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Chicago Tribune, April 7, 1911. Sorry about the missing text on the right margin. I can’t for the life of me figure out what the missing letters are from the last sentence in the third paragraph: “He fell like —lok with a fractured skull.” I suppose there must be a typo here, such that “lok” should really be “lock.” But then it’s part of what? Bollock? Pollock? Oarlock? Warlock?
Anyway, I know exactly the sort of douchebag Leo Toteleck was, and I must dissent from the coroner’s jury decision not to prosecute him. I know it was the style at the time not to punish most first-time killers (except cop-killers and wife-killers), but practical jokers don’t just merit the same leniency.

3 Comments

  1. There’s only room on the right for an “a”, suggesting “he fell like a lok” really is what it says, but I can’t turn up any such word in my exhaustive two-seconds-long Google search.

    The newspaper’s font, like most text fonts of that era, has huge serifs on the capitals, so we know it’s not “he fell like a Iok”, thus preventing me from writing any “Oom vs. Iok” slash-fic unless you pay me extra this time.

    My hypothesis: It’s a typo.

    “He fell like a log.”

    Lowercase “g” for “k” is an easy accident when you consider the method of production. Newspapers in 1911 typically used Linotype machines to set their body text (and this article was done on one, hence the giant-but-even wordspaces and the narrow “f”.) Lowercase “g” and “k” were adjacent on those keyboards, hence the old proverb, “etaoin shrdlu yadda yadda gk yadda.”

    A Linotype keyboard from a later era (but with the same layout, which never changed):

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/ClavierLinotype_20041006-163300.jpg

  2. Alas, poor Etaoin I knew him, Kibo: a fellow of infinite shrdlu.
    Yeah, “log” is clearly the correct answer here. Seems I was having a Wheel-of-Fortune-contestant moment last night.

    Those old-timey bed springs were some serious metal, you know? This can’t be the only time this has happened. I must go back and look for related fatalities.


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