Graceful Stool…BUILT FROM COAT HANGERS (Sep, 1933)

This is a pretty cool way to make a stool.

By Eric Munsinger

A UNIQUE, light, and handy stool can be made from ordinary wooden coat hangers. As its weight is only a little more than a pound, it makes an ideal playroom or nursery stool for a child.

The only materials needed are: Twenty coat hangers, some plastic wood putty, a 2-ft. length of brass rod 3/16 in. in diameter with nuts and washers, and two contrasting colors of enamel or lacquer (such as light oak and dark mahogany).

Observatory Built of Junk (Aug, 1933)

Observatory Built of Junk

Great Earthquake Registered on Homemade Instrument—Horsehairs Make Hygrometer

WHEN slippage along an old fault sent violent earth tremors through southern California recently, it wrote a detailed story upon homemade instruments in an amateur scientist’s laboratory near the center of the disturbance. Upon the black drum of a home-constructed seismograph, it swung a needle, giving its builder, Martin G. Murray, a record of the disaster. Ever since last December, Murray had noticed an increase in the number of tremors. Fom December 16 to 26, his instrument registered fourteen shocks. In March came the quake that left hundreds of buildings in ruins.

Static on Moving Object Forms Magnetic Field (Jul, 1940)

Static on Moving Object Forms Magnetic Field
To the shaft of an electric motor, attach a disk of hard rubber, or an old phonograph record. Electrify the disk by rubbing it with a woolen cloth. Now start the motor. Place a small magnetic compass near the edge of the whirling disk, and the needle will be deflected, showing that it has been brought into a magnetic field. Such a field is set up not only by electric current passing through a wire, a familiar phenomenon, but also by charges of static electricity on a moving object. The faster the disk spins, the greater will be the magnetic effect. This curious phenomenon was first noted by Prof. Henry A. Rowland, noted American physicist.

Mechanics of Magic (Apr, 1934)

Mechanics of Magic


AN electric lamp, consisting of a tubular fixture, containing a battery, with a switch operable from the bottom, and a small globe, socketed beneath an inverted glass hood (such as illustrated) has recently been placed upon the market, and is securable at every large electrical supply house.

Should the mechanically inclined reader, however, prefer, the diagram will enable him to construct one of these, with but little difficulty. As will be noticed, the lighting and extinguishing of the bulb depends upon the plungerlike projecting peg arrangement at the bottom of the fixture. An excellent “spirit” effect is obtained by causing this light to mystically go on and off, guided, apparently, only by the will of the wonder worker.

It’s Fun to Play This Indoor Football Game (Feb, 1941)

Well they certainly look like they’re having the time of their lives.

It’s Fun to Play This Indoor Football Game

Played by two to six persons, this game provides endless fun for members of your family or your party guests. The object of the game is to drive a table-tennis ball into one of the two goal baskets at opposite ends of the box. This is done by hitting the ball with wooden paddles attached to dowel rods, which are turned and pushed back and forth by hand. There are eight rods; the two center ones have four paddles each, the next two toward each goal have three each, while the next pair have two paddles each and the last two next to the goals have only one paddle each.

Pinocchio the Puppet (Feb, 1940)

This would be even cooler if there was a string to make his nose grow.

Pinocchio the Puppet



PINOCCHIO, the wistful puppet created by Geppetto, the wood carver, in Walt Disney’s second full-length production, is an inviting subject for either a homemade puppet or an amusing and companionable little doll. The accompanying illustrations show how to go about making one patterned after the original, which was created by the Disney model department as an inspiration to the animators drawing Pinocchio.

If you are an expert wood carver yourself, the head might be fashioned from a solid block of soft white pine and the nose inserted (Fig. 1), but a surer way to achieve a fair likeness is first to make a clay model. From this a plaster-of-Paris mold is taken, and the head is cast in plastic composition wood (Figs. 2, 3, and 4). The hat is made in the same way as the head and glued on.

Thrilling Stunts with a Glass-Eating Chemical (Jan, 1938)

UPDATE: As reader carmarks points out in the comments below, these experiments can be extremely dangerous and you should not actually try to perform any of them. Hydrofluoric Acid can kill you so, be warned.

Thrilling Stunts with a Glass-Eating Chemical

Etching your laboratory glassware is only one of the many possibilities offered by compounds of the active element fluorine


NOT long ago, a noted chemist told of a solvent powerful enough to dissolve nearly every known material. If the water on the earth were replaced with a liquid called selenium oxychloride, he said, we should have to carry umbrellas made of glass, platinum, or tungsten whenever it rained, for those are about the only substances that the fluid does not attack. There is a more familiar chemical, however, so corrosive that it could even eat its way through a glass umbrella. Its name is hydrofluoric acid, and it is one of the interesting compounds of the highly active element fluorine with which you will enjoy experimenting in your home laboratory.

Simple Experiment Shows How the Universe Was Formed (Jul, 1936)

Yes, all you need to recreate the universe is a hand-drill, a thumb tack and some oil. Amazing!

Simple Experiment Shows How the Universe Was Formed

By Gaylord Johnson

A TINY globule of machine oil, spinning around in a beaker of wood alcohol, will reenact for you one of the most stupendous dramas of the universe—the formation of a giant spiral nebula.

Photographs of these far-off galaxies of stars made through giant telescopes show that, in spite of minor physical differences, they all have one feature in common: the main structure consists of two curving arms spiraling out from opposite sides of a central mass.

Obviously, this structure is the result of a whirling, centrifugal force. But why should there always be just two arms? That is what this simple demonstration will show you.

Fun with Explosive Gases (Nov, 1937)

Fun with Explosive Gases
Hydrocarbons Are a Subject for Many Spectacular Experiments in the Amateur’s Chemical Laboratory


WOULD you like to get gas from coal without heating the coal? To make an inflammable gas that will dissolve in certain liquids as easily as sugar does in coffee ? To produce a gas that burns with a flame you can hardly perceive? Or to create fiery bubbles of gas, jumping about like grasshoppers, from simple everyday chemicals? These are some of the curious and interesting experiments with hydrocarbon gases that any amateur chemist can easily perform.

Hydrocarbon gases are compounds of carbon and hydrogen. A large proportion of all natural gases, including methane, ethane, propane, and butane, belong to this group. Manufactured illuminating gas—both coal gas and water gas—contains hydrocarbon gases, together with non-hydrocarbons such as hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen.



Red Christmas candles that will-amaze and mystify the children can be prepared in such a way that when the wicks are lighted the outside, which is merely a shell, will shoot into the air and reveal a stick of candy. This is much more surprising and novel than an ordinary jack-in-the-box and is quite as safe.

Make the candles by rolling shiny red paper into a tube. Each tube fits over a stick of candy set in a hole in a 3 in. wooden disk, also enameled red. In the top of each tube, resting on the candy, is placed a coil spring tied up with a cord, and the ends of the cord project out of the top to form the wick. The cord is prepared in advance by dipping it into a hot, saturated solution of saltpeter with a little glue added. When the wick is lighted, it will burn down quickly and release the spring, and the candle shell will be shot high into the air.

A few candles prepared in this way will add to the gayety at any Christmas or New Year’s party.—G. S. G.