The Craziest Multi-Tool Ever Made Kills in 100 Different Ways

Multi-tool

From wired.com:

This multi-bladed folding knife was made in Germany around 1880. Image: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History


The F.W. Holler Company manufactured it to be a demonstration piece to show off its products. Image: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History


The tool has 100 different functions, including some very vicious-looking blades. Image: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History


Detail shot of the multi-tool. Image: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History


And a butter knife. Image: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History


There are multiple pairs of intricately-crafted shears. Image: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History


David Miller, an associate curator of armed forces history at the National Museum of Natural History, actually cut himself on this straight edge razor. Image: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History


Multi-bladed folding knife made in Germany ca. 1880 for John S. Holler, cutlery merchant, New York City 1867-1906. Cat. No. 1986.0101.03


There’s also a fully functioning revolver. Image: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History


These are miniature, 1-inch replicas of the tools Holler made. It’s not entirely known why they exist. Image: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History


Most Swiss Army knives could be pressed into service as a weapon. They have a pocket knife and a corkscrew with a decently sharp end. Even that nail file could do some damage if you really wanted it to. But all of that stuff starts to look pretty innocent—cute even!—when placed next to the multi-tool gadget you see above. Just take a moment to appreciate its absurd complexity. This amped-up Swiss Army-style knife has 100 functions, which is a demure way to say there are 100 very scary looking blades of different varieties packed into its 10-inch handle. Oh, and did you notice the fully-functioning .22-caliber pin-shot revolver tucked in between the shears and dagger? This is, simply put, the most badass Swiss Army knife ever created.

Solingen was appropriately nicknamed the City of Blades.

There’s a story behind this bizarre and beguiling piece of weaponry. Oddly enough, the craziest Swiss Army style-knife to ever exist wasn’t even made in Switzerland, explains David Miller, an associate curator of armed forces history at the National Museum of American History. A product of the F.W. Holler Company, the knife was actually manufactured in Solingen, Germany, a medium-sized town in the North Rhine region of the country. Solingen, appropriately nicknamed the City of Blades, has been home to some of the most finely crafted knives, swords and shears since the Middle Ages, though it’s now better known for its quality flatware. It was here in the late 1870s, in the cutlery capital of the world, that John S. Holler decided to expand the company. “[The cutlery companies of Solingen] were trying to get into the world market, and were competing with the bigger, more connected British firms who cornered the cutlery market exports,” says Miller. This led John S. Holler to open up a store in New York City.

Like any good salesman, Holler needed a marketing plan. And since Twitter did not exist, the company was going to have to create a demo piece to showcase the its products and craftsmanship. This object, the one you see in the photos, would hang in a window or be displayed in a case when the company traveled around to world expos. So basically, this foldable knife is a very sharp and very dangerous catalog. Other companies made similar exhibition knives, but none were quite as stunning as the Holler piece. “Some were made in England, but not nearly as spectacular as this,” says Miller. “This is the finest one I’ve ever seen.”

“If you bring this knife to a gunfight, you’re OK.”

It’s hard to tell by photos alone, but this multi-tool is much larger than your typical Swiss Army knife. Its handle is about 10 inches long, 6 inches wide and 4 inches deep, which makes a lot of sense when you realize how many different types of blades have to fit into it. To start, there’s two dagger blades, a serrated bread knife, a few pairs of shears, a couple of saw blades, a corkscrew, a lancet (for boils?), button hooks, a cigar cutter (hey, why not!), mechanical pens and pencils, and even a piano tuning fork (whew). Really, the only thing the knife is missing is a bottle opener, since the bottle cap we know today wasn’t invented until 1892.

The tool weighs in at around 9 pounds, and with everything fully extended, the object reaches about a foot in diameter, which makes this much more a suitcase knife than a pocket knife. Miller says it takes about 25 minutes to fully open the gadget, and even when you take your time, it’s a dangerous task. “I’ve cut myself on that darn straight razor,” he says. The Smithsonian acquired the knife in 1986 after it was donated by James F. Parker. While alive, Parker was well known in knife collection circles—he owned his own cutlery company and served as the first president of the Knife Collectors Association. Miller says the first time he saw the object he couldn’t believe it was real. “I was particularly impressed with the revolver,” he recalls. “If you bring this knife to a gunfight, you’re OK.”

