April, 2006 Monthly archive
Lithium: The Miracle Element (Feb, 1956)

The Miracle Element

cat’a-lyst: chem., the causing or accelerating of a chemical change by the addition of a … (catalytic agent) . . .

From air conditioning to welding fluxes, Lithium chemicals are the catalysts of industry. Multi-purpose greases, porcelain enamels, organic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electric storage batteries, heat treating, glazes, electronic ceramics, metallurgy, brazing fluxes—all boast products made better by the addition of Lithium. Architectural porcelain enamels, porcelainized aluminum, low temperature heat treating, cermets, deicing of parked aircraft—these are wholly new fields with an interest in Lithium. Why don’t you consider the possibilities Lithium offers for your production process? Investigate the profit potentialities of this wonder metal. We will be glad to discuss it with you.

MINES: Keystone, Custer, Hill City, South Dakota • Bessemer City, North Carolina • Cat Lake, Manitoba • Amos Area, Quebec • BRANCH SALES OFFICES: New York Pittsburgh • Chicago • CHEMICAL PLANTS: St. Louis Park, Minnesota • Bessemer City, North Carolina • RESEARCH LABORATORY: St. Louis Park, Minnesota

Edison’s Insomnia Squad (Apr, 1934)

With Edison’s Insomnia Squad
by Richard G. Berger

IT WAS during the summer of 1916 just after my graduation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that I read an article in Munsey’s Magazine concerning Thomas A. Edison and his “Insomnia Squad.” I immediately wrote to Mr. Edison requesting employment in his laboratory.

He was away on one of his annual Firestone-Burroughs vacation trips. Upon his return I received a letter stating that Mr. Edison offered me two weeks’ trial employment in his laboratory at fifteen dollars per week. I accepted—in fact I would have taken the position without salary—and reported to the laboratory at West Orange, fully expecting to be back home at the end of the two weeks.

The sight of Mr. Edison with several days growth of beard and dressed in baggy clothes, vigorously chewing tobacco, set me at ease. He assigned me to work on various problems of phonograph record composition and the manufacture of phenol (carbolic acid) which was then much in demand for both records and explosives.

Rocket Flight Dream or Reality? (Jan, 1938)

Rocket Flight Dream or Reality?

Prophetically depicting what future commercial rocket flight “space ships” will look like, a recent motion picture features scenes showing a passenger rocket taking off from a long runway (left) and another super-rocket ship being nosed out of its hangar (left center) in preparation for a transcontinental flight at speeds surpassing 1,000 miles per hour. Bona fide rocket experimenters, however, acknowledge that it will be a long time before passenger rockets will be practical.

In the photo at right, an experimental rocket is seen just at the moment of leaving the ground. Rockets do not have to be shot into the air in order to conduct tests, but are usually “launched” on a proving stand, special instruments indicating power, rate of climb, and other data.
Much in the manner of pioneer aircraft experimenters, groups of rocket fans are constantly seeking to improve rocket flight in an effort to hasten the day when commercial rocket travel will be practical. Left——German experimenters with a newly developed rocket. Above—Test plane fitted with a rocket motor at tail. Rocket motors have also been tested in boats and automobiles.

LICORICE may create new assets for you (Apr, 1953)

LICORICE may create new assets for you
Some business—perhaps yours—may soon find an additional source of wealth through licorice. This could happen by improving on some product now in use or developing a brand new one.
A prime example of product improvement from research is to be found in the tobacco industry. For many years now, licorice has been added to certain tobacco products to improve the taste, and also as a mellowing and conditioning agent. And a prime example of a new product as the reward for research is Foamite Firefoam— a foam of great staying power obtained from the “spent” root after completion of the initial extraction process.

How to Run An Atomic Power Plant (Feb, 1948)

How to Run An Atomic Power Plant

Nuclear research piles give preview of methods that may be used to make tomorrow’s electricity.

By Martin Mann

You—as a citizen—own a part of the 2-1/2 billion-dollar atomic-energy industry. Although your individual share is only one in 143,000,000, it is probably the most important single thing you own. It provides the most powerful weapon in our arsenal for war, promises cures for many diseases, and will eventually furnish cheaper electricity and transportation.

