Plastic Bubble Phone Booth (Dec, 1958)

The phone booth of the future, designed by Bell Telephone Laboratories, will have a plastic bubble dome for maximum visibility. It will be installed in an indoor area, such as a railway concourse.

World’s First Color Fax Machine – 1946 (Nov, 1947)

This is a pretty remarkable invention for it’s time. A color, plain paper, fax machine from 1946 that used colored pencils to print the output. The resulting image looks a lot like a printout from my first color inkjet printer. Sending a 7×10″ picture in full color took about 15 minutes, which seems pretty damn reasonable to me.

Tune In a Painting

PSM photos by Hubert Luckett

TAKE a good look at the front cover of this issue of your Popular Science Monthly. You are looking at something you have never seen before—a picture that was transmitted by radio in one operation and imprinted on a sheet of ordinary paper.

This is known as color facsimile. It is the product of years of effort to transmit an image by wire or radio and reproduce it perfectly on ordinary paper at the receiving point. It was developed by Finch Telecommunications. Inc., of Passaic, N. J. Finch labels it “Colorfax.”

Racing Time For News Scoops (Apr, 1935)

Very interesting article about how the UPI used to report and distribute news. I’ll bet their operation ran a lot like this up untill about the 70’s when computers started taking over.

Racing Time For News Scoops


Executive Assistant United Press Associations

NEWS travels fast. It circles the globe like lightning while historic events are still in the making.

The world was reading the tragic details of the Morro Castle disaster while her passengers were still leaping from the burning decks of the doomed Ward Liner into the storm-swept waters of the Atlantic.

Less than 20 minutes after first radio operator Rogers sent his SOS from the Morro Castle, the tragic story was flashed over United Press leased wires into newspaper offices from coast to coast. Cables carried it to Europe, South America and the Orient.



“C Q—C Q—W6HHU calling and standing by———.”

This was the call from Albert Hanson, radio amateur, which brought details of the disastrous Long Beach earthquake and started the rush of relief.

With telephone and telegraph lines crippled, radio “hams” restored communication and shattered the veil of si-lence into which the tragedy had plunged the stricken area.

Trial by “Sound Jury” (Jul, 1948)

Trial by “Sound Jury”

After Bell Laboratories engineers have designed a new talking circuit, they measure its characteristics by oscilloscopes and meters.
But a talker and a listener are part of every telephone call, and to satisfy them is the primary Bell System aim.
So, before the circuit is put into operation, a “sound jury” listens in. An actual performance test is set up with the trained ears of the jurors to supplement the meters.
As syllables, words, and sentences come in over the telephones, pencils are busy over score sheets, recording the judgment of the listeners on behalf of you and millions of other telephone users.
Targets of the transmission engineer are: your easy understanding of the talker, the naturalness of his voice, and your all-around satisfaction. To score high is one of the feats of Bell System engineering.


High-Speed Facsimile (Jul, 1951)

And it’s compact too!

High-Speed Facsimile
As many as 180,000 words of printed matter can be transmitted and recorded within one hour through a new high-speed facsimile system. Photos and diagrams also can be transmitted to any distant point and recorded without photographic, chemical or drying equipment. The system, developed by Western Union, uses either radio beams or communications wires as a means of transmission. The sending operator slips the printed material into a transparent cylinder and closes the endgate of the cylinder. This starts the cylinder spinning at 1800 revolutions per minute, and a photocell acting with a pin point of light scans the material. At the receiving end, needlelike instruments “print” a copy of the material on a dry recording paper. At the conclusion of the message an automatic signal causes a knife to cut the facsimile copy from the roll of dry recording paper.

Magic-Makers of the Radio Stations (Apr, 1934)

Magic-Makers of the Radio Stations

Sound engineers combine ingenuity and science to make up their bag of tricks.

THEY were dissecting the brain of Nicolai Lenin—on the radio. It was a news broadcast of the achievement of the Soviet Brain Institute in Moscow which had developed a means of slicing brain tissue into thousands of paper-thin fragments for scientific study.

“Give us the sound of a brain being sliced,” came the bizarre order to the sound effects department of the Columbia Broadcasting System.

News Carrying Pigeons Aid Japanese Press (Feb, 1935) (Feb, 1935)

News Carrying Pigeons Aid Japanese Press

Latest news and undeveloped photographic film frequently are rushed from the scene of a big event to Japanese newspapers by pigeons. The birds have been found a handy substitute for telegraph and telephone, being sent winging to headquarters with the latest scores of games
or news bulletins. This flying messenger service has been operated successfully between Yokohama and Tokyo. Exposed film is placed in a case resembling a fountain pen and attached to the bird’s back, while news reports are carried in aluminum capsules fastened to the bird’s legs.

Radio is better with Battery Power (Oct, 1927)

Restored Enchantment

Radio is better with Battery Power

At a turn of the dial a radio program comes to you. It is clear. It is true. It is natural. You thank the powers of nature that have once more brought quiet to the distant reaches of the radio-swept air. You are grateful to the broadcasters whose programs were never so enjoyable, so enchanting. You call down blessings upon the authority that has allotted to each station its proper place. And, if you are radio-wise, you will be thankful that you bought a new set of “B” batteries to make the most out of radio’s newest and most glorious season.

Telegraph Kisses Are New Fad (May, 1938)

Telegraph Kisses Are New Fad
Sending kisses by wire is a new use for facsimile telegraph transmission. Recently a New York girl kissed a telegram blank and the lipstick impression was placed on the facsimile transmitter, as at left, to be reproduced for delivery in Chicago.