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MOST of our giant oil refineries have glass skeletons in their closets. Before they spill one drop of gasoline, lubricants or other by-products of crude into the pipe lines or the stomachs of water, rail and highway tankers, their efficiency at squeezing out every cubic centimeter of value has been planned and proved in glass models sitting atop stone tables in engineering laboratories.

Actual creators of these refineries are the glass constructionists who fashion the prototypes. Typical of scientific glass blowers are three men in the laboratory of the M. W, Kellogg Company plant in Jersey City, N. J.—master glass constructionist T. A. Graf, and his staff of two, Robert Connelly and James Margiotta.

Steel – Backbone of the Modern World (Jun, 1938)

This was a really interesting read. I honestly had no idea how a steel was made. I wonder if it’s still done the same way.

Steel – Backbone of the Modern World
by Robert W. Gordon

A WORLD without steel—try to imagine it! Without steel, the whole physical structure of the modern world would collapse. Lacking this one all-important substance, the civilization we know would cease to exist. There was, of course, civilization long before the discovery of steel, but it was vastly different from ours; so different that it requires an effort of the will to picture a world without steel.



SHOWING every “bump and dent” in the land surface of the United States, the largest and finest picture map of its kind in the world is in the making in Washington at a cost estimated at 100 million dollars.

It is being made piecemeal style on an extraordinarily large scale, one mile of the natural lay of the land being represented by one inch of map surface. All the integral parts of the map dovetail together like the tiles of a mosaic. One of the maps can be carried in the vest pocket, yet, if spread out and pieced together, the geographical picture of our country would cover more than an acre of ground.

How Light Bulbs Are Made (Jun, 1933)

How Light Bulbs Are Made

1 Pictures on this page show the steps in the process of making electric light bulbs. First, the tungsten wire filament is drawn through diamond dies. So fine is this wire, one-quarter the diameter of a hair, that it is extremely difficult to see it

2 Here is the mechanical spider that takes the fine tungsten wire and winds it around a steel wire form to shape the filament. An attendant watches the process through a microscope to be sure the spacing is accurate

Here’s How Harmonicas Are Made (Jul, 1947)

Here’s How Harmonicas Are Made

HARMONICAS, like many another product, have taken their place on U.S. assembly lines. Largely imported before the war, the ubiquitous and versatile instruments, more familiarly known as mouth organs, will be mostly American-made from now on.

With an estimated 3,600,000 slated for production in 1947 by one factory alone, the hip-pocket band has rapidly become a precision-made, mass-production commodity with a wide public appeal and an industry all its own. Invented more than a century ago, the harmonica was once a toy, is today a real instrument with complex 50-note chromatic models now available.

Jungle to Factory—Trail of Auto Tire (Jan, 1924)

Jungle to Factory—Trail of Auto Tire

Sidewalk from Chicago to New York Could Be Built from Rubber

Annually Consumed in Making Treads and Tubes

ABOUT seven-tenths of the value of rubber products made in the United States is represented in automobile tires and inner tubes, while 75 per cent of the world’s entire output of the material is consumed in their manufacture.

Until recent years the “rubber trail” took its traders into the wildest lands of the tropics, where they confronted untold hardships in order to provide the motorist with velvet shoes for the wheels of his car. Now, the rapid production of rubber on cultivated plantations makes the collecting of the various grades a far easier task.

Mechanics of Magic (Apr, 1934)

Mechanics of Magic


AN electric lamp, consisting of a tubular fixture, containing a battery, with a switch operable from the bottom, and a small globe, socketed beneath an inverted glass hood (such as illustrated) has recently been placed upon the market, and is securable at every large electrical supply house.

Should the mechanically inclined reader, however, prefer, the diagram will enable him to construct one of these, with but little difficulty. As will be noticed, the lighting and extinguishing of the bulb depends upon the plungerlike projecting peg arrangement at the bottom of the fixture. An excellent “spirit” effect is obtained by causing this light to mystically go on and off, guided, apparently, only by the will of the wonder worker.

OLD WORDS GET NEW MEANING IN Queer Trade Lingoes (Feb, 1933)


Workers Coin Original Phrases as Short Cuts in Giving Orders or in Describing Features of Their Jobs

By Gaylord Johnson

An engineer is a hog-head
A new circus hand is First of May
Electric current is hot stuff
A yard switchman is a snake
A circus elephant is a bull
A fast freight train is a hot shot
A movie electrician is a gaffer
Circus monkeys are old folks
A freight yard clerk is a mud hop
A circus performer is a finker

IF YOU could listen to the jargon of two freight trainmen, you might hear this:

“You may not know it, Snake, but you’re lookin’ at a stinger that was once in line to ride the cushions. If it hadn’t been for a student tallow-pot—but I’ll tell you about it:

Real Scenery for Popeye (Nov, 1936)

Real Scenery for Popeye


LIKE immense slices of pie on a twelve-foot plate, curious miniature movie sets made of clay, wood, sponges, plaster, and cardboard now add new realism to animated cartoons by creating an illusion of depth. In the New York studios where Popeye, Betty Boop, and other famous characters of the screen cartoons come to life, such sets are replacing the flat, sketched-in backgrounds familiar in the past.

How Wallpaper is Made (Mar, 1924)

From the Stone Age to Wallpaper

Patterns of Today Reflect Designs, Coats of Arms and Tapestries First Used During the Middle Ages in Europe

ALTHOUGH the manufacture of wall-papers is one of the most interesting branches of the paper industry, comparatively few persons are familiar with its details or with how its development has kept pace with the progress of mankind from the earliest ages.

In the modern mill waste paper of various kinds—catalogue trimmings, office records and overissue newspapers—is reduced to pulp together with a certain amount of chemical, coloring matter and sizing. Since the output of this process does not have the color or texture necessary for the background, a coating of china clay, or plain ground color, is applied before printing.