Shows the dissolute existence of University of CambridgeUniversity of Cambridge
CloseView the register entry >> students of previous generations and, by comparison, the scholarly activities of contemporary students. The latter are shown around telescopes, globes, skulls of ancient mammals, and works of learned philosophers.
Explains some of the advantages of the electric light, including the fact that it can be exhibited in a vacuum (thus making it suitable illumination for 'many of our theatres'). '[T]here is nothing explosive in its nature', and it 'can be increased unlimitedly', thus allowing greater visibility at night and in fogs. Believes 'lamplighters will soon be replaced by practical chemists' and that electric lights will force gas companies to lower their prices.
Mr Punch presents his scheme for supplying 'protoxide of nitrogen', a gas which he believes 'exerts an elevating influence', to the public. Intends to erect 'Exhilarating Gas Houses' and argues that installing 'Exhilarating' gas-pipes in homes, theatres, and the Houses of ParliamentHouses of Parliament
CloseView the register entry >>, will restore the humour of people in those places. Believes that exhilarating gas supplied to the Stock ExchangeStock Exchange
CloseView the register entry >> will raise 'national prosperity' and that it will provide the government with 'an infallible means of preserving order and tranquillity'.
Describes a porter's problems operating the railway and telegraph on a 'trying' junction at Witham Station. Explains that individuals who squint are preferred on this line because they can look 'two ways at once'. Suggests that porters train as acrobats, so they can 'make rapid descents along the electric telegraph wires from station to station'. The illustration shows a solution to the problem of one railway porter managing several different tasks.
Impressed by the feat of the electric telegraph transmitting the 'President's Message' from 'one corner of America to the other', an accomplishment that took some thirty-six hours to complete. However, thinks that a far better test of the telegraph's powers would be to submit the invention to the ordeal of Thomas C Anstey'sAnstey, Thomas Chisholm
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> notoriously long speeches, an ordeal which will require the telegraph to take 'ether or chloroform, together with the magical aid of Robert HoudinHoudin, Robert
CBD CloseView the register entry >>'.
Discusses the diplomatic consequences of having instantaneous telegraphic communication between London and Paris. Anticipates a 'great economy' in the language of diplomacy: for example a typical exchange might be: '"Can't you reduce the tariff?" "Not in the present state of the Exchequer." "Take the duty off our claret." "Don't you wish you may get it?"'.
Punch, 16 (1849), 34.
A Rus in Urbe; or, The Green Hills (Rents) of Smithfield
Sanitation, Public Health, Disease, Environmentalism
Describes the 'Sanitary Powers, / In American golosh [...] Scattering marjoram and thyme, / Fraught with disinfecting scents' on the odorous 'Greenhill's Rents', where impoverished 'Human creatures herd with kine'. Wants 'Sanitary Powers' to shed 'purifying showers' of 'fragrant vinegar' on these 'blest and balmy bowers' to drive 'pestilence afar', and to go to the 'Corporation' to know why humans 'suffer such a place?'.
Punch, 16 (1849), 34.
Domestic Heroisms: Being a December Day in the Life of a Determined Man
Describes his experience of using a new shower-bath invention on a cold December morning. The illustration shows a nervous man wearing a shower-cap (in the shape of a dunce's hat), and peering out from behind the shower curtain.
Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners, Pharmaceuticals, Nomenclature
Offers a solution to the grave problem of illegible prescriptions. Having received instruction from Mr Punch, translates one of his prescriptions into plain English. Believes this is especially urgent as the similarity of the symbols for the ounce and drachm in apothecary's language could lead to fatal consequences. Urges the Royal College of PhysiciansRoyal College of Physicians
CloseView the register entry >> to stop 'concealing from patients what it is that they have to swallow'.
Responds to an advertisement in The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> from a general practitioner offering to give a pupil a home in a 'healthy' neighbourhood and 'every opportunity of acquiring a thorough knowledge of the profession'. Doubts whether much medicine can be learnt in such a neighbourhood.
Discusses J Browne'sBrowne, Mr J
PU1/16/7/1 CloseView the register entry >> request for English and American investors in his scheme to build a balloon railway across America. Considers Browne's style so inflated that he should have no problem supplying the 'bags of wind' for his invention. Suggests that a better scheme would be to use birds, notably the eagle, to carry people. The illustration shows a gold-digger riding an eagle heading for California.
Acknowledges that science has discovered how to stop large machines in motion, such as 'a railway engine speed', but has failed to elucidate a method for halting a Member of Parliament's tongue. Describes the motion of the tongue as if it were a railway engine, with the tongue, for example, 'running on, apparently forever, towards what seems to be a constantly receding terminus'.
