When ‘Duck & Cover’ Isn’t Enough – Harold Tifft’s ‘Portable Shield’


Incredibly strange, but oddly sensible, Cold War shelter invention: Patent images for Harold C. Tifft’s ‘Portable Shield’ originally filed on 17 April 1956.


Fig. l is a perspective view of one form of such a shield when in use by a wearer; Fig. 2 is a side view of the shield shown in Fig. 1; Fig. 8 is a front detailed view of face protective means which may form a part of the shield of this invention.


Fig. 4 is a front perspective view of a second possible embodiment of the shield of this invention Patent ice Fig. 5 is a perspective view of the embodiment shown in Fig. 4, showing how the several sections can be telescoped together; Fig. 6 is a view in perspective of a carrying case with the handle for the head section extending through the cover thereof.


Fig. 7 is an illustration showing how the shields of this invention would actually be put to use in vertical and horizontal positions during times of danger.

The bottom image shows two possible positions for the wearer: face first flush against the wall, or face first flush against the ground (or floor).

The main object of this invention is to provide a portable shield which will serve to guard the human body from the injurious or lethal effects of a nuclear explosion.

A second object of this invention is to provide a portable shield against nuclear explosions which can be easily and quickly placed around a considerable portion of the human body.

Another object of this invention is to provide a shield which can be adjusted so that it will substantially cover the entire body of the wearer, regardless of whether the wearer is in a standing, sitting or reclining position.

A further object of this invention is to provide a shield for the body which, in addition to being portable, also can be readily adjusted by the wearer so as to permit him to run from one place to another and yet still have a substantial measure of protection on the upper portion of his body.

(Complete patent available at Google Patents)

When Music Is So Bad It’s Thought To Be Good: The Case Of The Shaggs

The Shaggs - Philosophy Of The World LP Cover (Reissue 1980)

The Shaggs – Philosophy Of The World LP Cover (Reissue 1980) (via Bradley Loos)

The Shaggs / Philosophy Of The World
LABEL: Rounder / Red Rooster
DATE: originally released 1969, this is a 1980 reissue

Not sure if this was tongue-in-cheek, but Zappa rated The Shaggs the #3 best band in history in a Norwegian newspaper (April 1988). It’s said that Kurt Cobain liked them as well. While the girls never had the interest in making a band, they did so at the insistence of their demanding father – their father had been told in a palm reading by his mother that his daughters would form a popular musical group. When dads felt the time was right, he took the girls out of school, gave them instruments, and this happened.

Music critic and musician, Cub Coda, wrote this about The Shaggs first album release, Philosophy Of The World:

The guilelessness that permeates these performances is simply amazing, making a virtue out of artlessness. There’s an innocence to these songs and their performances that’s both charming and unsettling. Hacked-at drumbeats, whacked-around chords, songs that seem to have little or no meter to them (“My Pal Foot Foot,” “Who Are Parents,” “That Little Sports Car,” “I’m So Happy When You’re Near” are must-hears) being played on out-of-tune, pawn-shop-quality guitars all converge, creating dissonance and beauty, chaos and tranquility, causing any listener coming to this music to rearrange any pre-existing notions about the relationships between talent, originality, and ability. There is no album you might own that sounds remotely like this one. – ALLMUSIC

Reportedly, during the recording sessions the band would occasionally stop playing, claiming one of them had made a mistake and that they needed to start over, leaving the sound engineers to wonder how the girls could tell when a mistake had been made. – wikipedia

Since 1980 there has been spurts of rediscovery for The Shaggs – a reissue of their first album on vinyl, a reissue on CD, reviews from The Wall Street Journal, The Rolling Stone, and The New Yorker, a Shaggs tribute album, a stage musical, and a BBC4 Radio documentary.

Like ‘em or hate ‘em, they sure make for some lively conversation around the interwebs. So, prepare yourself, this is The Shaggs performing their positive parent message Who Are Parents?: