Winston Churchill’s Personally-Puffed Cigar Is Going to Auction

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

It’s not often that objects masticated by world leaders come up for private sale. But a new auction offered by Hansons Auctioneers in the UK promises an opportunity for the winning bidder to own a cigar thoroughly chewed by former British prime minister Winston Churchill, whose portraits in media often felt incomplete without his trademark tobacco product.

How is it possible to verify the provenance of the stogie? Curiously, it has a well-documented history. In 1953, Churchill and his wife Clementine went to the theater to see the musical Call Me Madam. During the performance, Churchill puffed on a cigar, which eventually tumbled from his mouth and onto the floor. Seeing this, a theater usher named Violet King picked it up and kept it in her possession for more than a half-century.

Of course, anyone could claim to have done that. So King went a step further by writing to the prime minister’s office to verify the authenticity of the cigar and requesting permission to tell her friends about her acquisition (his office replied, confirming the item). Later, she had her niece, who worked for a plastics company that made material for baby incubators, encase her ashy find in a container that likely helped preserve it.

Hansons Auctioneers

Churchill was extremely fond of cigars, so much so that he was often photographed as a veritable walking smokestack. Not even recurring pneumonia would dissuade him from his habit.

Hansons plans to auction the cigar off on December 11 and anticipates a closing price between $6340 and $7609.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

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13 Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions

Would you fly in this?
Would you fly in this?

As it turns out, being destroyed by the very thing you create is not only applicable to the sentient machines and laboratory monsters of science fiction.

In this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy takes us on a sometimes tragic, always fascinating journey through the history of invention, highlighting 13 unfortunate innovators whose brilliant schemes brought about their own demise. Along the way, you’ll meet Henry Winstanley, who constructed a lighthouse in the English Channel that was swept out to sea during a storm … with its maker inside. You’ll also hear about stuntman Karel Soucek, who was pushed from the roof of the Houston Astrodome in a custom-designed barrel that landed off-target, fatally injuring its occupant.

And by the end of the episode, you just might be second-guessing your secret plan to quit your day job and become the world’s most daredevilish inventor.

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