JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
There are of course many popular delusions and crazes that have swept through common cultures for centuries: tulipomania, the South Sea Bubble, miniature golf, Charlie Chaplin, and so on--ideas and bits that somehow became infused into the outer core of societal interest and dug in like a nasty virus, running itself high-octane silly until the gross comical interest ran itself out, leaving the craze to drop and deflate like a dropped-and-deflated craze. Two such pursuits were found illustrated just now in the 1879 volume of Punch, or the London Charivari (printed in London in that year), with the illustrations created by Linley Sambourne, a graphic artist who started at teh satirical weekly in 1867 and stayed for another 43 years.
The first image--though it looked like a baseball and momentarily filled me with hope--regards the tennis craze that evidently was sweeping the country. I say this because there were numerous mentions and illustrations of the topsy-turvey tennis fascination in that 1879 volume, while tennis is virtually absent from succeeding volumes. Anyway Sambourne effectively demonstrates the domination of the sport over, well, a lot of other things:
Ditto the umbrella--there was a lot of fuss about it in this volume, reaching a high point perhaps with this illustration of the thing reaching its highest state of perfection: allowing people to fly: