Archive
Entertainment
Rifle shoots infrared ray (Oct, 1962)

Rifle shoots infrared ray
You can stand in front of this target rifle without fear of being hurt. Instead of bullets, it shoots a beam of light. Both rifle and its special target are powered by flashlight batteries. A bull’s-eye is scored when a pulse of infrared light strikes the center of the target and activates a flashing light and a bell. The rifle is manufactured by Infrared Industries, Waltham, Mass., makers of electronic devices for the government’s missile and satellite programs.

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Midget Midget Racer (Sep, 1949)

George Andrews, of Akron. Ohio, who likes to drive midget racers, wants his son to follow in his footsteps; so he built this “midget midget” for Junior. It isn’t powered now, but George plans to mount a Ford starter motor on the rear axle. Eventually, after Junior masters the battery-driven job, a one-cylinder gasoline engine will be employed for power.

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HOW TO MAKE PHOTO CARICATURES (Apr, 1962)

HOW TO MAKE PHOTO CARICATURES
By Weegee (The Famous!)
WANT to accent a prominent feature such as the eyes or jaw in a photo caricature? Using distorted sheet plastic as a supplementary camera lens will do it. Take a clear sheet 1/16 to 1/2-inch thick, heat it in an aluminum foil pan, twist it with gloved hands and dunk it in cold water. Then turn it before the subject, looking through for the desired effect. Repeat the heating and twisting if necessary. Once you have the effect, take the photo through the plastic. Some remarkable results are illustrated.

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Synthetic Scenery Eliminates Movie Sets (Mar, 1933)


Synthetic Scenery Eliminates Movie Sets

HUGE, one-sided sets built at great cost in Hollywood movie studios to recreate for the camera famous buildings and famous settings, are fast becoming obsolete. Stored away in round metal cans in the film vaults of Radio Pictures, are hundreds of well-known synthetic settings, and cameramen are now being sent around the world to gather thousands more, to be used in a revolutionary new process called “rear projection.”

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WHAT TIME IS GREEN? (Apr, 1954)

What does now taste like? Sweeter or more bitter than then?
What sound does purple make?
What does 12 smell like?

At Bell Labs, we’re working on all these questions and more!
Bell Labs, for all your existential research needs.

Also, I love the fact that they didn’t spring for a color ad.

WHAT TIME IS GREEN?
In color television, the colors on the screen are determined in a special way. A reference signal is sent and then the color signals are matched against it. For example, when the second signal is out of step by 50-billionths of a second, the color is green; 130-billionths means blue.

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The Return of The Toys (Dec, 1946)

Gallery of new toys for the 1946 Christmas season, the first one toy makers could gear up for after WWII. Check out the “reaction jet engine” on page 3 and the proto-legos on the last page.


The Return of The Toys

This year’s mechanical marvels are sturdier, more realistic —and more expensive.

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Flat Screen TV in 1958 (Jan, 1958)

I’m not sure this was real. It seems like if it really worked, we’d all have them. This is a Cnet article from 2004 about brand new flat CRTs and they are 16″ deep…

Update: This was real. It looks like it got abandoned more because of licensing and a standards battle than anything else. Here is a really interesting interview (pdf) done with the inventor from 1996.

AIKEN: “They finally agreed to a license. But, at the last minute, I guess at a Board of Directors’ Meeting for the final approval, somebody on the Board of Directors’ of RCA said, “Wait a minute, we’ve forgotten something. How are we going to explain to our stockholders that we wasted millions of dollars on the wrong tube?” And there was silence. And that did it. They said, “No, we will not take a license.”

