Smashing Things

The Rise of the Straw Hat and the Riot of 1922

The Straw Hat Riot of 1922 is a strange piece of history, and it all centered around the boater hat. How did how the boater become so important to men’s fashion in the early 20th century? And how did that lead to a very bizarre conflict in the 1920s?




The Crash at Crush and Other Train Wreck Spectacles

For a brief window from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, people in the United States were watching train wrecks for fun. These staged spectacles would draw thousands and thousands of paying onlookers, but why exactly were they so popular?

Carry A. Nation, Part 2

After her initial "smashings," Carry A. Nation became a full-time activist, traveling from town to town to destroy saloons and preach temperance. She turned her fame into a good income, and used much of that money to set up women’s shelters.

Carry A. Nation, Part 1

Several events in Carry Nation's early life catalyzed her temperance activism. Her marriages and her faith were particularly important in shaping the woman she became.

The Bawdy House Riots of 1668

In early modern London, there was a tradition of sorts where apprentices would amass on holidays and physically destroy brothels. One of the largest such riot took place during Easter week in 1668, and it was a complicated event.

The Luddites

The Luddite uprising was a series of protests in northern England, in which workers smashed machines in mills and factories. This wasn't the first organized violence against mechanization, but Luddites are the most infamous of all the machine-breakers.