Archive
Origins
Silly Putty (Jan, 1945)

Here is Putty with a Bounce

Research in silicone rubber yields a strange by-product that may have its own uses.

Exceptional resistance to heat characterizes silicone rubber, an entirely new synthetic product developed by General Electric research engineers. Rings of the material now replace asbestos to cushion the glass of naval searchlights and blinker signal lamps against the terrific shock of gunfire, materially reducing breakage. Gaskets of the same composition serve in super-chargers for the B-29 Superfortresses that bomb Japan. These two war uses currently consume the entire output, but future household and industrial applications may include tires that will outlast a car, garden hose that can be left outdoors in heat or cold without damage, rubber gloves, and mountings for radio tubes.

Known for 50 years, chemicals called silicones have only recently been put to work. Hybrids between organic an inorganic substances, their ingredients are similar to sand and natural gas. A molecule of ordinary rubber has a “backbone” of carbon atoms, but a molecule of silicone rubber contains a more nearly indestructible spine of silicon and oxygen.

Besides silicone rubber, newly useful members of this chemical family include silicone oil, for hydraulic systems such as car brakes, and silicon plastics. A use remains to be found for the most curious silicone product discovered which has been nicknamed “bouncing putty.” The white substance can be pulled like taffy – but roll it into a sphere, and it bounces like rubber.

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Primitive Fiber Optics (Mar, 1939)

Piped Light Aids Surgeons and Dentists

PIPED LIGHT, providing surgeons and dentists with powerful, sterile beams devoid of heat, glare, or the danger of electrical shock, is made possible by instuments molded from a transparent plastic which carries light around curves and bends (P.S.M March ’37, p. 43). The molded hand-held rodlike instruments have electric bulbs at their bases, powered either through extension cords from transformers that cut down 110-volt current to six volts, or by flash-light cells in a special base. Among the new plastic instruments are a tongue depressor that throws a concentrated beam on the throat of a patient, a retractor which serves the double purpose of holding back the cheek and lighting the mouth, and a long curved rod which casts a brilliant beam on the teeth.

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Suitcase Brain (Aug, 1950)

It’s Small But Smart, This “Suitcase Brain”

Not much larger than a suitcase, a new electonic “brain” can handle most of the intracate problems solved by huge automatic computers, some of them almost the size of a basketball court. The small computer, called the Madida for it’s initials (magnetic drum digital differential analyzer) was designed by 31-year-old Floyd G. Steele. It is only two feed wide, four feed long and three feet high, and weighs 750 pounds. When a difficult problem is fed into the Maddida it comes up with an answer accurate to within one part in a million.

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Magic HOUSE Makes Own WEATHER (Oct, 1934)

Nifty but I’ll bet on partly cloudy days the awnings keep opening and closing every time a cloud passes by.

Magic HOUSE Makes Own WEATHER

Features at the Century of Progress it is a magic dwelling which literally makes it’s own weather.

The secret of the process lies in a remarkable air-conditioning system which cools the air when it is too warm and heats it when it is too cold, dries it when it is moist and humidifies it when itis too dry, cleans it of pollen, dust and odors and keeps the air conditioned at all times.

Sensitive recorders placed on window sills close the windows if a shower comes up; and awnings are lowered or raised automatically by action of the sun’s rays.

Caption 1: Photo shows house of tomorrow – the air-conditioned dwelling at the Century of Progress. Note position of awnings which are automatically lowered when sun shines upon them and raised when sun sets or disappears behind a bank of clouds.

Caption 2: Circle above – Children may play indoors in comfort on the hottest days in the air-conditioned house. Note aquarium filled with water extracted from air in one hour’s time and glass ball filled with dust in same period. Left above – Button panel regulates heat or cold through air conditioner, left; opens or closes doors and windows and raises or lowers bed to more confortable positions. Right – Demonstrating with an atomizer how windows close and the first hint of rain.

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Giant Videophone (Jul, 1964)

Low-cost viewer lets you see who’s calling

This phone-viewing system gives you a picture of any caller similarly equipped. It can be used on ordinary telephone lines. Push a button and within five seconds the picture appears. Developed by Toshiba Co., Japan, price is estimated at $250 although it’s not yet ready for sale.

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Crisp Bacon in 90 Seconds (May, 1968)

Crisp Bacon in 90 Seconds
with INTERNATIONAL’S MICROWAVE OVEN

People on the go will welcome an oven that makes cooking chores a pleasure. Imagine a “piping hot” TV dinner (frozen) in 3 and 1/2 minutes* instead of 20 to 50 minutes. Bake a potato in 5 minutes* instead of 60 minutes. Fry crisp bacon in 90 seconds on a paper plate. Great for those left overs. Countertop designed. Works on 115 vac house circuit. Write for folder. $545.00

CRYSTAL MFG. CO., INC
10 NO. LEE – OKLA CITY, OKLA 73102

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Machine Speeds Bottle Returns (May, 1960)

I personally prefer those machines that shred your cans, but none the less, an origination.

Machine Speeds Bottle Returns

At least one waiting line might be shortened if a supermarket installed this bottle-return machine in its parking lot. You’d slip bottles into sized openings. The machine would calculate the refund, issue a slip, and move the bottles inside on a belt.

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Spinning Head Tapes TV at Home (Jan, 1965)

Spinning Head Tapes TV at Home
Is this the year you mate a home TV tape recorder to your TV set? Two European electronics firms – Philips (Netherlands) and Loewe-Opta (West Germany) are now selling TV recorders specially designed for home use. Both will be available here in a few months.

To capture the details of a TV picture, the recorder must have a three-megacycle recording bandwidth. Earlier prototype home TV recorders were essentially scaled-up audio recorders: They achieved wide bandwidth by moving 1/4-inch-wide audio-type tape past a stationary recording head at high speed (usually 120 inches per second). High tape speed leads to excessive head and tape wear, and gobbles up tape at an uneconomical rate.
Both the Philips and Loewe-Opta recorders use one-inch-wide video-recording tape and a rotating recording head. The tape is threaded in a single spiral around a slotted drum that contains a spinning recording head rotating at about 3,000 r.p.m. Tape speed around the drum is about six inches a second. The rotating head records the TV picture signal on adjacent diagonal bands on the tape. The audio is recorded along the edge of the tape.
Both units are expensive-over $2,000 with accessories-but cost should drop as sales rise.

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Pump Your Own Gas (Dec, 1939)

Pump Your Own Gas
If you’ve ever run out of gas late at night when gas stations were closed, you’ll appreciate this latest wrinkle in gasoline dispensing – the “Gasoteria”. The motorist drops coins into slots in the tank and may deliver gas directly into his car without the aid of an attendant. Should the tank be empty his money is returned automatically.

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