The life aquatic

Parlour Aquariums is a massive site devoted to aquarium history, in particular the Victorian naturalists and entrepreneurs who brought the sea shore and the rock pool into the city and the home. See also the excellent The Ocean at Home: An Illustrated History of the Aquarium, which explores the culture created by pioneering books such as A Naturalist’s Ramble on the Devonshire Coast, driving the Victorian mania for taming, categorising and importing the natural world into the home, enjoying the new technologies (‘Their condition in such a vessel is analog to that of a number of persons shut in a room or dungeon with no supply of fresh air; the fish-globe is a sort of crystalline Hole of Calcutta, and the finny prisons die for want of oxygen’) that allowed them to observe the microcosm of life laid before them:

The fish, the weed, and the mollusc, having secured to us a clear view of the inhabitants of the tank, let us inspect them one by one. Here we see the parasitic anemone. Like the old man of the sea, it fixes itself upon some poor Sinbad in the shape of a whelk, and rides about at his ease in search of food. Another interesting variety of this zoophyte is the plumose sea-anemone, a more stay-at-home animal, who generally fixes himself upon a flat rock or an oyster-shell, and waits for the food to come to it, as your London housewife expects the butcher and baker to call in the morning.

Other things. The above image might not even be Victorian, but it’s taken from a huge collection of crustacean imagery at Vintage Printable / Still Unusual has uncovered a box of 1980s fanzines, which are being scanned and posted, as well as being put up on flickr / see also The Golden Age of Indie Fanzines / Pressed up to page, compositions by Peter Nencini / some computing history, ‘Two-tonne Witch computer gets a reboot‘: the Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computation from Harwell / Klaus draws architectural cartoons / the Great Ball Contraption, using Lego to make Rube Goldberg-esque machines.

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