Sign of the Times
Electrical INDUSTRY Creates Mechanical Brains (Apr, 1932)

The headline makes it sound like this article is about computers, but actually it’s about the birth of the electronics industry at a time when you couldn’t even get a degree in electrical engineering.

Electrical INDUSTRY Creates Mechanical Brains

by Robert Francis

The electric eye, which functions as a virtual automatic brain, is working miracles in industry, and may soon oust the human brain and hand from the control levers of machinery. This field offers many new opportunities.

THE most promising, the most amazing and without doubt the most fascinating field of endeavor today is electronics, the baby billion-dollar industry.

Indeed there is no industry in America however large, however undeveloped, however needful of bright young minds and willing young hands, that can offer even a small percentage of the opportunities that are literally begging acceptance in electronics.

Scientific HIGHLIGHTS of Chicago’s WORLD FAIR (Oct, 1933)

Scientific HIGHLIGHTS of Chicago’s WORLD FAIR

It looks like the Chicago Fair were built especially for M-M fans. It is replete with the kind of mechanical wonders shown here.

While you’re casually viewing this display of priceless jewels an armed guard is watching your every move. If glass is broken, tray drops into vault.

If, when visiting the Fair, you’re curious as to the temperature at the moment, all you have to do is glance around the horizon and this world’s largest thermometer is sure to come within your view to tell you what you want to know.

Your Very Own Meditator (Nov, 1970)

Escape from the pressures of modern life … Relax in contemplation after building

Your Very Own Meditator

By KEN ISAACS – PS Design Consultant

“I vant to be alone.” When Greta Garbo made her often-quoted remark, years ago, it may have had a deeper meaning than escape from pursuing newsmen. Everybody occasionally wants to be alone. We all need privacy to renew ourselves for the fast pace of modern living. As old as mankind, this inner need is today more urgent than ever before.

Mohandas Gandhi was perhaps this century’s outstanding exponent of aloneness—of personal meditation. Gandhi’s inspiration came in part from our own Henry David Thoreau, who fled to the natural solitude of Walden Pond. And Thoreau was a real soul brother of our western man of the mountains, naturalist John Muir.

Can Russia Defeat Us With Atom Bombs? (Feb, 1950)

Can Russia Defeat Us With Atom Bombs?

Assuming that the Reds have enough A-bombs and the planes to deliver them—could they blast us into military, social and economic chaos by a sneak bombing attack on certain key American cities?

By Ralph Coniston

“THIS is WQZ, your favorite local station for music and news, bringing you a noonday program of recorded hit tunes. The first number on today’s show will be. …

“Just one moment, please. Here’s an important bulletin from our newsroom, just handed me. It’s date-lined Washington, D. C.

“A terrific explosion has just wrecked downtown Washington. The blast, of unknown origin, seems to have damaged communication lines out of the city.

“I can’t tell you any more because there is no more to the bulletin. So, until further news comes in we’ll return to our.

Hitch-Hikers Get a Waiting Room of Their Own (Oct, 1939)

Um… This doesn’t seem like the greatest idea.

Hitch-Hikers Get a Waiting Room of Their Own

Performing the role of the good Samaritan to the nation-wide fraternity of automobile hitch-hikers, the owner of a service station in Albion, Mich., recently established a hitchhikers’ depot hard by his row of gasoline pumps. Nailed to a tree, a large sign visible to approaching motorists at a good distance, identifies the spot, while a painted hand, with the thumb outstretched in the traditional manner, does the spade work for tired hikers.

Preserving Our History in a Tomb (Dec, 1938)

Preserving Our History in a Tomb


THE YEAR is 8113. Spired cities built by the ancient people of the twentieth century have long since crumbled to dust. Of the airplanes and automobiles in which they traveled, not a rusted scrap remains. Their perishable tools, utensils, books, magazines, and newspapers have vanished completely. What learning they possessed is but dimly known. But where Oglethorpe University once stood, in what was Atlanta, Ga., a band of archaeologists has just unearthed a door of stainless steel. They break it open—and find themselves in a treasure house of the past. Pictures and records, perfectly preserved through the ages, tell them in every detail the long-forgotten story of what life was like in 1938.

MIRACLES Worked by Engineers in Endless Fight for Water (Oct, 1931)

MIRACLES Worked by Engineers in Endless Fight for Water


SEARING the fields of forty states, one of the worst droughts in the history of the Weather Bureau gripped the United States during the summer and fall of last year. Growing corn blistered to husks. Rivers ran dry. The contents of reservoirs, supplying great cities, sank lower day by day. Officials rationed water like war-time food and millions of people, who had taken this common fluid for granted, realized suddenly it was immensely precious.

In some places, miracles of engineering skill brought new supplies in the nick of time. Less fortunate were a number of smaller towns. With no water left anywhere within reach of their pipelines, they virtually had to have little lakes shipped to them by railway, the water coming in long trains of tank cars.

Back Your Future with U.S. Savings Bonds (Nov, 1947)


Back Your Future with U.S. Savings Bonds

40 Years Ago (Nov, 1968)

This piece and it’s companion article, 40 Years in the Future were published in the November 1968 issue of Mechanix Illustrated.

You also might want to see the editors introduction to the first issue, then called Modern Mechanics.

40 Years Ago

AUTHOR Donald G. Cooley with Weston Farmer was co-editor of Modern Mechanics, later to be renamed Mechanix Illustrated, when the magazine was first published in November 1928. Mr. Cooley subsequently became full-time editor of MI before embarking on a career as a free-lance writer. Today Mr. Cooley is recognized as one of the foremost medical writers in the world with a number of highly regarded books bearing his name.

THE bank building in Robbinsdale, Minn., a sleepy suburb of Minneapolis, bore a sign on its brick exterior: Home of Fawcett Publications— More than 2,000,000 Readers a Month. It was a three-story building without elevators. A long flight of stairs that reversed itself at a landing where a pert redhead ran the switchboard brought you to the third floor, an expanse that bustled, buzzed, rustled, clattered and often echoed a belly-laugh as half a hundred editors, associates and secretaries went about their business.

What Will Life Be Like in the Year 2008? (Nov, 1968)

Well, we do have flat-screen computers you can write on that fit in a briefcase, but I’m still waiting to take my 250 MPH car to a business meeting in another domed city. Perhaps by the end of the year.

40 Years in the Future

By James R. Berry

IT’S 8 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008, and you are headed for a business appointment 300 mi. away. You slide into your sleek, two-passenger air-cushion car, press a sequence of buttons and the national traffic computer notes your destination, figures out the current traffic situation and signals your car to slide out of the garage. Hands free, you sit back and begin to read the morning paper—which is flashed on a flat TV screen over the car’s dashboard. Tapping a button changes the page.