What does now taste like? Sweeter or more bitter than then?
What sound does purple make?
What does 12 smell like?

At Bell Labs, we’re working on all these questions and more!
Bell Labs, for all your existential research needs.

Also, I love the fact that they didn’t spring for a color ad.

In color television, the colors on the screen are determined in a special way. A reference signal is sent and then the color signals are matched against it. For example, when the second signal is out of step by 50-billionths of a second, the color is green; 130-billionths means blue.

AUTO RADIO “DE LUXE” (Jan, 1938)

TO MEET the growing need for broadcasting from outside points, the National Broadcasting Company, of Chicago, 111., has outfitted a new car with all necessary equipment for this type of work. The vehicle is capable of traveling from place to place at high speeds.

The equipment for this mobile unit consists of two transmitters, three receivers and a gasoline driven generator, all compactly mounted in a specially built touring sedan. Considerable weight reduction was achieved by discarding storage batteries and substituting the generator for the transmitters’ power supply.

Immediately in back of the front seat is the control panel and console, which houses the ultra-high frequency receiver and the specially designed four-stage high gain audio amplifier. To the rear, in the space usually occupied by the back seat, is a large compartment containing a fifty-watt transmitter, used for stationary broadcasts. A forty-watt ultra-high frequency transmitter is used for mobile broadcasts. The mobile unit is so designed that one man can drive and broadcast at the same time.

Church Juke Box (Jan, 1953)

Church Juke Box installed in Lutheran Church in Harrison, N. J., plays hymns for visitors who enter for prayer. Rev. Bornhoeft, reserve army chaplain, thought of it. Selector is remote control.

These signals find the way (Jan, 1953)

These signals find the way

When you dial a telephone Dumber, high-speed switching mechanisms select your party and connect you. Through a new development of Bell Telephone Laboratories, similar mechanisms are doing the same kind of job in private wire teletypewriter systems which America’s great businesses lease from the telephone company.
Company X, for example, operates an air transportation business with scores of offices all over the country. At one of these offices, a teletypewriter operator wishes to send a message, let us say, to Kansas City. Ahead of the message, she types the code letters “KC”. The letters become electric signals which guide the message to its destination.
Any or all stations in a network, or any combination of stations, can be selected. Switching centers may handle 50 or more messages a minute . . . some users send 30,000 messages a day. Delivery time is a few minutes.
Defense manufacturers, automobile makers, airlines and many other American businesses are benefiting by the speed and accuracy of the new equipment — another example of how techniques developed by the Laboratories for telephone use contribute to other Bell System services as well.
Improving telephone service for America provides careers for creative men in scientific and technical fields.

Just hearing a pin drop is easy… (Apr, 1954)

I think these guys should sue Sprint for stealing their catch-phrase.

Just hearing a pin drop is easy…

Bruel & Kjaer instruments analyze sound and put it in writing for you
Since Bruel & Kjaer instruments present essential data so easily, they greatly simplify the analysis and control of sound, vibration, and noise.

For example, the Spectrum Recorder automatically “scans” any sounds from 35 to 18,000 cycles per second in third-octave steps. Chart records, produced immediately, indicate both frequency spectrum and signal amplitude. The instrument saves hours of engineering time in analysis of sounds and vibrations, and in studies of strains, pressure variations, complex electrical voltages, and magnetic tape recordings.

Developed for laboratory use, the line of Bruel & Kjaer instruments is finding ever-broader use in industry. For information on acoustical and electro-acoustical measurements that can be made easily with these instruments, write Brush Electronics Company, Dept. B-4, 3405 Perkins Avenue, Cleveland 14, Ohio.
The Brush Development Co.
Brush Electronics Company is an operating unit of Clevite Corporation

Information (Sep, 1952)

This article is the last in Scientific American series on Automatic Control. It covers Information theory and processing. It has some great tidbits such as primitive tagging system for books by Vanevar Bush that used binary coded descriptors on microfilm. Also I’d have to say the author deserves to gloat over this quote: “It is almost certain that “bit” will become common parlance in the field of information, as “horsepower” is in the motor field.”


