Odd Wisconsin Tells of 1890's Legislative Prank
The Political Dustbin
Dateline: Madison, sometime in the early '90's (1890's, that is). This past week we've witnessed more than the usual amount of partisan nastiness here in Madison, as legislators, lobbyists, and editorial writers went after one another at the Capitol and in the press. A century ago things were just as bad, as this reminiscence reveals. In those days, when the opposition spoke too sharply - - or just too long -- a cascade of dust and debris could be released on a legislator's head from the ceiling of the chamber. This apparently helped to restrain the self-righteous pontificating that prevailed back then among politicians.
A 1924 Sheboygan Press Telegram article describes the practice in detail.