Archive
Impractical
HOW WE WILL EXPLORE THE MOON (Jun, 1959)

I love this. The 3 page description of how man will explore the moon includes this crucial fact: “Movies may be shown, if desired.”

HOW WE WILL EXPLORE THE MOON

An original MI design by FRANK TINSLEY

EARTHMEN who land on the moon will need a special lunar vehicle for exploration. The vehicle must be self-sustaining and capable of traversing both the smooth, dust-paved crater beds and climbing the steep rocky passes of their mountainous rims.

Mi’s design for this difficult job is a giant Moon Explorer unicycle with a spherical body mounted inside its rolling rim and composed almost entirely of inflated fabric parts. These constitute the lightest possible structure and can be easily disassembled and deflated for storage.

The Moon Explorer is 32 ft. high. It is driven by electric motors and stabilized and steered by gyroscopic tilting. Power is derived from a circular “parasol” faced with solar batteries that always face the sun. Those atop the disc are of the light-actuated type. The bottom units are thermal generators, extracting electricity from reflected ground heat. This arrangement uses every inch of area and constitutes a simple, long-lived generator with no moving parts. It not only produces free power but also serves to shield the vehicle’s body from the burning rays of the unfiltered lunar sun. Despite its large size, the parasol is extremely light in weight. It consists of an envelope of thin, inflated fabric, stiffened by internal spokes and a rim of inflated tubing. It is carried above the wheel tread on four light magnesium legs and mounted on a ball-joint so it can be tilted to any angle. An electric eye, linked to gyros in the hub, controls its movements automatically.

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Look! It’s Flying Disks Again! (Aug, 1951)

Yes, now you too can cook eggs on a flying disk!


Look! It’s Flying Disks Again!

PARIS has its flying saucer, but it is called “The Magic Plate.” It is a two-pound aluminum disk that floats in air without apparent support.

It moves up and down. It rotates. It lifts an ornate chandelier with bulbs burning continuously as it spins. If such trickery doesn’t prove that the plate is magic, it will fry eggs to a golden brown with nothing between it and the table but air!

Actually, of course, it is no more “magical” than the magic of electricity and the phenomenon of induction.

Below the plate, concealed in the table, are two concentric coils. The inner coil sets up a magnetic field that repels the tray, forcing it into the air. To keep the tray from slipping sideways out of the lifting field, a large outer coil is used. This develops a conical field, tapering toward the top, to keep the plate centered.

A third field makes the disk rotate. Four coils create it. Once the tray starts spinning, it does so for a long period even after the rotation coils are turned off because the drag of friction is almost nonexistent.

The chandelier weighs one pound. Its bulbs are lighted by induced current. The aluminum tray gets hotter than an ordinary electric iron, providing ample heat for egg frying.

What’s it all for? It is strictly a stunt used in Parisian store windows to attract customers and impress them with the magic of electricity.

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High-School Robots Learn the “Three Rs” (Jul, 1955)

The “Thinker” device sounds like B.S.. They admit that it has to be “pumped” with answers. My guess is that it either it just spits out the next answer in it’s queue when a button is pressed (I doubt the mike is hooked up to anything). Or, more likely, it’s just a complete fake and there is someone controlling it. It sure as hell doesn’t have voice recognition in 1955.

Also, it seems to me that $150 or $200 in 1955 is a hell of a lot of money for a high-school science project.

High-School Robots Learn the “Three Rs”

By Jim Collison

AN ELECTRONIC THINKER—a completely mechanical robot — built by Robert Kotsmith, 16, and Michael Chmielewski, 17, high-school juniors at Foley, Minn., is passing exams of a factual nature that would stump any uneducated robot.

The machine, built during a period of 10 months at an estimated cost of only $120, understands and answers the human voice. The Thinker answers mathematical questions, gives data on current events and history, writes and even learns new facts it does not already know.

Even to persons well versed on scientific progress, this project seems astounding. Foley science instructor Alfred A. Lease says this of his students: “Their accomplishments would make some college graduates look on with envy.”