YOU’VE heard a lot about atomic energy. But you probably have a lot of questions because so few people have actually seen an atomic engine. Well, I have. I was one of a small group of reporters who saw two nuclear piles early this winter. While they were operating, I touched them, stood on top of one, saw it turned on and off, watched as “hot” radioactive materials were taken out of it. So maybe I can help you visualize the process and get rid of some of the mystery. Let’s imagine you have just gotten a job running an “atom furnace.” Sure I mean you! Some day such jobs will be as common as locomotive engineers. The engines of die future will be like the experimental piles I saw at the Argonne National Laboratory, which the University of Chicago runs for the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, used to transfer heat out of power piles, but what that material will be is still a question. That’s one reason nobody has built a real power pile yet. A good heat-transfer fluid will probably be found among the metals that melt easily—bismuth might be a possibility.

Rand Ad: Tomorrow’s Design Today… (Sep, 1954)

Tomorrow’s Design Today…

Airplane design involves a staggering amount of data processing—a seemingly endless number of computations and tests between the drawing board and the production line. Every hour…every day … every week gained here brings the time when the finished plane takes off on its first flight just that much closer. In the aircraft industry, as in many other engineering applications, the Remington Rand ERA 1103 Electronic Computing System has proven how easily it can handle the most difficult research problems. Here are some reasons why leading aircraft builders and other prominent users are counting on the ERA 1103 these days:
Because of its ability to reduce large volumes of data at extremely high speeds, the ERA 1103 is the ideal computing system for scientific applications. Its speed is matched by many other outstanding characteristics: superb operating efficiency, obtained through large storage capacity … great programming versatility… the ability to operate simultaneously with a wide variety of input-output devices … and far greater reliability than any computer in its class. For more information about the ERA 1103, or for information about how you might apply the system to your particular problems, write to …

Bake-O-Mat 1960? (Jul, 1956)

Bake-O-Mat 1960?
TOMORROW: Breads and pastries . . . mixed, baked, sliced, wrapped at your door!
Place your order at your door. In seconds, Bake-O-Mat mixes and processes the ingredients, electronically bakes, slices, and wraps any of a wide variety of hot breads and pastries—as you watch!
When? 1960? Could be! But, one thing is sure. Then, as now, New Departure ball bearings will reduce costs by simplifying machine design . . . increase customer satisfaction with added product dependability.
If you’re “cooking up” a new machine—or improving a present one—New Departure’s engineering service provides the right bearings for you!

Duck Hunt – 1935 (Jul, 1935)

Birds Hit With Bullets of Light
BULLETS of light instead of the usual lead shot are being employed by Chicago’s sportsmen in a new trapshooting game.
The sport, which is said to be absolutely noiseless, may be played in an ordinary hall. It is held to be a valuable aid in perfecting marksmanship.
Photo-electric cells are mounted in the bodies of duck targets which move across a panelled opening at one end of the room. Each gun has its source of light which flashes on when the trigger is pressed.
If a marksman “hits” the photo-electric cell directly in the center of the bird’s body, the duck falls and the number of respective hits is registered automatically in light.

Calculating Machine is built of Toy Parts (Aug, 1935)

This reminds me of the Tinker Toy computer built by Danny Hillis, though not quite as cool.

Calculating Machine is built of Toy Parts

CONSTRUCTED entirely from the wheels, gears and structural members of a popular construction toy set, an amazing calculating machine at Manchester University, England can do in a few minutes problems which ordinarily would require many days of tedious work by mathematicians. The only other machine of its kind is at Boston, Mass. When experiments on this machine have been completed, Mr. A. Porter and Professor Hartree, its builders, propose to make a larger model, 27 feet long and 12 feet wide.

Plane Wing Carries 14 Men (Apr, 1934)

Plane Wing Carries 14 Men
SOVIET military aviators have converted an ordinary two-seater airplane into a troop transport carrying 14 soldiers by building a special compartment onto the bottom of the plane’s lower wing. The men lie in a prone position within the compartment and are fully protected from the wind.
In test flights the converted plane earned 14 men and gas spreading equipment with a total weight of 4,400 pounds at a speed of 111 m.p.h. The plane will be used in time of war to land special troops behind enemy lines, a military strategy resembling Soviet experiments with mass parachuting of troops. The plane can also be used to transport wounded soldiers to base hospitals.