From Block to Blockhead in Two Days’ Time (Aug, 1938)

From Block to Blockhead in Two Days’ Time

There’s no such thing as mass production in the dummy-making business. One day your friend Charlie McCarthy was a chunk of wood. Next afternoon he was Charlie McCarthy, ready to talk if someone would think out loud for hint. In two days a block becomes a blockhead, without benefit of factory methods. Every dummy is made to order, chiseled to fit the personality desired by the ventriloquist; only one machine operation takes place, the slitting of the dummy’s chattering chin by a handsaw. The rest is hand work. Above, you see a dummy’s brain: the finger controls which manipulate chin and eyeballs. From top down around the page are the first stages in a dummy’s life a cube of basswood or buckeye; chiseling out the face contours; shaping the mouth; screwing the head together after installing “brains,” and sawing the chin.

Upturned Rowboat Forms Roof of Tiny One-Room Cottage (Aug, 1938)

Upturned Rowboat Forms Roof of Tiny One-Room Cottage
All’s shipshape in this little cottage at Whitstable in Kent, England! An upturned rowboat forms the tight gable roof of the one-room house, whose walls meet in a point beneath the bow of the boat. Not so nautical is the big brick chimney.

Fight Artillery Duels in Fascinating War Games (Dec, 1932)

Fight Artillery Duels in Fascinating War Games


You fight real, deadly battles on a small scale in these fascinating war games, which have all the strategic elements of nation-against-nation campaign. Exploding battleships, forts and tanks and an accurate long – range mortar compose your fighting forces, built as described in this article.

MANY of us have been fascinated by photographs or moving pictures of huge artillery pieces sending their shells screaming up into the air on their way toward a target perhaps out of sight beyond the horizon. The gunners usually do not see the target, but fire in a certain direction and at a certain elevation from data furnished to them.

The toy mortar shown in the photographs and drawings will shoot small soft clay balls in the same manner as the big guns and with surprising accuracy. It can be used as the basis of some interesting games that will attract many of the older folks in addition to the youngsters. Easily constructed targets which explode (mechanically speaking) when hit, a moving target and others are also part of the equipment described.

Personalized Laundry Bag for Child’s Room (Dec, 1950)

Is this to show your daughter what she’ll look like when she gets knocked up? Seems like a mean thing to do to a little kid.

Personalized Laundry Bag for Child’s Room
Topped with a portrait of its little owner, this child’s laundry bag looks much like a life-size doll, and its novelty will go far to encourage children to take care of their soiled clothing. A good close-up snapshot of the child is selected and that portion of the negative showing only the head and possibly part of the shoulders is enlarged as close to 8 x 10 in. as possible.

Comic-Strip “Talkies” (Dec, 1933)

Comic-Strip “Talkies”


By Morton Bartlett

UNIQUE comic-strip “talkies” can be given in your own home at trifling cost. The pictures are thrown upon a screen by means of a simply made magic lantern, and the children speak the lines of the various characters through a home microphone connected to an ordinary radio receiving set.

The materials are listed on page 85. The first step is to make the lantern. Its width is equal to the focal length of the magnifying glass which will be the lens. Determine this by tacking a piece of paper against the wall 10 ft. from a lighted lamp. Hold a ruler perpendicular to the paper, and run the lens, perpendicular to the ruler, along the inch marks. At some point a clear image of the lamp will be seen on the paper. The focal length may now be read from the ruler. This distance is the dimension YM in the drawings. Having found this basic dimension, cut ten pieces of wood as specified in the list.

Puppets Made from Light Bulbs (Aug, 1939)

Puppets Made from Light Bulbs
ELECTRIC-LIGHT bulbs and radio tubes form the basic materials with which Alfred Wronkow, of New York City, fashions the amusing caricature figures shown above. For the “social-light” wedding scene pictured, Wronkow used common household items to dress the principals and attendants at the fusing of “Claire Coppertop,” a dainty twenty-five-watt bride, and “John Glasstum-my,” her husky seventy-five-watt groom.

A One-Man Show with a Magic Hat (Sep, 1933)

A One-Man Show with a Magic Hat

IMPERSONATING different characters by appearing in a succession of hats is a trick well-known to the stage comedian and one that you can easily perform in your home with the aid of the simple ring of felt shown here. By folding and twisting it, the wearer transforms himself successively into a general, a president, a clown, and as many other personages as ingenuity may suggest. Make the ring of heavy hat felt if procurable; otherwise, have two thicknesses of the lighter grade, that every dry-goods store sells, stitched together on a sewing machine. A mirror behind a screen will help you to adjust your hat carefully but speedily for each impersonation. To aid in learning the shapes, the indicated letters may be chalked on the ring. At the end of entertainment, pull the ring down around your neck and say, “Myself.”

Garage Door Tells Time (Mar, 1954)

Garage Door Tells Time
An eight-foot clock decorates the garage door on the home of Clifford Cattell of Adrian, Mich. He says raising the door doesn’t interfere with the wooden works. Yes, he’s a clock designer by trade.

Magnesium the BANTAMWEIGHT METAL (Aug, 1946)


How Chemists Have Put It to Work as a Jack-of-All-Trades.


DURING the war magnesium was extensively used as a lightweight structural metal for aircraft parts and as pyrotechnic material for star shells, signal flares, tracer bullets, and flash and incendiary bombs. Strong, silvery white, and only two thirds as heavy as aluminum, it is the lightest of all construction metals. In the form of powder, thin sheets, or wire, it burns with a dazzling flame that water or even carbon dioxide will not put out. Never found alone in nature, magnesium is made on a tremendous scale by the electrolysis of its compounds. These compounds are among the most plentiful substances in the crust of the earth. Whole mountain ranges consist of dolomite, a double carbonate of magnesium and calcium. Asbestos, talc, and meerschaum are magnesium silicates. Epsom salts, named after the springs at Epsom, England, where they were first isolated in 1695, are magnesium sulphate. In the form of its chloride, there are nearly 6,000,000 tons of magnesium in every cubic mile of-the sea, a vast storehouse of supply.

Motor Unit Runs Bike or Mower (Jan, 1948)

Motor Unit Runs Bike or Mower

Powered by a 1-1/2-hp. engine, a two-wheeled unit designed and built by William Lusk of Cicero, Ill., can be readily attached to a bicycle, lawn mower, or scooter. Small pneumatic wheels carry its 200-lb. weight without marking soft turf and give ample traction for cutting heavy grass. Used on the highway as a scooter or bike motor, the unit delivers better than 25 m.p.h.

Lusk used a 1/8″ steel plate as a combined platform and chassis. The axle is a 5/8″ steel shaft running in ball bearings, with a small over-riding clutch at each wheel to give differential action. Power is transmitted by a pair of V-belts from the engine to a 7-to-l gearbox taken from a washing machine. A movable idler acts as the main clutch. By using V-belt pulleys of different diameters, Lusk changes the effective gear ratio to suit the job the unit is doing.