In 1939, Pontiac Built a Transparent Car from Plexiglas

For the 1939-1949 World’s Fair in New York, Pontiac had a special surprise in store. Working in collaboration with chemical company Rohm & Haas, who had just developed a new product called “Plexiglas”, they created an entire body shell for a 1939 Pontiac Deluxe Six. It was soon dubbed the “Ghost Car.”

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What’s the Most Popular Girl’s Name? This Video Tracks Their Evolution from 1880 to 2013

From Anna, to Jennifer and Isabella, the popularity of different girl names is always in flux. But what’s in a name? As this bubble chart animation illustrates, there’s a lot of cultural significance to how we name our girls. It tracks the changing favor of different names in America from all the way back in 1880 up to 2013. And while one name may hold the top position for a decade or two, parents are always swaying between following tradition and choosing something different or modern – eventually even the most popular names fall from the spotlight.

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60 Years Ago, We Spent Twice as Much on Food

It’s not uncommon to get sticker shock when you see your total at the grocery store, but this little fact will make you feel much better: 60 years ago, we spent twice as much on food. Using the latest data from the USDA’s long-time tracking of food expenditures, we charted the information going back just over six decades. The trend is obvious. Out of our total disposable income, Americans are spending a much smaller share on food.

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16th Century ‘Prayer Nuts’ Hide Miniature Carvings

If you were wealthy and devout in 16th century Europe, one of the ultimate possessions was a prayer nut. These tiny wooden spheres were intricately carved boxes filled with religious scenes like the Crucifixion. Worn around the neck attached to a rosary or on the owners belt, it has been theorized that the outer carvings were inserted with aromatic plants and oils to add to the experience of owning one.

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What Is The Most Common Job in Every US State?

NPR has just released a fascinating interactive map which reveals the most common job in each US state. While you might think clerks would be topping this list, the whole country seems to be dominated my one job – truck drivers. How could this be?

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Black and White Photos Wiped into Color

There’s probably no better way to see the power of the colorizing technique than with these animated GIFs from the Dutch design website NSMBL. Taking iconic images from around the web, they’ve overlaid colorized versions of the same image that is slowly revealed with a animated series of wipes. It’s like seeing each photograph wiped into reality.

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Movie Theaters Had Very Different Rules in 1912

You’ve seen it many times. You’re sitting there waiting for your movie to start, but first this message plays across the screen: “For the comfort of those around you, please silence your cell phone.” While you may think that this is simply an aspect of our modern era, it’s actually been a practice since the very start of film.

These fantastic movie theater etiquette slides from 1912 show many of the same rules as today (like keeping quiet and not standing up) and plenty that we wouldn’t even consider being a problem – like wearing really huge hats.

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What to Wear in 1906: A Street Fashion Photographer From Edwardian Engand

Over a century before The Sartorialist was stopping fashionable people to capture their unique sense of style, photographer Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910) was documenting the street fashion of Edwardian England. Sambourne worked as chief cartoonist for the English magazine Punch, and as an illustrator. When he first picked up photography, it was to use as reference to improve upon his other arts, but soon it turned into an obsession.

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A Secret Underwater Ballroom, Built For a Notorious Victorian Swindler

Whitley Estate Secret Ballroom 2

Walk far into the woods near the village of Witley in Surrey, England and you’ll find a hidden treasure. The directions go like this: Walk a mile and a quarter west, into the long neglected woods. Find the stone wall surrounding a kitchen garden. There you’ll find a small building with an arched doorway. Go inside, down the spiral staircase, and walk down the long teardrop-shaped tunnel to the end. There’s no “X” marking this treasure, but you’ll know you’ve found it. You’re now in a domed, glass ceilinged room, yellow light gently flickering through the water above. Welcome to Whitaker Wright’s hidden ballroom, submerged deep beneath a murky lake.

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It Doesn’t Get Cooler than Motorcycle Chariots

Motorcycles have been called “Iron Steeds” for a long time, but the forgotten sport of motorcycle chariot racing really took that horse thing literally.

Yes. Motorcycle. Chariot. Racing. And it looks just as tough as it sounds.

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