How tough is a piece of meat? One of the first instruments ever devised to test it accurately was recently installed at the United States Bureau of Standards, at Washington, D. C.

A metal disk mounted on a board between a blunt knife and a crank handle, and attached by chains to both, records the force needed to draw the knife through a sample of meat by turning the crank handle.

Automat Now Eliminates Bartender (Apr, 1932)

Automat Now Eliminates Bartender
BAR tenders are eliminated by a new automat bar recently introduced in London. By means of a slot and dial, the customer is enabled to procure himself any drink on the list. Dialing the drink number delivers a “shot” from a spigot. At left are soft drinks, while on right are wines.

Handle on Doughnut Is Boon to Dunkers (Sep, 1939)

Handle on Doughnut Is Boon to Dunkers
Major hazards involved in the popular indoor sport of dunking doughnuts in hot coffee are said to be greatly reduced by the invention of a new type of “sinker” with a baked-in handle that should prove a boon to all dunking enthusiasts. Triangular in shape, the improved doughnut is fried around a wooden handle, making it far easier to maneuver in and out of a steaming draught of Java.

Automatic Food Cooker Runs by Exhaust Heat of Car (Jun, 1930)

Automatic Food Cooker Runs by Exhaust Heat of Car

MEALS can literally be cooked on the run through the use of the automatic cooker shown in the photo above. The cooker is mounted on the rear bumper of the motor tourist’s car and an extension from the exhaust pipe connected up with it, as shown in the insert. The cooker contains a steam pressure kettle which is heated by the hot exhaust gases. An hour’s drive is quite sufficient to thoroughly cook meats and vegetables. Total weight of the unit is so slight that running qualities of the car remain quite unaffected. Motor tours are much more pleasant when one is assured of a well-prepared meal at the end of the trip.



A single mushroom large enough to supply a banquet has been discovered and placed on exhibition in Switzerland. The phenomenal specimen tips the scales at eleven pounds, and measures more than a foot in diameter. In the illustration above, the giant mushroom is shown being weighed, while an observer checks its size with a centimeter scale.

FIFTEEN TIME-SAVING Household Inventions (Mar, 1935)

FIFTEEN TIME-SAVING Household Inventions

CHILD’S EATING SET. This practically unbreakable outfit will save the family china. The dish is divided into compartments for food, and has a well for the tumbler. A flange on the edge makes it almost impossible to tip it over

INDIVIDUAL PERCOLATOR. Coffee can be percolated right in the cup with this clever device, which has a 220-watt immersion-type heater in the middle of the coffee basket. It may also be used as a heater for water or milk

Wooden Knives and Forks for Polar Explorers (May, 1939)

Wooden Knives and Forks for Polar Explorers

Making wooden tableware for use by polar explorers is a curious side line of an Oregon woodworker. From carefully selected wood, he fashions knives, forks, and spoons that will be taken along by expeditions to the arctic and antarctic. At the extremely low temperatures encountered in the polar regions, metal cutlery freezes to the hands of persons using it.

Machine Vends Roasted Coffee (Sep, 1949)

Machine Vends Roasted Coffee

When you get your coffee out of this machine, you’re sure it’s fresh—roasted right before your eyes while you wait. The Infra Roast holds 150 pounds of green coffee and dispenses it, freshly roasted, at the rate of a pound a minute. The coffee goes first into a cylinder oven (see sketch at right above). There it is roasted by heat from infrared lamps controlled by a photoelectric unit that judges when it’s done by how much radiation the beans reflect (PS, Nov. ’46, p. 214). It next falls into a cooling chamber and then into a hopper. As needed, it is blown up and across the top where the chaff is removed. Scales then measure out an even pound into a bag.

Soup Seventy-Five Years Old Is Still Fresh in Bottle (Jun, 1936)

Soup Seventy-Five Years Old Is Still Fresh in Bottle
Seventy-five years ago Pasteur, the noted French scientist, bottled some soup in his experiments to prove that germs live in the air. That soup, still in its original bottle, and still fresh and edible as the day it was sealed, is now owned by Dr. Louis La Place of Philadelphia, to whose father Pasteur presented it after the elder La Place had studied under Pasteur. The faded, yellow inscription on the container reads “Prof. La Place. Veal bouillon. Pasteur.” By his experiments Pasteur demonstrated that germs do not generate in matter which is not exposed to air.

Popcorn Stand Is a Locomotive (Feb, 1934)

Popcorn Stand Is a Locomotive

AN ACCURATE model of a locomotive built on a popcorn wagon is attracting considerable attention and has greatly increased the sales of a French popcorn and peanut vendor.

All locomotive parts above the wheels are ingeniously made from sheet metal. A small boiler supplies steam for the locomotive whistle, but this whistle has the characteristic squeaky note of the popcorn wagon.

Corn is popped from the cab by pushing the popper into the firebox.