THAT young “commando” in your home will be the envy of the neighborhood when he goes out to play war with a toy walkie-talkie like that shown above. For all its G.I. look, the toy is built of scrap stock and a length of webbing or a belt.

The rectangular case is a 2-1/2″ by 3″ by 10″ closed box, with rounded top and bottom pieces overhanging the sides 1/8″ all around. Make the body of two 1/2″ by 2″ by 9″ pieces and two that are 1/2″ by 2-1/2″ by 9″, gluing and nailing the simple butt joints for strength. The mouth and ear pieces shown are turned in a lathe and then sawed off on a diagonal, as shown in the drawing, but if you are good at whittling there is no reason why you can’t shape them by hand. Two dowels form dummy controls on one side.

How the telescoping antenna is put together is shown in the drawing. Drilling the 1/2″ diameter dowel takes great care, and it is best to drill from both ends.
Finish with khaki paint and trim with white as in the photo.—Frank Mccarty.

Magic Garden (Apr, 1946)

Magic Garden

Dissolve a few chemical salts in waterglass and—presto!

CHEMICAL magic in one of its most spectacular forms can be practiced by any amateur who will borrow a leaf from his high school “chem” book and conjure up a few “crystal gardens.”

These aren’t difficult to make, and require no more material than the necessary chemicals, a good size aquarium and enough sand or fine gravel to cover the bottom to a depth of about 1 inch. The aquarium is filled with a solution of water-glass (sodium silicate), and the chemicals are dropped in it. As they settle to the bottom, they grow into a colorful pattern of intertwining clusters which might resemble a submarine forest in some as yet unexplored deep.

Electronic Tick-Tack-Toe (Aug, 1950)

How do you cheat in Tick-Tack-Toe?

Tick-Tack-Toe brain is invention of 18-year-old Noel Elliott, finalist in the Westinghouse science talent search. After three years’ work, involving a study of the 362,882 possible variations, he perfected the machine so that it either wins or ties every game. It responds with a light flash when you pull a switch in any square. Sometimes it’s caught cheating a little.

An Electric Massage for Milady (Dec, 1932)

While this sounds like a vibrator, it actually just electrocutes “Milady” with a pair of spoons.

An Electric Massage for Milady
MILADY’S complexion will benefit immensely from an application of “juice” from this little massaging device. There’s no danger of shock, and the complexion will not suffer a charring from the current, so it’s all quite safe. The only parts needed are: Four or five dry cells, preferably new and fresh; a short length of bell wire, two silver spoons and some tape. The hook-up of all this equipment is shown in the accompanying drawing. Note that the handles of the spoons are insulated with windings of tape, so that all danger of a jolt is eliminated. Apply the spoons to the face as illustrated in the drawing, patting them gently so as to get full benefit from the sparking. If need be, the operator can wear rubber gloves.— Walter Menyhart.

Toothpick Engineering Is Dentists Hobby (Feb, 1940)

Toothpick Engineering Is Dentists Hobby


MAKING scale models of giant engineering projects with flat wooden toothpicks and household cement serving as the structural materials, is the unusual spare-time occupation of Dr. M. Russell Stein, a New York City dentist. Ably assisted by his wife, Dr. Stein transforms boxes of toothpicks into architectural masterpieces that are accurate models of their prototypes, practically perfect in every detail.

Automatic Milk-Bottle Safe (Jun, 1932)

Automatic Milk-Bottle Safe


THIS simply constructed milk bottle safe will obviate the pilfering of milk from the door or porch, by automatically locking itself when full bottles of milk are placed inside. In addition, it provides a shelter from the weather.

Build Your Own One-Man Submarine! (Sep, 1933)

This is apparently the second article in the Modern Mechanix series: “How to kill yourself underwater”. The first being Build Your Own Diving Helmet.

They are seriously talking about getting in this thing and being towed 15-30mph at a depth of at least 30 feet. But don’t worry because “The air inside the boat will be sufficient for approximately half an hour’s stay under water”.

Take Thrilling Underwater Cruise in ONE-MAN SUB

YOU get all the keen thrills of deep-sea diving and underwater cruising in this one-man submarine. Towed by a motor-boat, the novel craft will take you down to a depth of at least 30 feet, where you can explore the river or lake bed. Through a special conning tower you can watch the fish as you dart among them, the while maneuvering about like a real submarine.

Make Your Own Kaleidoscope (Oct, 1944)

I love how they emphasize the fact that they used a COLOR camera.

Our Color Camera Takes a Look Through a Kaleidoscope



VISITORS to London about 1816 were amazed to see people in the streets gazing skyward through pasteboard tubes. But these watchers were peering at no eclipse or comet. They were fascinated by a scientific novelty that had taken London by storm—the kaleidoscope, invented by Sir David Brewster. First regarded only as a toy, it was soon adopted by artists as an aid in originating new designs. Sir David named his invention by combining three Greek words: kalos, meaning beautiful; eidos, form; and skopeo, I see. Almost anyone who has looked through a kaleidoscope will agree that the name is appropriate.

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

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.

Build Your Own Diving Helmet (Jun, 1933)

This is another one of those things that would never get by the liability lawyers today.


Improvement follows improvement in the design of home made diving helmets as amateur divers become more and more acquainted with their use. This one of Hoag’s is the last word in helmets so far published by good old M-M.

ALL the thrills of exploring the lake bottom are yours with this simply constructed diving helmet; and, if you do not dive too deep, you are in no particular danger, either. Besides its use in recovering lost outboard motors at a substantial profit, the helmet will give you one of the most interesting experiences of your life; for until you have breathed and walked at leisure under water, you have missed something. It will take a good deal of nerve to go down the first time, but after that it will just be fun.