Just Before Disaster Struck

This is an interesting photograph of the Airship Akron, just before its departure and shortly before its fatal crash.


airship disaster

The Doomed Airship Just Before Its Last Flight

Melvin Vaniman

A Photograph of Vaniman with His Cat Kiddo, Who Accompanied Him on Many of His Voyages

The Akron was a dirgible built by pioneering American photographer, inventor, adventurer  and early aviator Chester Melvin Vaniman (1866-1912).

Vaniman built the Akron in an effort to be the first to cross the Atlantic in a dirigible. But on its first attempt the Akron exploded on July 2, 1912, the Akron exploded just off the shore of New Jersey, killing Vaniman and his crew.


The picture is interesting, not only because it records some of the final hours of the doomed airship but also because of the crowds that came to see it off. We see an interesting cross section of an America in transition: horse drawn carriages mingle with parked cars and motorcycles, while a giant airship – which would prove to be an evolutionary dead end in terms of aviation – looms in the foreground.

Of Mice and Men: The Great Mouse Invasion of 1913

Mouse Invasion


hunting mice

Well Dressed Mouse Hunters Standing Next to their Catch

Australia is known for many things, including creepy crawly creatures that will kill you, and out of control wildlife breeding beyond its natural limits because of a lack of natural predators. From rampant rabbit hordes to oppression from swarms of owls, Australia has had its share of critters running wild.


One of the worst of these plagues was a gigantic mice infestation that overran parts of Australia in 1913. Millions of these disgusting rodents swarmed the countryside like some sort of biblical plague, devouring crops, invading homes, and leaving behind them scenes of devastation. Most of us today, especially if we live in a clean first world home, get annoyed or in some cases scared if we see evidence of one or two mice. Usually the little fellows are shy of humans and we become aware of their existence only when we see their droppings or bite marks in boxes and other odds and ends on our closets.

But when their population reaches into the millions, they do not hide, and it is humans who must either run or fight, lest they become hunted.

Pictured here are some brave defenders of humanity who took a stand against the rodent hordes.

There must be hundreds of thousands of these mice. Note the sheers in the front of the picture, at the center of this pile of dead rodents. The sheers were used to cut off the tails from the mice so that they could be counted and turned in for a government sponsored bounty. These mice hunters were often paid in ammunition in exchange for bringing in the mouse tails.

a pile of dead rats

Not really rats, but equally disgusting: a revolting pile of dead mice

The hordes of disgusting mice were beaten back. This time the humans won.  But they will be back.


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