This postcard advertises "Rattlesnake" Pete Gruber's museum in Rochester, New York. After partaking in a restaurant/emporium business venture with a friend, Pete began to create a museum in the emporium. He displayed caged rattlers, then added a miniature oil well display—hand-whittled, painted, and assembled by Pete and his dentist friend “Doc” Reynolds. When a flood and fire struck Oil City in June 1892, Pete removed to Rochester where he established his own combined saloon and museum of curiosities. In addition to rattlesnakes, copperheads, adders, and other serpents and reptiles, Pete exhibited alleged relics of notorious criminals like John Wilkes Booth and the James boys, including the ax used by a wife murderer. According to Mechanical Music Digest (http://www.mmdigest.com/), his collection also featured the “stony corpse of a petrified female,” the “first” electric chair, and the “first” nickelodeon piano (which Gruber claimed to have invented). Merrill mentions another device that promised to show “dancing girls,” but, after a man dropped a coin in the slot, a padded fist instead shot out to take a punch at him!
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