In 1911, eleven and seven year old brothers rode on horseback from NYC to San Francisco in 62 days.
In England until the early 20th century, a man wishing to separate from his wife could lead her to market by a halter and sell her to the highest bidder.
In 1818, an Englishman accused of murder demanded a trial by combat. Surprisingly, the law that allowed for trial by combat was still valid, and the man was acquitted when his accuser declined the offer of battle. Trial by combat was abolished the following year.
In 1848, to begin construction on the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge, engineers needed to secure a line across the 800-foot chasm. The lead engineer held a kite-flying contest and eventually paid a local boy $5 for securing the first line over the river.
Southern sweet tea was originally used to show wealth, as tea, ice, and sugar were all very expensive at the time.
During the first battle of the American Civil War, hundreds of civilians from Washington DC brought picnic baskets and came to watch the battle, sure the Union would easily win. The Union lost, and the civilians were caught in the retreat of the Northern army.
Hat making in the past involved prolonged exposure to mercury vapors, causing poisoning which symptoms are sensory impairment (vision, hearing, speech), and a lack of coordination. this inspired terms like “Mad as a hatter” and of course, the mad hatter of Alice in wonderland.
When trains were introduced in the U.S, many people believed that that “women’s bodies were not designed to go at 50 miles an hour,” and that their “uteruses would fly out of [their] bodies if they were accelerated to that speed.”
A 15 year old Roman Emperor named Heliogabalus, was a notorious prankster. He would get his party guests black out drunk and then dump them into a bedroom full of toothless leopards, lions and bears. He also created the 1st known ‘whoopee cushions’ using inflated animal bladders. Needless to say, Heliogabalus’ antics angered many people, which is what led to his assassination when he was 18-years-old.