House and Home
Makes Coffee as You Drive (Sep, 1953)

Makes Coffee as You Drive
The young lady is enjoying a cup of coffee made by a German gadget that clamps onto the dash and plugs into the car’s electric system. Hot water filters through powdered coffee into a cup. Cimo Sievers, NYC, distributes Paluxette.

GADGETS Can Make Your FORTUNE (Sep, 1949)

One interesting side note about this passage:

“Another man who made a highly profitable find in the food field in recent years is Leo Peters, originator of the “Pak” margarine package, made out of plastic and containing a capsule for coloring. By merely kneading the “Pak,” a housewife can give a pound of margarine the appetizing hue of butter. It took Peters a long time to put the idea across, but once it was accepted by manufacturers he began collecting royalties estimated at $1,000,000 a year.”

Why, you might ask, couldn’t they just put the dye in the margarine? Well it turns out that the dairy lobby in this country had/has some serious pull. They saw margarine as competition to butter and had many laws passed that restricted the it’s appearance, primarily making it illegal to dye it to look like butter. The last state to repeal these laws was Wisconson in 1967. In Quebec, Canada it is STILL illegal to sell yellow margarine. More information on wikipedia.

Oh, and does anyone think that machine below looks at all “human-like”?


By West Peterson

THIRTY-FIVE thousand inventions will be patented in the United States this year. If one of them is yours— possibly a simple gadget with universal appeal—you may reap a fortune!

Anything from a new household appliance to an improved method of food processing, from a unique use of plastics to another member of the wonder drug family can pay off huge dividends to the lucky— and skillful—discoverer. While it’s true that many inventions are now made by research teams in well-equipped laboratories, there’s still plenty of opportunity for the scientific or gadget-minded individual.

Alternate Uses for Hot Things (Jul, 1938)

Hair Drier Becomes Sawdust Blower
Upper left-—A small electric hair drier mounted on a box standing beside a jig saw will be found useful for removing sawdust as fast as it forms.

Iron Heats Water
Above—If a curling iron is sterilized with boiling water and carefully washed, it will be found useful as an immersion heater for the sick room. Also, it will prove useful when traveling, as a means of heating water for shaving or washing. Photography fans will find the curling iron valuable for heating a small amount of water when mixing chemicals. One of the advantages of this type of heater in the laboratory is the lack of flame which constitutes a menace when certain chemicals are heated.

Sealing Wax Melted Quickly And Easily With Ordinary Hair Curler
A curling iron at maximum heat will be found suitable for melting sealing wax. If a number of letters are to be sealed, this method will speed up the work and is more convenient than using matches or candles. When finished, the wax left on the iron can be scraped off easily and quickly.

Hair Appliance Speeds Paint Drying
A small electric hair drier can be used to heat a paint drying cabinet as shown in the photograph. The “cabinet” can be nothing more than a cardboard packing box. A hole should be placed in the bottom to permit the air to circulate.

Flatiron Serves As Frying Heat Source
When an electric flatiron is inverted and placed in a holder as shown by the photograph, it becomes a good heater for the frying pan when eggs or meats are to be fried. The support can be made of wood or metal.

Planning Your ’44 V-Garden (Apr, 1944)

Have you started your victory garden yet?

Planning Your ’44 V-Garden

by Andrew S. Wing, Secretary-Manager National Victory Garden Institute

LAST year, challenged by the possibility of the greatest food crisis in history, 20,000,000 American families rolled up their sleeves and planted Victory Gardens. As a result we have had plenty of food this winter for home use and the fighting men on all fronts as well as our gallant allies. Canned goods have recently been so plentiful that a few people, watching the points go down, have, like the grasshopper in the fable, questioned whether they should work a garden this summer or not.

The answer to these slightly disillusioned persons is that they mustn’t be fooled by any temporary signs of a food surplus, for this is more apparent than real. Food officials in Washington and authorities everywhere are really concerned about the needs for food that lie just ahead, after the invasion starts.

Printing Press From Old Clothes Wringer (Jun, 1938)

Constructs Printing Press From Old Clothes Wringer

EXHIBITED at a science fair held in Boston, Mass., a novel printing press built from an old clothes wringer by Frank Jawroski, 18, created considerable interest among the spectators.

Stuffed Frog Makes Novel Lamp (Oct, 1934)

Stuffed Frog Makes Novel Lamp
NOVELTY taxidermy, in which mounted birds and animals are arranged in special poses to serve as useful articles, is fast becoming a fad in this country. One of the most popular subjects is the frog lamp.

A stuffed bullfrog reclines lazily against his toadstool shade, holding a tiny fish-pole. Swamp grass glued to the base makes a realistic shore line, while a bit of mirror serves as the pool.

Mounted bull-frog fishing on bank of pool under shade of giant toadstool makes attractive table lamp. Taxidermists find great demand for specimens mounted in natural settings such as this. Tiny electric light bulbs are under the shade.

Harried Secretary (Apr, 1945)

Can you imagine cooking ham, eggs, toast and coffee at your desk? I once worked with a woman who had a habit of microwaving bacon in our office, that was bad enough for me.

Eggs, Toast, Coffee
can all be made on this one compact utensil, among the first of the promised innovations awaiting the end of the war. After making ham and eggs, you can toast bread by raising the movable grill three inches above the heating unit. It’s a boon for harried secretaries.

“Orange-Peel House” for Campers Fits on Small Trailer (Jul, 1955)

“Orange-Peel House” for Campers Fits on Small Trailer
Developed in Germany, a portable shelter for camping or trailer travel looks like a gigantic orange —and peels apart almost like one. The parts of the shelter are shaped much like the segments of an orange peel. One person can fasten the segments together to complete the shelter in 15 minutes. The parts of the shelter including the floor are made of plywood. When the shelter is disassembled, the parts can be stacked on a small trailer for the trip to the next camping site. The collapsible house has two windows and a door. In Germany the “orange house” sells for about $150.

Toaster As Presser (Apr, 1944)

Toaster As Presser
YOUR iron isn’t working? Then use that sandwich toaster to press small items such as handkerchiefs, etc.; it works surprisingly well. Cover bottom half with piece of plywood to provide flat surface.

ROMANCE Of The TIN CAN (Feb, 1937)

Interesting article on the history and development of the lowly tin can. Also, if you have not yet been introduced to the techie crack that is the National Association of Manufacturers Blog, by all means, check it out. Every Saturday they post a video tour of a different factory or manufacturing process. One of my dreams has always been to make a Factory Tour tv show (without John Ratzenberger and all the promotional sound bites). Anyway, they have an excellent video showing the entire manufacturing process for tin cans here and it is very, very cool.


CUT all the tin plate used annually to make the tin cans of America into a strip one foot wide and you can wind that strip around the earth fourteen times.

Or, to visualize it another way, take the five billion odd square feet of tin plate into which we put our fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, beer, paint, oil. candy, cheese and tobacco each year and it would be a simple matter to can the moon. You’d have the biggest cheese can ever made, and still have a lot of tin plate left over.

The vastness of tin can production has brought this familiar article into the lives of nearly every American family, for it is in this country that the greatest volume of tin cans is produced. A good year will find between eight and nine billion cans for the food racks of this country and this is the business that accounts for the major percentage of cans.