Category Archives: History

Did People in the Middle Ages Really Throw Fecal Matter Out of Their Windows?

Aaron H. asks: Before sewer systems, did people in England really toss their poop into the streets? Although Medieval Britons weren’t exactly the cleanest lot by modern standards (though contrary to popular belief, despite some well-known exceptions, they did, in general, bathe in some form or another relatively regularly), the idea of them just dropping trou and dumping half a […]

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The Fascinating Family Feud that Led to Adidas and Puma, and Allowed Nike to Dominate the Market

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Here’s the strange story of a family-owned business so dysfunctional that business schools teach it as a lesson in how not to run a company. FOOT SOLDIER Not long after the end of World War I in 1918, an 18-year-old German soldier named Adolf Dassler returned to his hometown of […]

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That Time Teddy Roosevelt Got Shot in the Chest But Gave a 90 Minute Speech Anyway

To most of the approximately 10,000 people packed into Milwaukee Auditorium on October 14, 1912, nothing seemed out of the ordinary in the moments before Teddy Roosevelt was scheduled to give what was supposed to be a simple campaign speech. The former President of the United States was running for a near unprecedented third term, this time as the Progressive […]

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The First Joke

David N. asks: What is the first joke ever told? Born from cultures we can only read about and making fun of customs we don’t always understand, many of the world’s oldest jokes, to a modern audience, simply aren’t that funny. That said, humans being humans, with the oldest joke that has survived through today, it would appear little has […]

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The Space Shuttle Discovery and Its Toilet

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader A while back we told you the story of the WWII submarine that was lost due to a malfunctioning toilet. It turns out that a similar incident threatened the space shuttle Discovery in 1989… TOP SECRET On November 22, 1989, the space shuttle Discovery blasted off from the launchpad at […]

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The CIA’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test That Went Horribly Wrong

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader For decades rumors have swirled around the CIA’s testing of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in the 1960s. In seeking a knockout drug weapon, did the CIA slip substances to unsuspecting patsies? The answer is yes. And Frank Olson was the man who paid the heaviest price. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS The […]

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That Time the Citizens of Prague Literally Threw Their Politicians Out of Office (From the Upper Floors)

Providing a unique wrinkle to the phrase, “throw the bums out of office,” twice, first in 1419 and again in 1618, frustrated citizens of Prague (today in the Czech Republic) literally threw their leaders out of the upper story windows of their public buildings. The word for throwing someone or something out of a window, defenestration, is also sometimes used […]

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The Ford Model K

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader We’ve all heard of the Ford Model T—but we rarely hear about the earlier automobiles in the whole “model-letter” scheme. So hear you go… ALPHABET CITY In 1908, the Ford Motor Company, founded by Henry Ford just five years earlier, released its first Ford Model T—and the world has never […]

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The True Story of the Ides of March

In William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar,” Caesar mocks the soothsayer’s earlier prediction to “Beware the Ides of March.” Later, Caesar says, “The Ides of March have come” to point out the supposed dreaded day did not bring disaster. The soothsayer responds with a prophetic point, “Ay, Caesar; but not gone.” Shortly thereafter, Caesar is stabbed many times over by conspirators […]

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