First published in 1882, The American Boy’s Handy Book was a guide for healthy active boys to consult as they enjoyed the great outdoors. Full of exciting and fun ideas!
A large part of the book was devoted to murder. Sure, there was a chapter on kites, but it was followed promptly by a chapter on “War Kites” which featured charming subheadings like “Armed Kite Fighting” and “How to Make Knives.”
Kite bomb: just light the string and wait for it to explode
in the face of your rivals.
After the chapters on making guns, shotgun “sticks,” and raising wild birds and teaching them to kill for master, there was a section on traps. Here’s one, used for capturing a tired man looking for shelter in the woods.
When the “man” stretches in the morning, he triggers a
trip wire that causes the roof to slam down and break
his back, thereby “trapping” him for the amusement
of the boys. We recommend keeping him
in a “man pit” once captured.
My favorite illustration, however, was this one for a “novel” method of fishing. See, all you need is a bit of string, some bait, and your favorite gun.
When the fish tugs on the bait, the gun will fire randomly
into the air, or maybe into a nearby crowd of fishermen.
Oh, boys! Let them rack up a body count when they are young and free spirited and cannot be tried as an adult.