The surprising discovery that it is subject to the same statistical treatment as heat facilitates its storage and handling in automatic control systems

by Gilbert W. King

THE “lifeblood” of automatic control is information. To receive and act on information is the essential function of every control system, from the simplest to the most complex. It follows that to understand and apply automatic control successfully we must understand the nature of information itself. This is not as simple as it may seem. Information, and the communication of it, is a rather subtle affair, and we are only beginning to approach an exact understanding of its elusive attributes.

CATV Is Coming to Your Town (Jun, 1970)

The last sentence is the kicker: “Some experts are predicting—for less than the cost of the family car— a complete home communications terminal with access to computer libraries, two-way video, and hundreds of input channels. Cable TV could make it all come true. ”

Once just a way to get signals to distant places, cable TV is now growing fast even in big cities. Here’s why

CATV Is Coming to Your Town

One of these days soon, a salesman will ring your doorbell and offer a special service called cable TV. “Why bother?” you may ask. “I’m perfectly satisfied with the reception I’m getting now on my five [if you’re average] channels.” True, you may be getting good TV reception. But CATV (Community Antenna TV) will offer you better reception, and more. Added up, here is what you will get:

• The five channels you would usually pull in with your antenna— but much sharper and clearer.

• Three, maybe four, other stations from other cities. Two or three of them will probably duplicate much of the network programing you’re already getting. But one or two may be independents that you have no way of seeing, short of moving to the next town. That’s a total of nine channels off the air.

• Three local channels—continuously broadcasting time/weather, news/stock ticker, and local live broadcasts—from town meetings to high-school ball games. That’s 12 channels so far.

• There’s more coming: pay TV on the cable. This is the most exciting home-entertainment prospect of all. Pay cable channels will cost extra.

Augmented Reality (Aug, 1962)

‘Seeing Things’ with Electrocular
YOU can look two ways at once with this 30-oz. electro-optical viewing device. The Electrocular uses a miniature cathode ray tube 7 in. long, a deflecting mirror, a focusing lens, and a dichroic filter viewing eyepiece to present a TV-type image without distracting from the work in front of you.
The developer, Hughes Aircraft Co., Fuller-ton, Calif., says the unit will let a repairman work on the rear of a digital analog panel (Fig. 1) while closed-circuit TV camera (outlined) pipes the results to him from the screen in front. Or a pilot (Fig. 2) can see a TV picture of air traffic information and ground conditions while he’s still in flight.

PAT does the talking (Dec, 1958)

This ia brief article about a speech synthesizer, but in the last paragraph it sounds like they were actually doing research into psychoacoustic audio compression.

PAT does the talking
“PAT” is the nickname given to a British talking machine which creates all the sounds that are normally used in speaking, and can string them together to produce the illusion of complete words and phrases. It can, in fact, talk.

In place of the human vocal cords, PAT (short for Parametric Artificial Talker) has an electron tube oscillator. In place of tongue and lips which normally vary the size of the mouth cavities, electrical resonators are provided and their resonant frequencies varied.

Pocket-Sized Radio Used in Private Paging System (Apr, 1956)

My question is, what is an “confined induction loop area”? Does that mean you have to surround your building with an antenna?

Pocket-Sized Radio Used in Private Paging System
Private and individual paging of personnel in plants and offices is possible with Motorola’s pocket-sized “Handie-Talkie.” Weighing only 10 ounces and slightly larger than a package of king-size cigarettes, the set is carried on the person. Its use eliminates the need for public-address type paging and loud call devices such as bells.
A typical paging system, using the “Handie-Talkie,” consists of a selector console with individual buttons for key personnel, and an FM transmitter that radiates alerting tones and voice messages within a confined induction loop area. The receiver is powered by a 4-volt mercury battery and is free from the noise interference common to many industrial establishments. Up to several hundred persons can be paged individually. (Motorola Communications and Electronics, Inc., 4501 Augusta Blvd., Chicago 51, 111.).