A daily excerpt from a a historical edition of Punch – the greatest satirical magazine in history

Category: Technology

Here, take some cyanide



Lady Mother (loquitur). “I shall feel obliged to you, Mr. Squills, if you would remove these stains from my daughter’s face. I cannot persuade her to be sufficiently careful with her Photographic Chemicals, and she has had a misfortune with her Nitrate of Silver. Unless you can do something for her, she will not be fit to be seen at Lady Mayfair’s to-night.”

[Mr. Squills administers relief to the fair sufferer, in the shape of Cyanide of Potassium.]

It was recently suggested (when I uploaded this) that Alan Turing may have in fact accidentally poisoned himself. Potassium cyanide was commonly used for many purposes, and the lethal dose is so low that accidental poisoning would have been easy.



Don’t Shoot!



Old Lady (who is not used to these new-fangled notions). “Oh, Sir! Please, Sir! don’t, Sir! Don’t for goodness sake Fire, Sir!


Going undergound

The first underground train in London was the between Paddington Station and Farringdon Street via King’s Cross which was called the Metropolitan Railway, opened on 10 January 1863; 150 years ago today.

The trains began to be electrified after the turn of the century.

(Preface of the 1866 Alamanck)

James Naysmith

James Nasmyth invented theĀ  steam hammer, facilitating large scale industrialisation and the use of machines to build machines. His machine could vary the force very precisely; his party trick was to break an egg placed in a wineglass without breaking the glass.

(January 27th 1883)

Will sewing machines render women obsolete?

The first functional sewing machine was invented by the French tailor, Barthelemy Thimonnier, in 1830. But they did not go into mass production until the 1850s, when Isaac Singer built the first commercially successful machine.

(7th February 1866)

%d bloggers like this: