’ or unruly behaviour. A witness saw Ann Bidlestone driven through the streets by an officer of Newcastle. He was ‘holding a rope in his hand’ attached to the scold’s bridle. The heavy iron ‘crown’ was ‘musled over the head and face’ with a sharp metal gag ‘forced into her mouth’ to restrain the tongue, driving ‘the blood out’.

“The Deserter’s fate.” A Union deserter executed by firing squad is posed on his coffin as a line of Union soldiers pose in the background, c. 1861.

Grocery clerks in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a “secret city” boomtown built for workers involved in the development of the atomic bomb. July 4, 1945.

She will get your motor running. Engine work, 1950s. Man says “I’ll sit next to you…. just yell out if you need anything! … for god sake take your time…”

Watching the San Francisco Fire from a hill side, 1906.

Baltimore after the Great Fire razed the city in 1904.

Worker At A Carbon Black Plant In Sunray, Texas, 1942.

The destruction of Los Angeles streetcars, in favour of buses, automobiles and freeways. 1956.

Burning Question of the Day. “If a Woman Needs It, Should She Be Spanked?” – 1950’s New York Mirror Q & A.

Religious albums always sound very very dodgy.

Halloween Party (1970s). It gets worse the longer you look at it. This would trigger A LOT of people today and send them off the deep end.

Passengers being pushed in by ushers in the Japanese subway, 1966.

Cooking with grandma, 1960s. When the stockings get rolled down you know there is some serious business going on!!

2000 years old Thracian chariot with horse skeletons. Found in Bulgaria.

Steamboats on the Mississippi River, circa 1906.

Personnel of the infamous Unit 731 infecting a Chinese civilian with the bubonic plaque in Harbin, Manchuria 1940. Unit 731 was a secret unit of the Japanese army stationed in northern China. The unit experimented with biological weaponry during the war, using dysentery, cholera, bubonic plague, and a whole bunch of others.

Austrian soldier in the trench walls strengthened by fascines during WWI, Eastern Europe, 1915.

Belgian Machine Gun Dogs. An icon of the Belgian Army in WWI, the Dog Cart. In the early days of WWI, these military dog carts attracted the attention of the international press. At the beginning of the First World War the Belgian Army could field only 102 machine guns. However, many of these guns were transported by a very unusual method. They were pulled on small gun carriages by specially trained dog teams. The machine guns seen in the photographs above are Maxim guns, but the Belgian Army also had a number of French Hotchkiss guns. The dogs used to pull the machine guns were Belgian Mastiffs, this strong breed were more than capable of drawing the 60lbs weight of a Maxim gun. At the time it was not uncommon for dogs to be used as pack animals in Belgium as they offered an efficient and economical alternative to expensive horses. The dogs were able to pull the machine gun carriages that also carried some of the gun’s ammunition, weighing up to 200lbs, for long distances. They were quite capable of keeping up a 4 or 5 mile per hour pace over a long distance on a good road. The relatively cheap cost of pack dogs compared to horses, along with their relative lack of maintenance – with no need for horse shoes etc, made the dogs an excellent option. They also offered a much lower profile than that of a pack horse, allowing them to stay close to the guns ready to move under cover when in action, and were much easier to handle without the need for specially trained troops.

Some of the first women sworn into US Marine Corps. August, 1918. Location unknown.

Big Gun Shop, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., circa 1937.

CPO Sinbad in his U-Boat. (WW2) This hard-drinking salty Coast Guard sea dog was banned from Greenland. One enlisted Coastie mutt – no disrespect, Sinbad was a “mixed breed” – earned a reputation that rivaled any sailor’s in any war before or since. He was one of only two non-humans to reach NCO status, even making Chief by the time of his retirement. Sinbad was arguably the Coast Guard’s most famous mascot. He was enlisted into the USCG by Chief Boatswain’s Mate A. A. “Blackie” Rother of the Campbell. Sinbad was supposed to be a gift for Blackie’s girlfriend, but her building didn’t allow pets, so Rother took the dog back to the Cutter George W. Campbell.

A full-fledged member of the crew of the Campbell, Sinbad had to fill out his paperwork, wear his uniform, and was given pay commensurate with his rank. When World War II broke out in the Atlantic, Sinbad wasn’t about to play dead when it mattered most. The dog wasn’t just for fun. He had a watch, a general quarters duty station, and his own bunk. Sinbad certainly didn’t roll over for anyone. When the Coast Guard wanted to use him as a PR tool in allied ports, the pup raised hell from Morocco to Greenland. The Campbell saw plenty of action. She once rammed an enemy U-boat and was also strafed by a Nazi aircraft in the Mediterranean. During a fight with U-606, the ship was severely damaged and the CO ordered that essential personnel only would remain on the Campbell. Sinbad stayed aboard ship. Signing his enlistment papers with a pawprint, he served on Atlantic convoy duty with the rest of the Campbell crew. Just like a sailor, he had to be disciplined. One author wrote:
“Sinbad is a salty sailor but he’s not a good sailor. He’ll never rate gold hashmarks nor Good Conduct Medals. He’s been on report several times and he’s raised hell in a number of ports. On a few occasions, he has embarrassed the United States Government by creating disturbances in foreign zones. Perhaps that’s why Coast Guardsmen love Sinbad, he’s as bad as the worst and as good as the best of us.”

The precocious pup did earn medals, however. His awards include the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Navy Occupation Service Medal. The crew loved Sinbad, even if no one really took responsibility for the dog. They said he earned his enlistment by drinking coffee, whiskey with beer chasers, and having his own shore liberty. He was reportedly the first off the ship at every port.

Sinbad presumably waiting for the whiskey. He would hit the bars hard, hopping up on empty bar stools, where his whiskey and beer habit was tended to by every bar in the area. He never paid for a drink but returned the ship “bombed” every night, with only an aspirin to tend to his hangover the next day. Sometimes his drinking led to a Captain’s Mast. He was demoted in rank for actions that generally made him a bad dog. These include:
• Missing a sailing in Italy; captured by the Shore Patrol.
• AWOL trying to rejoin the Campbell.
• Going overboard trying not to miss a sailing.

Sinbad recovering from shore leave. His most notorious trial was being banned from the island of Greenland altogether. During one port call, Sinbad “made his name infamous among sheep farmers.” Captain James Hirschfield told the media that as long as Sinbad was aboard, nothing bad could happen to the ship. In a nod to Capt. Hirschfield’s statement, a statue of Sinbad is on the deck of the current Famous-class Cutter Campbell. It is considered bad luck for anyone below the rank of Chief to touch Sinbad or his bone. In his retirement days, the aging pup was sent to Barnegat Lifeboat Station in northern New Jersey, After 11 years of service. He slept, watched the ocean, and waited for Kubel’s Bar to open in the mornings until he died in 1951.


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