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It all started 45 years ago, when Drummond Randall took his three-and-a-half-year-old son for a day out on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, on the South coast.

"I remember very clearly what happened when we got home," recalls Drummond. "My son turned to me and said, ‘Dad, are you going to build me a locomotive?’" The answer was yes. And while most fathers might have made do with buying their son a little electric train set and putting it in the loft, Drummond went one further and constructed an entire, working miniature railway, around the garden of the family home in Kent.

There’s a little station at which passengers can get on, an engine shed where the trains sleep overnight, and, rather than just chuffing around in a boring circle, the locomotives wind their way through holes in hedges, into long, dark tunnels, around the edges of attractive flower beds and across dramatic bridges that span ponds.

Plus, on each circuit of the garden, the train passes just a couple of feet in front of the spectacular half-timbered, 17th-century home in which the Randalls live. Step out with a cup of tea, and if you didn’t look where you were going you could find yourself being struck at kneecap level (it’s a miniature railway, remember) by one of Drummond’s immaculately polished trains. Maybe the gleamingly caramel-coloured locomotive Crowborough, or perhaps its elegant, powder-blue cousin Dunalistair. Or conceivably Toby the shunting diesel, powered by silent electricity, rather than roaring coal fires and wheezing steam.

In all there are seven trains running on Drummond’s network, which he still lovingly maintains, although his son left home some time ago. So is he fulfilling one of his own boyhood fantasies? "No question about it," he says with a laugh. "When I was a teenager, I built my own small version of this railway in my back garden. But my mother wasn’t very keen on it, and when I got called up to do National Service, she pulled all the track up."

Article from The Telegraph written by By Christopher Middleton – 21 Jan 2015

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One of Britain’s most popular entertainers, George Formby, has died after suffering a heart attack.

Lancashire-born Formby, 56, was one of the UK’s best-paid stars during his heyday in the 1930s and 1940s. His nationwide fame was unusual in the era before ownership of television sets was widespread.

For six successive years during the 1940s he headed a popularity poll compiled by British cinema-goers who flocked to see him in films such as "Spare a Copper" and "George in Civvy Street".

His stage persona was that of a good-natured imbecile but he was a shrewd professional who amassed a fortune, earning up to £35,000 per film.

But Formby turned down many more lucrative offers, including one from Hollywood, so he could entertain British and American troops during the Second World War. His contribution to the war effort earned him an OBE in 1946.

Stage name

Born George Hoy Booth in Wigan in 1904, he was the son of Lancashire’s most famous music hall star who first adopted the name Formby for the stage.

At the age of seven Formby junior was apprenticed to a jockey but weight gain ruled racing out as a career. Instead he followed his father onto the music hall stage, making his debut as a 17-year-old.

The young Formby made his name with an act which featured a ukulele, the instrument which was to become his trademark along with his toothy grin. From that era stem some of his most famous songs including "When I’m Cleaning Windows" and his catchphrase "Turned out nice again".

Surprise fiancée

At the height of his career he topped the bill at several Royal Command performances at the London Palladium. But a weak heart led to his official retirement in 1952 although he had since occasionally appeared on the stage and in pantomimes.

His final heart attack occurred at the home of his fiancée, Patricia Howson, 36. The couple were due to marry in May. The announcement of their engagement in February was a surprise to many, coming as it did just two months after the death of Beryl, Formby’s wife of 36 years.

In Context

In a will made a few days before he died George Formby left most of his £140,000 fortune to his fiancée Patricia Howson.  He left nothing to his family.

After six years of legal wrangling an out-of-court settlement was reached which gave £5,000 to George Formby’s mother and £2,000 each to his three sisters.

In 1964 Patricia Howson auctioned some of the jewellery her fiancé had given her saying she needed the money to pay her legal bills. Ms Howson died in 1971 leaving £20,000 in her will.

Since his death George Formby has become a cult figure with hundreds of fan clubs around the world.

