WATCH STRAPS OF PLASTIC, said to resist deterioration under conditions that cause leather to rot, are now being produced by the Pla-Safe Plastics Corporation, of Buffalo. The new straps are made of polythene, a Du Pont plastic.

Moving Reflectors Protect Riders (Jan, 1936)

Moving Reflectors Protect Riders

MOVING reflectors mounted on bicycle pedals provide a conspicuous warning to motorists of the rider ahead. They are easier to see than the stationary type, the flashing disks attracting immediate attention. They are the invention of an English bus driver.

Ergonomic Designer (Jul, 1940)

Designer Shapes Pens, Tools, and Glasses That Fit the Hands

Designing fountain pens, screw drivers, razors, and other common articles so that they are not only pleasing in appearance but also better adapted to their specific uses, is the job of Angelo Bisenz, New York City designer who calls his work “formo-genic designing.” A screw driver Bisenz designed, for example, has a handle formed to fit the contour of the hand, so that the tool handle will present its widest surface at the point where the hand will apply pressure on it. The same attempt to fit the instrument to the hand of the user is seen in his designs for a fountain pen and a drinking glass, illustrated on this page. In the latter case, the tumbler is provided with indentations that allow the fingers to grip it easily, while one side is rounded to fit neatly into the palm.

Red Hand Signal Directs Traffic (May, 1934)

Red Hand Signal Directs Traffic

A RED hand controls the heavy traffic on Fifth avenue in New York City.

Faced with the problem of speeding up pedestrian traffic and cutting down casualties, experts have evolved a new scheme.
New signal towers have signals for auto-ists and signals for pedestrians, the latter in the form of a red hand on all four faces
of each tower.

Under this plan, pedestrian traffic will be given twenty seconds to clear in all directions as the signals change. Then automotive traffic travels in a specified direction for a period ranging from thirty to fifty-eight seconds.

A five second pause is permitted between the twenty seconds allotted pedestrians and the next automotive “go” signal.

Electrically Operated Robot Card Dealer (Nov, 1931)

Electrically Operated Robot Card Dealer Speeds up Bridge 30 Per Cent

SAID to be capable of speeding up bridge playing almost 30 per cent, an automatic card dealer invented by C. B. Ripley of Portland, Ore., is being put on the market. The device holds two packs of cards-to be dealt as desired, and deals them into a revolving receptacle of four sides for the four respective hands, as shown in the accompanying photo. Cards are placed in it and left to be dealt by the robot, while the players proceed with the game. The novel device is electrically operated, and can be plugged into a wall or light socket.

Dashboard Package Compartment (Feb, 1932)

Yes folks, apparently a glove compartment that could hold more than a pair of gloves was big news in 1932. I’m still looking for an issue in the seventies where they breathlessly announce the amazing new cup holders.

Dashboard Package Compartment

A LARGE compartment, suitable to hold packages, a woman’s purse, and other small articles which ordinarily prove a nuisance, has been incorporated in the dashboard of the latest model of a prominent make of automobile.

Equipped with a special lock and key, and constructed entirely of metal, the compartment provides a safe, convenient place for carrying articles that are usually thrown on the seats of the car.

The “Telecolor” Translates Music Into Light (Nov, 1931)

Music visualizations that beat WinAmp by about 70 years.

The “Telecolor” Translates Music Into Light

COLOR has long been a favorite word to describe the quality and the mood of music; perhaps because some individuals inevitably associate a certain chord with a certain color. This is doubtless only an individual peculiarity; because all people do not match the same music with the same colors. However, a scientific means has been found to turn music into light; and thus make a radio program appeal to the eye (even without television), as well as the ear. The new invention, the “tele-color” shown here, differs from earlier color organs, such as the “clavilux,” in being automatic in its actions.

Wireless Wiring for Radios (Oct, 1947)

Printed circuit boards are one of those things we’re so used to the you never really think about how people made electronics before them.

Wireless Wiring for Radios
THAT repairman’s headache, the jumble of wires on the bottom of a radio, may join crystal sets in the museum. Two new processes mass-produce neat circuits, easy to check for trouble. They promise to do for average radios what printed circuits (PSM May ’46, p. 131) are doing for miniatures.

In a system invented by A. M. Hathaway and developed by Spraywire Labs, of Minneapolis, a plastic panel is covered by a Scotch-tape stencil of the circuit. Through this, grooves are sandblasted, then spray-gunned full of atomized metal. Two guns can spray more than 1,000 units an hour.

“White House” To Roam Sky (Presidential Airplane) (Oct, 1947)

This is long before it was called Air Force One. It’s a pity the current one isn’t painted to look like an eagle. Maybe we can get Stephen Colbert to lobby for it.

“White House” To Roam Sky

Luxurious new Independence replaces the travel-worn Sacred Cow to speed President’s aerial travels.

WHEN the President of the United States travels, a 315-mile-an-hour plane speeds him swiftly and safely to his destination.

Named the Independence, after President Truman’s home city in Missouri, the special new Douglas DC-6 cruises 100 miles an hour faster than the Sacred Cow, the DC-4 that carried Presidents Roosevelt and Truman and other high officials to 55 nations in trips totaling 431,000 miles. Extra gasoline tanks give the Independence a range up to 4,400 miles, and a pressurized cabin permits high-altitude flight. A blue-and-tan exterior design, representing the American eagle, outwardly distinguishes the flying White House from other craft of its type.


PLASTIC TOILET SEATS of hygienic design are among the priority goods that will be available for the postwar home. Molded in one piece, and having a smooth finish that requires no varnish or paint, they are easy to clean and will withstand repeated sterilizing. The seats are available in either black or brown, and the manufacturers say they should last a lifetime.