SOON after water was turned on in a great pipe line in Colorado, trouble began with the joints. There were several hundred of them, all told, twenty-seven being in tunnels through the rock. In some cases, the sand nearby was caught up by the water jets, hydraulic sand blasts were created, and threatened with their cutting power the very integrity of the pipe and rivets.

Inventors’ Brain Children (Oct, 1937)

I don’t think Press-On Nails would have sold as well if they were called “artificial horn”. Of course, if you grew up watching TV in the 80’s then there really is only one brand of nails (video) worth talking about.

Inventors’ Brain Children

Many inventors vied with each other for public favor when they exhibited working or other models at the recent annual convention of the nation’s inventors, held in New York. Some of the most outstanding devices of popular interest are illustrated on the accompanying pages.

Grandmother of Pedro the Voder (May, 1939)

Here is the referenced article about Pedro the Voder, an early speech synthesizer.

Grandmother of Pedro the Voder

If a certain Professor Faber could listen to “Pedro the Voder,” the amazing new machine that produces artificial speech with vacuum tubes (P.S.M., Apr. ’39, p. 72), he would see the realization of a dream that haunted him a lifetime. For forty years this Austrian experimenter labored to create a machine that could talk. His nearest approach to it, by 1870, was the remarkable contrivance above.

Glass — a New Textile (Sep, 1936)

Glass — a New Textile

Glass, the magical material, is playing a new drama with glamour that is more fascinating than the tricks played by that ancient Asiatic magician, Aladdin.


WHEN that clever French statesman, Colbert, stole the secrets of Venetian glass makers, to make his France the center of world arts and industries, he little realized that, a couple of centuries later, the gleaming beauty of glass, which was then restricted to the manufacture of goblets and carafes, would be serving a hundred and one purposes in almost every industry to which the 20th Century man is heir.

Ancient Locks Portray Genius (Oct, 1937)

Ancient Locks Portray Genius

One of the finest collections of locks and keys in the whole world is owned, not by a collector of rarest objects, but by an internationally famous locksmith. It includes over four hundred of the most valued and historical locks in the world and completely depicts the evolution of some of the intricate devices developed by mechanics down through the ages.

Builds Remote Control Lawn Mower Device (Oct, 1938)

You can now buy remote controlled lawnmowers online.

Builds Remote Control Lawn Mower Device

Attaching two electric – motors, an old paint can, a wooden mixing bowl from a kitchen, sundry gears, wires and drive belts to a regulation lawn mower, Alvin Lodge, an unemployed mechanical engineer of Millersville, Pa., constructed a device that enables him to mow his lawn by remote control. As rigged up for its trial run, the mower successfully operated along a cable guide for a distance of 100 feet from the stationary control box shown being manipulated by the inventor.

Scientists Finally Find Long-Sought “Ghost” Particle Inside Atom (Jul, 1954)

This piece is talking about is the Cowan–Reines neutrino experiment which  garnered a Nobel prize in 1995.

It’s almost right. Neutrinos have zero electric charge, not practically none. They’re called neutrinos because they are electrically neutral. It means little neutral ones. There are actually three different types and although it was not proven until the late 1990’s, neutrinos do have a very, very small mass. Scientist know this because of  a process called neutrino oscillation (rather complex explanation). Unfortunately this process also makes it very hard to determine the masses of individual neutrinos.

There is an excellent episode of Nova called The Ghost Particle about the search for neutrinos. You can view a low-res version online here.

Scientists Finally Find Long-Sought “Ghost” Particle Inside Atom

At last scientists have trapped an atomic “ghost” particle that has eluded them for years. The particle is the neutrino. The chase began 20 years ago when scientists were forced to acknowledge the existence of the particle if their atomic theories were correct. Neutrinos are so small that they have practically no mass or electric charge. No direct evidence of the neutrino was found until the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory devised a scintillation counter that was thousands of times more sensitive than any other device to reactions caused by neutrinos.

…electronics in the news (Dec, 1960)

I love the contrast of the tiny Vidicon tube and the Perceptron that apparently requires giant letters and lots of lighting to do it’s recognition. Incidentally the Perceptron was an early neural network implementation.

…electronics in the news

SKY EYE FOR TV: The Editors of Electronics Illustrated are accustomed to receiving photos of pretty girls holding things from the manufacturers of tubes and other electronic components. We thought

Helium Balloons are Novel Features of this Parade (May, 1929)

Helium Balloons are Novel Features of this Parade

FISH and tiger balloons filled with helium gas were features of a recent parade in New York City in which a prize of $100 was offered for each balloon recovered after it had been released in the parade. The balloons were expected to float for a week before coming to earth. Helium is the same gas which is used in the Navy’s dirigible Los Angeles. America is practically the only producer of this valuable gas, refining it from natural wells in Texas and Oklahoma. Helium is especially valuable for aircraft use because it is an inert gas and will not ignite.

What’s New IN ELECTRONICS – Sony Walkman (Apr, 1980)

Of course the Sony Soundabout was later renamed the Sony Walkman.


Hi-fi for joggers

You don’t have to jog when listening to stereo music from the Sony Soundabout cassette player—but you could. It’s small, lightweight, designed to go anywhere, and produces high-fidelity stereo through its specially built headphones. Price: $199.95.