Early Contact Lens (Aug, 1930)

Clumsy Specs Eliminated by Small Invisible Eye Glass
AWKWARD and all-too-conspicuous spectacles may in time go the way of ear trumpets and bustles when the diminutive and invisible eyeglasses shown in the photos above, an invention of Prof. Dr. L. Heine of Kiel, Germany, come into widespread use. The glass is a thin curved lens that is worn monocle fashion beneath the eyelid in the horny coat of the eye. It can be inserted or extracted by the patient.

Stereoscopic Film Viewer Shows Scenes in Color (Jun, 1940)

Stereoscopic Film Viewer Shows Scenes in Color

Three-dimensional views in color are provided by the novel stereoscopic instrument pictured in use at the right. Color films are mounted in disks that are placed within the apparatus, which is provided with a small lever at the top for moving successive frames into place before the dual eyepieces. Each disk contains a different set of film pictures. Small pieces of ground glass behind the film insure an even light on the scene viewed.

Automatic Fountain Serves Soft Drink (Nov, 1937)

Automatic Fountain Serves Soft Drink

Automatically mixing and serving a carbonated drink, a new soda-fountain dispenser is said to blend its product more accurately than could be done by hand. Within five seconds it delivers a paper cup holding the drink as shown above. A built-in cooling unit and a small but efficient carbonator give the beverage the right amount of chill and “fizz.” Another model of the machine, operated by dropping a coin in the slot, mixes drinks for self-service patrons and has a capacity of 220 drinks before refilling.

Very Early Brake Lights (Oct, 1923)


Protective lights for the rear of automobiles, patterned after the railroad system of red and green signals, are a recent development. When the machine is moving, a green light shows constantly, but when the brakes are applied, the green signal is extinguished and a red one flashes a warning to following motorists. Two sets of green and red lights are used, one set for daylight driving and the other for night travel, the former being more powerful so that they may be plainly seen in the sunlight. Interlocking shutters are provided for each pair of lights and the signal has two 1-inch red side lights.

His Vision Made Television (Nov, 1940)

His Vision Made Television

The True Story of a Boy Who Had a Big Idea and Followed It Through to Final Success


HE only trouble with Philo T. Farnsworth’s story is that it is out of time. It belongs to another day. It ought to be a hoary legend now and it’s just twenty years old and still in the making.

It has everything the school teachers love —boyhood on a farm, the dreamy inventor, the years of struggle, success. It’s the story of television and it all took place when folks whose names slip the mind for the moment did a lot of shouting about the frontiers being gone.

Farnsworth dreamed of television without moving parts when he was thirteen; a year later, still in high school, he invented some of the basic parts of electronic television. In 1927, when he was twenty, he took out his first patent, on an entire television system—not just one part—and Donald K. Lippincott, the radio engineer, called him “one of the ten greatest mathematical wizards of the day.”


Climbing, pushing, pulling, lifting, and other forms of exercise are provided by a vertical treadmill designed by an Oregon inventor. Two endless chains, running over sprocket wheels, are joined by steps to form a rotary ladder. An adjustable brake regulates the needed motive force.

Corkscrew Puts Leverage on Stubborn Stoppers (May, 1939)

Corkscrew Puts Leverage on Stubborn Stoppers
Even the most stubborn cork is said to be tamed by the powerful leverage of a new corkscrew. Inserting the screw in the cork, by turning a winged key, raises a pair of geared arms to a horizontal position. Push the arms down again, and out comes the cork, under pressure applied through a flange that fits over the neck of the bottle. The two operations are shown in the pictures below.

The Radio that Was Shot from a Gun (Mar, 1948)

Coming_the Radio that Was Shot from a Gun

The tiny elements used in a great war invention are now ready to go to work in civilian transceivers.

By Harland Manchester

CARRYING a complete broadcasting station in the palm of his hand, a radio engineer walked out of his laboratory at the Bureau of Standards in Washington the other day, talking as he went down the stairs and out of the building. His voice came to us from a loudspeaker in the room he had left, as clearly as if he were still there. His transmitter, containing microphone, tubes, circuits, batteries, and aerial, was enclosed in a plastic box about the size of a pack of cigarettes.

Early Night Vision Goggles (Aug, 1950)

Blackout “Eye”

Searching for persons or objects in total darkness poses no problems for soldiers wearing sniperscopes. Clamped to a helmet, the equipment combines an infrared light source and an electronic telescope. Its energy comes from a power pack and battery which can be carried in a knapsack on the operator’s back.

Danish Furniture Knocks Down for Moving (Feb, 1947)

Danish Furniture Knocks Down for Moving

DESIGNED chiefly for sale in Europe’s war-devastated countries, this new line of Danish furniture sacrifices little in visual appeal. Modern in appearance, the simple, functional pieces are well suited to mass production methods. They can be quickly set up or taken apart, thus easing the moving problem on the unsettled continent. Shipping and storing difficulties are correspondingly lessened, since in a knocked-down condition the furniture occupies less than a quarter of its’ normal volume. Stacking also allows for considerable saving of space.