Old Time Bloopers

People of modern times may think bloopers are a recent invention. They’re not. The name may be new, but early newspapers reported “curiously worded advertisements” for all to enjoy.

The January 3, 1884 edition of The Leadville Daily Herald reported these from a London paper.

“Mrs. And Miss May have left-off clothing of every description. An inspection is invited.”

Oh, my. I hope the inspection is of the clothing and not the ladies.

 “Wanted – A nurse for an infant between twenty-five & thirty, a member of the Church of England & without followers.”

Sounds like a pretty old infant. I’m not even sure what “without followers” means. Couldn’t be referring to Twitter, could it?

 

The January 16, 1896 edition of the Aspen Daily Times also reports items from a London paper.

“Annual sale now on. Don’t go elsewhere to be cheated – come here.”

“For sale – a pianoforte, the property of a musician with carved legs.”

Is this some kind of fancy peg leg?

“Mr. Brown, furrier, begs to announce that he will make up gowns, capes, etc. for ladies out of their own sinks.”

“Bulldog for sale; will eat anything; very fond of children.”

Is eating anything a selling point?

Old time bloopers went viral. These same bloopers showed up in the Fort Collins courier, February 4, 1897 and The Ouray Herald, February 14, 1901. Going viral took longer back then. No Share button. These items probably appear all over the country. Maybe the globe since they come out of London.

When I read the historic newspapers, I see things that look like bloopers. But who can tell with their odd humor and word usage?

From the January 6, 1884 edition of the Leadville Daily Herald, in a note about the need for a preacher.

“A live young man is needed for the onerous and multiplied duties of any Leadville pulpit.”

As opposed to a dead young man? And the word “onerous” won’t entice anyone.

 

Also, from the January 6, 1884 Leadville Daily Herald,

“- Detroit Michigan has a dog oil factory. The product is used by consumptives.”

I don’t even know what dog oil is. I Googled it and I still don’t know. Did they somehow use oil from dogs? Maybe I don’t want to know.

From the January 8, 1884 edition of the Leadville Daily Herald,

“Don’t forget that John Harvey has a fine lot of sleighs and cutters, which he is selling very low.”

And then there are articles which apparently seek to expand the public’s vocabulary.

The January 21, 1888 edition of the La Plata Miner includes the following phrase in an article about a murder.

“charging him with the crime of oxuricide (the killing of one’s wife)”

Why not just say the killing of one’s wife? And, did this happen so often that they needed to come up with a word for it?

Nice to know, as a writer, when I make a bloober. . . blooper. . . I’m in good company.

Because once the word has been pressed to paper, it lives forever.

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