Ahead of its time
Ancient Seer of Modern Marvels (Aug, 1941)

Ancient Seer of Modern Marvels

Nylon and air-conditioning wouldn’t have surprised Sir Francis Bacon. He predicted them, along with most of our other present scientific wonders, over 300 years ago!

by Tyche Ayres

WILL we soon be broadcasting smells? Three centuries ago, when the Earl of Essex was flirting with Good Queen Bess of England, a genius sat down and wrote an amazing prediction of the wonders of science which were to be realized in our day.

Writing in an era of intellectual darkness, when alchemists and wizards practiced their black arts, this astounding man foresaw the airplane, television, movies, submarines, automobiles—almost the whole range of modern discoveries.

AMBULANCE RADIO controls traffic (Mar, 1948)

AMBULANCE RADIO controls traffic

AMBULANCES are supposed to speed people to hospitals— but they can’t speed and they therefore can’t save some lives.

Traffic holds them back. Their average 35 mph is pretty slow.

But they may do 70 before long. A device now being patented by J. R. Schwarzkopf will put a radio transmitter in the ambulance. Traffic lights will contain tuned receivers with relays. The ambulance will streak along, its radio signalling—and all the lights will turn red and all traffic pull over to clear an open speedway.



Nearly seven years ago this magazine prophesied that farmers someday would do their plowing by radio. That prediction has now come true, at least on an experimental scale. Recently, J. J. Lynch, of Miles City, Mont., demonstrated his radio-controlled tractor before 200 electrical experts and business men. Steered from a closed car traveling behind, it plowed around a thirty-acre field. Radio relays beneath the empty driver’s seat operated it in response to a radio transmitter in the control car. The experiment brings nearer the dream that “automatic tractors will lumber across the fields and plow with quenchless ardor. The farmer . . . will loll coolly before his radio” (P. S. M., Mar. ’25, p. 171)

Bus Rider Wears Gas Mask (Feb, 1938)

Bus Rider Wears Gas Mask
LEADING a campaign to impress local bus operators with the need for some means of eliminating the monoxide fumes that produce headaches and cause passengers to suffer attacks of nausea, B. Palmer Davidson, of Montclair, N. J., wears a gas mask when commuting to his office. The mask is a type used by employees in industrial plants.



HEATING homes in January with the warmth of last summer’s sunshine —that is the exciting goal of research now under way at Cambridge, Mass. Not far from the Charles River, scientists of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently completed a white frame building, its sloping roof edged with a glistening battery of solar-heat traps.

Two-Way Firemen’s Radio Is Carried on the Back (Dec, 1940)

Two-Way Firemen’s Radio Is Carried on the Back

AS A result of months of research work by two New York firemen, Samuel Harmatuk and Arthur Meyerson, smoke eaters in America’s largest city soon will be directed in fire fighting and life saving by means of lightweight, back-pack radios. Weighing only fifteen pounds, the two-way units can be slipped on over heavy fire-fighting clothing, leaving the hands free for climbing. A flexible cable controls the switch which shifts the set from transmitting to receiving and back again.

Crowd Sees Speaker in New Address System (Nov, 1937)

Crowd Sees Speaker in New Address System

THRONGS of spectators may clearly view an orator, as well as hear him, through a new German public-address system based upon television principles. The installation presents an image of the speaker, magnified many times life size, upon an elevated screen in plain sight of the entire audience, while his voice is being heard through loudspeakers of conventional design.

Magnets Drive High Speed Suspension Trains Thru Air (Oct, 1931)

Magnets Drive High Speed Suspension Trains Thru Air

ELEVATED trains whizzing at tremendous speed from city to city, powered solely by electromagnetic lines of force, is the new and startling method of rapid transportation now being developed by German engineers.

A war against friction losses has long been waged by scientists; and this electromagnetic rapid transit project now promises to end the conflict. No wheels are to be used for traction. The cars are drawn forward, in one scheme by powerful electromagnets, in the other by huge solenoids.


One of the rare precursors to the modern conservation movement.


The success of Vermont in preserving wild flowers and plants, as game is protected, and preventing their extinction, has aroused an interest among botanists and lovers of wild flowers which may result in more legislation for their protection. Commercial collectors were found to be responsible for the extermination of wild flowers and rare plants. A law passed by the Vermont legislature prohibits commercial collecting and restricts botanists to two specimens of each plant in a year.

Home Movies From Phonograph Records (Jun, 1932)

This reminds me of the RCA Selectavision system.

Home Movies From Phonograph Records

PLAY a moving picture from a phonograph record!

When Baird, the English television experimenter, suggested this system several years ago, he did not realize how soon it would be before his prophecy would come true.

Those who have listened to television programs know that the signals become audible in the form of a shrill whistle in the loudspeaker. This whistle carries the picture elements in the form of modulated sound.