Archive
Origins
Deaf Hear Through Head Bone (Mar, 1933)

Deaf Hear Through Head Bone

AN INVENTION for hearing by the conduction of sound through the bony structure of the head instead of through the outer ear was successfully demonstrated recently before the engineering society in New York.

How the contraption is worn is illustrated in the photo below. The heart of the instrument is a special transmitter worn on the clothing which intercepts the words spoken to the deaf or partially deaf person. This transmitter is connected to the oscillator which presses against the bony part of the cranium when the listening is to be done. Ordinarily, however, the oscillator is worn like a necklace around the throat as illustrated in the photo below.

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Feeding America’s Appetite for Games (May, 1936)

Learn all about a new game called Monopoly that is taking the nation by storm.

Feeding America’s Appetite for Games

AMERICA likes to play. Whether they know it or not, millions of otherwise rational Americans are forever waiting to be caught in the craze for a new puzzle, a new diversion, a new game. The very word “game” sounds trivial, but it isn’t. Games have a powerful influence on the social life of the world, and—games are the delight and the despair of the men who invent them.

America likes to play, and is willing to pay for its fun. Right now it is playing a new game called Monopoly. Already the fastest-selling non-card pastime in the country, Monopoly bids fair to break all-time popularity records.

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Seedless Watermelon Produced by Student (Apr, 1939)

Seedless Watermelon Produced by Student

Watermelons without seeds are produced by chemical treatment of watermelon blossoms, in a process perfected by Cheong Yin Wong, graduate student at Michigan State College, East Lansing. In the photograph, Wong holds a piece of seedless melon in his right hand.

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Early VCR (Jun, 1964)

Watch Your Favorite TV Show ANY Time

The race to market a home TV tape recorder is getting hotter. Fairchild’s entry offers a much-improved picture

ONE of these days, you’ll sit down after supper, flip the dials on your home TV tape recorder, and watch a rerun of that afternoon’s base-ball game.

Recently I spent an afternoon trying out a prototype model of such a machine made by Fairchild Camera and Instrument Co. I recorded programs off the air —both pictures and sound—while I was watching the program. Immediately after the show, I played back the recording while the images of the original telecast were still fresh in my mind. Although there was some loss of definition, the image quality was good—as good as most people see on their home TV sets. I watched the playback of an entire Danny Kaye show recorded a few days earlier— without being conscious that I was watching a recording.

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Desk-Size Facsimile Machine (Jun, 1952)

Desk-Size Facsimile Machine

Smaller than a typewriter, a miniature self-contained telegraph “office” provides the executive with 24-hour telegram service. Telegrams are sent and received simply by pushing a button. They don’t even have to be typewritten. You simply write out the message on a blank, wrap the blank around the drum of the machine and turn it on. A scanner views the message and sends it to the addressee where an exact copy is reproduced by an identical machine. Transmission time of about 2-1/2 minutes is required to handle a full message. The call is routed through the main office of Western Union, which directs the message to its destination and bills the sender.

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New Bicycle Gearshift & Man with telephoto eyes (May, 1934)

Bicycle Gearshift Makes Hill Climbing Easy for Cyclists

CYCLISTS no longer have to jump off and push their wheels up the steeper hills, now that a bicycle gearshift is available.

The high gear is used for normal riding; the rider has but to shift to low gear, and ride up the steepest of grades in comfort. The coaster brake functions as usual with both gears.

In one type the gear selection is controlled by a lever on the frame; in the other the shifting is done by a foot-controlled lever on the pedal crank.


One-wheel Trailer Folds Up on Car

THE latest in trailers, a one-wheel affair that folds up against the spare tire when not in use, is finding great popularity among English motorists.

A single caster wheel automatically reverses or turns with the car. The luggage rack trailer is hinged to rear bumper at two points.

Eyes Magnify Objects 100 Times

ALVA MASON of Minot, Maine, has eyes which magnify everything within his range of vision one hundred times, making pores appear as deep holes in the skin. He wears demagnifying glasses when at work, since his range of acute vision is limited.

Luncheon Trays for Motorists

A TRAY which tits inside any closed car permits motorists patronizing curb service stands to enjoy food and drink as if they were sitting at a table. The tray can be instantly leveled by turning a thumb screw. No crumbs need get on the upholstery.

New Crystal Radio Is Powerful

THE latest in crystal sets, housed in a beautiful black Bakelite case, has even an illuminated tuning dial. It is claimed that the quality and volume of reception far exceeds that of any ether crystal receiver. No batteries are needed—only aerial, ground, and headphones.

