No. 423
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
April 23, 2019

Unsupported Transit.

August 19, 2013
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Spanish general Jose Aranguren was shot on this date in 1939 by Franco’s Spain. A brigadier general of the Civil Guard — an internal-to-Spain paramilitary/law enforcement force that remained predominantly loyal to the Republic during the Spanish Civil War — Aranguren (the very cursory English Wikipedia entry | the more detailed Spanish) at the outset […]
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ExecutedToday.com - 4/22/2019

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The Savoy bookstore in Westerly, R.I. was cram-packed with Borden case enthusiasts this evening as author Cara Robertson held forth …

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Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts - 3/26/2019
"Roses are red, Violets are blue, And my cat is, too." Cats and weird little stories from the past.  What could be more Strange Company than that?  For this reason, I'm delighted to temporarily pass the blog's steering wheel over to Peggy Gavan, whose upcoming book, "The Cat Men of Gotham: Tales of Feline Friendships in Old New York" (Rutgers University Press, May 3, 2019,) is now available
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Strange Company - 4/22/2019

Jeff and Joe Soapy Smith buries Joe Simmons The Illustrated Police News April 9, 1892 (Click image to enlarge) oe Simmons was a tall, slender gambler known to many as “Gambler Joe” Simmons, a member of the Soap Gang who managed Soapy Smith's Tivoli Club in Denver, 1890, and Soapy's Orleans Club in Creede, 1892. According to William Devere’s poem "Two Little Busted Shoes," Simmons
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/25/2019
Rosa Buckstahlen and Ida Bjornstad, servants in the Chicago mansion of Amos J. Snell, were awakened at 2:00 the morning of February 8, 1888, by the sound of a gunshot from the floor below. They heard someone shout “Get out! Get out of here!” followed by more gunshots, then silence. Thinking that all was well—or more likely, too frightened to do anything else—the girls went back to sleep.
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Murder by Gaslight - 4/20/2019
I count six transportation options Brooklynites had in 1915, according to this rich and detailed postcard of Flatbush Avenue. There’s the elevated train, of course, as well as a streetcar, automobile, bicycle, horse and wagon, and of course, getting around on foot, as most of the crowd seems to be doing—when they’re not mugging for […]
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Ephemeral New York - 4/21/2019
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
A Bride’s Toggery. | She Had a High Old Time.

Unsupported Transit.

Occident

In 1872 Eadweard Muybridge photographed champion trotter Occident in mid-trot, answering the age old question of “unsupported transit”— does a running horse ever, simultaneously, have all four hooves off the ground?[more]

Eadweard MuybridgeEadweard Muybridge - 1870.

Leland Stanford, former governor of California and president of the Southern Pacific Railroad had recently added horsemanship to his list of credentials and had become fascinated with all aspects of a horse’s gait. He hired photographer Eadweard Muybridge to capture an image of his fastest trotter, Occident, pulling a sulky at full speed. Muybridge did not think it was possible but Stanford persuaded him to try.

After a number of failed attempts and a few semi-successes, Muybridge finally got the photograph that Stanford wanted. He devised a spring-loaded shutter—a novelty in itself—and attached it to a thread stretched across the track. When the horse made contact with the thread, it would trigger the shutter and expose the plate for a fraction of a second, catching the horse in mid-stride.

The resulting photograph showing Occident with all four hooves in the air was reported in newspapers across America and according to legend, won a $10,000 bet for Leland Stanford. The original photograph has not survived but the image was immortalized by the Currier and Ives print above.

Eadweard Muybridge continued to experimenting with motion photography. His motion studies of animals and humans contributed directly to the development of motion pictures.

He also stood trial for murdering his wife’s lover, but that is a story for another time and place.


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