I wonder how many mechanics got carbon monoxide poisoning before these were standard…


Danger of carbon monoxide poisoning is eliminated in a New York City garage by a blower system with junction boxes at convenient points. To these boxes are attached lengths of flexible hose which are connected to the exhaust pipe of the automobile being tested or repaired. In this way the noxious fumes have no chance to escape into the workroom.

Universe Whirls on Plaster Sky (Aug, 1930)

“AMERICA’S only planetarium” is a line that kind of jumps out at you.

Universe Whirls on Plaster Sky

AMERICA’S only planetarium, a million-dollar project, was opened recently on an artificial island in Lake Michigan just outside Chicago.

A planetarium is a building in which points of light, representing stars and planets, are projected against a dome by means of illuminated stereoptican slides to show spectators the movements of the heavenly bodies. This is accomplished by a huge, scientifically accurate projection machine.

Steamer Carries a Mile of Cars (May, 1929)

This seemed to me like an early, less efficient predecessor to modern containerized shipping. The obvious disadvantages are that you have to carry the whole train cars, they don’t stack well and you can’t put them on a truck. It turns out that if you look at the origins section of the Wikipedia page for containerization, they mention this company, Seatrain Lines (which went bankrupt in 1981).

These ships could carry 95 train cars. For comparison a modern Ultra Large Container Vessel can carry 15,000 containers with a capacity similar to a train car.

Steamer Carries a Mile of Cars

Loaded Freight Train, Hoisted Aboard by a Mammoth Crane, Is Swallowed by Ocean Ferryboat

A LOADED train almost a mile long disappears into the hold of a monster ocean ferryboat, two thirds the size of the liner Mauretania, which recently began operating between New Orleans, La., and Havana, Cuba. The freight cars, hauled to the dock alongside the Seatrain, as the vessel is called, are picked up in cradles by a giant crane and lowered into the hold.

Versatile vehicle (Nov, 1981)

I believe that is a prototype Humvee. According to the Wikipedia page, one of the competing vehicles was designed by Lamborghini(video).

Versatile vehicle

High ground clearance mates with a low silhouette in AM General’s new cross-country vehicle. Designed for a U.S. Army competition, the 1-1/4-ton prototype could serve as an anti-tank missile carrier, a fire-control vehicle, or even an ambulance, says the company.

Simulator trains locomotive engineers (Jan, 1966)

Things have progressed a bit since this.

Simulator trains locomotive engineers

Color movies on the windshield of a mock-up locomotive cab help British Railways train engineers to drive on a newly electrified line between London and Manchester. Simulated speeds up to 100 m.p.h, are controlled by hand throttle and brakes at the engineer’s side. The electronically operated cab, hung in a frame, is tilted by hydraulic jacks to show acceleration, braking, sway, and banking.

Taped sound effects include wheel-rail clicking, trolley splutter, brake roar and squeal, motor noise, cooling fans, and vacuum pumps. Volume increases when the locomotive “races” through stations and under bridges.

HE FOUND A WAY… Meyer Rhein’s Toothbrush (Nov, 1954)

HE FOUND A WAY… Meyer Rhein’s Toothbrush

By Alfred Lief

TOOTHPICKS, not toothbrushes, were the common means of dental care when Meyer L. Rhein graduated from Union University in 1880 with a degree in medicine. He was strongly interested in oral hygiene. After spending another year at a college of dentistry, he opened an office in New York as a dentist. Convinced that cavities between teeth and in back teeth could be avoided by proper cleansing, Dr. Rhein decided to remedy matters.



At least four famous racing drivers owe their lives to this simple 2-1/2-pound safety gadget.

FOUR Lincoln crew members of the recent Pan American-Mexican Road Race attribute their lives to the new Pacific Harness Safety Reel which bolts to the car’s floor. Attached to a shoulder harness, the reel allows cable to feed in or out, giving the driver freedom of movement up to 18 inches. But in an emergency, the reel locks instantly and automatically, snubbing the driver within just one-half inch of travel—perhaps saving his life.



Cellophane masks for doctors and nurses are a recent innovation at a Los Angeles, Calif., hospital. Worn before the face, the transparent shields are designed to lessen the chance of contagion in treating patients with communicable diseases, without obstructing the wearer’s view or otherwise inconveniencing him. The masks may be donned or removed in an instant, and are either worn with a headband or clipped to the users’ spectacles, as shown in the illustration.

Pedestrians Lose Last Refuge (Aug, 1930)

Yup. Nailed it. (video link)

Pedestrians Lose Last Refuge

Our artist’s idea of what may happen if they start playing golf by auto.

CURTIS W. WILLOCK. of Pasadena, is inordinately fond of golf. He may never be a champion but he certainly has contributed in a large measure, to the modernization of the ancient and honorable sport. Ordered by his physician to avoid fatigue caused by the long walk around the links. Mr. Willock had a special electric car built which permits him to enjoy the game.

SOUND ON A SPOOL (Aug, 1945)

Turns out that there were two drawbacks to using wire.  Although playable today they had a tendency to tangle leading to breaks.  Second, due to the short period recorders were made the equipment to play them back is very rare according the this Library of Congress webpage.


Now you can record anything you want to— easily and cheaply.


HAVE you ever wanted to recapture a radio program—a great symphony, a historic speech, or perhaps a new tune that has been eluding your memory? The chances are that you have never been able to do it because recording equipment has always been so costly and complicated.

The modern wire recorder has changed the amateur recording outlook entirely, however. It is now possible to record anything you like at a cost of only a few pennies or a full hour’s recording.