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April Fool's Day, 1913

←1912      1914→

Dutch Egg Factory (1913) The Dutch magazine Het Leven ran a photo feature about a new factory that supposedly used an electro-chemical process to produce artificial eggs. Raw ingredients such as calcium, phosphorus, lecithin, and mushrooms were combined in the factory to make eggs that were indistinguishable from those created by chickens.
Unofficial Toots (1913) "It was late in the afternoon, when the third busiest street corner of the United States was being swamped with cars, automobiles and trucks. Policeman Harry Harper and his fellow members of San Francisco's traffic squad were directing the streams of vehicles. A large number of wagons and machines were standing in Ellis, Fourth and Stockton streets, waiting for the whistle from the policeman. Meanwhile the flow of vehicles was taking place east and west in Market street.

Suddenly some one with a police whistle like that used by the traffic squad gave the two blast signal for the cross street vehicles. A jam ensued. Harper gave one blast with his whistle to stop the cross town traffic. Simultaneously the joker tooted the whistle for traffic in the opposite direction. Then followed more jams and more whistles. Traffic in all intersecting streets was brought to a standstill. The curbs became lined with people, and patrolmen from their beats rushed to Officer Harper's assistance.

After considerable shouting, coaxing and signaling the traffic was resumed. But again the whistle and again the jam. This time Harper tightened his belt, left his job and rushing into one of the nearby office buildings caught the culprit. Much to his surprise he found the joker to be a young woman. A severe reprimand was given by Harper to the fair joker and he resumed his station."


[The San Francisco Call - Apr 2, 1913]
German Zeppelin Lands in France (1913) In Reims, France a newspaper printed a story claiming that a German Zeppelin dirigible balloon, which had been cruising along the border over the fortresses at Toulon and Verdun, had lost both its propellors and fallen to earth near the local barracks.

Because of the recent increase in military tensions between Germany and France, the report generated enormous excitement, and a large crowd rushed to the spot indicated. However, when they found no Zeppelin, it gradually dawned on the crowd that it was the first of April. Many took the joke badly, and a mob marched to the office of the newspaper and smashed its windows. The military had to be called out to suppress the disturbance. Government officials said they intended to prosecute the paper on the charge of publishing false news likely to cause a breach of the peace.

By coincidence, a few days later on April 4, a German Zeppelin actually was blown off course and was forced to land in France, at the military parade ground at Luneville. The German crew managed to convince French authorities that the landing was an accident. However, a battalion of infantry was required to keep an angry crowd of locals at a distance.
Dictagraphs Installed (1913) "Some one with sad ideas of a joke yesterday started a report that dictagraphs [recording devices] had been installed in the various rooms of the Pennsylvania state capitol. Legislators were so nervous they couldn't do business at all till today they learned the story was a hoax."
The Seattle Star - Apr 2, 1913
Stung by a hay seed (1913) April Fool cartoon in the Ottumwa Courier - Apr 1, 1913.