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The Museum of Obsolescence
"Tour with our guide through the museum of cultural aspects that vanished, or almost have, from American culture. See what you know about things that are going, going, gone."
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
Greetings! I'll be your guide today in The Museum of Obsolescence. Our first exhibit is a stack of thin, flimsy papers with ink on one side for the purpose of making duplicates. They were, at the same time, a blessing and a curse to secretaries and students. Remember not to touch the exhibits, especially this one, because you're bound to smudge your fingers. What are these obsolete items called?
Here we have an interesting spray can. It contains a chemical substance brought into common usage in the 1940s by a Swiss scientist named Paul Muller. Its contents worked wonders for several decades in reducing or eliminating disease. Everything from lakes and farms to mattresses and baby cribs benefited, in a way, from its properties. However, it is unlikely that you will ever again see this product on the shelf, or anywhere else, in the future. What is in this can?
Over here we have a mannequin of a young man we like to call Isaac. Notice his brown web belt designed to assist him with his work. In 1937 these boys, and some girls, earned about $4.00 per week. These young workers almost always had a bicycle. They were often at the mercy of ruthless circulation managers. Their seven-day a week occupation, as it once existed, is all but gone (at least in America). Who were these hard workers?
Western Union Messengers
Good Humor drivers
floral delivery boys
Step right up and witness one of the strangest items in our museum. It's the "shoe-fitting fluoroscope", also known by the trade name "Foot-O-Scope". Here we have a boxlike machine into which (mostly) youngsters could stick their feet and observe through exposure to X-rays their own bones within their about-to-be-purchased shoes. This way shoe store operators and parents could determine if the new shoes would be comfortable and correct for their child. No later than 1958 the machines were banned in all 50 states. Which of the following is NOT a reason specified for the discontinuation of the "shoe-fitting fluoroscope"?
Some machines emitted about 50 times the radiation rate of a modern hospital fluoroscopic unit
Salespeople were exposed to the radiation
Radiation invariably discolored the lacquer used on most shoes
X-rays scattered, sometimes hitting the legs and lower body
In this glass case we have an antiquated men's clothing item and a 1966 seventy-three page document by Dr. Ernest Dichter entitled "Soxology: A Strategy for Stimulating Sock Sales". Dr. Dichter was trying to assist in improving the sales appeal of men's hosiery, which had gone through great social and manufacturing changes in the previous 45 years or so. Historically, socks had changed significantly over the decades. With that in mind, what was the one male hosiery accessory that vanished from the American scene?
the rubber band
Over here we have a model of an apartment building from the past with metal steps and walkways fastened to the outside walls. You have undoubtedly seen them in older movies and may still see them here and there. They are called fire escapes. Let me ask the group a question. Fire escapes proved to be an entirely effective and proven safety innovation for assisting people in getting out of a burning building. So, what do you think? True or false?
Tourist in the museum: "What are these gross flesh things in this jar of formaldehyde"?
Tour guide: "They are body parts that everyone is born with. Up until a few decades ago, they were routinely removed from youngsters. There seemed to be some confusion about keeping these "flesh things" intact. Kids were often calmed down about the procedure with the promise of copious amounts of ice cream once the surgery was over. But, what was the surgery?
On our right, ladies and gentlemen, we have a model of a milkman. Anyone here even know of someone who has milk deliveries? Oh, I think I see a hand in the back. The milkman is all but extinct. Although, prior to 1930, 70% of milk sold in the U.S. was distributed door-to-door. Now the figure is 1%. Which of the following did NOT contribute to the extreme decline of home deliveries by milkmen?
The widespread opening of supermarkets everywhere after World War II
Home-delivered milk proved to be a health threat due to diseases in cattle
Consumers began to think of milk as a mass-produced generic product
The development of waxed paper containers saved dairies massive amounts of money
You've all seen these pieces of paper ordinarily measuring 6" x 3" . You can pay for goods and pay bills with them. They are still used often and are accepted by most merchants. But a plastic innovation which is hardier and more widely trusted is preferred. Slowly but surely, the pieces of paper on display here in The Museum of Obsolescence are diminishing in use. What are these slips called?
Take a look at this sample array of round, flat discs from the last 100 years or so. You'll notice that they are almost always twelve, ten, or seven inches in diameter. They are called records. For you young folks, if you are not familiar with them, just ask your parents or grandparents about them because records were just about all they had. The CD boom didn't hit until 1983. Interestingly, a German immigrant, Emile Berliner, is credited with first capturing sound on a disc or record a very long time ago. Berliner was the owner of The United States Gramophone Company of Washington, D.C. In which year did Berliner manage to capture sound on a record?
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Compiled Jun 28 12