The reintroduction of nylon stockings sparked not just a single riot, but an entire string of riots nationwide.
The biggest, but not the most violent, was in Pittsburgh, where 40,000 women formed a line over a mile long to try to snatch one of the store's 13,000 pairs.
German Hosiery Museum
It remains the most exciting thing to ever happen in Pittsburgh.
The mobs begat more mobs: herds of onlookers (mostly men) who gathered to watch the sultry pantyhose melee from the sidelines. One woman in the mile-long Pittsburgh line said that, "If a man tries to get in this line, we'll kill him." An officer tasked with overseeing the mob later said, "I hope ... I hope I never see another woman."
But then he saw that their legs did indeed look slightly smoother than before, and all was forgiven.
A Smaller-Than-Expected Balloon
Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Henry Tracey Coxwell was a famous 19th-century aeronaut, which means he piloted gas balloons for a living, and for a hobby, he plowed anything he felt like plowing. With something as sexy as "aeronaut" on your business card, the world's genitals are pretty much at your disposal.
London Illustrated News
The original mile-high club had fewer vacuum toilets and more applauding geese.
When he appeared before a 50,000-strong crowd in 1864, Coxwell had already made a name as a professional badass, and the spectators were eager to watch him take his new balloon, Britannia, out for a spin. Unfortunately, "hater" is the real oldest profession in the world: Somebody quickly started a rumor that the balloon on display was not, in fact, Coxwell's biggest or newest, and this kicked off a wave of flummoxed harrumphing.
Not to mention the baffled guffawing, and the harcockered flubloomering.
Wealthier citizens who'd paid to take a ride in the balloon were worried that there wouldn't be enough room, so they all piled into the basket at the same time, weighing it down. Coxwell, who used his own giant balls for ballast, stared down the angry crowd and threatened to deflate the whole thing unless everybody loosened their corsets a bit and calmed the hell down. They did not, so he followed through on his threat, and the crowd went crazy. And here is the least intimidating depiction of a riot since the Labrador retrievers won the Puppy Bowl and the terriers trashed St. Louis.
Penny Illustrated Paper
All that explosive hydrogen, and not one fireball. Real missed opportunity there.
The crowd tore the Britannia to shreds, and then set fire to the basket, burning it to ashes. Then they turned on Coxwell. Luckily, two police officers were standing by to dash him to safety, and he got away largely unharmed, presumably in a personal escape balloon shaped like a giant middle finger.
For more ways groups of people went insane, check out The 5 Most Embarrassing Things Angry Mobs Have Rioted Over and 6 Insanely Violent Festivals You Won't Believe Aren't Riots.
Are you on reddit? Check it: We are too! Click on over to our best of Cracked subreddit.
Hell, maybe even this article can start a riot. Click the Facebook 'share' button below, and let's find out together.