60 votes
Accepted

What do the phone number suffixes J, M, R, W in 1940 New York phone book mean?

You are correct that these are party lines. The letters represent an additional digit dialed after the others in cases where automatic operations was implemented. This article goes into great depth ...
Brian Z's user avatar
  • 18.9k
25 votes

When did the acceptance of diversity become such an important social goal in Western countries?

Embracing diversity (as well as the contrary, wanting more uniformity) might be a bit of a historical constant. You can find it at the very beginning of Confucius' Analects. Is it not delightful to ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 8,382
23 votes
Accepted

Where does this hairstyle originate from?

Of course this hair style is found in a cartoon and thus not really bound to any reality either historically or as mart pointed out in comments physical reality: I envy the sheer volume of hair ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
14 votes

Where does this hairstyle originate from?

It's a chonmage, or Samurai top knot. It was restricted to Samurai during the Japanese Edo Period, and was prohibited following the Meiji Restoration. However the top knots worn by modern ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

What was the early understanding of static electricity shocks?

This is a long answer, so here is a list of connections that the public could have made, in no particular order: It was the work of the Gods and Goddesses It was the manifestation of the spirit ...
Jackalope's user avatar
  • 403
12 votes
Accepted

Why were (are) food tasters human?

The Wikipedia article on food tasters explains that human food tasters had multiple functions: The safety of the food may be determined by observing whether or not the food taster subsequently ...
Brian Z's user avatar
  • 18.9k
12 votes

What do the phone number suffixes J, M, R, W in 1940 New York phone book mean?

Can't talk about New York (as I'm in Australia), but when I was a kid the Brisbane phone numbers had a one two digit alpha prefix, then a 4 digit number - eg my grandparents were J 2871, and my aunt ...
Chester's user avatar
  • 121
10 votes
Accepted

Who was "The famous American Roberts" in 1920's Europe?

This question suffers from a minimal misconception. The person that Roberts refers to is not a surname but a first name. The person was an architect and his full name was Robert Lederer. He published ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
8 votes
Accepted

Bears on Bicycles - What are early examples of photographs or paintings showing bicycles used with animals in circus acts?

This is somewhat difficult to pinpoint to a single date. But from the basics to narrow the search: wild animals have been used for entertainment from pre-history, bears or tame-bears being among the ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
8 votes
Accepted

When did people start believing aliens are abducting cows?

The quote from this article is illustrative of the issue. "First, I thought [the cow] had died naturally, and then I got closer to it and I could see it wasn't natural," he said. "The eyes were ...
Schwern's user avatar
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8 votes
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Has any music act ever topped the Beatles in sales?

SHORT ANSWER Has any music act ever topped the Beatles in sales? There is probably only one likely contender - Elvis Presley - but it is highly unlikely that we'll ever know for sure. One problem is ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Why do people not talk about Tokyo fire bombing during WW2?

The reason one sees Hiroshima and Nagasaki mentioned far more frequently than the Tokyo fire ride of 9-10 March 1945, is that those two attacks were the only use of atomic weapons. And, those two ...
tj1000's user avatar
  • 3,441
6 votes

Racial Themes in Rocky Movies

What your instructor I think was trying to point you to is the old Hollywood troupe of Black Dude Dies First. Films would take a Scary Black Man, turn him into The Big Guy, and kill him off to ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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5 votes

When did people start believing aliens are abducting cows?

I can understand why you didn't just google it, because the results can lead down a rabbit hole of ... doubtful... websites. However, this article from the Huffington Post mentions earliest use of ...
Marakai's user avatar
  • 2,466
4 votes

What is the earliest known book / novel trilogy in literature?

Robert Folkestone Williams wrote a trilogy of novels about William Shakespeare: 1838: The Youth of Shakespeare, 1839: Shakespeare and his Friends, 1844: Secret Passion. At around the same time,...
Peter Shor's user avatar
4 votes

What is the earliest known book / novel trilogy in literature?

Walter Scott's work Kenilworth, 1821, is an early example of the form called three-volume novel. James Fenimore Cooper published the first three of his Leatherstocking Tales between 1823 and 1827, ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.6k
4 votes

What is the earliest known book / novel trilogy in literature?

Wikipedia has a category Literary trilogies. The oldest novels in the list seem to date from central Europe: Henryk Sienkiewicz's Trilogy (1884-1888), Alois Jirásek's Mezi proudy (1891-1909), and ...
Stuart F's user avatar
  • 607
3 votes

Who was "The famous American Roberts" in 1920's Europe?

I believe the "Roberts" refers to the "Bob" and/or later Bubikopf haircuts of the time, a short hair cut for women. It was popularized during the Weimar Republic through American actresses like Mary ...
R.K.'s user avatar
  • 1,208
3 votes
Accepted

What are the most famous individual toys in modern history?

I'm not sure how we're going to measure fame here, but one very well-known toy, widely manufactured after a single physical original is Raggedy Ann. The original doll was assembled by members of ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.6k
3 votes

What is the earliest known book / novel trilogy in literature?

A famous novel trilogy is Alexandre Dumas' story about D'Artagnan, Porthos, Athos and Aramis: The Three Musketeers in 1844 Twenty Years After in 1845 The Vicomte of Bragelonne in 1847-1850 I won't ...
Evargalo's user avatar
  • 5,839
2 votes

Were "spring-heeled boots" a real thing, and if so, what did they look like?

US patent number 6610 (pdf), issued July 24, 1849, to Patrick S. Devlan for a Metallic Spring Heel, opens with the following paragraph: Be it known that I, Patrick S. Devlan, of Reading, in the ...
shoover's user avatar
  • 1,743
2 votes
Accepted

Perception of the state by an average person in pre-modern times

You will find very few professional historians trying to tackle huge questions like this. Historians have always specialized their expertise in particular times and places, for good reason. The ...
Brian Z's user avatar
  • 18.9k
2 votes

What is the earliest known book / novel trilogy in literature?

I know of three novels by Jules Verne that might or might not fit the definition of a trilogy. Les Enfants du Capitaine Grant (The Children of Captain Grant) 1868, three volumes. Involves the search ...
MAGolding's user avatar
  • 19.1k
2 votes

Whatever happened to Elvis Presley's Federal badge?

He loved collecting badges, but that was always his favorite, as he thought it'd protect him against gun or drug charges. He died with it on his person, and it's now in a display at Graceland. I can't ...
Carduus's user avatar
  • 679
2 votes

What are the most famous individual toys in modern history?

Fame is very much in the eye of the beholder, which makes your question difficult. The same goes for the definition of toy. And these days the relationship between fiction and toys is fluid -- is ...
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 16.8k
2 votes

When did formal social dance fall out of favor in the US?

Social Dancing did indeed go out of style. The disco and C&W fads were, after all, nearly 30 years ago. Sure you can still find places to host raves, as well as ballroom, swing, salsa, or ...
Macossay's user avatar
1 vote

When did formal social dance fall out of favor in the US?

The book Going to the Palais, James Nott, is about how important social dance (varying in style by generation) was right up to 1960 and how fast it collapsed. It's specifically about England, but ...
cphlewis's user avatar
  • 111

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