Monday, 28 March 2011

Kirby’s Wonderful and Scientific Museum Magazine

"From 1803, Kirby’s Wonderful and Scientific Museum is a collection of curious and unusual stories from the time when medical philosophers roamed the land and the libraries, and people took mammoth teeth home after a trip to the cliffs."

says Tinker Girl from the Steam Punk Forum Brass Goggles.

Kirby's was the predecessor to Ripley and along with the museum they published a series of books, Volume 1 of this amazing book mentions the watch maker "Boverick" and his tiny ivory carved creations

"Sir, Knowing that many very minute objects have been performed by art, I transmit you the following handbill, as-it was actually published by Mr. Boverick, in the Strand, in the year 1745, and another nearly of the same date. -Yours, &c;—J: J. B,"

To be seen at Mr. Boverick's, Watchmaker, at the Dial, facing Old Round Court, near the New Exchange in the Strand, at One Shilling each Person,

The little furniture of a dining- room; consisting of a dining-table, with a cloth laid, two figures seated as at dinner; a footman waiting; a card-table, which opens with a drawer in it; frame and castors; looking glass; two dozen of dishes, twenty dozen of plates, thirty dozen of spoons; and twelve skeleton-back chairs with claw feet.—All the above particulars are contained in a cherry-stone.

A landau, which opens and shuts by springs, hanging on braces, with four persons sitting therein; a crane-neck carriage, the wheels turning on their axles, coachman's box, &.C of ivory; together with six horses and their furniture; a coachman on the box, a dog between his legs, the reins in one hand, and whip in the other; two footmeil behind, and a postillion on the leading horse, in their proper liveries: all so minute as to be drawn along by a flea.—It has been shewn to the Royal Society, and several persons of distinction.'

The curious little four-wheel open chaise, with the figure of a man in it; all made of ivory, drawn by a flea, which, performs all the oltices of a large chaise, as running of the wheels, locking, &c. ; weighing but one grain. Shewn to the Royal. Family, and several of the Nobility and Gentry. '

A flea, chained-by a chain of 200 links, with a padlock and key, curiously wrought; the chain and flea, padlock, ^ud key, wcigiung but one-third of a grain,

A camel, that passes through the eye of a middle-sized needle..

And a curious pair of steel scissars, so minute, as six pair may be wrapped up in the wing of a fly.—The said scissars cut a large horse-hair.

To be seen from nine in the morning till eight at night; and those that please to see tlicrn at their house, may be waited upon, on Thursdays, at the same hours.

We can inform our Correspondent, that the particulars here asserted of the flea, are confirmed by the authority of the ingenious and indefatigable author of minimal Biography, see vol. iii. page 489"

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Flea House

It sounds like Hubert's was taken over by a bunch of Scrabble Enthusiasts.

"Primarily a New York phenomenon, gaming parlors like The International Chess Community of New York and the massive Chess City offered the chance to play chess, checkers, bridge, go, backgammon, dominoes, and, increasingly, SCRABBLE® .While SCRABBLE® took a backseat to chess and bridge, there were a growing number of players who took the game seriously.

The best of them converged at the Chess and Checker Club of New York, better known as the Flea House (supposedly because of flea circus that once existed downstairs)."


See also:
Show History - Huberts
Hubert's Freaks: The Rare-Book Dealer, the Times Square Talker, and the Lost Photos of Diane Arbus

Friday, 18 March 2011

Bat fleas

In "Batman: Shadow of the Bat" #11, there is a story "The Human Flea", Batman visits Kemp's Flea Circus in Gotham City as a part of his investigations, the story concludes in edition #12.

Coverbrowser supplied by philipp lenssen

"Mortimer Kadaver escapes from incarceration along with animal rights activist Jan Brodie. Meanwhile, Batman encounters the Human Flea, who has been committing robberies in order to fund his grandfather's unsuccessful flea circus. Kadaver arranges for Brodie and his collegues to raid a laboratory in order to make sure thatin his exit from this world, he takes as many people along with him as possible.

Kadaver plans to destroy Gotham by plague, stealing both fleas and a sample of the pleague baccilus. He is stopped by Batman and the Human Flea, whose grandfather he murdered to secure the fleas, and is prevented from committing suicide as well."

Ref: Unofficial History of the DC Universe

Batman: Shadow of the Bat #11 (April 1993): "The Flea, part 1"
Batman: Shadow of the Bat #12 (May 1993): "The Flea, part 2"

Friday, 11 March 2011

P T Barnum - America Museum - Industrious Fleas

America Museum and Gardens Corner of Broadway and Ann Street. P. T. Barnum, Manager

"THE INDUSTRIOUS FLEAS - These insects have been trained by Mr. G. Weiss, from Germany who has learned them to be harnessed to carriages and other vehicles, which they will draw with as much docility aad precision as common cart horses."

Ref: New York NY Evening Post 1842 May-Oct 1842

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Guisepe Pariss - Industrious Living Fleas in Edinburgh

The Caledonian Mercury on Saturday March 29th 1834 reports of Giuseppe Pariss moving his show from Regent Street to 63 Prince Street, Edinburgh.

The timing of this is interesting as it could mean that Pariss was the rival next door to L. Bertolotto on Regent Street.

Giuseppe also appeared at the Theatre Royal in Perth as mentioned in the Story of the Scots Stage.

Guiseppe Pariss from Regent Street, London, with his Industrious
Living-Fleas, showing what "educated fleas" could do.

Ten years later the Industrious Fleas are back at 63 Prince Street, Edinburgh with a variety of other acts, it is not know if this is the same performer.

Also, the INDUSTRIOUS FLEAS will Perform a Variety of Feats too numerous to mention.


Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Saturday March 29 1834; Issue 17585
Saturday, March 2, 1844; Issue 19336
Saturday, March 9, 1844; Issue 19339

There is a known example of a Guisepe Pariss flier that has the same words as the above news paper clipping above but with large fonts for the titles, held in a collection in Scotland.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Prof English and Kontilis Roumanian Fleas

In the classified section of The Era for 1895, is a double hit for flea research.

Prof English and Kontilis Roumanian Fleas clip from paper

Like L.Bertolotto and Heckler, Prof English wrote his own book on the topic of fleas, "All about Fleas", more on that in a separate article.

Ref: The Era (London, England), Saturday, February 16, 1895; Issue 2943. Classified Advertising.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Industrious Fleas, Sloane Street Gallery 1851

Another 19th Century British Library Newspapers search for the Industrious Fleas performance has produced the following from the Morning Post.

It is still not know if this was one of L.Bertolotto's performances or one of his rivals.

ref: The Morning Post (London, England), Monday, April 29, 1851; pg. [1]; Issue 24144.
Magic Puk Old Exhibition in London.