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Aside from a couple of custom versions that we couldn't resist, the emphasis here is not on novelty but on design, since, as we believe these picks show, sidecars are a genuinely viable and interesting mode of transport.

15 splendid sidecars

The telescopes chosen for this list are largely based on how they look, from a design perspective, rather than their scientific importance. Their unusual requirements create interesting structural engineering approaches. However, the Holmdel Horn Antenna is possibly the most interesting from both points of view, its highly unusual shape is like a gigantic ear trumpet sticking out of a garden shed, but it also happens to be the device which discovered the cosmic microwave background radiation - the echo of the big bang. I've included a view beneath the mesh of the gigantic Arecibo dish, just because I always wondered what that space was like. For the rest I've chosen ones which best display the spiky, high tech look of giant scaffolds and space frames or which are attached in impossibly top heavy ways ancillary buildings, like the giant upturned umbrella of the Parkes telescope.

18 radio telescopes

Before electricity, lighthouses relied on lamps that would almost be considered mood lighting by today's standards. Mechanisms were clockwork and had to be wound as often as every two hours. In the 19th century, Fresnel designed a lens that could focus this light into parallel rays and project it horizontally, dramatically improving lighthouses. By the end of the century, all lighthouses had Fresnel lenses classified into orders, with first order being the largest and most impressive.These days lighthouses use less elaborate lamps such as the beacons found at airfields, or even powerful, but unremarkable to look at, LEDs. Here is a list of some of the most beautiful and important lights ever made, including some 1st order beauties that stand 20 feet tall, and were floated on a mercury bed. There are no descriptions of each item, for this chart, as the images speak for themselves, however, the sites linked to have information about the lighthouses where they came from.

15 beautiful lighthouse lights

The point of this list was to find interesting fountain designs that are truly modern, something that is rare, since fountains are luxurious, flowing and decorative by nature.For example Rome's Trevi fountain may be a masterpiece, but trying to recreate classical splendor today always looks awful and kitsch. The horrid water display at the Vegas Bellagio is a case in point, opulence without craft. In fairness, its designers, WET design have produced many other much more interesting designs which balance fun with restraint. Here are some of our favorite designs, from computer controlled fountains such as the wonderful animated version at Detroit Airport to Chicago's celebrated screen based Crown fountain

12 great modern fountains

Although making a 3d image is more dramatic than increasing its resolution, say, the technology is fairly primitive. Because of this, stereo cameras are something of an interesting retro curiosity. These days, custom made stereo cameras with twin lenses at eye separation are usually replaced by custom rigs for digital cameras, with appropriate software.

stereo cameras

Skype is an idea that was conceived of by the Victorians, featured in movies in the 20s and became an icon for futurism, and yet the videophone has become ubiquitous independently of telecoms companies. How is it that an idea that could have been seen from such a long way off didn't get developed by phone companies, leading to the ridiculous situation where a phone call costs money but a Skype video phone call is free? Here's a visual history of early videophone concepts.

retro videophones

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WTF is that? #17

February 23rd, 2010 link to (permalink)

wtf


These are false teeth not unique, but of a type with a sad and macabre history. What’s the story?



9 Responses to “WTF is that? #17”

  1. Indiefab Says:

    These appear to made from another person’s jaw (mandible) and maxilla with teeth intact. Instead of taking animal bone, teeth, metal and other materials and making a jaw and maxilla, these were made by harvesting straight from a person. You would be wearing some else’s mouth!
    I’m not sure of the history beyond that.

  2. admin Says:

    Yes you are right, they are real human teeth. There is a story behind them, not this set in particular, but the type.

  3. steve Says:

    They are a famous murderer’s teeth.

  4. admin Says:

    @steve They are not from a particularly well known individual, and there were many sets of this kind.

  5. Glen Says:

    I’m guessing something to do with slavery or the Holocaust? Something greusome and unpleasant?

  6. Indiefab Says:

    The only websource that I can find using this same image is about “Waterloo Teeth”. These were teeth harvested from the corpses of soldiers after so many European battles. Waterloo alone had 50,000 deaths. Scavengers would scour the battlefields and pick belongings off the bodies. Real human teeth were extremely valuable in the early 1700’s and thousands of barrels of human teeth were extracted from the dead and shipped to England to be used in dentures. They were typically afixed to a base of animal ivory or bone.
    However, I find no reference that says the upper plate and lower jaw were ever removed as a whole, like this shows. I can’t wait for the answer.

  7. admin Says:

    @Indiefab. You are absolutely right they are an example of Waterloo teeth, whether the jaw here is also real, I’m not sure.

    Waterloo teeth became the generic term for teeth made from dead soldiers, a practice that continued through the American Civil War, when Waterloo teeth from its battles were found in mail order catalogs in the 1860s.

    They reveal a time before World War I when fallen lower ranking soldiers were anonymous, people whose names didn’t appear on memorials and whose bones were dug up by companies contracted to grind them into fertilizer.

  8. bradley547 Says:

    The jaw itself is not human. Most likely bone or ivory. If you look close, the rear molars are carved into the material.
    Besides, a real human jawbone wouldn’t have enough material in it to carve a seat for the users jaw to go into.

  9. Indiefab Says:

    Good point Bradley. That’s exactly what my wife said about the molars when I showed her. These must have been the finest false teeth made at the time. Compared to George Washington’s teeth, these are far more advanced. Cool.

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