In 1913, newspapers predicted we'd be eating giant radioactive frog steaks

In the early 1900s, you were doing something terribly wrong if you weren't trying to cram as much radium as possible into your daily routine and body cavities. Life wasn't worth living unless it was jam-packed with irradiated golf balls and libido-enhancing suppositories.


And like those semi-radioactive snake oil hucksters, the American newsroom similarly harped on the benefits of that wonder element. A syndicated 1913 newspaper piece promised readers that we'd soon be chowing down on massive, radium-infused amphibians.

Top image: A scene from the sexy Rowdy Roddy Piper post-apocalyptic classic Hell Comes To Frogtown.


This piece — "Our Radium-Raised Dinners" — ran in The Salt Lake Tribune and The Spokesman-Review during the first few days of October 1913. The article took a one Professor Dawson Turner's discovery that radium mutated frog eggs and ran with until giant amphibians became civilization's chief protein source. This societal sea change took five paragraphs:

Frogs are very easily raised, and when they are bred to a large size one leg will yield a dinner for a large family at very small cost, probably not more than ten cents a pound. Frogs are now quite cheap, and when increased in size they will become relatively cheaper [...] Professor Dawson Turner's discovery makes it a possibility of the future that the housewife will be able to buy exquisite, succulent giant frog's legs at ten cents a pound instead of coarse, rheumatism-causing beef at forty cents a pound.


Later, the article discusses how Turner's skillful application of radium resulted in a frog born with two heads. The optimistically cockeyed author fails to the see the downside to this as well, save the potential creation of an insatiable human giant:

In theory it appears possible that this discovery may be applied to man. There would, of course, be little advantage to be gained from producing an enormous man, who would help gobble up the available food supply. The desirable object would be to breed a man of increased brain power [...] Perhaps the discovery that a healthy animal can be bred with two heads on one body may eventually prove applicable to man. There is an old saying that two heads are better than one, and this ought to be all the more true if we could combine the two heads compactly with one body!

What might we not expect if we could breed a man with two heads, one containing the brain of a Shakespeare and the other of an Abraham Lincoln!


Perhaps a copy of H.G. Wells' The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth was lying around the office that day. As for Abraham Shakespeare, I assume he's public domain at this point. For further foibles with 20th century giants, see the Amazonian women of the year 2000.


[Via Zapatopi]

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