Text from BBC’s OnThisDay

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Lillian Leitzel (Jan. 2, 1892 – 1931) was an acrobat and strongwoman for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. She was one of the highest paid performers of her generation and known for her mix of a fiery temperament a12021_LillianLeitzel_07and great personal charm. Lillian Leitzel was a circus diva of the highest regard. She ruled the rings as well as the back lot during the golden age of The Greatest Show On Earth®.

Lillian Leitzel was born in Breslau, Germany on January 2, 1892. Leitzel’s parents separated when Leitzel was very young and she was raised by her grandparents. Christened Leopoldina Alitza Pelikan, Lillian Leitzel took her better-known name from the Americanization of "Alitze," her Germanic nickname meaning "Little Alice." She received a quality education including advanced training in music, dance and language skills. She was fluent in 5 languages. She studied the arts at conservatories in both Breslau and Berlin and excelled at the piano. Her instructors encouraged her and it was thought that she may one day pursue a career as a concert pianist. Leitzel, however, had very different ideas. In her private time, she constructed a trapeze bar for herself and taught herself the tricks she had seen her mother and aunts perform.

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Leitzel’s mother and two aunts performed in an aerial act known as the Leamy Ladies. The Leamy Ladies trapeze act was famous throughout Europe. Leitzel begged her mother to let her perform and her visits with her mother eventually lead to her participation in the act.

a12021_LillianLeitzel_08Leitzel first came to the United States in 1908 as a member of the Leamy Ladies, appearing with the Barnum & Bailey show during the New York engagement that year. They returned in 1911 as a featured act with Barnum & Bailey. At the end of the 1911 season, the Leamy Ladies returned to Europe without Leitzel who remained in the United States working the vaudeville circuit. It was during this time that Leitzel honed and developed her solo Roman rings act which by then included the one-arm planges for which she is most famous. During the planges, Leitzel would separate her shoulder and throw her entire body over her shoulder again and again. It was not uncommon for Leitzel to do 100 revolutions during a performance. All the while, audiences would count out loud as Leitzel would flip over and over, "….96….97…98…99…100!" Leitzel’s record was an amazing 249 revolutions! Audiences loved her.

a12021_LillianLeitzel_02In November, 1914, while performing in South Bend, Indiana, a booking agent with Ringling Bros. Circus saw her act and offered her a contract on the spot. The 4 foot 9 inch, 95 pound Leitzel made her solo Big Top debut on April 17, 1915 at the Coliseum in Chicago. Leitzel was a Ring 2 headline performer from the outset where she remained throughout the rest of her life.

Leitzel was a featured performer with Ringling Bros. in 1915, 1916 and 1918, moving to the headline spot with Barnum & Bailey for the 1917 season. After the shows combined in 1919, Leitzel was considered the premier personality through 1930. Her astounding feats of strength and grueling endurance wowed Circus audiences everywhere.

Out of the spotlight, Leitzel was the first performer in history to command her own private Pullman car completely furnished with her own baby grand piano. Her quick temper was legendary. It was not uncommon to witness Leitzel a12021_LillianLeitzel_04cursing or slapping a roustabout who did not adjust her rigging exactly to her liking. Further, Leitzel was known to fly off the handle and fire and rehire her personal maid, Mabel Cummings several times a day. In sharp contrast, it was the same hot tempered prima donna who was known to the children on the show as "Auntie Leitzel" and who would hold birthday parties for her fellow performers in her private dressing tent.

She was courted by many men who showered her with expensive gifts. In 1920, Leitzel briefly married a Ringling executive by the name of Clyde Ingalls. They divorced just four years later. Shortly after the breakup, Leitzel found her one true love in another hot tempered circus performer, legendary trapeze flyer, Alfredo Codona. Codona had made a name for himself in his family’s small Mexican circus before becoming a top star with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®. Codona and Leitzel carried on a tumultuous romance plagued with jealousy, screaming matches and many, many breakups a12021_LillianLeitzel_01and reconciliations. Friends on the back lot said they were made for one another. The two were married on July 20, 1928 in Chicago — that is, once Leitzel finally showed up at the church. Leitzel kept Codona standing at the altar for a solid three hours awaiting her arrival. She made it clear who was in charge in her marriage.