[hat tip: Neatorama]

Brilliant Map Shows When Most of the Homes in Your Area Were Built

Housing map

 By Seth Kadish from Vizual Statistix:

This blog is a product of my passion for data visualization. The data shown here are sourced from other websites, but all statistical operations on these data and the resulting graphics are original. I take requests and am available for freelance work. If you have a suggestion for a graphic or need support on a project, email me. To learn more about me, visit my LinkedIn profile, and send an invitation to connect.

Thanks for visiting!

Before moving to Portland, OR, where we bought a house built in 2006, my wife and I lived in Providence, RI, in a condo built in the 1930s. Both construction eras have their plusses and minuses, but I have to admit that I really don’t miss fixing all the things that used to break in the 1930s condo. The contrast between the structures got me thinking about the distribution of residential construction, so I’ve mapped/graphed it in this post. The map shows what time period the plurality (mode) of houses was built in for each county. As you can see, much of the Midwest and Northeast are dominated by older homes (1930s and before). The southern states and states west of the Rockies tend to have more 1970s through 1990s houses. There are only two counties in the entire country where 1940s houses are the mode: Anderson County, TN, and Cottle County, TX. There are three counties where 2005-2013 homes are the mode: Cameron Parish, LA, Plaquemines Parish, LA, and Hancock County, Mississippi. Here is the full distribution of the number of counties by which time period is responsible for the plurality of its residential construction: 1930s or before (1161 counties); 1940s (2); 1950s (87); 1960s (43); 1970s (881); 1980s (266); 1990s (754); 2000 to 2004 (24); 2005 to 2013 (3). The violin plot reflects this distribution, with a post-1940 building peak in the 1970s to 1990s. The white dots in the violins represent medians for each time period. So the typical county in the US (if such a county existed) would have a plurality of its houses built in the 1970s, followed by an approximately even distribution of pre-1940, 1980s, and 1990s houses, then an approximately even distribution of 1950s, 1960s, and post-2000 houses, and the smallest number of houses from the 1940s. The violins also shows that a select few counties (20, to be exact) have a true majority (>50%) of their houses built before 1940. Eight of the 20 are in Nebraska; no other state has more than three! Data source: http://factfinder2.census.gov/ (Table DP04) Reblog ♥ Like        High-res

Before moving to Portland, OR, where we bought a house built in 2006, my wife and I lived in Providence, RI, in a condo built in the 1930s. Both construction eras have their plusses and minuses, but I have to admit that I really don’t miss fixing all the things that used to break in the 1930s condo. The contrast between the structures got me thinking about the distribution of residential construction, so I’ve mapped/graphed it in this post.

The map shows what time period the plurality (mode) of houses was built in for each county. As you can see, much of the Midwest and Northeast are dominated by older homes (1930s and before). The southern states and states west of the Rockies tend to have more 1970s through 1990s houses. There are only two counties in the entire country where 1940s houses are the mode: Anderson County, TN, and Cottle County, TX. There are three counties where 2005-2013 homes are the mode: Cameron Parish, LA, Plaquemines Parish, LA, and Hancock County, Mississippi. Here is the full distribution of the number of counties by which time period is responsible for the plurality of its residential construction:

1930s or before (1161 counties); 1940s (2); 1950s (87); 1960s (43); 1970s (881); 1980s (266); 1990s (754); 2000 to 2004 (24); 2005 to 2013 (3).

The violin plot reflects this distribution, with a post-1940 building peak in the 1970s to 1990s. The white dots in the violins represent medians for each time period. So the typical county in the US (if such a county existed) would have a plurality of its houses built in the 1970s, followed by an approximately even distribution of pre-1940, 1980s, and 1990s houses, then an approximately even distribution of 1950s, 1960s, and post-2000 houses, and the smallest number of houses from the 1940s. The violins also shows that a select few counties (20, to be exact) have a true majority (>50%) of their houses built before 1940. Eight of the 20 are in Nebraska; no other state has more than three!

Data source: http://factfinder2.census.gov/ (Table DP04)

Overlapping Disasters: Ground Zero Photos Damaged by Sandy

Redpath image

By from slate.com:

131022-BEHOLD-001-RedpathGroundZeroResidualPhoto by Michael Redpath

Hours after the collapse of the Twin Towers, Michael Redpath, a New York City firefighter from Far Rockaway, Queens, was dispatched to Ground Zero. Over the next six months, he worked on the monumental recovery effort, all the while using his Canon AE-1 to document the uncanny landscape inhabited by the first responders.

