Sign of the Times
Living LIGHT Effects Marvel of World Fair (Jul, 1932)

Living LIGHT Effects Marvel of World Fair


Gigantic waterfalls cascading down the sides of buildings—huge towers of living flame—buildings glowing in all the brilliantly flickering shades of the rainbow—these are among the marvelous lighting effects created for the Chicago World’s Fair, all produced by methods so simple that the amateur constructor can easily duplicate them as described here.

WHEN the giant telescope at Yerkes Observatory picks up a flash of light from the star Arcturus on the night of June 1, 1933, and flashes it as an electrical impulse to Chicago to start the second Chicago World’s Fair it will turn on, among other things, the most amazing collection of electrical effects the world has ever seen.

New York in the Year 2000 (Oct, 1927)

This is a fun look at the city of the future. Their New York of 2000 seems fairly similar that of today, just with more blimps and less variety of food. And I can’t wait to see the giant milkquitducts “carrying great white streams into the city from the dairy regions, 200 miles away.”

Babies Born Today May See

Cities of 30,000,000, Skyscraper Sidewalks, Roof Top Airports and Food Piped As Water Is Today


FROM the height of a great precipice two men looked down on a continuous stream of moving automobiles. Farther from the ground than the Palisades rise above the Hudson River at the highest point, they were on no natural crag. They were looking down from a window on the twentieth story of a New York hotel—not a fabulous building of a hundred years hence—but a matter-of-fact structure of today. Dinner was served in their room. The fish had traveled more than 6,000 miles to reach them— Alaska salmon. The steak came from a steer raised near the Mexican border, shipped a thousand miles to be “finished” by a special feeding, another five hundred miles to be dressed, and still another thousand miles in refrigerator cars to reach the metropolis. Fruit from Southern California, vegetables from Georgia, olives from Italy. And the eggs in the Mayonnaise dressing for the salad—no joking—were laid on the other side of the world, in China, nearly two years before. It was good Mayonnaise, too. There was a knock at the door.



American inventors are passing up a sure-fire gold mine! New devices, popular abroad, would find a ready market in gadget-conscious U. S. A.

By Harry Kursh

AMERICAN genius for invention and business built on astonishing new ideas is one of the most talked-about subjects in the world. There’s good reason. Last year an estimated $500,000,000 in royalties and profits went into the pockets of inventors.

Does it mean that only Americans have a monopoly on ideas and inventions that pay off? If you think so, the chances are you’re overlooking a fortune. There are countless gadgets abroad which can inspire inventors here. A survey of the world scene since the end of World War II shows that literally thousands of new inventions and ideas have earned countless millions for on-the-ball people in practically every country in the world. Yet these new inventions and ideas are virtually unheard-of in America up until the present time.

Now You Can Fly Around the World (Jun, 1936)

This sounds like a lot of fun. As long as they keep the Hindenburg filled with helium and not hydrogen on that first leg.

Now You Can Fly Around the World


By John E. Lodge

OUT of the sky over Lakehurst, N. J., a few days hence, the enormous silver Von Hindenburg, biggest Zeppelin ever built, is scheduled to nose down for a landing at the end of its maiden voyage to America. Not many weeks later, the four-engined, twenty-five-ton China Clipper will head out past the promontories of the Golden Gate on its first passenger flight to the Orient.

Those two events will forge the final links in a vast chain of airways to encircle the globe. Before the end of this summer, you will be able to buy tickets for an aerial circuit of the earth as easily as you now purchase them for a round-the-world cruise by steamer. Years of preparation, the flights of daring pioneers, and the latest advances in engineering and radio have given a solid foundation to what, but a few short decades ago, was a seemingly impossible dream.

Beating the Burglar at His Own Game (Dec, 1924)

This is a really entertaining article about the arms race between safe-crackers and the safe-makers/users.

Beating the Burglar at His Own Game

War-Time Tear Gas Is Added to Equipment Used to Foil Bank Robbers and Expert Safe Crackers

SCIENCE again is a lap ahead of the burglar and safe blower in the eternal race between criminals and the law.

The development of the oxyacetylene torch, coupled with the discovery that a rod of ordinary soft steel would help it burn through the hardest manganese steel ever made, for a time gave the bank robber an advantage.

