Archive
Ahead of its time
High-School Robots Learn the “Three Rs” (Jul, 1955)

The “Thinker” device sounds like B.S.. They admit that it has to be “pumped” with answers. My guess is that it either it just spits out the next answer in it’s queue when a button is pressed (I doubt the mike is hooked up to anything). Or, more likely, it’s just a complete fake and there is someone controlling it. It sure as hell doesn’t have voice recognition in 1955.

Also, it seems to me that $150 or $200 in 1955 is a hell of a lot of money for a high-school science project.

High-School Robots Learn the “Three Rs”

By Jim Collison

AN ELECTRONIC THINKER—a completely mechanical robot — built by Robert Kotsmith, 16, and Michael Chmielewski, 17, high-school juniors at Foley, Minn., is passing exams of a factual nature that would stump any uneducated robot.

The machine, built during a period of 10 months at an estimated cost of only $120, understands and answers the human voice. The Thinker answers mathematical questions, gives data on current events and history, writes and even learns new facts it does not already know.

Even to persons well versed on scientific progress, this project seems astounding. Foley science instructor Alfred A. Lease says this of his students: “Their accomplishments would make some college graduates look on with envy.”

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The First Ring Tone (Apr, 1956)

Telephones Will “Ring” With Musical Tones
Telephone users will welcome the news that the Bell Telephone Laboratories is experimenting with a new device that will eliminate the b-r-r-r-ing of present-day instruments. The gadget, using transistors, will produce pleasant musical tones resembling those of a clarinet. Sound emanates through the louvred area at the base of the set, shown in the photo with a white background.
This device requires less than 1 volt for operation; the ordinary telephone bell needs about 85 volts. A full-scale field trial of the new equipment is expected to provide enough technical data and customers’ reactions to help determine its future.

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Build your own answering machine (Jun, 1958)

“Impossible, you say? The miracle of electronics has all but removed the word “impossible” from the dictionary.”

Make the POP’tronics Secretary

Tell your friends that their telephone messages to you will he recorded by electronics

By TRACY DIERS

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE to have a secretary who will answer your phone and take messages at any hour of the day or night but who will demand no pay and no coffee breaks? Impossible, you say? The miracle of electronics has all but removed the word “impossible” from the dictionary.

There are two types of systems you can build which will do this job for you. The deluxe system requires two tape machines or one tape machine and one disc machine— when a call comes in, it plays a recording of instructions and then switches over to record the message. The simpler type, to be described here, requires only one recorder and anyone who can put together a small amplifier can build it.

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ASCII Art – 1948 (Oct, 1948)

This would be a lot of fun without a text editor. One mistake and you have to start over.
More about ASCII Art on Wikipedia.

KEYBOARD ART
By Paul Hadley
WHILE purely entertaining, doodling with a typewriter gives vent to the imagination and originality of both the experienced and the hunt-and-peck typist. Fill-in pictures are the easiest to “draw” with a typewriter. An example is shown in the flower which is made with the letter X alone. Such pictures, whether a flower or a portrait, are made by using an outline of the subject as a typing guide. This is done by tracing the outline lightly on paper and backing it with carbon paper to type the picture. Caricature or cartoon “drawing” combines letters with symbols as shown in the examples below. Here, half-spacing of the typewriter is required, as in the case of the owl’s beak and feet. The log cabin shows what can be done in drawing a picture in perspective.

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Make Magazine ’54 (Sep, 1954)

I have an issue of this and will be scanning in some of the projects. However I must say, the current Make is much more interesting.

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Polaroid Premiere (Feb, 1949)


Camera Gives Print in a Minute

NOW you can snap a picture and see it only a minute later. The camera that does this is an entirely new type. It’s the first production model of the Polaroid Land Camera (PS, May, ’47, p. 150). It costs less than $100.
The camera uses a special film that gives you eight pictures. Each one costs just a little more than you’d pay for drug-store processing of ordinary prints of this size.
Contained in the roll of positive paper are eight tiny capsules of jellied reagent. When you advance the film after snapping a picture, a capsule is opened as it passes between two rollers. The jelly simultaneously develops the negative and forms a print. You pull out the print after a 60-second wait. For extra prints, you make another exposure or copy the original.
One control sets both shutter speed and lens opening. Numbers from 1 to 8 in an opening above the lens show whether the camera’s set for bright sun or poor light conditions. The camera has flash contacts.

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The BBC did American Inventor 50 years ago. (Jul, 1955)

This show looks like it was really cool. It’s basically American Inventor without the overt competition.

BBC Puts Inventors On TV
INVENTIONS ARE the stars of one of the most popular television shows in Britain.

The Television Inventors’ Club of the British Broadcasting Corporation has been on the air for seven years. During this time more than 7000 inventions have been submitted to the club, of which 580 have been shown on the air. A quarter of these have caught the eyes of manufacturers and many are already in production.

The inventions range from a simple shirt stud which allows for the shrinkage of the collar, to a compressible ship’s fender which eases a 24,000-ton vessel against a dock.

A number of British inventors have hit the jackpot through the program. One of them actually did it with a better mousetrap, and the world has already beaten a path to his door to the tune of over a million sales. Years of patient observation taught the inventor that a mouse twists its head when approaching the bait and nibbles from below. His trap therefore springs when the bait is lifted—not pushed down. A tidy profit was also made by the inventor of a stair elevator for invalids. A moving step, carried on rails, is drawn up the staircase by a cable and winch. More than 500 inquiries poured into the BBC when this device was shown on TV.

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Origins of CSI (Jul, 1953)

This is an excellent 1953 article on the beginnings of forensic science. It covers the establisment of a forensic school at harvard, the switch from untrained coroners to skilled medical examiners and all sorts of modern forensic techniques. It also has pictures of amazingly detailed models made to recreate crime scenes for instructional purposes.

Mysterious Death Their Business

By Richard F. Dempewrolff

Death from causes unknown is a phrase that will drop from its too frequent use in the nation’s homicide files if a new kind of investigator has anything to say about it.

Today, on en upper floor in a remote wing of the Harvard Medical School, an eerie atmosphere hangs over a certain laboratory headed by pathologist Dr. Richard Ford. Called the Department of Legal Medicine, its business is concerned with unexplained death.

Sightless eyes stare at intruders from a row of life-sized plaster heads of murder victims—one with slashed throat, another with a bullet hole drilled through one temple, trickling a painted red stream against its death-white cheek. Beneath them, rows of plaster chest sections are perforated with accurately simulated bullet holes and powder burns typical of wounds inflicted by various-caliber bullets at varying distances.

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Home Made TV Station (Aug, 1949)

Next time you bitch about trying to get your video blogging software to work, check out what this guy had to scrape together to get an amateur TV station running in 1949. He built a garage full of equipment and had three giant antennas.

Radio ‘Ham’ Builds TV Station

California amateur sends voice and picture over transmitter made from $500 worth of war-surplus parts.

By Andrew R. Boone

PULSING through the California skies from a weather-beaten back-yard shack, the image of a beautiful brunette flows into television receivers around San Francisco Bay. The boys who have seen her call the vision Gwendolyn.

Reproduced by a collection of secondhand tubes and war-surplus video equipment, Gwendolyn represents the first standard TV image broadcast successfully and repeatedly by an amateur. Soon, from the same station, W6JDI-TV, radio ham Clarence Wolfe, Jr. hopes to televise live images.

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Safety Belt Devised For Car (Jul, 1938)

Safety Belt Devised For Car
DESIGNED to hold passengers firmly in their seats in event of a crash so that they will not be thrown violently against the car interior, a newly developed safety belt for automobiles may eliminate injuries attributed to this cause.

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