Sign of the Times
The World of Tomorrow (Aug, 1938)

The World of Tomorrow

AMERICA’S largest city next year will stage the world’s largest fair, a $150,000,000 exposition costing about three times as much as Chicago’s famed Century of Progress.

In addition to costing three times as much, the New York fair will be three times as big as the Chicago fair. The Century of Progress covered 424 acres. The New York World’s Fair of 1939 will extend over 1,216 acres.

In fact, New Yorkers point out happily, if Chicago’s Columbian Exposition and Century of Progress were combined, both of them together would not be as large in area or as costly as the fair New York is planning. And whereas the Century of Progress attracted about 38,650,-000 visitors in two seasons, New York expects to entertain 50,000,000 visitors in six months.

Building the world of tomorrow will be the New York fair’s central theme and when it opens next April 30, just 150 years after the inauguration of George Washington in New York City as our first president, it will present an example of man-made magic as amazing as the blooming of a lily out of the mire. For Flushing Meadow Park, the exposition site on Long Island, was formerly a city dump and this fair is rising out of a mountain of ashes to demonstrate how the tools and processes and knowledge of today can be used to create a better world tomorrow.

Where is Television Now? (Aug, 1938)

Wow, the entertainment industry used to have a much more enlightened approach to “hackers”:

While passing through the earphone stage, television needs what radio needed in the days of crystal sets—hams and tinkerers. RCA recently made available to amateurs certain specialized parts, including several Kinescopes, and before long complete television kits containing all the parts for receivers may be available. Once the art emerges from the laboratory, the nation’s hams and tinkerers will play an important part in its development.

Where is Television Now?

TEN years ago a woman sat under blinding lights in John L. Baird’s television studio in London while a group of men, assembled around a receiver in Hartsdale, N. Y., saw her face on a screen.

That radio transmission of a moving picture across 3,000 miles of ocean led many to believe that television, a new Twentieth-century wonder, was about to round the corner and, like radio, enter most American homes. But years passed and nothing of this sort happened. People still are asking, “When will we have television?”


If live cats will scare birds away, why not use imitation cats as scarecrows? Acting on this unconventional idea, a farmer of Warwickshire, England, is decorating his property with painted likenesses of cats like those illustrated above. Stoppers from mineral water bottles supplied the eyes. Now it remains to be seen whether the birds will be terrified.

Use Five Farms as Big Laboratory to Watch Electricity at Work (Dec, 1930)

Use Five Farms as Big Laboratory to Watch Electricity at Work

AGRICULTURAL interests of twenty-four states have united in an effort to find out just what can be done with electricity on the farms of this country. At present the experiments are being made on five average farms in Maryland under the direction of the University of Maryland. On them electricity is being used for almost everything, from killing flies to turning on an alarm clock to wake the hens to a busy day of laying. When flies light on a screen through which a current is passing, sparks leap out and electrocute them.

History’s Biggest Show (Jul, 1933)

This exposition looks like a blast, I wish they still did things like this.

History’s Biggest Show


By Edwin Teale

AFTER a forty-year journey through space, a reddish ray of starlight has just struck a photo-electric cell and flashed on the lights of a $25,000,000 extravaganza of science, the Century of Progress Exposition at Chicago.

Islands to accommodate the show, were built in the waters of Lake Michigan. Grass and trees and towering buildings cover them and hundreds of thousands of glowing, gas-filled tubes illuminate the great exposition.

Covering 338 acres, the thousands of exhibits compress into the scope of an exposition the drama and wonder of history’s most amazing century of scientific advance. Under your eyes, crude rubber changes into auto tires; casein, extracted from milk, becomes a fountain pen; piles of parts turn into automobiles that speed away under their own power.

Freak Vehicles for Air, Land, and Water (Sep, 1933)

Freak Vehicles for Air, Land, and Water

Birds, Dogs and Other Animals Used to Propel the Odd Boats, Wagons, and Airships Inventors Have Devised in Their Efforts to Bring About Faster, Safer,
and More Certain Ways to Travel

RIDING to the North Pole pulled by a kite! Crossing the Sahara in a juggernaut with fifty-foot wheels! Galloping along the ground on a mechanical horse with steel-pipe legs! Rolling over trees and houses in a 115-foot canvas ball blown by the wind like a tumbleweed!

Such are the curious, fantastic forms of conveyance inventors have proposed in the long search for swifter travel. Digging into the files of old newspapers and patents, you find a fascinating record of the inventive mind grappling with the problems of increasing human comfort and speed. It is a chronicle of queer ideas, of freak vehicles, of oddities of transportation.

How Your Daily Life Will Be Changed After the War (Feb, 1943)

How Your Daily Life Will Be Changed After the War

LET’S dress you from skin to topcoat, to dramatize the coming clothing revolution. You break out your socks, underwear and shirt from factory-fresh packages. When you undress tonight you’ll toss them aside like disposable tissues. The laundry man is practically out of business, for it’s cheaper to have a standing order of new garments delivered every week or two than to have the old ones washed and ironed.

As you slip into your underwear and shirt you marvel at their form-fitting comfort. They ought to be comfortable, for they are moulded to the contours of the body and there is not a single seam, ridge, button or buttonhole. No wonder your Shirts are throwaway-cheap: there’s no hand labor of cutting to patterns, assembling, sewing, buttonholing. Rolls of fabric are fed into one end of a machine like a newspaper press, to emerge on a delivery belt at the other end at the rate of several hundred an hour.


A red trolley and a blue biplane raced along an in-terurban right-of-way near Moraine, Ohio, not long ago, and the trolley more than held its own. It was one of the new ninety-mile-an-hour electric cars recently put in service to carry passengers between the Ohio cities of Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Springfield.

The latest in trolleys not only boasts a speed seldom attained by any steam locomotive, but in other features it is called entirely new in electric railway transportation. Passengers sit either in individual coach seats or in an observation compartment at the rear like that of a railway train, from which they have a clear view of the scenery whizzing past the windows.

Thermos Container Insures Constant Milk Temperature (Mar, 1938)

Thermos Container Insures Constant Milk Temperature
Placed over a bottle of milk at the time of its delivery to a customer’s home, a thermos-type container produced by a California manufacturer is said to keep the milk at its delivery time temperature indefinitely. A simple release lever on the top of the container locks or unlocks the bottle.


This doesn’t sound like a very safe idea…


Tempting death daily is the lot of a few daring men in a London laboratory, where a steel-walled chamber containing an appreciable quantity of real poison gas is reported in use to test the air-purifying canisters of military gas masks. Masked experimenters sit outside the deadly chamber, and breathe through hoses that terminate in the canisters within. A white-coated physician stands near to render first aid, in case the poison-absorbing chemicals should fail to function. Only in this way can new types of equipment be tested.