Archive
Impractical
Cruising Parachute Driven by Motor (Oct, 1930)

This has a rather Inspector Gadgetish look to it with the extending tail. I’m pretty sure you’d want to put the propeller in the back so you don’t, you know, chop your feet off.

Cruising Parachute Driven by Motor

A PARACHUTE propelled by a two-cylinder gasoline motor is the latest safety device proposed to keep pace with the rapid development of the airplane. The idea, depicted on this month’s cover of Modern Mechanics magazine, was on the verge of an actual try-out by Buddy Bushmeyer, veteran parachute jumper, when he was killed in an airplane accident after he had gone up without a parachute for the first time in his long career as an airman.

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Freak Weather Caused by Sunlight (Jul, 1932)

Does that mean the hurricane is not really Obama’s fault?

Freak Weather Caused by Sunlight

RECENT abnormal weather in Europe and North America has been matched in the Southern Hemisphere by record rains and floods in South Africa and unprecedented heat in Australia. Weather experts claim the experiences of both continents are related to the same fundamental cause, which is the excess of heat from the sun four to six years ago. This was stored, it is believed, in tropical waters, resulting in unusual currents of hot and moist air.

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No-Lens Goggles (Jul, 1961)

Aren’t goggle’s supposed to protect your eyes though?

No-Lens Goggles

By distributing the force of a blow over the face, a guard gives protection without interfering with visibility. Made by M-K Products, 617 Queen Anne Ave., Seattle.

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“Covered Bicycle” Guards from Wind and Rain (Mar, 1941)

“Covered Bicycle” Guards from Wind and Rain

Many ingenious adaptations of the bicycle have been evolved by Europeans since shortage of gasoline, due to the war, has limited the use of automobiles. One Frenchman in occupied Paris, faced with the necessity of using his bike through the winter, constructed a shelter that covers him from head to foot.

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Electro Magnets Clear Tacks Off Universal City Streets (Mar, 1930)

Or you could just sweep the streets…

Electro Magnets Clear Tacks Off Universal City Streets

ELECTRO magnets on a bar mounted on wheels and trailed after a car make the streets of Universal City, California, safe for motorists. The magnets pick up nails, tacks, pieces of wire, lost bolts and nuts and a wide variety of other metal objects which if left in the streets would cause punctures and other tire trouble. Frank Graves, electrical chief of the city, invented the puncture fighter.

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BALLOON TO TAKE GLIDER ALOFT FOR STRATOSPHERE FLIGHT (Nov, 1935)

I think there might be just a few technical problems with this idea…

Oh, I don’t know.  In Project Excelsior  then-Captain Joe Kittinger bailed out of a balloon gondola over 19 miles high. These guys would have had an aircraft around them.

BALLOON TO TAKE GLIDER ALOFT FOR STRATOSPHERE FLIGHT
Plans for the first glider flight in the stratosphere are under way in Russia, where a motorless plane will be carried aloft by a huge balloon to a height of about twelve and a half miles and then cut loose. Enclosed in a hermetically sealed cabin, the copilots of the glider will guide its initial plunge toward the earth at an estimated speed of more than 250 miles an hour, made possible by the rarefied air of the upper levels of the atmosphere, and level it off for a gradual glide to a landing.

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Two Decades Ago in Popular Mechanics (Jan, 1924)

I’m pretty sure there are better ways to generate electricity on a train than using a windmill, maybe even ones that work when it’s not moving.

Two Decades Ago in Popular Mechanics

WHEN Popular Mechanics Magazine surveyed the field of invention a score of years ago, 1904 was just dawning, full of promise for the world in general. The past twelve months had seen the growth of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis, that was to memorialize a century of progress.

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Huge Cockpit Is “Bridge” of Giant Plane (Apr, 1939)

Wouldn’t it be better for the pilot to control the engines? Designing an airplane like a flying ship doesn’t seem like a great idea. Plus, that’s a pretty damn large cockpit!

Actually  Charlie,  everyone but Charlene pretty much got it wrong.  The pilots did indeed have engine controls in the cockpit as evidenced by the photograph in this article from Flight magazine.  A close up of the controls at the flight engineer console can be zoomed to where you can just read the labels on the first two sets of levers: Engine Cowl Flaps and Manifold Pressure Controls.  So the pilot “controls” the engines with the throttles, trim levers and mixture controls at his station but the engines are “managed”  and monitored by the Flight Engineer.

Huge Cockpit Is “Bridge” of Giant Plane
FIFTEEN times as large as the cockpit of a modern twin-motor transport, the huge control room pictured on this page is the nerve center of a seventy-four-passenger clipper plane, one of a fleet of six being constructed at Seattle, Wash., for transoceanic service.

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Electric credit card (Jun, 1970)

It’s like a smart card with out the smart! It seems like you could reproduce someone’s card by just looking at a picture of it…

Electric credit card

A printed-circuit credit card is the key to self-service gasoline in England. The gas pump unlocks when you insert your card in a slot to fill your tank. A data recorder recognizes your card, records your number and purchase on tape, and bills you later. The tiny circuit board doubles as a distinctive key fob.

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Autos to be Powered BY RADIO (May, 1929)

Autos to be Powered BY RADIO

AUTOMOBILES which will be driven by electric motors receiving their power through centrally located transmitting stations are predicted for the future by G. M. Williams, president of the Marmon Motor Car Company, who predicts that the present type of gasoline driven auto will be obsolete before the twentieth century is over. Automobile engineers are said to be already designing radio-operated cars.

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