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Snippets of Instruction

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year!

Bits of regulated wisdom from many fields
compiled by Ernest Ersatz, Improbable Research staff

How to Obtain Gold
These are from the book Alaska and the Klondike Gold Fields, Containing a Full Account of the Discovery of Gold; Enormous Deposits of the Precious Metal; Routes Traversed by Miners; How to Find Gold; Camp Life at Klondike — Practical Instructions for Fortune Seekers Including a Description of the Gold Regions; Land of Wonders; Immense Mountains, Rivers and Plains; Native Inhabitants; etc., A.C. Harris, Minter Company, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1897.

[Read it here or buy it here.]

How to Instruct a Jury
This is from the book Sackett’s Instructions and Requests for Instructions in Jury Trials, second edition revised, Frederick Sackett and Martin L. Newell , Callaghan and Co., Chicago, 1888.

[Read it here or buy it here.]

How to and How Not to Vary Hand Gestures
This is from the book The Rhetorical Reader: Consisting of Instructions for Regulating the Voice, with a Rhetorical Notation, Illustrating Inflection, Emphasis, and Modulation, and a Course of Rhetorical Exercises Designed for the Use of Academies and High-Schools, Ebenezer Porter, Dayton & Newman, New York, 1842.

[Read it here or buy it here.]

How to Run Train Number 43
This is from the book Explanation of Train Rules, Train Orders, Special Instructions, and Rules Governing the Use of Block Signals and Interlocking Plants, Otho William Brandt, Tiernan-Dart Printing Co., Kansas City, Missouri, 1919.

[Read it here or buy it here.]

How to Behave
This is from the book Behavior Book — A Guide and Manual for Ladies as Regards Their conversation; manners; dress; introductions; entree to society; shopping; conduct in the street; at places of amusement; in traveling; at the table, either at home, in company, or at hotels; deportment in gentlemen’s society; lips; complexion; teeth; hands; the hair; etc., etc. With full instructions and advice in letter writing; receiving presents; incorrect words; borrowing; obligations to gentlemen; offences; children; decorum in church; at evening parties; and full suggestions in bad practices and habits easily contracted, which no young lady should be guilty of, etc., etc., Eliza Leslie, T.B. Peterson and Brothers, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

[Read it here or buy it here.]

How to Handle Heraldry
This is from the book Handbook of Heraldry with Instructions for Tracing Pedigrees and Deciphering Ancient Mss,; Rules for the Appointment of Liveries &c., fourth edition, John E. Cussans, Chatto & Windus, London, 1893.

[Read it here or buy it here.]

How to Tend a Boiler
This is from the book Maxims and Instructions for the Boiler Room — Useful to Engineers, Firemen and Mechanics, Relating to Steam Generators, Pumps, Appliances, Steam Heating, Practical Plumbing, etc., N. Hawkins, Theo. Audel and Co., New York, 1902.

[Read it here or buy it here.]

How to Name the Parts of a Buggy
This is from the February 1905 issue of the magazine Popular Mechanics. (Thanks to Rose Fox for bringing it to our attention.)

[Read it here.]


This article is republished with permission from the July-August 2009 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift! Visit their website for more research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.

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