Wireless Cigarette Lighter (Feb, 1930)

Wireless Cigarette Lighter
A NEW cigar lighter attached to the automobile dash board is pressed until a red glow appears and can then be removed.

“Hit-And-Run” Victim Devises Camera Trap For Motorist (Dec, 1936)

This is the first example I’ve seen of a red-light camera.

“Hit-And-Run” Victim Devises Camera Trap For Motorists

AN AUTO-FLASH device designed to snap photos of autos that run past red lights, into safety zones, and past stop streets, has been invented by William Running, a Detroit, Mich., electrician. A personal experience as a “hit-and-run” victim caused him to design the device.

For safety zones, the machine consists of a lighted sign set in the pavement which depresses when an auto passes over it. This actuates a camera set up on the curb so that it snaps a photo of the rear license plates of the offending auto.

Choose your course with this computerized golf game (Feb, 1980)

Choose your course with this computerized golf game

Aim, tee off—this system shows you the next lie By BILL HAWKINS

Ah, it’s a beautiful day for golf at Pebble Beach. The water’s sparkling, the sky’s blue, and the wind—oops, forgot to program in the wind. No problem, though: Just push the right buttons and a gentle, five-knot breeze blows in from the north.

No, you can’t feel it, nor can you run your fingers through the fairway water hazard before you—but you’d better take them into account before teeing up. You’ll need more than a stroke of luck to win in this new computer-controlled Par-T-Golf game.

Tron: Computer Technology Goes Hollywood (May, 1982)

Tron: Computer Technology Goes Hollywood

by Jim Cavuoto

Imagine yourself in a world where software processes determine every aspect of your existence—what you think, where you go, whether you live or die. Imagine that each program in this computer world is the alter ego of some human programmer in another dimension. Imagine a world in which video games are live battles, where file manipulation is behavior control—where simulation is reality.

Some might argue that we are already approaching such a world. Computers are taking more and more functions away from human operators in the factory, in the marketplace and on the battlefield. It’s becoming hard to tell where human supervision ceases and where computer control begins.

Oven Toaster (Sep, 1955)

Oven Toaster

Old-fashioned, oven-flavored, buttered toast for breakfast takes only two minutes with this new Munsey toaster that also bakes frozen waffles, warms coffee cake, toasts cheese sandwiches and browns rolls. Made of lightweight aluminum with electric coils as its heating element, the toaster comes with a pull-out tray on which you can toast four slices of bread at once. It’s fine for English muffins and chunky Italian bread and you have no problem putting in or taking out such items as you often do with pop-up toasters.

“SLINKY” SPRINGS to FAME (Sep, 1946)


Given an initial shove, “Slinky” eerily and deliberately flip-flops end over end down a flight of steps. It is simply a spring, but it does stunts that made R. P. James, Philadelphia engineer, think of converting it into a toy.

The flat-coiled strip of Swedish blue steel assumes shapes in almost unending patterns. Mr. James got his toy idea when he saw the spring roll off a workbench and do funny antics on the floor.

World’s First Bloggers (Nov, 1985)

Not quite the same thing, but you can certainly see the seeds of modern blogging: news, politics, political organizing, gossip, and online hookups.

Here Come the Networkers

A new communications medium gives birth to its own stars ike Greenly had been trying for weeks to interview Ed Koch about New York City’s handling of the AIDS epidemic when he finally buttonholed the mayor on the steps of city hall. “There I was,” Greenly typed into his portable computer soon afterward, “cheek to jowl with His Honor.” Two hours later he had plugged his Tandy Model 100 into a telephone line and dispatched the first installment of his exclusive interview.

New Ingenuities (Feb, 1936)

New Ingenuities

Pocket-Cleaning Device
• A MAN’S pockets are a catchall, particularly if he smokes a pipe. Since many pockets cannot be turned inside out, the dry cleaner has difficulty in freeing them from particles which might make a stain. Here is a brush and suction cleaner which gets into the seams.

This Novel Barber Chair Keeps Attention of Youngsters (Aug, 1929)

This Novel Barber Chair Keeps Attention of Youngsters

CHILDREN who have an aversion to getting their hair cut, rapidly overcome it when they see the special chairs that have been installed in a barber shop in Bisbee, Arizona.

The chairs are turned easily and there are plenty of objects and levers to keep the child’s attention while the barber is clipping his hair.

Modeled after toy automobiles, ponies and boats, the children’s chairs not only attract juvenile attention and allow the barber to cut a youngster’s hair without his wanting to get out and roam all around the shop, but grown-up customers often get the urge to climb into one of the chairs for their trim.

Stereoscope Holds Seven Views Mounted on a Disk (Mar, 1941)

Stereoscope Holds Seven Views Mounted on a Disk

Still making a bid for popularity, the old parlor stereoscope is now being offered in a compact, “streamline” form, showing pictures mounted in disks that contain seven colored stereographs each, instead of the traditional card that holds but one view, Tripping a lever at the top of the new stereoscope, which is made of durable plastic, brings the next picture into place, and this may be repeated until the seven have been seen. Originals for the views are made with a special miniature camera, using natural color film. Pictures are paired opposite each other on the disk, and when viewed through the apparatus they give a three-dimensional effect.