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TV Show Features “Wires and Pliers” (Apr, 1956)


TV Show Features “Wires and Pliers”

THEY’RE trying a new experiment on TV in Los Angeles. Every Saturday, those who want to see popular electronics at work can watch Dr. Martin L. Klein on the “Wires and Pliers” show, Station KCOP. Dr. Klein, a well-known electronics designer, and Harry C. Morgan, another electronics engineer, have found a novel way to interest viewers in the subject. Morgan designed a complete series of simple useful circuits, each one costing less than five dollars to build. With the help of a super-fast electronics technician, Aram Solomo-nian, they have put together on the program a crystal radio (this took Solomonian five minutes), a transistor amplifier (seven minutes), and an electronic puzzle (eight minutes). What’s more, they then prove to the audience that the circuits really work. And the Electronic Engineering Company of California, sponsor of the show, is packaging the circuits in kit form at nominal cost.

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Bringing the Sun Indoors (Sep, 1938)

I’m not sure if they still do this at the new Hayden, or if they do elsewhere, but it’s really cool. Basically using a set of mirrors they project an image of the sun onto the roof of the planetarium, so you get 26 foot wide image that’s safe to stare at.

Bringing the Sun Indoors
AT the Hayden Planetarium in New York a huge 26-foot image of the sun is being projected on the interior of the dome every day that the sun shines. This is accomplished by means of a first system of moving and fixed flat mirrors for bringing the sun’s image indoors and a second system of mirrors and lenses for enlarging and projecting it.

The actual sun is shown at the top of the drawing. Its rays are caught by an eight-inch flat mirror mounted on an axis parallel with the earth’s axis. A clock-like mechanism slowly turns this mirror as the earth’s turning “moves” the sun. This image, after passing through an opening in the building, is kept constantly spotted on a second flat mirror which is permanently fixed in position. It in turn passes the image downward to the third element of the Jong optical train, a flat mirror fixed at a 45-degree angle which turns it horizontally. The sun’s image is now where it can be used but as yet it is neither magnified nor projected.

Magnification is done in an ordinary eight-inch reflecting telescope, just as it would be if that telescope were directed at the sun out of doors; and since it is possible with any telescope to view the image not alone by looking into the eyepiece but also by projecting it on a screen at some distance from the eyepiece, the same is done at the planetarium. Here the distance is long, hence the image is very large—larger, in fact, than any solar image previously projected by similar methods. All this apparatus—the coelostat, fixed flats, and telescope—is entirely separate from the regular planetarium apparatus and could be similarly used with any ordinary house or building.

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Human Squirrel Cage (Sep, 1954)

This looks like a hell of a lot of fun.

Human Squirrel Cage

THRILL ADDICTS registered their screaming approval of a German-made fun machine introduced at Chicago’s Riverview Amusement Park this summer. Little cars circle a drum 27 feet in diameter which supports five circular tracks. The cars are loosely attached to the tracks and, by operating a foot pedal, the rider can lock his car to the track. As the drum revolves at about 15 miles per hour, the cars go around with it. Timid riders can release the brake pedal and their cars merely rock back and forth. But braver souls press the pedals and make like squirrels in a squirrel cage.

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Early Rollerblades (Nov, 1953)

Two-Wheel Skates Cut Noise
Centered wheels give these new roller skates the feel and maneuverability of ice skates. The artificial-rubber wheels, rounded instead of flat, are said to be less noisy, speedier, better for pivots and sudden stops. The two-wheelers are made by the Rocket Skate Co., Burbank, Calif.

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A Clock for Eternity (Aug, 1951)

Article about an incredible clock designed and built by a Danish Locksmith that was supposed to be accurate for several millenia. In addition the clock was to provide a dozen different kinds of astronomical data such as the the phases of the moon, precession and the orbits of the planets (Pluto is absent, I don’t think it had been discovered when the design was started).

In 1991 it was noted that many of its measurements were wrong. An examination found that grime and corrosion had were the culprits and from 1995-97 the clock was dismantled and restored.

More information on the restoration here.

A very similar, but much more ambitious and technically complex project is currently being undertaken by the Long Now Foundation. Led by Danny Hillis (founder of Thinking Machines and general all round genius) they are attempting to build a clock that will run for 10,000 years. Check out the project page for more information.

A Clock for Eternity

Jens Olsen, a little Danish craftsman — you’d have taken him for Santa Claus -— died before he finished the incredible task he set for himself. His countrymen have completed his life’s work for him—

By Kai Norredam

LATE THIS YEAR a new clock will start ticking away in the old Town Hall at Copenhagen, Denmark. It is not an ordinary clock, for this is a timepiece built for eternity, a mechanism that will keep an accurate record of the time throughout the solar system, a clock we expect to tick away for three or four thousand years.

The maze of gears and shafts in our clock is so accurate that the pointer showing the eclipses of the sun and moon makes one revolution in precisely 6798.36152 days!

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Salvaged Bomb Makes Juvenile Space Ship (Jul, 1955)

Salvaged Bomb Makes Juvenile Space Ship
Its central structure a discarded 500-pound aerial bomb, a juvenile “space ship” gives two-foot-power transportation to Gene Montoya of Honolulu. The space ship was built by Gene’s father, D. L. Montoya, in a single week end at a cost of less than a dollar. The surplus bomb is lined with rubber padding and the wire wheels are from another juvenile vehicle.

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Cream Whipped By Expanding Gas (Jun, 1935)

Cream Whipped By Expanding Gas

AT THE push of a button, ordinary cream, subjected to a new process, can now be turned into whipping cream. The cream is first put up by the dairy in containers of automobile steel. Rendered air-tight by the elimination of oxygen, the container next receives an injection of nitrous oxide gas. As the housewife presses the button on the top of the small cask, the nitrous oxide expands, forcing out the cream under pressure and, through aeration, whips the product.

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The Gas That Makes You Laugh (Jun, 1949)

This is a Popular Science article from 1949 which teaches budding young chemists how to make nitrous oxide. It even helpfully explains that the gas produces “a feeling of exhilaration when inhaled”.

Other articles in this series include:

  • The crystal which eliminates the need for sleep.
  • The dust that lets you lift a car.
  • The weed that makes you feed.
  • The liquid that gives you control of time and space

The Gas That Makes You Laugh

Chemists call it nitrous oxide. You can generate this and other oxides of nitrogen in a home laboratory.

By Kenneth M. Swezey

AN ACHING tooth is never tunny, but i. the dentist who yanks it out may well first put you to sleep with a few whiffs of nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas.”

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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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