Saturday, March 02, 2024


One Shot Wonders: The Incubation of Claude Murphy by Carl Anderson, 1897


Carl Anderson's famous creation, Henry, did not come to fruition until 1932 when he was an elderly man. Back in the 1890s he was a journeyman cartoonist whose newspaper work appeared mostly in the Hearst-owned New York Journal. In the 1900s he'd branch out more and have series accepted by quite a few syndicates. 

Back in the 1880's and 90s, chicken incubators were the subject of an inventor's race to come up with the best design. Here we see home inventor Mr. Murphy who has come up with his entry in the race. Evidently his version works like a charm based on its efficacy on his son, whose name is either Claude or Mickey -- apparently a miscommunication between the cartoonist and the typographers. 

The only problem with Mr. Murphy's invention is that it simply isn't an incubator. Incubators are for hatching out eggs. What he has created is a chicken BROODER. Being a chicken raiser myself, I can't let such an egregious error pass unremarked. 

This one-shot strip appeared in the New York Journal on March 14 1897.


Apparently the Incubator was a brand-new, exciting, imagination capturing invention in the late 90s. If one reads lots of comics of that era, it's very noticeable that Incubators are seen or mentioned all the time, often hatching out all kinds of humourously unnatural things.
Any specific reason why the "invinter" is Irish, other than making fun of the Irish in general?
A similar scene is a photo in a National Lampoon satire of a nonexistent Negligent Mother Magazine.
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