Leitzel and Codona were tireless performers, even scheduling engagements during the Circus’ winter break. During one of these breaks, on February 13, 1931 Leitzel was performing at Valencia Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Codona at Winter Garden in Berlin. Shortly after midnight, Leitzel finished up her Roman rings presentation and ascended into the air to begin her infamous one-arm planges. On that night, the brass swivel on the rope crystallized and broke. She fell over 20 feet to a hard, concrete floor. She suffered a concussion and spinal injuries in the fall, but doctors were confident she’d recover. Codona rushed to her side. She insisted she was fine and urged Codona to return to Berlin to finish his engagement. She boarded a train with him and the pair headed back to Berlin when she died 2 days later at 2:09am, Sunday, February 15th.

Alfredo Codona was devastated by her death. He went on to remarry another aerialist named Vera Bruce, but their marriage was a miserable one. Distraught and unsettled, Codona became increasingly reckless in his act and finally suffered a bad fall as a result. Doctors informed Codona that the torn ligaments in his shoulder would prevent him from ever performing again and "grounded" him in 1937. The stress of Leitzel’s passing and the end of his circus career drove Codona to desperate measures. While discussing divorce proceedings in Vera Bruces attorney’s office, Codona asked if he could speak to his estranged wife in private. The attorney obliged and as the door closed behind the attorney, Codona pulled a pistol from his coat pocket and shot Vera Bruce before turning the gun on himself.

Leitzel is probably the first — and certainly one of the most enduring — circus luminaries of all time. Her celebrated life, tragic death and enduring legend haunts the circus world even today. She commanded top billing longer than any other circus performer in history and truly earned her position as Queen Of The Air.

Text from ringling.com

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Have I really misunderstood what swingers are all these years. Are they just dancing 😦

Image found on 50sunlimited

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…. constantly fearing getting a lightly dressed bimbo in the head.

Image found at beatnikdaddio

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In case your TV should suddenly simply call it a day and decide to hibernate and you’re left sitting staring at a dull grey soundless screen, here’s a little something to keep you occupied while you wait for the repair man to arrive. If you combine it with yesterday’s 30 shots it should turn out to be quite an entertaining evening after all – Ted

Image found at TurnOfTheCentury

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Shots found on buzzfeed.com

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a1046602_cricketYou have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

And we thank Mad Dogs & Englishmen for this exemplary explanation

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Barbara Bach
(born Barbara Goldbach; August 27, 1947) is an American actress and model known as the Bond girlAnya Amasova from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). She subsequently starred in Force 10 from Navarone (1978) with Robert Shaw and Harrison Ford. She is married to former Beatle Ringo Starr.

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Early life

Bach was born in Rosedale, Queens, and grew up in Jackson Heights, the daughter of Marjorie and Howard I. Goldbach (1922–2001), a policeman. Her mother is Irish Catholic, while her father was Jewish (from a family from Germany, Austria, and Romania). She attended a Catholic high school, Dominican Commercial, in Jamaica, Queens. Bach left school at age 16 to become a model. She is not related to Catherine Bach, whose birth name is Bachman.

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Career

In 1972, Bach co-starred with two other Bond girls, Claudine Auger and Barbara Bouchet in the mystery La Tarantola dal ventre nero (a giallo film) and had small roles in other Italian films.

In 1977, her role as the Russian spy Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me gained her recognition as an international sex symbol. Bach remarked after the film that Bond is "a chauvinist pig who uses girls to shield him against bullets." The following year she appeared in the movie Force 10 from Navarone. She lost a role to actress Shelley Hack when she auditioned for the television series Charlie’s Angels. Bach has 28 films to her credit. She has not worked as an actress since the mid-1980s. She featured in her own pictorial in Playboy in June 1977, and she was the cover girl and had her own pictorial in January 1981. She also had a cameo in a September 1987 special issue on the Bond girls.