Responding to the Builder'sBuilder
Directory CloseView the register entry >> notion of popularizing the 'inclosure' of Lincoln's Inn FieldsLincoln's Inn Fields
CloseView the register entry >>, claims that this territory has a geography 'beyond comprehension' and needs a 'regularly qualified surveyor' to report on its 'Botany, Zoology and other natural features'. The illustrations show the map of the fields furnished by 'rumour', and a representation of supposed animals in the woods of the region. The map includes such unlikely features as a supposed extinct volcano and a town.
Observes that lecturers on astronomy cannot get successfully through a season without 'plenty of additions'—namely, announcements of the discovery of new stars, comets, poles, and 'wind-instruments to the band of ORION', and 'pure cream' added to the 'milky way'.
A cynical dig at the poor state of London's water supply. Discusses attempts 'to supply the Metropolis with pure water' instead of the 'full-bodied liquid, in which are included not only an ordinary drinkable but a variety of eatables'. Insists that 'we scarcely require soup kitchens' when 'potage à la Thames' is 'supplied to us at a comparatively trifling expense'. Regards the filtering process to be used on London water as wasteful, since it will remove the 'most nutritious particles' from the water.
'Sung with great applause by a Shareholder of the York and North Midland RailwayYork and North Midland Railway
CloseView the register entry >>', this song praises the meeting for making amends 'For all the large sums we've been squand'ring away', and describes, with much glee, the other scandalous financial activities of the railway company.
Discusses the impact of a 'new contrivance', announced in the New York ExpressNew York Express
PU1/16/12/1 CloseView the register entry >>, allowing 'a man to float' in a river 'as long as he chooses, only using his finger to propel himself'. Argues that this will ruin the steamboat service and describes the many possible benefits of the invention, including the fact that 'a mother will be able to take her family by water to Margate, stopping on their way at Erith for dinner, and land on the pier at the same time as the steamer, without having paid sixpence for the fare'.
Regards the 'Battle of the Lines' between the East LancashireEast Lancashire Railway Company
CloseView the register entry >> and the Lancashire and YorkshireLancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company
CloseView the register entry >> railway companies to be far worse than the 'Battle of the Gauges'. Reports that the Lancashire and Yorkshire company barricaded the line with timber and empty railway carriages but 'signalised the state of things' to prevent oncoming trains from colliding with the obstructions.
Responding to an account of a 'Portable Steam Engine' in the Scottish Agricultural Gazette [i.e. Journal]Scottish Agricultural Journal
BUCOP CloseView the register entry >>, believes the invention would be of no assistance without a portable coal cellar. Expresses no faith in 'Portable' inventions, citing a case of a 'Portable House' that, owing to wrongly numbered floors, led its builder to construct it 'topsy-turvy'.
Reports the appearance of a 'long floating object' over the stern of the steamer on which he was travelling. Believes the object to be the 'Sea Serpent' despite knowing of the Illustrated Times'sIllustrated Times and Weekly Miscellany
Directory CloseView the register entry >> opinion that it is a boat (as depicted in the illustration) or a 'steersman's' view that it is a whale.
Shows a portly 'King' George HudsonHudson, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> with a torso that forms the body of a steam locomotive and a crowned head forming the smoke emitted from the machine. The runaway locomotive keels off the track causing Hudson's crown (from which smoke emerges) to be knocked off.
Discusses the 'numerous' schemes for 'ventilating hats'. Explains that the invention uses a 'ventilating wheel' but points out that they may feature 'something superior to the old whirligig mode of letting in air for the purpose of preventing explosions of fire-damp in the hat'.
Notes the existence of 'a variety of methods', besides phrenology, for determining the character of an individual. Thinks the new method of gauging character from 'a lock of hair' savours of 'absurdity' and leads to such ridiculous claims as bald men having no character. Expects the next similar scheme will be chiropodists proposing to determine character 'by the cut of our corns'.
Proposes an apparatus for gauging 'the real sense of the country' on major political questions. Claims that the apparatus 'will act more cleverly than the aneroid barometer' but it turns out to be a simple ballot box into which people would put pieces of paper bearing their opinions and enclosing a farthing. The latter arrangement is supposed to convey the sincerity of the user.
Reports on the discovery of two 'new motive powers': 'Electro-Magnetism' and 'Xyloidine'. Explains that Xyloidine is a power for stopping steam, a process that Punch thinks is 'dangerous' and which is so strong that it will 'drive every railway out of the country'. Adds that the machinery for exploiting the power is sufficiently small that 'ladies will walk about with a live locomotive stuffed in their reticules' and that omnibuses, cabs, and horses will take on far less important roles. Anticipates a shower of 'new motive forces', including the power 'to turn Railway Directors into the path of honesty'. Expects to 'congratulate British science' if any of these powers 'are brought to light' and show that 'Power is enviable only, when guided by the noblest motives'.
