Tag Archives: design

BEWARE! Poison Gas!

Won’t someone please start selling reproductions of these swell WWII poison gas posters? Don’t know if they are available at the gift shop at the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin where they currently hang, but thank God, they are least available  online via the Otis Historical Archives National Museum of Health & Medicine.


Called “Hun Stuff” by the allies against whom it was employed during WWI, mustard gas was banned by the Geneva Convention in 1925 but nonetheless continued to be employed outside Europe during the ’20s and ’30s  (by Italy vs. Libya, France vs. Morocco, Japan vs. China) and was famously a tool of extermination used by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds in 1988. Its coincidental effect of suppressing blood cell formation later led to to its use in development of the first chemotherapy drug, mustine.


Lewisite is related to arsenic and was created by US military scientists trying for a follow up to mustard gas, though it wasnt’ developed in time to see action in WWII.  In the 1920s, it aquired the name “Dew of Death”


Chloropicrin was also first used first by the Germans in WWI.  Today it is used used as a fumigant to exterminate vermin and animals as large as rabbits.  It not on causes extreme tearing but also acutal liquification of the cornea.


Phosphene was by the Germans during WWII and by the Japanese during the Second Sino-Japanese War.  Previously it had been used used extensively in dye manufacturing and today is used in the production of  polycarbonate eyeglass lenses.

When You Care Enough to Give Testicles

And speaking of von Hagens yesterday, we came upon this…..


“Why, yes, that is a plastinated bull testicle hanging from my neck!”

It’s not often enough you are able to utter that sentence, is it? But if you and your credit card can take a moment to swing by world-famous Gunther von “The Plastinator” Hagens’ online giftshop, your chances of accepting plastinated bull testicle compliments would be greatly increased.  If you buy one, of course.

Or if the bull testicle piece is a bit minimalist for you, perhaps these more ornate pig slice earrings would be to your liking? Not quite sure what part of the pig they are, but they don’t look much like bacon.


Still not flamboyant enough?  Not to worry!  There are countless other choices representing varying degrees baroque grotesquery in Gunther’s Consumerworld pleasure palace.

Unfortunately, the plastinated cross-sectional “Sex Act” piece below is sold.  It’s a shame too because it would have made quite a striking coffee table.


Achtung! Electrocution Graphics

The last posting about Soviet industrial safety posters got us thinking about some other safety graphics from dark days gone by. These handsome renderings of electrocution are from the book Electrical Safety in 132 Pictures, published in Germany just a few years before Hitler made his power grab. They were originally scanned and uploaded by roboticist and hacker Bre Pettis, and a wider assortment can be found on his Flickr set.  Enjoy and stay insulated!


Electrocution begins in infancy.


A classic case of overstimulation.


Beware the tannenbaum!


Such a shame to lose a lovely gartered Fräulein in this way. Who’s going to inherit that classic bakelite hair dryer?

Careful There, Comrade!

Judging by these safety posters from the site English Russia it seems Soviet-era Russia was not quite the Workers’ paradise it was cracked up to be. At least we all got some handsome graphics out of all those industrial accidents they must’ve been struggling with.

Which is your favorite way to be maimed?


Translation: “Don’t leave anything without bracing.”


Translation: “I was drunk at work.”


Translation: “Hide the hair.”


Translation: “Don’t open the lid of the picker before the engine stops.”


Translation: “Don’t walk under the transmission arbor.”