Then science stepped in and produced a new metal which, so far, has resisted all efforts to melt or drill it. The composition is a closely guarded secret, but copper, apparently, is one of the materials used. Applied to vault doors, a sheet of ordinary hard steel is used on the outside, then a sheet of what appears to be a copper alloy, next a thickness of an exceptionally hard material that looks like carborundum, another sheet of the copper alloy, and finally the inside steel plate.

Mechanical Wonders of Chicago World’s Fair (Sep, 1933)

Wow, the airplane ride and especially the skyride look awesome.

Mechanical Wonders of Chicago World’s Fair

“CENTURY of Progress” is the name given the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, and the whole show is well named, for it is an exposition depicting the progress of man’s advance in civilization in the last 100 years. And this progress revolves almost entirely around the advances made in science and mechanics in that length of time.

Every conceivable mechanical oddity worth displaying is on show, and each month during the course of the exposition Modern Mechanix and Inventions will display for readers who are unable to view the fair an increasingly augmented series of unusual pictures to help carry the true import of the exposition.

Mechanical Ride Thumber Speeds Hitch-Hikers Across Country (Feb, 1938)

Mechanical Ride Thumber Speeds Hitch-Hikers Across Country

CREDIT for their crossing of the continent in twenty-seven days is given by two Maine college students to the odd mechanical thumber which they used to hitch auto rides. A wooden hand with thumb extended is pivoted to a metal destination sign supported by a hollow pole. Pulling a wire operates a spring to jerk the hand in the approved hitch-hiker’s gesture.

Where Wild West is Still Seen Every Day (Mar, 1924)

Back O’ the Yards Where Wild West is Still Seen Every Day

WITH the cutting up of the great ranges, the vivid cowboy with his wide sombrero, gay bandanna, chaps and spurs is fast fading into a dim shadow on the flickering screen of movieland.

Surrounded by towering buildings, clanking switch engines and a wilderness of tracks, the never-old drama of the wild west also is vanishing from one of its last strongholds—the Chicago stockyards.

Cattle still pour into Packingtown from their peaceful homes on the Texas plains or the prairies of Kansas or Oklahoma, but gone is the time when the 500-acres of pens represented a live part of a far-flung frontier.

Cowboys are still to be seen in and “back-o’-the-yards,” but they are city cowboys, although they can ride a horse just as well as the old timers who used to accompany the cattle to market. Nowadays, the railways feed, water, and exercise the animals so that the shipper does not have to send his cowboys with them. On arrival they are herded into pens by men who, in most cases, have grown up in the district, but who can rope a steer with as much skill as their brothers of the plains.

High-School Sleuths Run Scientific Detective Agency (Jul, 1939)

I love this question from one of the tests they made up:
“Define the following: Slander, libel, arson, jury, defendant, alias, accomplice, mutiny, oath, malice, search warrant.”

Mutiny? Doesn’t quite fit with the other words, does it? It sounds like some of the other kids decided that they wanted to take over the T.C.D.A and their coup was put down. Now everyone has to take a loyalty pledge to the bossman.

High-School Sleuths Run Scientific Detective Agency


“I WILL always obey my superiors. I will never steal. I will never tell a lie. I will obey all the laws of my country, my state, and my city. I will always respect the Tri-State Detective Agency and protect it.”

Thus runs the “Code of Conduct” of one of the most interesting and unusual organizations on earth, a boys’ detective agency with headquarters in the basement of a West Hartford, Conn., home and branches in various parts of the United States and Canada. Started a few years ago by four schoolboys, led by sixteen-year-old Roy D. Bassette, Jr., the organization now has an amazingly complete scientific crime-detection laboratory, a printing plant, a squad car, and an extensive library of criminological books and magazines. More than eighty-five boy detectives are members of the affiliated agencies.

Science Studies the Nudists (Feb, 1938)

Science Studies the Nudists



THREE hundred thousand men, women, and children, in America alone, are nudists. Followers of the “back-to-Eden” cult report that, during one ten-month period, members increased at the rate of 10,000 a month. Nearly 400 camps, scattered from coast to coast, are being maintained by the faddists for nude sun bathing.

Does nakedness really benefit health? Are the claims of the nudists justified? Can our bodies, if given a chance, inure themselves to cold and inclement weather?