By Alfred Lief

HERVEY D. Thatcher, a physician in Potsdam, N. Y. in the 1880’s, ran his own drugstore and milked his own cow. He was concerned with sanitary milking and patented a Milk Protector with rubber tubes to discharge the milk into a covered pail and thus keep out the dirt. But it failed to interest his fellow farmers.

Then he carried his ideas of hygiene a step further—to the doorstep of the consumer. Milk delivery in bottles was unknown. A farmer went on his milk route with a can and dipper and the first customer got the cream but each time the can was opened, dirt from the street and hair from the horses fell in. The last customer got dirty skim milk.


A novel attachment for the phonograph by which a heavy sleeper may be aroused at any hour he wishes by soft music, was recently shown in London, England. The alarm-clock device is set at the desired hour, and wound. A brake on the turntable of the phonograph is released at the set hour by a slight pull from the alarm key of the clock.

Milk Now Delivered in Handy Paper Bottles (May, 1929)

Milk Now Delivered in Handy Paper Bottles

A SPEEDY motorcycle,it is said, can haul as much milk in new paper containers, recently introduced by a New York dairy concern, as a wagon can deliver in glass bottles.

The cone-shaped containers can be packed upright and inverted so that two quarts occupy little more space than a one-quart bottle. Moreover, two quarts in paper containers are said to weigh only seven ounces more than one quart in a bottle.

Before filling, the containers are paraffined to make them leak-proof and air-tight. After filling, the top is sealed with a metal clip. To open the new paper bottles, the top is cut off below this clip.

Hottest Thing in Industry (Jan, 1947)

There is a lot to love in this article: the giant Radarange microwave oven that is “smaller than a refrigerator” to the Speedy Weeny hot dog vending machine. I think my favorite however is the caption for the Speedy Weeny where they refer to a hot dog as a “fido”. It’s has a level of indirection worthy of Cockney Slang.

Hottest Thing in Industry


STOCKY John Bulkeley showed the world what a P-T boat could do to a jap warship and the United States Navy was sold solid on the little torpedo sling-shots.

Messages clattered from the Pacific to the Pentagon in those early days of the war with Japan: “Give us P-T boats,” the Admirals cried.

War production chiefs swung into action. Orders, triple-stamped with the highest priorities, whirled through the topmost echelons and shot out to the shipyards. Builders rolled up their sleeves and went to work. The Navy waited impatiently.

Time passed, the Japs swallowed up, island after island in their seemingly inexorable sweep and again the admirals flashed Washington:

Scientist Invents Nickel-in-Slot Blood Pressure Machine (Sep, 1934)

Scientist Invents Nickel-in-Slot Blood Pressure Machine

EVERYONE has put a nickel in the slot to make a telephone call, to buy candy, gum, horoscopes, and various gewgaws and “prize” packages; but soon, according to Dr. George A. Snyder of Hollywood, Calif., it will be possible to get a blood pressure reading for the same price.

Since the public became aware of the fact that excessive blood pressure accounts for twenty per cent of all deaths of persons past 50 years of age, Dr. Snyder has kept pace with this growing interest by inventing a machine which will make it possible for individuals to keep a check on this condition with a minimum of cost and inconvenience. Any adult can operate the device.

Laminated Glass Bends Like Rubber (Aug, 1936)

Laminated Glass Bends Like Rubber
A PLASTIC glass superior to any previously used has been made possible’ through the use of Vinyl plastic in the lamination or sandwich construction of the glass. Although shattered the glass remains in one piece and may be rolled up like a carpet. A man weighing over 200 pounds jumping on the glass had little success in severing the pane although it did sag under his weight. While developed especially for automobile use the glass is valuable for show windows and display cabinets.

PLASTICS – Modern Marvel of Science (Jun, 1939)

PLASTICS – Modern Marvel of Science

by John E. Pfeiffer

Science has learned the secret of converting natural gas. milk, acetates, ammonia and waste materials into useful products that enrich our lives. This is the third article of a series revealing their laboratory magic.

THE plastics industry crept up on the United States during panicky depression years. New that things have calmed down, people have time to look around a bit—and everywhere they look, they see hundreds of plastic-made objects. The moldable rivals of metal, lumber, china, and such materials that go into the making of objects for your home and office, are all around you in various forms, including everything from combs to salt shakers. Jewelry using plastics is to be found in Tiffany’s as well as Woolworth’s. The old-fashioned bar with its wooden surface and brass rail is giving way to stylish bars made with a brilliant array of colored plastics. John D. Rockefeller has plastic-made panels for the bathrooms of one of his homes, and the great ocean liner the Queen Mary uses about $100,000 worth of the new industry’s best wares.

Plastic Badminton Bird (Jul, 1952)

I’ve only ever seen plastic birdies, so I guess this was a success.

Plastic Badminton Bird
Now available for badminton players is a plastic shuttlecock that the manufacturer claims will last four times longer than a feathered bird. It is true in flight and unaffected by moisture or prolonged disuse.



To make it easy for a driver to signal his intention of turning, a new warning device is controlled from buttons mounted beneath the steering wheel and within convenient reach of the fingertips. Pressing the left-hand button illuminates arrows pointing to the left on front and rear fenders of that side. The right-hand button lights up arrows on the right fenders pointing in the opposite direction.

Code Machine Defies Brainwork (Apr, 1934)

Code Machine Defies Brainwork

DURING the World War, practically all governments suffered loss of code books which revealed to the enemy the contents of wirelessed messages.

And when the enemy did not have the necessary code dictionary, skilled code workers, by diligent search for a key letter or word, could usually decipher almost any message.

A new machine, invented by Swedish scientists, is said to be so complicated in its action that it defies solution by a human brain. A message is typed on this machine from a standard keyboard, but instead of delivering the words as written, the machine delivers them typed in the code which is being used.

To decode a message, it is necessary to have a machine arranged exactly like the one on which the message was written. The message is typed in the code in which it is received and it is delivered from the machine in ordinary, understandable language.