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Flying BARREL to Carry 100 Passengers (Mar, 1933)

Flying BARREL to Carry 100 Passengers

Development of a huge “flying barrel” transport plane capable of carrying a hundred passengers inside its thick tubular hull is foreshadowed by recent successful test flights of the hollow fuselage plane shown in the photograph directly above, designed by Engineer Stipa of the Italian Caproni works. The picture shows: double cockpits placed on top of the cylindrical body, but in the refined version of the plane for large scale passenger traffic, the piloting compartment is faired into wing and propeller is driven through gears much like the dirigible Akron.

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Sun Hat Has Built-in Radio (Jun, 1949)

I love the two little vacuum tubes sticking out on top.

Sun Hat Has Built-in Radio

No, that’s not Buck Rogers. It’s just Victor T. Hoeflich and his Radio Hat. The hat works, too—it keeps the sun off your head while you listen to radio programs. The Radio Hat contains a real radio receiver-two miniature tubes, the volume control,
and the antenna (which looks like an oil-can handle) stick out on top. The rest of the circuit is inside the hat’s lining.
The hat weighs only 12 oz. The 7-oz. power supply—a flashlight cell and a B battery—is carried in the pocket. Mr. Hoeflich’s company, American Merri-Lei Corp., Brooklyn, N. Y., makes the talking benny.

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Home Made TV Station (Aug, 1949)

Next time you bitch about trying to get your video blogging software to work, check out what this guy had to scrape together to get an amateur TV station running in 1949. He built a garage full of equipment and had three giant antennas.

Radio ‘Ham’ Builds TV Station

California amateur sends voice and picture over transmitter made from $500 worth of war-surplus parts.

By Andrew R. Boone

PULSING through the California skies from a weather-beaten back-yard shack, the image of a beautiful brunette flows into television receivers around San Francisco Bay. The boys who have seen her call the vision Gwendolyn.

Reproduced by a collection of secondhand tubes and war-surplus video equipment, Gwendolyn represents the first standard TV image broadcast successfully and repeatedly by an amateur. Soon, from the same station, W6JDI-TV, radio ham Clarence Wolfe, Jr. hopes to televise live images.

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Soldiers Wear Camouflage (Jul, 1939)

That is some pretty amazing camouflage there. Why, I almost mistook them for trees. Trees with binoculars and handguns….

Soldiers Wear Camouflage
The men in the above picture are not inhavitants of Mars. They are only British soldiers, wearing camouflage in their helmets during a mimic battle.

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New “Twin Screw Life Belt” Saves Victim at 10 M. P. H. (Mar, 1933)

New “Twin Screw Life Belt” Saves Victim at 10 M. P. H.

B. NONOMURA, a Japanese lawyer of Los Angeles, had for several years been contemplating a trip to his native country. So remembering his stormy voyage to this country years ago, and being unable to swim, Nonomura turned inventor and at an inventor’s exhibit at Los Angeles recently he proudly displayed a new self-propelled life preserver, on which he has succeeded in obtaining patent papers.
Going around the waist and fastening over the shoulders in the regular manner, his preserver has the added feature of twin screws in the rear which are turned by hand with cranks. His device will not only keep the man erect in the water, but can move forward at the rate of ten miles per hour. Mr. Nonomura is seen with his new style life preserver in the photo at the left.

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Suck the hair right out of your head (Apr, 1939)

This reminds me of the playdough barber shop I had when I was a kid. The one where you stuffed a plastic head with playdough then rammed it through holes in the scalp like a pasta machine.

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Safety Holder for Fag Smokers (Mar, 1933)

The fact is, Jean Luc Picard can make anything look cool.

Safety Holder for Fag Smokers

For men whose wives complain about ashes on the rug, the invention of a Cincinnati, Ohio man will prove a great boon. This new “safety smoker,” as the gadget is called, consists of a small box like affair of light metal, with top and sides covered by a light screen. The fag is inserted and held as shown.

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