Television’s Million-Dollar Jackpot for Inventors (May, 1950)

Sounds a bit like a proto-kickstarter:

“Farmer then frankly announced that the inventors needed funds and that he believed their invention was really an important one—just the thing for barber shops, bowling alleys, hotels and cigar stores. He asked the audience to raise $5000 for a percentage of the business. His words were hardly on the air when the station’s phones started jingling up cash for the Van Doren boys. Eight of these callers wanted to put up the entire sum—thus offering a total of $40,000 to get the gadget on the market.”

Some variation of invention TV idea has been tried a number of times. There was a similar show in Chicago around the same time, one on the BBC a few years later, a terrible show called American Inventor a few years ago, and a current show called Stars of Science filmed in Qatar that was recently featured in Wired.

Television’s Million-Dollar Jackpot for Inventors

Best break many unknown inventors ever had is an inspiring Minneapolis TV show where gadgets star and gadgeteers win fame—and funds for their ideas.

By Alfred Eris

TWO brothers, Fred and George Van Doren, labored long and ardently to build a better shoeshine machine. At last, just when it looked as if all their inventive efforts would pay off, they found themselves completely stymied. Like so many other inventors, they had run out of funds —right on the brink of success.

New Movie Reel Records Sounds for Talkies (May, 1929)

Patent #1846055


New Movie Reel Records Sounds for Talkies

ONE surface of this new movie reel records pictures and the other sound waves. It is the latest invention of Frederick W. Hochstetter, Pittsburgh, Pa., and is expected to be of great aid in the further development of the “talkies.”

Material composing the reel consists of fabric which has been made fireproof. It is photographically light sensitive with special emulsions of great reflecting qualities.


I wish I could have gone to the Gilbert Hall of Science when it was still there. The Eli Whitney Museum has a large collection of A.C. Gilbert material called The Gilbert Project if you’re interested.


They Whistle!

They’re All-Electric!

They ‘Buzz’ with Action!

HELLO BOYS! Look at all the fun and action you get with my new Erectors

make your own BUBBLE COMPOUND (May, 1950)

Glim was a brand of dish washing soap

make your own BUBBLE COMPOUND

WITH a startling new formula worked out particularly for MI readers, you can produce rainbow-colored bubbles that last longer and are more brilliant than the old-fashioned kind made with a soap base. In addition to the natural rainbow coloring, it is practical to add luminous powder to the new formula so that the bubbles will glow when produced in the dark.




AT last the person interested either in movies or in photography has a real chance to follow his bent for one of the two and at the same time get enjoyment from the other interest. A complete outfit, including raw film, camera, and projector, is now being manufactured and offered to the public at a price which makes those who bought outfits in times gone by, think that Millennium has come.

Small Fry’s Play Stools (May, 1950)

Small Fry’s Play Stools

PLAY stools will keep children off drafty floors and are practical additions to any nursery. Here are two novel, colorful and sturdy units anyone can build.

The main parts must first be enlarged by laying out the contours on paper which has been ruled into 1 in. squares. The drawings are then transferred to wood 3/4 in. thick and the pieces cut out with a jigsaw.



Nathan Van Cleave is a top man in radio music whose improvements in his home recording machine grew into a prosperous business.

Photos by Bradley Smith

WHEN Nathan Van Cleave started playing trumpet at 8, he never dreamed he’d be conducting a band at 14. When he left Illinois University and came to New York, he never thought in a few years he would be sitting in Carnegie Hall and listening to one of his own compositions being played. When he started to experiment with sound reproduction to improve his music for radio audiences, no one could have ever made him believe he’d wind up with a flourishing manufacturing business. But it has all happened!

Large Images Now Obtained by Crater Tubes (Jan, 1932)

The key to “large” screen TVs of up to 6″-8″ is simple: water cooling.

Large Images Now Obtained by Crater Tubes

THE neon crater tube has practically revolutionized the television industry over night and has lifted the art from the “peep-hole” stage into the realm of real home entertainment. True, we do not have all the elaborate detail in the images received, that we might like to have, but the crater tube has gone far to brighten up and enlarge the television image. Anyone who has seen the Jenkins television demonstrations—such as those at the New York Radio show will agree, we believe, that the neon crater tube is indeed the device we have long awaited. It requires, however, a special lens-disc, and more energy than the flat-plate lamps which it succeeds.

Teens’ Broomstick Party (Oct, 1955)

Teens’ Broomstick Party

Shrill the wind and wild the night;
Spooks go prowling, black cats fight;
So set your spooky fears aside
And join us on a Broomstick Ride!


This party should be planned and carried out by the teen-agers themselves—even to cooking the supper. Mother should stay in the background. Place: A rumpus room or good-sized living room. Of course, a cabin in the woods would also be ideal, as would the municipal recreation rooms set up by your park service.

THE TELE-PAL (Nov, 1954)

Benjamin Frankenstein sounds like the name of a character from a cartoon about zombie founding fathers.


WATCHING TV was Benjamin Frankenstein’s way of relaxing each evening after a busy day at his Tele-Matic Industries, Inc., 16 Howard Avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y. But Ben had a problem. He and his wife were still living in the same two-room apartment they had secured when first married. Now, with two youngsters and a TV set in their bedroom, it was impossible for them to watch their favorite programs without disturbing the babies in the cribs.