Monday, May 21, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Print Furniture

Nothing but 'Net: A Dickens of a site for the author's fans

Just in time for Christmas, here's a site that will whisk you back to the Victorian age of Charles Dickens, author of A Christmas Carol, the beloved tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim. The site goes well beyond that immortal story, however. It encompasses the whole of Dickens' life of letters - the novels, short stories, serials, essays, and travel pieces that made him one of England's greatest writers.

The award-winning site, created by Dickens devotee David Perdue, provides links to the novels in their entirety, from Oliver Twist to David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities to Great Expectations. Individual categories present biographies of the artists who lavishly illustrated the books; describe the unforgettable characters who people the stories; show a timeline from his birth in 1812 to his death in 1870, and include his observations about America, which he visited twice, and the Victorian London in which he flourished.

London in the 1800s was both the world's largest trade center and a hellhole of untold squalor and filth. Dickens describes market morning: “The ground was covered, nearly ankle-deep, with filth and mire; a thick steam, perpetually rising from the reeking bodies of the cattle ... hung heavily,” and amid the beasts and oxen were “countrymen, butchers, drovers, hawkers, boys, thieves, idlers, and vagabonds of every low grade.” He also talks about The Great Stink of 1858 and the stench of the sewage-polluted Thames, which caused Parliament to recess and brought cries of protest over the tainted and disease-causing drinking water.

The site also chronicles Dickens' travels in America - his first encounter with a whoopee cushion, the way he loved to play leapfrog and horsey with his children, and his appalled reaction to American slavery, as well as to the extraordinary number of men whose bloated cheeks and florid complexions showed the deleterious effects of chewing tobacco.

The Christmas Carol page, wreathed in holly and ivy, tells not only how Dickens' 1843 classic came to be, but also discusses the aggregate influence of his Christmas stories on the way we celebrate the holiday as “a kind, charitable, pleasant time, the only time I know of ... when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of other people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave.”

Print ads archive proudly boasts that it is the world's largest database of classic print advertisements from newspapers and magazines. “We love ads and the pop culture they represent,” the creators say, and they back it up with thousands of examples that can be searched by category, decade, year, or name. The collection dates back to 1940, with categories ranging from Automobiles to Health & Beauty, Entertainment to Music.

Click on “Provocative ads” and you'll find dozens of pitches for girdles and bras. Click on “Ads as art” for Norman Rockwell-esque ads for Coca-Cola and other products. One of the most amusing categories is Computers, which includes a 1977 ad for Apple II, a bargain at $1,298. The dynamic machine features 1 MHz of speed, 4K of RAM, and 48K of hard-drive memory - blazingly fast back then.

Outlet paradise

Inveterate shoppers will be happy to know there's an Internet site that specializes in helping people locate the hundreds of outlet stores and malls that dot the landscape. offers shoppers four ways to find outlet centers: By location, store name, brand name, and product category such as fashion apparel, home decor, childrenswear, and athletic footwear. Searching by state brings up a grid of malls and freestanding stores within each state. The site gives outlet addresses, a radius of shops within a given area and their distance in miles, and a column letting shoppers order free brochures from stores that offer them.

The only nearby Ohio store listed is the Libbey Glass outlet at the Erie Street Market. Michigan, on the other hand, has a proliferation of outlet centers within driving distance, from the 35-store Horizon complex in Monroe to the sprawling 143-store Prime Outlets at Birch Run.


With a single mouse click, this simple, practical site will instantly convert Celsius into Fahrenheit, miles into kilometers or nautical miles, feet into meters, inches into millimeters, and square measures into cubic measures. Wait, there's more: gallons into liters, pounds into kilograms, horsepower into kilowatts, and so on. The URL is so long, it would be easier to make it one of your Favorites or Bookmarks.

If you have a Web site to recommend, send an e-mail to

Click to comment

Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem?

Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet.

Copyright © 2018 Toledo Blade

To Top

Fetching stories…