“When I was going down to Ground Zero, I was going down as a firefighter,” Redpath said. “But in the back of my head, I wanted to document what I saw down there as much as I possibly could—as much for my own self, to revisit my experience, as to share [it] at some point with other people. “

For more than a decade following the conclusion of Redpath’s work in Lower Manhattan, his archive of hundreds of images went largely unseen, stored away in his basement studio. “It always felt too close to the day of the attack to share the work publicly,” he said. “I was maybe thinking of the 10th anniversary, but that didn’t happen—I was looking at the 20th anniversary at that point. And then Sandy happened.”

Nearly a year ago, the landfall of the devastating superstorm added a new chapter of destruction to this archive. Redpath’s home in Far Rockaway flooded, irreversibly transforming the negatives. The resulting images combined the monumental chaos and ruin in the aftermath of Sept. 11 with the psychedelic distortions of the flood surge. “When you ask people what is the worst thing that you lost after a fire or a flood, a lot of time they say it was their pictures. It’s the type of thing that is irreplaceable,” Redpath said.

131022-BEHOLD-002-003-RedpathGroundZeroResidualPhotos by Michael Redpath

131022-BEHOLD-004-RedpathGroundZeroResidualPhoto by Michael Redpath

131022-BEHOLD-005-RedpathGroundZeroResidualPhoto by Michael Redpath

But Sandy’s destruction has finally brought Redpath’s images out of storage. During the cleanup effort following the superstorm, a friend of Redpath was working on a documentary about the aftermath in the community. The friend showed Redpath’s work to the eventual curator of the upcoming exhibit of Redpath’s flood-damaged archive, called “Residual Images.”

Coinciding with the anniversary of the landfall of Sandy, “Residual Images” will be publicly projected in a park in New York City’s East Village. “It’s hard for me to show these photos in the respect that I don’t want to appear to be showing off or capitalizing on being there, or capitalizing on the terrible thing that happened there,” Redpath said. “I don’t want to spotlight myself over that. But I think they are important to show, and that most importantly, that people know what happened there.”

131022-BEHOLD-006-007-RedpathGroundZeroResidualPhotos by Michael Redpath

131022-BEHOLD-008-009-RedpathGroundZeroResidualPhotos by Michael Redpath

131022-BEHOLD-010-RedpathGroundZeroResidualPhoto by Michael Redpath

131022-BEHOLD-012-RedpathGroundZeroResidualPhoto by Michael Redpath

When asked how his personal experiences of disaster have changed his outlook as an artist, Redpath noted that an estimated $100 million worth of artwork was destroyed in the World Trade Center. “But this has been repeated throughout history—WWI, WWII … I guess it’s the type of thing where you’ve got to brush yourself off, just continue to work.” he said. “You have no other choice. It’s part of life—people pass on, it’s the same thing, but you need to look to the future.”

Even Redpath’s firehouse reveals the passage of time. “I have firemen in my firehouse who were only 10 years old when [Sept. 11] happened, and they have no idea what it was like or what was going on,” he said. “Time goes by quick. That’s the strength and the positive part of documenting events that happen for the future.”

“Residual Images,” presented by OSMOS, is on display at First Street Green in New York City from Oct. 24–29.

131022-BEHOLD-011-RedpathGroundZeroResidualPhoto by Michael Redpath

131022-BEHOLD-013-RedpathGroundZeroResidualPhoto by Michael Redpath

131022-BEHOLD-014-RedpathGroundZeroResidualPhoto by Michael Redpath

131022-BEHOLD-015-RedpathGroundZeroResidualPhoto by Michael Redpath

Haunting Photos Show Aftermath of 19th-Century Train Wrecks

Train wreck

From slate.com:

These photos, all of which depict train wrecks on the New York Ontario & Western Railway in New York State in the 1870s, are part of a larger group of images of railroad life assembled by De Forest Douglas Diver, a railroad engineer and photographer.

This collection is currently held at Cornell University, and many of the photographs are available for view on Flickr.


TrainWreck7
Train Wreck Loco 201, 1878—Courtesy of De Forest Douglas Diver Railroad Photographs, ca. 1870-1948/Cornell University Library


TrainWreck6

Wreck in Snow Bank, Boiler Explosion, Engine No. 70Courtesy of De Forest Douglas Diver Railroad Photographs, ca. 1870-1948/Cornell University Library


Some of these images are quite aesthetically pleasing, despite their subject matter. The wreck of N.Y.O. & W. Engine 140, in particular, is framed as a near-perfect pyramid, with six onlookers (including one babe in arms) decorating the pile of broken steel. Other images show the crews of laborers it took to get the rubble off the track after the violence of a crash.