Thin Tube Foretells Wall TV and Sky View for Air Pilot

BECAUSE OF NEW TECHNIQUES in the field of electronics, airplane instrument panels and home television sets may soon have something in common—a rectangular picture tube less than three inches thick. The thin cathode-ray tube was invented by William Ross Aiken and developed in the Kaiser Aircraft and Electronics Corporation laboratories. Military uses for the new TV tube were developed for the Douglas Aircraft Company. For the aircraft pilot, the thin TV tube will serve as an electronic windshield, showing an artificial picture of the terrain and sky conditions about him. For the TV viewer at home, the new picture tube may result in new designs for sets, with screens mounted in any wall or hung like picture frames. The picture tube, only 2-5/8 inches thick, is made of two rectangular pieces of plate glass with about an inch of space between them. The edges are sealed with powdered-glass solder to hold the vacuum. The surface of the thin tube is the equivalent of a 21-inch conventional screen. In the thin tube, the electron beam is injected at the bottom of one side. Deflection plates along the bottom edge bend the beam upward between the front and back glass walls. The inside of the front wall is coated with a new transparent phosphor which is said to improve the contrast. The thin TV tube also is reported to have sharper focusing properties. A new method of printing electrode elements on the inside surfaces of the glass eliminates the need for assembled metal parts. Printed circuits are used in the tube controls. The thin tube will replace many of the instruments needed for blind flying of an airplane and can be operated by a small electronic computer. A similar control system was developed by Allen B. Dumont Laboratories, Inc., for Bell Helicopter Corp.

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CATV Is Coming to Your Town (Jun, 1970)

The last sentence is the kicker: “Some experts are predicting—for less than the cost of the family car— a complete home communications terminal with access to computer libraries, two-way video, and hundreds of input channels. Cable TV could make it all come true. ”

Once just a way to get signals to distant places, cable TV is now growing fast even in big cities. Here’s why

CATV Is Coming to Your Town

One of these days soon, a salesman will ring your doorbell and offer a special service called cable TV. “Why bother?” you may ask. “I’m perfectly satisfied with the reception I’m getting now on my five [if you're average] channels.” True, you may be getting good TV reception. But CATV (Community Antenna TV) will offer you better reception, and more. Added up, here is what you will get:

• The five channels you would usually pull in with your antenna— but much sharper and clearer.

• Three, maybe four, other stations from other cities. Two or three of them will probably duplicate much of the network programing you’re already getting. But one or two may be independents that you have no way of seeing, short of moving to the next town. That’s a total of nine channels off the air.

• Three local channels—continuously broadcasting time/weather, news/stock ticker, and local live broadcasts—from town meetings to high-school ball games. That’s 12 channels so far.

• There’s more coming: pay TV on the cable. This is the most exciting home-entertainment prospect of all. Pay cable channels will cost extra.

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Augmented Reality (Aug, 1962)

‘Seeing Things’ with Electrocular
YOU can look two ways at once with this 30-oz. electro-optical viewing device. The Electrocular uses a miniature cathode ray tube 7 in. long, a deflecting mirror, a focusing lens, and a dichroic filter viewing eyepiece to present a TV-type image without distracting from the work in front of you.
The developer, Hughes Aircraft Co., Fuller-ton, Calif., says the unit will let a repairman work on the rear of a digital analog panel (Fig. 1) while closed-circuit TV camera (outlined) pipes the results to him from the screen in front. Or a pilot (Fig. 2) can see a TV picture of air traffic information and ground conditions while he’s still in flight.

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Science Creates a Monster (May, 1954)


This is the monster from The Creature from the Black Lagoon. It’s 50th anniversary site is here.

Thanks to Stannous for the tip about the anniversary site.


Science Creates a Monster

Hollywood has produced some weird costumes but this $18,000 horror-suit tops them all. By Harvey B. Janes

AN ominous order rang through the studios of Universal-International pictures recently: “Gill-Man—report to the underwater tank to test your three heads!”

Accordingly a horrible monster, half man and half fish, lumbered menacingly across the lot, stopped at the huge water tank, poised for an instant and then plunged into the murky depths.

To the casual observer it might have seemed as though the studio was being attacked by a frightful sub-human creature from out of the past but the camera and set crews, producer, directors, actors and script girls all held their ground bravely. Were they too frightened to move? Or did they all know it was a trained monster?

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