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“PEDRO” – THE FIRST MACHINE THAT REALLY TALKS (Apr, 1939)

Vote for Pedro!

“PEDRO”
THE FIRST MACHINE THAT REALLY TALKS

Voice-Operation Demonstrator Crowns Centuries of Effort by Scientists to Duplicate Human Speech Artificially

HE HASN’T any mouth, lungs, or larynx-but he talks a blue streak. His name is Pedro the Voder, and you may see him in action at the New York and San Francisco world’s fairs. His creation from vacuum tubes and electrical circuits, by Bell Telephone Laboratories engineers, crowns centuries of effort to duplicate the human voice.

To manufacture Pedro’s conversation, his operator employs a keyboard like that of an old-fashioned parlor organ. Thirteen black and white keys, fingered one or more at a time, produce all the vowels and consonants of speech. Another key regulates the loudness of the synthetic voice, which comes from a loudspeaker. A foot pedal varies the inflection meanwhile; so that the same sentence may state a fact or ask a question.

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“Yield” Sign Reduces Accidents (Jan, 1952)

After years of research and development, scientists believe they have finally created a new type of street sign. Yes, it is truly a miracle of modern signage; a shining example of American know how and inventiveness.


“Yield” Sign Reduces Accidents

Warning motorists to give the right of way to cars on the intersecting road, a new “Yield” sign is already reducing accidents in Tulsa, Ok la., where it was developed. Designed for use in areas where traffic generally is not heavy enough to warrant full-stop requirements, the sign definitely places responsibility without requiring a complete stop. Motorists approaching the sign must slow down to at least 10 miles an hour and yield the right of way to any car approaching along the intersecting roadway. Any driver becoming involved in a collision at an intersection after passing a yield sign is automatically deemed to have violated the law.

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How I Got My Wife to Use a Seat Belt (Jun, 1960)

The title of this article should be: “How Mr. Pavlov got his wife to buckle up: a lesson for the auto-industry.”

How I Got My Wife to Use a Seat Belt

FOR 10 years I have used safety belts in my car. But each time we went for a ride I have had to tell my wife to fasten her belt. She is a most stubborn person and uses all kinds of excuses for not doing so.

I have finally won. These drawings show how. The system tells her to put the belt on. It works like magic every time. It saves arguments. The little reminder consists of a light, the words “Safety Belt,” a buzzer, and two cunningly wired snap switches.

When my wife gets into the front seat beside me, her weight trips a normally open snap switch under the seat. Two things happen: First a doorbell buzzer begins sounding behind the dash, attracting my wife’s attention toward it. Second, in the opening where a clock usually is mounted, the words “Safety Belt” are illuminated by a lamp behind the dash.

The second snap switch, normally closed, is mounted under one strap of the belt so that it is opened by the pressure of pulling the belt across the waist. This breaks the circuit, stopping the buzzer and turning off the lamp. As long as my wife sits in the seat, she’d better have the belt on correctly or the buzzer will let her know. [Editor's note: An optional cut-out switch is shown in the drawing for those who might like one.]

Now, when we start out, she races me to fasten the belt before I can use the ignition key and turn on the circuit. Seems she doesn’t like to hear the buzz. The only way to stop the buzz is to get out of the seat or turn off the ignition— or put on the belt. If she wants to go for a ride that leaves her little choice.

— Wes Jayne, Woodhaven, N.Y.

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Amazing New Picturephone (Jun, 1968)

This is the earliest reference I’ve seen to a CCD in a consumer product.

Amazing New Picturephone
A step closer to in-person

By W. Stevenson Bacon

There’s a brand-new Picturephone in the works that will one day give you instant total communication with anyone you call. What makes it fascinating is the amazing versatility of the delicately engineered unit that holds both picture and camera tubes.

Unlike the old Picturephone, this one gives you a choice of wide-angle picture, long-range shot, or electronic close-up. Pull a lens out and aim it downward, and you can send pictures, drawings, or printed documents. If you wish, you can push a button to see what you’re sending. And if a call catches you in the shower you can simply switch over to three-bar test pattern.

Bell Telephone Laboratories packed all this into an 8-by-11-by-14-inch box by using tiny integrated circuits that incorporate hundreds of transistors and other components on small chips of silicon. In fact, the only vacuum tubes used are the picture and camera tubes. And even the camera tube makes use of semiconductors.

The camera tube is a revolutionary new type that uses a target (the part of the tube that converts incoming light to electrical charges) made of silicon and containing 300,000 light-sensitive diodes formed on it by integrated circuit techniques. It’s the first time that semiconductors and vacuum tubes have been combined to make one device.

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