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Filmography

Year Title Role
1968  L’Odissea (a.k.a. The Adventures of Ulysses) Nausicaa
1971 Mio padre Monsignore Chiara
 La Tarantola dal ventre nero (a.k.a. Black Belly of the Tarantula) Jenny
 La Corta notte delle bambole di vetro (a.k.a. Paralyzed / Short Night of Glass Dolls) Mira Svoboda
 Un peu de soleil dans l’eau froide (a.k.a. A Few Hours of Sunlight / A Little Sun in Cold Water) Héloïse/Elvire
1972  I Predatori si muovono all’alba Helen
1973  Paolo il caldo (a.k.a. The Sensual Man / The Sensuous Sicilian) Anna
 Il Maschio ruspante Rema
 L’ Ultima chance (a.k.a. Last Chance / Motel of Fear) Emily
1974  Il Cittadino si ribella (a.k.a. Street Law / The Citizen Rebels) Barbara
1975  Il Lupo dei mari (a.k.a. Legend of the Sea Wolf / Larsen, Wolf of the Seven Seas) Maud Brewster
1977  Ecco noi per esempio Ludovica
 The Spy Who Loved Me Anya Amasova
1978  Force 10 from Navarone Maritza Petrovich
1979  L’ Isola degli uomini pesce (a.k.a. Island of the Fishmen / Screamers) Amanda Marvin
 L’ Umanoide (a.k.a. The Humanoid) Lady Agatha
 Jaguar Lives Anna Thompson
 Il Fiume del grande caimano (a.k.a. Alligators / The Big Alligator River / The Great Alligator) Alice Brandt
1980  Up the Academy Bliss
1981  Caveman Lana
 The Unseen Jennifer Fast
1982 The Cooler  
1983  Princess Daisy Vanessa Valerian
1984  Give My Regards to Broad Street Journalist
1986  To the North of Katmandu  

Text and table from Wikipedia

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A board game played by German soldiers in the trenches of World War One is giving modern computer games a run for their money – how has it managed to stay so popular for so long?

There is, we know, a very big centenary under way. In Germany 100 years ago there was a momentous development, and the revolution that ensued is being marked with great fervour in village halls up and down the land.

People sit down around tables. There is discussion and there are moments of reflection, punctuated with loud altercation.

I refer, of course, to the invention of the board game Mensch Aergere Dich Nicht. It was devised a century ago and became popular among German troops in the trenches.

Families back home ordered games from the manufacturer, who would then despatch them straight to the frontline.

Schmidt

The game was invented by Josef Friedrich Schmidt, an employee of the city of Munich who had three bored children to entertain at home. He devised the game with dice and counters and played it happily with an ever-widening circle, including his neighbours’ children.

After a couple of years of this amateur fun, he decided to put it on the market. It only took off during World War One.

Schmidt had the very bright idea of making hundreds of copies of the game and giving them to hospitals used by the war-wounded. Sales haven’t slowed down in the succeeding century.

There is, I think, something very German about the stubborn refusal of its citizens to move with the times. Of course, Germans embrace lots of aspects of modernity – "Vorsprung durch Technik" (Progress through technology) – but one of the charms of the place is that old habits die hard.

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I shake hands with my colleague every morning and evening. There is a bakery on every street. We eat a proper lunch – a beef stew in the canteen, with sprouts.

They cook seasonally too – goose with red cabbage on the menu in restaurants at Christmas, cured herring in June, Pfifferlinge – a type of fine mushroom – in late August, pumpkin or Kuerbis in October.

There is a heart-warming eschewing of newness for the sake of it.

In the finance ministry the lifts are ancient. They are those open lifts which continually move in a belt and which you step onto with some trepidation, I find. Old-fashioned but effective – a fitting symbol for a finance ministry.

The German way: Improve what works but keep what pleases people – like a board game.

