Edison’s Magnificent Fumble
By ROBERT D. POTTER
AMERICA’S No. 1 inventor just missed one of the greatest inventions of all time. But he discovered the clue that enabled others to perfect it.
Most of those who currently celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Alva Edison at Milan, Ohio, on February 11, 1847, remember him for his electric light, talking machine, and moving pictures.
Many recall, too, his stock ticker, multiplex telegraph, storage battery, fluorescent lighting, and Portland cement.
Perhaps few, in contrast, ever heard of the Edison effect, to which we owe the vacuum tube and the marvels built around itâ€”radio, television, radar, electron microscopes, atom smashers, and unknown wonders still to come.
THE BOEING PLANES
An interest in aviation as a hobby led to the building of the world’s largest bombing planes.
TO ANYONE familiar with aviation, the name Boeing calls to mind the engineering of a variety of aircraft from small fast pursuit ships to big four-engined “flying fortress” bombers and commercial transports. A two-decked flying boat with a wing span of 152 feet, which will be capable of carrying as many as sixty passengers and a 107-foot span low-wing monoplane, designed for high altitude and sub-stratosphere flying, are being developed by Boeing at this time.
It is interesting to note that the founding of the Boeing organization and the eventual engineering of these super transports is the result of an accident. Back in 1916, William E. Boeing, who had become interested in aviation as a hobby, and had learned to fly in California, had a crack-up with his plane. In contemplating the possibility that the damaged craft might be repaired in Seattle, he finally decided that an entire new plane should be built. Gathering a small group of interested men, he formed the Pacific Aero Products Company and in a small one room plant production was begun on the first Boeing ship, the B & W seaplane trainer of 1916. An unequal span twin-float biplane fitted with a 125 h.p. Hall-Scott motor, it had a cruising speed of some 60 m.p.h.
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Science in 1872
By Hal Borland
Its Growing Importance Brought About the Publication of Popular Science Monthly
IN 1872, the year Popular Science Monthly was founded, Thomas Alva Edison and Alexander Graham Bell were 25 years old. Edison had already improved the telegraph and was experimenting, in his Newark laboratory, with other uses for electricity. Bell was teaching phonetics for deaf pupils in Boston. Samuel F. B. Morse died that year, and in the first issue of The Popular Science Monthly an editorial note said that “his name and work will help to save our age from oblivion in the distant future.”
Lost: A Generation of Scientists
By LEON SHLOSS
Fundamental scientific research is at a standstill in America. That is the harsh fact of a matter that has been hushed and avoided too long. The cause is a literal interpretation of democracy that has yanked 150,000 men out of scientific studies to make a scant two percent of the total armed forces.
More than 15,000 of these drafted science students by now would be working toward their doctorates if they were British or Russian. But being Americans they were drafted. Also kidnapped by the armed forces were many brilliant practicing scientists who happened to be young and healthy. And unless Congress has been unusually alert in the few weeks it has taken to print this magazine, our present and future scientists are still being drafted, although trolley cars are running again in the ruins of Nagasaki.
Remember when nylon meant wartime queues lined up for scarce hosiery? Nylon means many things todayâ€”brushes and gears and egg beaters. Let’s look at this amazing plastic once more as
NYLON REACHES SWEET SIXTEEN
By Robert E. Paquin
NYLON, A COMMONPLACE WORD today, is just 16 years old, yet to many it seems as if it has always been here. For only 14 years it has adorned feminine legs, but today this tough, durable chemical has invaded a variety of industries. Molded-nylon components now go into everything from egg beaters to motorcars. Nylon’s amazing toughness and resistance to wear, even when lubrication is nonexistent, have made it a first-class engineering material. New uses for the versatile plastic are being found daily.
I love this little diatribe against animal rights activists because it shows how little has changed in the last 50 odd years. If this guy is still alive I’ll bet he’s working for Fox News. He uses the exact same techniques they do. People who don’t strongly support vivisection “hate humans”, much like liberals “hate America”. He sets up straw men and creates fictional arguments to knock down, for example stating that anti-vivisectionists are against counting a cat’s heartbeats. Really? Because his title for them seems to imply that their primary objection is to cutting open and dissecting live animals.
The other truly modern part of this letter comes in the first to last paragraph. There the author explains that if you speak out against the animal-rights movement you will be tortured just like those people in the Nazi death camps. It looks like Godwin’s Law was alive and well long before the Internet. This article was written just 4 years after the holocaust and already liberals are Nazis.
The Truth About “Experimental Animals”
DO you like dogs? Then you should read the article, “Science Tries You Out On the Dog,” on page 151. Not only does it tell you some things about dogs nobody knew before; it will also give you an idea of what animal experimentation is all about.
You should know that your liking for dogs is lending silent support to an organized campaign against the use of experimental animals. Your sense of human decency is being used by a few willful people to threaten anyone who questions their motives. These people are crazy about dogs. Literally crazy in some extreme cases, where it isn’t that they love dogsâ€”but that they hate humans.
TYPE BY GOUDY
FREDERIC W. GOUDY, Greatest American Type Designer, Has Left His Imprint on the World by Creating More Than 100 Beautiful Faces to Give Dignity and Simplicity to the Pages on Which Man Records His Dreams
By ANDREW R. BOONE
FUTURE generations will know Frederic W. Goudy as the man who left a greater imprint upon the recorded story of his time than any historian or craftsman living today.
At 40, this short, plump, pinkish, and puckish gentleman kept books for a Chicago realtor, and considered himself a failure. During the next 36 years, starting almost from scratch at an age when most men are permanently set in their chosen vocations, he cut 113 fonts of type, thereby creating more usable faces than did the seven greatest inventors of type and books, from Gutenberg to Garamond. Now 76, he is the dean of twentieth-century designers.
The Camera Queen
Margaret Bourke-White, who saw beauty in the lines of a steel girder and the blackness of a coal mine, pioneers a new era of photography.
by Richard H. Parke
WHEN I called on Margaret Bourke-White in her spacious penthouse studio in a Fifth Avenue office building, she had just returned to New York from photographing a new textile mill in the South. Piled high in the center of the vast room was the equipment she had carried with her: A couple of cameras, a box of flashlight bulbs, a folded tripod and three or four travel-scarred suitcases.