A Proto-typewriter, 1857.

A Proto-typewriter, 1857.JF Ptak Science Books
Here we have a lovely attempt at what is close to being a typewriter (a “hand-printing machine”), found in the Journal of the Franklin Institute for June 1857.
The size isn’t given but my guess is that it would be about the size of foolscap paper, easily desk-top.
It seems fairly simple in a slightly complex way, and I can easily see where it would serve as a stop-gap implement between what came before and the typewriter.
The short article introducing the workings of the machine is surprisingly very readable, even though it is brisk and sharp.
It is just well done.It is difficult to see some of the annotations, even in the original, and even with a magnifying glass, but for that first indicator “H” you can find it just southward of the bell-like object (“M”, which turns out to be a handle for the paper roller), and “E” was another difficult one to find, and that one turns out to be the pivot in the center of the type circular.
In any event, the thing operates much like a typewriter, the lever “D” moved to the position of the letter needed, then pressed down, moving the type into place against the ink and the paper, which is loaded in rollers much like a modern typewriter.
Source: JF Ptak Science Books: A Proto-typewriter, 1857.

The Indian farm where George Orwell was born.

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George Orwell is one of the United Kingdom’s best-known 20th Century authors but he’s also claimed by a town in north-eastern India.
Orwell was born here – and his home is being turned into a museum.
There are farmyard animals everywhere. An iron door lies wide open, as if the rebellious animals have forgotten to bolt it after chasing their human masters away.
Pigs have the run of the place. Two horses, their frames withered with age, stand in one corner, swishing their tails to drive the flies away, and there are many more animals – cows, goats, sheep, hens.
Only the buffaloes would have looked out of place in Animal Farm.
This is where Orwell spent the first year of his life, before he and his mother moved to Henley on Thames.
Close to the bungalow where they lived are the remains of a warehouse which was used to store opium.
via BBC News – The Indian Animal Farm where Orwell was born.

Levon Mosgofian Frisco’s Psychedelic Printer.

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When the phrase “San Francisco rock posters” is uttered in certain circles, most people picture bold blocks of psychedelicized Art Nouveau lettering, a skeleton crowned by a garland of roses, shimmering collisions of equiluminant colors, and a flying eyeball peering through a burning ring of fire.
That describes the most iconic work of the so-called Big Five poster artists—Wes Wilson, Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso, and Rick Griffin.
But as good as those artists were (in the case of the late Griffin and Kelley) and are (in the case of the rest), it took more than just five artists to create all the posters and handbills required to publicize all the concerts produced during these years.
In addition, if it weren’t for the career pressmen at companies such as Bindweed Press, Cal Litho, West Coast Litho, and Tea Lautrec Litho, the drug-fueled dreams of some of these artists might never have seen the light of day.
“One of the best pressmen in the business was Levon Mosgofian, who owned and operated Tea Lautrec Litho.”
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Recently, I was invited to curate an exhibition of San Francisco Bay Area rock posters at the San Francisco International Airport, whose SFO Museum produces more than 50 shows a year across 25 exhibition spaces for the 44 million travelers who pass through the airport annually.
My qualifications for this incredible honor are essentially a love of rock posters since I was a kid, membership on the board of The Rock Poster Society as an adult, and a collection of maybe 400 pieces, which is paltry compared to the holdings of most of the collectors who supplied posters to the show.
Thanks to their generosity, I was able to organize “When Art Rocked: San Francisco Music Posters, 1966-1971,” which features about 160 posters, along with another 100 or so postcards, handbills, tickets, and other scraps of ephemera from the era.
A smaller companion exhibit of 1960s fashion and design, curated by SFO’s Nicole Mullen, is located conveniently nearby.
via Was Levon Mosgofian of Tea Lautrec Litho the Most Psychedelic Printer in Rock? | Collectors Weekly.

Learn the Aussie Lingo: ‘gday Mate!’

GDay-MateFor Overseas visitors preparing to come to Oz, here are some Aussie expressions that you can learn  and use to impress your friends with.
Strine is an abbreviation of Stralian, which is the shortened form of Australian.
And now some Strine words for you to learn:
“Mate”Friend, cobber. Can be used anywhere in a sentence, but never to be used in anger.
“Gudday”Hello, Good Morning, How are you? (Compulsory expression).
“Oooroo” – Goodbye, see ya!
“Dad and Dave – Having a Shave of your face.
“Tom Tit” – having a Shit, Crap or a Poo.
“Bag of Fruit” – A nice Suit of clothes to wear
“Dickhead – Dickhead (universal word for dickhead).
“Bludger” – Lazy person who lives off other people and is a Low Bastard.
“to and from” – Pom, English person. Ten pound tourist (expression now outdated).
“septic tank” – Citizen of the United States. (possible wartime expression).
“Pissed” – Drunk, inebriated, sloshed, under the weather.
“Dobber” – Person who runs to the Boss and dobs on mates, a Low life and boss’s man.
“Ow they hanging” – Enquiry about the state of your testicles or life in general.
“Long Drop” – country shithouse, deep hole in the ground where Newspaper substitutes for toilet paper.
“Blowies” – blowflies, large carnivorous Aussie flies. Blowies congregate around long drops, and human bums.
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Georg Trakl, Poet and Addict, 1887-1914.

15585838855_7455135728_bGeorg Trakl, poet in 1910.
He doesn’t know whether his behaviour was unusual, he didn’t drink but took large amounts of cocaine.
This remark is taken from the medical file of Georg Trakl and is part of a brief account of the poet’s movements and behaviour in the month or so preceding his committal for observation to a psychiatric hospital in Kraków in early October 1914.
Just six weeks earlier, towards the end of August, the 27-year-old Trakl had undertaken the 1000-kilometre train journey from Innsbruck, at the western end of the Habsburg Empire, to the far eastern crownland of Galicia, where he was to be deployed as a military pharmacist.
His frontline experience was brief but traumatic.
During the Battle of Grodek-Rawa Ruska, he was assigned sole care of ninety badly wounded soldiers sheltering in a barn, a task for which he had neither the training nor the equipment.
As he later recounted from his hospital bed in Kraków to his friend and publisher Ludwig von Ficker, when one of the wounded men had ended his own suffering by shooting himself in the head, Trakl had fled outside only to be confronted by the sight of local peasants hanging lifeless in the trees.
One evening during the westward retreat of the defeated Austro-Hungarian forces, he announced his own intention to shoot himself, but was forcefully disarmed by his comrades.
His committal followed on 6 October and he died in hospital on 3 November.
His medical file lists the cause of death, complete with exclamation mark, as “Suicid durch Cocainintoxication!”
Read more via Wild Heart Turning White: Georg Trakl and Cocaine | The Public Domain Review.

Castlemaine Festival – 23-24 March, 2019.

Castlemaine is a small city in Victoria, Australia, in the goldfields region of Victoria about 120 kilometres northwest by road from Melbourne and about 40 kilometres from the major provincial centre of Bendigo.
It is the administrative and economic centre of the Shire of Mount Alexander. The population at the 2016 Census was 6,757.
Castlemaine was named by the chief goldfield commissioner, Captain W. Wright, in honour of his Irish uncle, Viscount Castlemaine.
Castlemaine began as a gold rush boomtown in 1851 and developed into a major regional centre.

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