It comforted shell-shocked lads 100 years ago and it is giving computer games a run for their money today. How comforting.

Text and images from BBC NEWS magazine

Take a good look at the picture above of the family playing the game. Dad looks like a little kid enjoying himself and the rest of the family looks bored way into the soporific. But in Germany dads are still the boss, if he wants to play, they play – Ted

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header_image_aunt_mabel096 drunk-o-meter
While studying Aunt Mabel (yes, she did actually study, chemistry in fact) volunteered to take part in testing a forerunner of the now well known balloon alcohol-test. She was asked to step down from the testing after the whole apparatus exploded on her first try setting the tester’s suit on fire.

The tester needed psychological counselling for years and later told that the alcohol level in her blood could have killed a horse, maybe even an elephant. He lost his job because the mere mentioning of testing equipment sent him whimpering into the closest corner. Just another poor sod left beyond salvation in Aunt Mable’s wake.

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Aunt Mabel putting her chemistry studies to good use in her mature years.

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792_go-go_01Go-go dancers are dancers who are employed to entertain crowds at discotheques or other clubs where music is played. Go-go dancing originated in the early 1960s, by some accounts when women at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City began to get up on tables and dance the twist. It is also claimed that go-go dancing originated at, and was named for, the very popular South L.A. rock club Whiskey A Go Go which opened in January of 1964.  Many 1960s-era clubgoers wore miniskirts and knee-high, high-heeled boots, which eventually came to be called go-go boots, to night clubs. Night club promoters in the mid‑1960s then conceived the idea of hiring women dressed in these outfits to entertain patrons.

Etymology

The term go-go derives from the phrase "go-go-go" for a high-energy person, and was influenced by the French expressionà gogo, meaning "in abundance, galore", which is in turn derived from the ancient French word la gogue for "joy, happiness".

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In the 1960s

On 19 June 1964, Carol Doda began go-go dancing topless (after having had her breasts implanted with silicone to enlarge them) at the Condor Club on Broadway and Columbus in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. She became the world’s most famous go-go dancer, dancing at the Condor for 22 years.

792_go-go_04Go-go dancers began to be hired on a regular basis at the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood in the Los Angeles area in July 1965. The Whisky a Go Go was also the first go-go club to have go-go cages suspended from the ceiling (they were there from the very beginning in 1965), and thus the profession of cage dancer was born.

The phrase go-go was adopted by bars in the 1960s in Tokyo, Japan. It was of lesser reputation until it was abandoned by a majority of clubs and appropriated by burlesque and striptease establishments, which in turn became known as go-go bars and the women working there known as go-go dancers. During the Vietnam War there were many go-go bars in Saigon, South Vietnam, to entertain U.S. troops. A synonym used in Vietnam for go-go dancers is "table dancer".

Text from Wikipedia 

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All posts material: “Sauce” and “Gentleman’s Relish” by Ronnie Barker – Hodder & Stoughton in 1977

The Sauce-box

sauce_box 

See that sauce-box on the sea-shore ;
in her scanty silk swimsuit and stockings.
She has split the side of her swimsuit, so she says,
and has sewn it up with strong thick string.
Strong thick string isn’t suitable for sewing up
the sides of split swimsuits as we can see,
because these sauce-boxes are showing
their skin through the sides.
Should any sailors sauntering on the sea-shore
spot these slits in the sides of their scanty silk swimsuits,
these two sauce-boxes might, in certain circumstances,
suddenly find themselves in a similar state to,
if not a sauce-box, then certainly a sauce-bottle
tipped upside down and shaken.

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All posts material: “Sauce” and “Gentleman’s Relish” by Ronnie Barker – Hodder & Stoughton in 1977

Trick Of The Eye

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Print out the postcard, hold it in front of you and
bring it closer and closer to your eyes and
the dusky pair will seem to be kissing.

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Print out the card and hold it close to your eyes and
move it slowly away and the dentist will seem to pull out
the patient’s tooth.
(Move the card close again and he will seem to put it back in)


You could of course be a lazy sod and just move your
face towards and away from the screen – Ted 😉

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Long before I discovered Mayfair and Men Only and before my English was good enough to enjoy the articles (because I read them of course) there was FIB Aktuelt, a Swedish magazine a lot more daring than the tame Norwegian ones. It kept young Ted in mouth-watering images of semi-nude and nude Swedish girls for years 😉

Image found at kuriosapaviljongen

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An article from Carnival magazine, November, 1956.
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Article found at Lethal Dose

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416_marlboroPhillip Morris, the world’s biggest cigarette producer, announced today that they will join the marijuana legalization bandwagon and start producing marijuana cigarettes. Marketed under the brand “Marlboro M”, the cigarettes will be made available for sale through marijuana-licensed outlets in the state of Colorado, and the state of Washington when it becomes commercially legal there later this year.

Read more HERE

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A digital recreation of an article published in Modern Mechanix, January 1933
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Here’s a gift that will appeal to adults as well as youngsters. It’s called Tilt-A-Ball and it will keep a gathering amused for hours. It is a circular board of twenty inches diameter with a “pen” in the centre to hold five marbles, and a number of holes scattered over the remainder. The board is held on the lap or placed on a table, the object being to tilt it and roll one of the marbles from the “pen” into a hole with a high number.

Full page description HERE

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From “Victorian Inventions” by Leonard De Vries published by American Heritage Press in 1972

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Left, the water-filled pond: centre, details of the shell construction
right, interior of the cabin accommodating 15 passengers.

Monsieur Carron, an engineer from Grenoble in France, has devised a machine which will delight the lovers of sensational emotions. In planning this machine the inventor had in mind those persons who enjoy the unnerving sensations experienced, for example, in high swings or extremely fast sledges as they hurtle headlong over mountain-slopes. In order to evoke even stronger emotions than these he intends to part1_030allow the public to participate in a free fall of 325 yards. The possibility for this is provided by the Eiffel Tower which is of the height just mentioned.

 If Monsieur Carron’s calculations are correct, the speed attained at the end of a free flight such as this is 84 yards per second, corresponding to about 172 miles per hour, a speed at which no human being has ever travelled as yet. A comparison may be provided by the fact that our fastest express trains cover a distance of about 32 yards per second, or approximately 65 miles per hour. Making a free fall such as this will indeed be a vertiginous experience. It is easy to fall 325 yards, but it has hither to been doubtful whether one could do this and survive. This problem has been solved by the inventor. He has designed a cage in the shape of a mortar shell containing a round chamber some 13 feet high and 10 feet in diameter in which fifteen persons can sit extremely comfortably in well-upholstered armchairs arranged in a circle.

The floor is formed by a mattress with spiral springs 20 inches high. The bottom half consists of concentric metal cones which provide a further measure of resilience. The total height of the apparatus is almost 33 feet and its weight, inclusive of the electric lighting, 10 tons. It is intended to drop this gigantic shell from the top of the 325-yard-high Eiffel Tower. It will be prevented from being dashed to smithereens by falling into a water-filled pond shaped like a champagne glass.

This pond will be 60 yards deep with a maximum diameter of 54 yards. The water will serve as a shock-absorber. Mr Carron assures us that by virtue of this, and because of the springs inside, the shock felt by the occupants on landing will be in no way unpleasant. When they have got out, the giant shell can again be hoisted to the top of the Eiffel Tower to permit another group of adventurers to experience the thrills of a free fall. According to the inventor, the shell can be operated profitably at a fee of twenty francs per passenger per trip which is by no means an excessive charge for such a vertiginous experience as this promises to be.


A questions immediately materialize as the article says “When they have got out, the giant shell can again be hoisted to the top of the Eiffel Tower to permit another group of adventurers to experience the thrills of a free fall”. How do they get out, floating there in the middle of the pond, and when they do, do they swim ashore – Ted

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