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I think this is the only time i have ever seen the word rape used in an advertisement.


Secret underground broadcasters still send out news of what the brave Dutch are doing to upset the Nazi “new Disorder”. Radio furnishes the ONE link between conquered countries and the outside world. In war, as in peace, The Radio Shack continues to play its part in the field of communications . . . now supplying vital equipment to help hasten the day of victory, and revenge for the rape of Rotterdam.


167 Washington St.
Boston, Mass., U.S.A.

Early OCR (Feb, 1949)

Reading Machine Spells Out Loud

Experimental eleetronic device looks at printing and says what it sees — at the rate of 60 words a minute.

By Martin Mann

PS photos by Hubert Luckett

SOME time ago, The New Yorker magazine satirically described the invention of a reading machine. “It is obvious,” a fictional Professor Entwhistle was quoted as saying, “that the greatest waste of our civilization is the time spent in reading. We have been able to speed up practically everything. . . . But today a man takes just as long to read a book as Dante did. … So I have invented a machine. It operates by a simple arrangement of photoelectric cells. . .”

A simple arrangement of photoelectric cells that will read a book for you now has been unveiled by RCA researchers. The device looks at printed matter and reads it aloud, letter by letter. It sounds like a radio announcer spelling out “R-I-N-S-O.”

Microwave Pipes (Jul, 1955)

Long-Distance Microwave Pipe Carries Many Television Programs

Tens of thousands of cross-country telephone calls along with hundreds of television programs may someday be carried in a single two-inch metal tube. The longdistance wave guide, developed by Bell, could be buried underground and would funnel extremely short microwaves up hill, down dale and around corners. It is constructed of thin copper wire, tightly
coiled like a spring under pressure and wrapped inside a flexible outer coating which holds the wire in place. In laboratory tests, microwaves have been carried for 40 miles in a metal tube with the same loss of strength encountered when the waves travel 12 miles in a coaxial cable. The system uses microwaves shorter than any previously used in communications.

Russian Proposes GLOBAL TV (Jun, 1958)

Russian Proposes GLOBAL TV

THE RATHER LIMITED conception of radio transmission we had back in 1925, when we wondered whether radio waves could be propagated through space (see opposite page), has progressed to a stage where today we are near the point of transmitting television through space. With the launching of the first Sputnik last October, the dream of global TV received a tremendous shot in the arm and it has gathered momentum with each additional satellite thrown into the sky—both Russian and American. The magazine which first published data on Sputnik I, the Soviet periodical Radio, has outlined a plan which would allow nearly every TV set anywhere on earth to pick up a program transmitted from any other point. Television today, of course, is pretty much limited by line of sight, except in those areas which have coaxial cables, and a few spots which are equipped with over-the-horizon scatter facilities. The system proposed by engineer V. Petrov would make use of satellites which would pick up signals from stations on earth and bounce them to other satellites for more distant relay.


If a satellite is launched from the equator so that it follows an eastward track at the proper speed and height, it will remain over one spot on the equator. In other words, if it went into orbit over Belem in Brazil, or Stanleyville in the Belgian Congo, or Singapore in Malaya, it would remain fixed in the sky over that spot. This is because—if the velocity and height are correct—the speed of the satellite will exactly match the eastward rotation of the earth. It will be making an orbit of the earth once in 24 hours (compared to the 90 to 106 minutes or so for the present satellites. Since the earth rotates on its axis once in 24 hours, there will be no relative motion between the two spheres.

Pocket-Size Wire Recorder (Aug, 1953)

Seems like you’d need a pretty big pocket if that hand holding it is any indication

Pocket-Size Wire Recorder
PERHAPS one of the most sensational units to appear on the wire-recorder scene recently is a complete battery-operated recorder, 6-3/4x 4-3/8 x l-1/2 in. in size. It records, erases and plays back through a pair of lightweight earphones.

The entire recorder fits any average-size pocket, or it can be carried and operated in a fabric shoulder-type carrying case, as illustrated in photo A. Two types of sensitive miniature crystal microphones are available, as shown in photo D. One is a lapel variety and the other is a wrist-watch type worn by the operator in photo A, for making concealed recordings useful in detective work and for checking comments in crowds at shows and similar applications.

This Minifon recorder, made in Germany, is now available on the American market; it is powered with standard miniature A and B-batteries. The motor is driven by a Mallory mercury-cell-type battery pack that sells for $4.25. This provides 24-hour service. The A and B-batteries last for full shelf life. An a.c. power-supply unit also is available for operating the motor from 110-120 volt a.c. lines. Photos B and C are internal and external views of the recording and playback unit. Recording wire is available in spools providing 1/4 to 2-1/2 hours of continuous operation.