Reports on an exhibition on the 'Sea Serpent' at the Cosmorama RoomsCosmorama Rooms, Regent Street CloseView the register entry >> in Regent Street. Adds that the exhibition was attended by a sailor who claimed to have seen the monster. However, spectators did not know whether the witness 'was not a more interesting object than the Sea Serpent himself, who looked as though he had been rather overboiled'.
Public Health, Astronomy, Mechanics, Mental Illness, Government
Among the things 'jostling each other in the brains of [the statesman] HARRY BROUGHAMBrougham, Henry Peter, 1st Baron Brougham and
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>' is 'A people's Charter, with two new points—a scheme of ventilation' and 'A work on the Lunar theory, and the influence of the Moon / With personal illustrations (to be published very soon)'.
Describes a system of 'watching premises' by administering a 'galvanic shock' to a burglar 'through the medium of a shutter'. Adds that the electric current is used to stun the burglar and alarm the house owners. Wonders whether 'galvanic battery falls with the law relating to common assault'. Illustrations depict a stunned thief and a wooden figure of a policeman powered by electricity—another scheme for thwarting burglary.
Discusses news of the use of lead in refining sugar. Expresses alarm at the amount of lead that 'must have been "taken up" into the system in this age of tea-drinkers' and thinks 'we might almost expect to convert our blood-vessels into leaden pipes'.
The poem responds to news from the Medical TimesMedical Times
Medical Times and Gazette
CloseView the register entry >>, that Elizabeth BlackwellBlackwell, Elizabeth
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> has gained a physician's degree from the General Medical College, New YorkGeneral Medical College, New York CloseView the register entry >>. Upholds Blackwell as great 'heroine'. Urges 'Young Ladies' who occupy their time in such activities as 'novels' and 'knitting' to 'reflect' on Blackwell's example. Believes women would be much more useful, and married life would be 'much more blest', if women could prescribe the proper medicines to an ill relative. Asks 'bachelors [...] Who'd call a female doctor "blue"', to remember, 'What physic costs a father!'. Wishes Blackwell to be dubbed 'DOCTRIX BLACKWELL' and to present her with a 'gold-handed parasol' for her efforts.
Sound, Light, Instruments, Invention, Technology, Politics, Government
Describes an instrument for enabling reporters to hear the whispers of peers in the House of LordsHouse of Lords
CloseView the register entry >>. The instrument, illustrated in an accompanying cut, is 'an opera glass and ear trumpet in one', with the opera glass allowing reporters to make sure that a peer is speaking when his lips are moving.
Punch, 16 (1849), 236.
Punch's Free Admission to the Exhibitions of London
Discusses the Surrey Zoological GardensSurrey Literary, Scientific and Zoological Institution—Gardens
CloseView the register entry >>. Complains about the difficulty of finding the gardens, but praises the exhibitions of flowers and animals, particularly the 'concert' produced by the animals' noises. Describes a military entertainment at the gardens and concludes that the gardens 'are decidedly the cheapest, and the most varied, entertainment, we cannot say in, but somewhere near London'.
Reports on the latest additions to the reptile house at the Zoological Society GardensZoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >> and observes that the 'spectacle' suggests the notion of a 'Social Reptile House' which would house such 'creeping varieties of the human race' as attorneys, 'slander-mongering journalists', and 'dishonest politicians'.
Responds to an argument in an 'Irish periodical' that the crocodile is not a 'malicious reptile' but 'rather a jolly dog' with a sentimental nature. Seeks further proof of the argument and points out that the crocodile's teeth are 'sadly overdrawn' if he is as inoffensive as is claimed. Resolves to continue its 'slight acquaintance' with the reptile. The illustration shows a man offering a drink to a crocodile emerging out of the water near a river bank.
Responding to a curious advertisement for 'OLD ORIGINAL BONES', doubts the worth of such objects and invites Richard OwenOwen, Richard
DSB CloseView the register entry >> 'or some other scientific bone-grubber' to reveal why they are attractive.
Horticulture, Agriculture, Entomology, Commerce, Government
Discusses the impact of the fact that 'modern science has enabled brewers to make beer without hops'. Describes the consumption of the hop-plant by the hop-fly and a species of fly, the 'Vastator Excisor', which ravages whatever 'little may be left of the hops' after other insects have fed on them. The illustration and text reveals that 'Vastator Excisor' is in fact an excise officer.
Argues that chemists' claim that 'sawdust is much healthier than any other kind of bread' is supported by the fact that the celebrated ringmaster, John E WiddicombWiddicomb, John Esdaile
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, 'has been deriving his bread from sawdust for years'.