Little information is available about these wrecks beyond their dates. Historian Richard Selcer writes that although 19th-century railroad accidents were distressingly common, it’s hard to arrive at an official tally, because record-keeping was informal: “Companies were not even required to report all collisions and derailments until 1901, when the Interstate Commerce Commission assumed control over railroad safety standards.”

Two of the photos show an 1870 wreck that sent a train into the water along with part of the bridge it was traversing. Users on Cornell’s Flickr site propose that this might be the wreck at the hamlet of Fish’s Eddy, on the Delaware River (part of the town of Hancock, N.Y.).

Contemporary newspaper coverage of this accident reported a derailment caused by a 4-foot broken rail. The caboose struck the rail, and went “bumping along the ties” until its weight dragged the next car off the track:

Striking the bridge, [the car] knocked the span off the abutment and, with a tremendous crash, precipitated two cars and one span of the bridge about 150 feet in length, into the river, and threw the caboose to one side of the abutment from which it jumped, a distance of 40 feet into the river bed, landing bottom side up and immediately taking fire.

Four workers who were trapped in the caboose died. The wreck, the newspaper reporter added, “will cost the company about $25,000.”

NanoLeaf Bulbs Provide Unusually Bright, Energy-Efficient LED Lighting

NanoLeaf bulb
From lifehacker.com:

We’re all for energy-efficiency, and NanoLeaf managed to pack quite a bit of it into one of the weirdest looking lightbulbs we’ve ever seen. With their LED bulb you get 30,000 hours of brightness equivalent to a standard 100W unit.

NanoLeaf’s bulbs operate at a lower temperature thanks to using LEDs, but they also have “over-temperature protection” to avoid overheating under any circumstances. In addition to cool operation and great efficiency, they’re also constructed without mercury or lead. If you’re looking for a long-lasting lightbulb with great construction, bright light, and a frame that makes for a good conversation piece, you should check these out.

NanoLeaf Bulbs ($35) | Amazon via Gear Hungry

World’s smartest emergency robots have been crowned

Team Telerob robot

From dvice.com:

Credit: Fraunhofer

Over the last week Berchtesgaden, Germany has played host to some of the smartest emergency response robots in the world. There, nestled in the shadow of one of Germany’s highest peaks, the euRathlon was held. Multiple real-world emergency scenarios were enacted, giving the 14 teams present a chance to show the world their robot’s mettle.

Three emergency scenarios were enacted: Mobile handling of hazardous materials, underground rescue from a smoke-filled environment and urban recon and surveillance. Of the 14 teams competing, two walked away with the top honors. Team Telerob (pictured above) from aerospace company Cobham took two gold medals, as well as the silver for surveillance. The surveillance gold went to European Logistic Partners (ELP), who also took silver in the other two categories.

Though the two companies swept the scenario awards, both were humble in accepting their prizes. Instead of keeping their prize money, ELP and Cobham donated it to the top-ranked university team amongst the finalists. All 14 teams were invited to next year’s euRathlon competition, which will be held in Italy and focus on underwater emergency response.

By 2015, the competition will become all-encompassing, asking teams to find intelligent solutions to emergencies on land, sea and air. To see the final day of this year’s competition, check out the video below.

euRathlon, via Robohub

Baby Cthulhu sculpture will drive the world to adorable madness

Cutethulhu

From io9.com:

Baby Cthulhu doesn’t wait dreaming. He’s bright-eyed, curly-tentacled, and ready for your squeeing worship.

Cassia Harries of Monster Mind Sculpts made this little guy. She cast the original sculpture and will soon have an army of Cutethulhus available for sale. In the meantime, you can check out her artwork on her Facebook page, including these mini monsters:

Baby Cthulhu sculpture will drive the world to adorable madness

Baby Cthulhu sculpture will drive the world to adorable madness

Baby Cthulhu sculpture will drive the world to adorable madness

Monster Mind Sculpts [via Creature Spot]


From the Comments:

Octopussoup
Good now I can replace this old one


Roman Cruz
I prefer this myself:

“Aqua Regia, Hell’s Beverage of Choice”: New Merchandise from Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim books

Aqua Regia logo
Now available!