Really interesting piece about reporters covering the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1936. It’s interesting to contrast with the current reports coming out of Iraq. I wonder if they still suffer from mutton fatigue.


by Arthur T. Robb
Managing Editor of “Editor & Publisher”

THERE’S a war on in East Africa. Since early summer, when it became certain that II Duce intended to capture for Italy the last vestige of Africa not already under European rule, scores of young and old men in journalism, American and European, have turned their faces to the Red Sea, hoped or planned that their next assignment would be in Ethiopia. To youth it offered opportunity for fame and adventure denied them by the routine of police court or city hall. To the veterans of a score of big and little wars like Karl Von Wiegand and Floyd Gibbons, the din and dust of battle preparations were as the bell for the old fire horse. They had to be on their way.

Breaking the Language Barrier (Apr, 1958)

Very cool, if a somewhat optimistic article from 1958 about machine translation.

Breaking the Language Barrier

Each year, millions of reports on scientific research are published—a big fraction of them in foreign languages. In this mass of Russian, Dutch, Chinese, Hindustani data are clues to H-power, interplanetary flight, more powerful batteries, longer-wearing tires. The trouble is: Too few scientists and engineers read foreign languages. What we need is a machine to read one language and type in another: an automatic translator. We’re trying to build—not one, but several. Engineering problems? Fantastic. Here’s where we stand now.

Giant Photos Made Electrically (Oct, 1939)

This is pretty cool. Someone realized that when you fax something you can print the output at any scale you want. They connect the output to a giant inkjet printer (using an airbrush as a print head) to create huge images.

Giant Photos Made Electrically

WITH a new apparatus recently developed in in England, small sized photographs, drawings, aerial photo maps, blueprints, sketches, painted portraits or scenes, printed or typed matter, and prints of almost any kind including reproductions of photographs or paintings, are directly reproduced and simultaneously enlarged to any size on almost any kind of paper, linen, canvas or other fabrics, or any other material such as even thin metal if it will wrap around a drum, by means of an airbrush jet controlled by a photo-electric scanner. One of these sharply detailed enlarged pictures, showing the head and shoulders of a child, measuring 30×34 feet and said to be the world’s largest photograph, is at present being displayed in London.

Dawn of the Electronic Age (Jan, 1952)

Odd article written by Lee deForest the inventor of the Audion, a vacuum tube amplifier that ushered in the radio and electronics age. He discusses the origins and growth of electronics and what the future may bring, including dissing the transistor and living room walls that keep one warm by microwaves. He also has some firm opinions regarding the uses to which his invention has been put:

The microphone-amplifier-loudspeaker combination is having an enormous effect on our civilization. Not all of it is good! Consider to what heights of impudence and tyranny, and to what depths of moral depravity, has radio broadcasting and the loudspeaker attained in that recent monstrosity, Transit Radio, Inc. Almost incredible is the loathsome fact that already in 21 cities bus riders must listen to never-ending, blatant advertising and unwelcome jitterbug and bop music, “viciously repugnant to the spiritual and intellectual assumptions of American life,” as Prof. Charles Black of Columbia University wrote. This outrage is unquestionably the all-time low to which radio broadcasting can sink.

Dawn of the Electronic Age
By Lee deForest (“Father of Radio”)

WHEN VOCAL SOUND first became articulate the ancestor of man leaped suddenly from the dumb shackles of the brute. The first crude sign writing, whereby thoughts might be recorded, helped to bring scattered men and tribes into social units and establish contact with future generations through the permanency of the written word. For ages, ecclesiastics maintained a monopoly of reading and writing. Then came movable type and the printing press of Gutenberg. Reading and writing became common heritage. The postal service followed, fostering a moderate exchange of thought between people. Ancient Greeks developed a crude method of heliograph for military signaling. Then flags by day and fires by night conveyed information over wide distances. Later, the system of signaling by semaphore devised by Claude Choppe during the French Revolution blazed the path leading to the electric telegraph of Morse. Scarcely more than a century ago came the first telegraph, an instantaneous means for communicating over great land distances, followed by the submarine cable for spanning the oceans. Bell, experimenting with a new form of telegraphy, came upon the telephone, and as a result business and social life were; immeasurably increased in tempo. Late in the 19th century, wireless telegraphy entered the communications field, first as a means of spinning threads between ships and shores, and robbing the sea of its sinister silence; later as a practical means of transoceanic communication. Inspired by the classical formulas of Maxwell in England, Hertz in Germany in the 1880s discovered electromagnetic waves, proving them akin to light waves but of vastly longer wavelengths and lower frequencies.