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Manhattan is an antique modern city, dark, decaying, malevolent and at the same time wonderful. The most recent screen versions of Batman have captured this dark feel perfectly. Here are our picks for the buildings and elements of Manhattan that make up the real Gotham city.

real gotham city

The Wienermobile is quintessentially American: pure, whimsical, 4-wheeled fun in the name of capitalism. It’s history goes rather like most design classics form Apple computers to the Coke bottle: 2 custom built homebrew prototypes (1936-40), a defining form (1958), a refinement of this to produce a classic, by a famous designer (1958, Brooks Stevens), variations on the same theme till now, with a novelty version in 2008.

all 10 wienermobiles through history

Pocket sundials can be over 1000 years old, arguably making them the world’s first watches – and with no moving parts to break. Typically they were carried by shepherds, where there are a variety of designs, from the French Pillar Sundial to the Tibetan Time Stick.

12 Pocket Sundials

Inflatable structures have the advantage of being able to be deployed very quickly, and the disadvantage that they are vulnerable to failure, over time. This makes them ideal for temporary shelters, from mine accidents to military deployment, festivals and even on the moon.

8 inflatable shelters

I like these buildings, their high contrast sculptural forms give me a kick. But then again, I have a damaged view because I’m an architect, taught by the types of people who built these inner city sea-defenses. They were designed to last a 1000 years under the ravages of nature, but often haven’t lasted 50 under the impact of public opinion.Architects will tell you that the term Brutalism comes from the French term for raw concrete, ‘beton-brut’, but then again brut and brute share the same root and nobody but the completely stupid or naive would believe that the association will always be with the latter. This association is re-enforced by the use of brutalist buildings as the setting for a Clockwork Orange or the fact that Ian Flemming hated his Brutalist architect neighbor, Erno Goldfingerso much that he named a James Bond villain after him.Brutalism, for all its International credentials is really a British thing, and damp, concrete fortresses like the Park Hill Estate in Sheffield will never look like the Salk Institute, because Britain’s weather is not like California’s. But then again, if you like this thing then there are no better examples than Lasdun’s National Theatre or Neave Brown’s Alexandra Road.

18 brutalist buildings

When I was an architect, it was common for structural engineering books to have this image of two people effortlessly supporting a third to demonstrate the cantilever principal of the famous Forth Rail Bridge outside of Edinburgh. When I was looking for this picture, I noticed that the people were different. It turns out that this iconic image is not unique and here are the three variants I could find, making this the shortest (and one of the more obscure) oobject list to date.

3 forth bridge demos

oobject header image

WTF is that? #17

February 23rd, 2010 #link

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.