Pedaling Peddler Sharpens Scissors (Jul, 1940)

Pedaling Peddler Sharpens Scissors
Both transportation and power supply for his work are furnished by the bicycle of the British scissors grinder pictured at the left. For the rear wheel of the bicycle that rolls this sharp-witted grinder from house to house in search of jobs also whirls the grinding wheels on a shaft mounted on the handlebars. A belt connects shaft and rear wheel.

DIY Voodoo Kit (Sep, 1956)


IF YOU know somebody who always beats you at croquet or who likes to swat you on the head and call you, “Old aardvark”—and who doesn’t know someone like that?— then what you need is a voodoo kit. With this you’ll spend many happy hours sticking needles into a little doll and pretending it’s your playmate. Voodoo is West Indian for black magic, which is the art of inflicting pain, sickness, death and bad luck by remote control.

Foam Furniture Rises Like Bread (Jun, 1970)

Those chairs are really cool. Why do you think they don’t sell flat packed chairs anymore? My guess is because it would be too fun for customers to walk along with a key and puncture them. I know that when I was a snot-nosed little punk I delighted in puncturing the vacuum sealed coffee packs in the supermarket.

Foam Furniture Rises Like Bread

What goes up and doesn’t come down? A new kind of furniture called “Up.” You buy it flat-as-a-pancake in a vinyl package. Cut open the vinyl and the pancake automatically expands into a modern chair. Once expanded, it cannot be recompressed and cannot be punctured.

It works like this: At the factory in Italy the furniture is molded of poly-urethane foam, and covered with stretch upholstery. Then, in a vacuum chamber, the piece is compressed to force out the air, and sealed in the airtight package. Open the package and the foam absorbs air, expanding to its
designed size and shape.

Rose Glasses on Chickens Reduce Fighting (Dec, 1938)

Rose Glasses on Chickens Reduce Fighting
There was murder going on in a New Jersey penitentiary yard. The prison chickens were killing each other. One after another, the young White Leghorns would fight among themselves to the death. Nothing was effective in preventing the quarrels until the warden tried putting rose-colored glasses on the birds. That stopped the fighting instantly. The Leghorns, the only fighters in the poultry lot, now are all equipped with aluminum-framed spectacles with center pieces extending in front of the bill.

Skeleton Made of Auto Parts Warns Motorist to Oil Up (Nov, 1938)

This looks like a giant prototype for the game Operation.

Skeleton Made of Auto Parts Warns Motorist to Oil Up

In front of a Green Bay, Wis., garage and service station is a startling display— a skeleton made of worn automobile parts. A mechanic, Bill Graunke, conceived the idea and collected old parts that could be assembled in the form of a human skeleton which would stand as a warning to motorists to take care of their cars by proper lubrication.

Hospital for Greenbacks (Aug, 1949)

Hospital for Greenbacks

Millions of mutilated dollars are pieced together by money-menders at the Treasury’s Currency Redemption Division. By James Nevin Miller

TREASURY Department officials were puzzled recently when a huge, evil-smelling package arrived in the mail. In it was the ash box of a wood-burning cook stove. A letter which followed explained the whole thing, though.

It was from an old lady in Baltimore who told how her drunkard son stole the entire family fortune and hid it inside her stove. When she cooked supper that night, the currency was scorched almost beyond recognition. Hysterical with grief, she was sending the charred remnants to Washington. Could they help her?

The box was forwarded to the Currency Redemption Division and three weeks later, thanks to a unique little army of Treasury Department workers, every one of the banknotes was identified. The woman received full value for her lifetime savings.


A MOTORIST who passes through the little town of Chateauroux, in central France, may stop and fill his gasoline tank at one of the strangest filling stations in the world. The owner, with an eye to attracting trade, has fashioned a housing for his filling pump in the shape of a monstrous elephant with upraised paw. The customer receives the desired number of liters (a French measure slightly larger than a quart) from a hose drawn out of the elephant’s leg. Since the site marks the intersection of several highways, the elephant station has attracted attention and is always busy.

New in Science: First Vibrating Pager, The Bat Signal (Feb, 1952)


Garter Buzzer
tuned to a transmitter informs the wearer that she is being called on her walkie-talkie. Receiver in model’s hand is only slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes but has a range of 12 miles, will be marketed when frequencies are allowed. Hoffman TV and Radio Co., Los Angeles.

World Biggest Doll is this Hopi Indian Kachina prepared for the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix. Standing 65 feet high, it completely dwarfs Miss Mary Ann Davis who poses near its drum base. Giant artificial feathers sprout from its headdress.

Seeret Weapon? No, just a super spotlight projector developed for German Sky Publication Co. in Salzgitter-Bad, Germany to beam advertisements on the night clouds. Called Astralux, it is 36 feet long, weighs 2-1/2 tons and produces 4,500,000 candle power. At an altitude of 16,500 feet an ad covers over 225,000 square feet.

Awesome Mail Buggy (Aug, 1950)

This car is so damn cool. I wish I had one.

Mail Buggy
Plowing through the mud roads near Bartelso, Ill., is a weird vehicle that combines the traits of a tractor and a car. It was built for a rural mail carrier whose route carried him over wheel-deep mud roads in river-bottom land. Mounted on a Ford model-A truck chassis are four tractor wheels to give the vehicle additional road clearance and power in low speeds.


Seems like this would be a loud place to eat, what with all the dishes sliding down chutes and all.

An automatic serving-counter for lunch rooms and restaurants is intended to eliminate the need of waiters. When the customer enters a restaurant where one of these appliances is installed, he finds a clean tray, having tiny wheels, and a menu card before his seat. After checking off his order on the card, which is later used as a pay check, he places it on the tray, pushes a button, and the wheeled tray travels on a track to the kitchen. Here, the cook fills the order and sends the tray back to the counter. At the completion of the meal, when the customer rises from his seat, the tray travels again to the kitchen with the soiled dishes.