Behold The Famous Tramp Chair: An Unsettling Chapter in Maine History
Every state has some things they're not proud of.
History in general has lots of ups and downs. It's hard to point at any one time in the history of the world where everything seemed just dandy. As times passes, all we can do is hope we learn something from the errors of our ways. Sometimes that takes a long time. And sometimes these horrible things didn't happen as long ago as you'd think.
Maine in particular has always been on the "good" side of things. We fought with the Union in the Civil War, Mainers gave their lives in countless wars and have always defended our right to be Mainers. But even inside of all that, you come across things that seems like there's no way that could've ever happened here.
Ever heard of the Tramp Chair?
In the late 1800's, quite a bit much closer to the 1900's than seems comfortable for what we're about to discuss, there was a device placed in a few towns around Maine. This device was a punishment where people had to endure all means of public humiliation and physical discomfort that would serve as a deterrent for vagrancy. Back then of course, those folks were called tramps or hobos. Folks would be locked inside this metal chair for hours on end, and people would constantly harass its occupant.
Only three were ever made, and were invented by a man named Sanford Baker of Oakland, Maine, according to the Rockland Historical Society. It even made it into Popular Mechanics, back in the day. It would seem this form of public torture and humiliation didn't last for a super long time, thank god. It seems inhumane in almost every way, and completely degrading.
Luckily, Maine doesn't have this sort of thing these days. Although with the world being dominated by online bullying and harassment, it's almost like it's the same thing, just in digital form. But at least no one's locked up in the middle of the street having people make fun of them. Definitely a dark time in Maine's past.
I suppose you could do what you want in your own village, but probably not Tramp Chairs...
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