Archive
Origins
Duck Hunt – 1935 (Jul, 1935)

Birds Hit With Bullets of Light
BULLETS of light instead of the usual lead shot are being employed by Chicago’s sportsmen in a new trapshooting game.
The sport, which is said to be absolutely noiseless, may be played in an ordinary hall. It is held to be a valuable aid in perfecting marksmanship.
Photo-electric cells are mounted in the bodies of duck targets which move across a panelled opening at one end of the room. Each gun has its source of light which flashes on when the trigger is pressed.
If a marksman “hits” the photo-electric cell directly in the center of the bird’s body, the duck falls and the number of respective hits is registered automatically in light.

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Nickel Meter Stops Overparking (Oct, 1935)

Nickel Meter Stops Overparking
OKLAHOMA CITY is cashing in on its car- parking problem by charging all motorists a nickel to park for from 15 minutes up to an hour, depending on location. At each parking space on the curb is a nickel meter. When a nickel is inserted, a clock mechanism raises a red indicator for the allotted time. The traffic policeman, on making the rounds, passes out tickets where no indicator is showing.

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COMPUTER MEMORIES (Jun, 1955)

COMPUTER MEMORIES

A large mathematical machine must be able to store information and refer to it. This requirement has stimulated the evolution of information-storage units based on various physical effects

by Louis N. Ridenour

A computing machine capable of solving problems must possess a “memory” or, less poetically, an “information-storage unit.” The recent history of improvements in computing machines has been largely a history of improving memory devices. No ideal system has yet been found, but there has been a great deal of progress within the past decade, and several promising new developments are on the horizon.

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Early Metal Detector (Jul, 1935)

Magnets Detect Smuggled Weapons
SMUGGLING of weapons into prisons is eliminated by the new secret weapon detector. As soon as a person with a gun passes between twin electric magnets mounted on stands, a light and buzzer issue warnings.

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Rubber Telephone Cord Stretches (Apr, 1935)

Rubber Telephone Cord Stretches
A BAND of gum rubber, woven between the wires in the center of a telephone cord, gives it an elasticity which permits a stretch of four feet on a cord originally only one foot long.
Small wires are packed into the rubber center like a spring to coil when released. Said to be equally as durable as the conventional cloth wrapped cords, the new type can be extended to four times its original length.

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Amaze Friends with this Sound Robot (Jan, 1935)

This is the Clapper!

Amaze Friends with this Sound Robot
STEPPING up to a mysterious oiled paper diaphragm, the amateur electrical wizard mumbles unintelligible Greek words, suddenly claps his hands. Room lights go out almost instantly, and an oscillating electric fan throws its turbulent air blast over the faces of surprised friends.
The sound robot is made from easily obtainable materials. After the paper diaphragm is in place, a thin metal disc having soldered to it a fine wire lead is attached to the center with a drop of sealing wax. Adjust the pointed screw of the fixed contact to touch this disc at the slightest movement of the diaphragm.
Almost any magnet coil or door bell magnet having around 100 turns of No. 22 or larger magnet wire will be satisfactory for the trip relay. As the soft iron hinged armature is pulled forward by the magnet, it allows the weighted lever to drop, closing the large contacts which control the fan.

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Rifle shoots infrared ray (Oct, 1962)

Rifle shoots infrared ray
You can stand in front of this target rifle without fear of being hurt. Instead of bullets, it shoots a beam of light. Both rifle and its special target are powered by flashlight batteries. A bull’s-eye is scored when a pulse of infrared light strikes the center of the target and activates a flashing light and a bell. The rifle is manufactured by Infrared Industries, Waltham, Mass., makers of electronic devices for the government’s missile and satellite programs.

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Fire Alarm Talks Over Telephone (May, 1935)

Fire Alarm Talks Over Telephone
A PERFECT fire alarm, when heated, lifts a telephone receiver, dials the operator, informs her as to the exact location of the fire, and rings a guiding alarm.
The device is ingeniously controlled by a thermostat. When heated to the danger point, the thermostat sets the machinery in motion. A screw plate rises to lift the receiver, a metal finger dials the operator, and the phonograph starts repeating the directions, which, together with the loud gong, bring the firefighters directly to the scene.

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Skateboard Wheel Holds 10 Kbit (Jan, 1961)

Tiny Drum With a Big Memory
THIS 6 oz. stainless steel memory drum holds more than 10,000 bits of information recorded on its magnetic surface. Designed for airborne computers, it can hold as much information as larger, conventional drums.
Because the drum is a thin shell, most of its mass is concentrated at the surface, where it provides maximum strength and rigidity to withstand severe vibrations and shock. A lightweight frame surrounding the drum holds magnetic pickup and recording heads imbedded in rectangular blocks of plastic called slider bearings. These bearings slide over the surface of the drum on a cushion of air, staying only 100 millionths of an inch away from the drum. International Business Machines Corp., New York, designed it to withstand more than 15 times the force of gravity.

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Flat Screen TV in 1958 (Jan, 1958)

I’m not sure this was real. It seems like if it really worked, we’d all have them. This is a Cnet article from 2004 about brand new flat CRTs and they are 16″ deep…

Update: This was real. It looks like it got abandoned more because of licensing and a standards battle than anything else. Here is a really interesting interview (pdf) done with the inventor from 1996.

AIKEN: “They finally agreed to a license. But, at the last minute, I guess at a Board of Directors’ Meeting for the final approval, somebody on the Board of Directors’ of RCA said, “Wait a minute, we’ve forgotten something. How are we going to explain to our stockholders that we wasted millions of dollars on the wrong tube?” And there was silence. And that did it. They said, “No, we will not take a license.”

Thin Tube Foretells Wall TV and Sky View for Air Pilot

BECAUSE OF NEW TECHNIQUES in the field of electronics, airplane instrument panels and home television sets may soon have something in common—a rectangular picture tube less than three inches thick. The thin cathode-ray tube was invented by William Ross Aiken and developed in the Kaiser Aircraft and Electronics Corporation laboratories. Military uses for the new TV tube were developed for the Douglas Aircraft Company. For the aircraft pilot, the thin TV tube will serve as an electronic windshield, showing an artificial picture of the terrain and sky conditions about him. For the TV viewer at home, the new picture tube may result in new designs for sets, with screens mounted in any wall or hung like picture frames. The picture tube, only 2-5/8 inches thick, is made of two rectangular pieces of plate glass with about an inch of space between them. The edges are sealed with powdered-glass solder to hold the vacuum. The surface of the thin tube is the equivalent of a 21-inch conventional screen. In the thin tube, the electron beam is injected at the bottom of one side. Deflection plates along the bottom edge bend the beam upward between the front and back glass walls. The inside of the front wall is coated with a new transparent phosphor which is said to improve the contrast. The thin TV tube also is reported to have sharper focusing properties. A new method of printing electrode elements on the inside surfaces of the glass eliminates the need for assembled metal parts. Printed circuits are used in the tube controls. The thin tube will replace many of the instruments needed for blind flying of an airplane and can be operated by a small electronic computer. A similar control system was developed by Allen B. Dumont Laboratories, Inc., for Bell Helicopter Corp.

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