New merchandise featuring Aqua Regia, Hell’s Beverage of Choice according to Richard Kadrey‘s Sandman Slim series of books.

Stick the labels to your favorite containers to instantly transform the contents into Hell’s beverage of choice. Mugs perform the same magical change, and t-shirts proclaim your love—scroll down to the bottom to see pictures. 190 proof, 6.66% angel’s blood. What’s that you say? The percentages don’t add up? That’s Hellion math.

Aqua Regia label sticker

All Sandman Slim Merchandise at the Online Store

Official t-shirts and mugs from James Stark’s favorite video store, bar and donut shop: Max Overdrive Video, the Bamboo House of Dolls and Donut Universe, plus coasters from the bar. Aqua Regia merchandise here. Stark had to steal his T’s, but now you can get yours without going to Hell and back. Guaranteed NOT bullet or Hellion-proof. The mug and coasters are perfect for weapons-grade coffee, Jack Daniel’s, or of course, Aqua Regia.

T-shirts are available in black or white 100% cotton (also red for Aqua Regia), in Men’s Small to 6X and Women’s Small to 2X. Mugs are sturdy white ceramic. Coasters come in high-gloss plastic with non-skid cork backing. 3.75″ x 3.75″, set of 6. Labels are high-gloss paper stickers, 4.5″ x 2.7″, sheet of 4.

Get your loot here.

Max Overdrive Video logo

Bamboo House of Dolls logo  

Donut Universe logo

 Aqua Regia mug left view Aqua Regia mug right view Aqua Regia black T-shirt  Aqua Regia red T-shirt Aqua Regia white T-shirt

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

"Notgeld" bill

From gizmodo.com:

State-issued currency is the scaffolding upon which capitalism was built, but it’s always been prone to mayhem. For instance in 1920s Germany, extreme inflation forced German businesses to actually print millions of their own customized paper bills. Now largely forgotten, this notgeld, or “emergency money,” was once ubiquitous—amounting to an ornately-decorated I.O.U. in Weimar Germany.

Notgeld was a catch-all name for private currency, printed between World War I and World War II in Germany and Austria. There are hundreds—maybe thousands—of unique bills, each created for a specific amount of gold, cash, or even corn and grain. Each printer created (or commissioned) its own design, which ranged from beautiful turn-of-the-century engravings to modernist Bauhaus-inspired typography. The most complete collection of notgeld online comes courtesy of Brooklynite Miguel Oks, whose German ancestors began archiving the bills in the 1930s—thousands of which you can see on his Flickr.

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

So what sparked this proliferation of wildly decorative—and often quite beautiful—emergency currency? There’s a long version and a short version, the latter of which began during World War I, with incredibly rapid inflation spurred by the cost of war. Compounding the problem, the demand for metals used to make weapons and ammunition caused the value of traditional coinage to skyrocket—and soon, banks were printing more and more paper money to make up for the disappearing coins.

Even after the Great War ended, strict reparations and a subsequent depression made for even more inflation—this was Mack the Knife-era Weimar, where hunger and unemployment were the norm. Companies were often forced to issue specialized notgeld to pay their employees, simply because the state-run mints couldn’t print enough money to satisfy the demand for bills. So instead, businesses and organizations made their own—and according to Oks, it was often even more stable than conventional bills, since it was tied to gold or another tangible resource.

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

Fascinatingly, there was also a financial logic to the elaborate decorations that grace many of these bills. Miguel Oks explains:

They made it very pretty on purpose: many people collected the bills, and the debt would never have to be paid. Many were specifically made for collecting, they were called “Serienscheine”, and special albums were sold for the specific purpose of organizing and displaying them. They were printed on all kinds of materials: leather, fabric, porcelain, silk, tin foil…

So the decorations on notgeld bills weren’t just “of their time.” They were actually calculated attempts to create collector’s items—which would thus never be turned in for actual compensation.

Of course, financial instability—and all the social ills that came with it—would play a huge role in the rise of National Socialism. If you look closely, the designs on some of these bills speak to the earliest inklings of Nazi ideology, too, from wounded German soldiers to Germanic mythological figures—innocuous signals of darker times ahead. But they also offer a fascinating glimpse into the life and times of this hard-fought era. Check out some of the voluminous collection below. [Miguel Oks on Flickr; Quipsologies]

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars1

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars2

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars

The Intricate Makeshift Money Germans Relied On Between World Wars