Sign of the Times
How You’ll Fly to the MOON (Mar, 1947)

How You’ll Fly to the MOON

THE days of dreaming about a trip to the moon are over. The research destined to make that trip an actuality is already well under way.

Next May the first step on the long, long trail into space may be made: Man hopes to send something up that will never come down again (see “Going Up for Keeps,” p. 66). In the words of Dr. Fritz Zwicky, the California Institute of Technology physicist who suggested the May satellite-making experiment, “We first throw a little something into the skies. Then a little more, then a shipload of instruments—then ourselves.”

And other scientists agree. Dr. James A. Van Allen, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, anticipates sending a rocket to the moon (one way, no crew) within 15 years. “A conservative estimate,” he says. Maj. P. C. Calhoun, chief of the AAF’s guided-missile branch, expects to travel to the moon and back in his lifetime. And the University of California at Los Angeles already offers a course in rocket navigation!



By David Scott

WE HAD BEEN two days in Russia, two days of driving down a broad, virtually empty highway. After a stopover at Smolensk we headed once more for our goal, that city of paradoxes, Moscow. In the back seat, as always, was Vladimir, the 22-year-old interpreter assigned to us by Intourist, the Soviet travel agency.

Midafternoon of this third day brings a change of scenery. About 30 miles from Moscow we start seeing clusters of houses. Most of them are wooden shanties, but every one sprouts a TV antenna. Occasionally we pass a factory. At the city outskirts, huge apartment houses stand amid a forest of building cranes. Then the traffic really starts—few cars, but an endless stream of green trucks, like an army on the move.

New impressions tumble in. The road is being sprinkled by water tankers, then swept by mechanical brushes to clean up the muddy tracks deposited by trucks from adjacent building sites. Vladimir tells us you can be fined for driving a dirty car in Moscow. It’s also an offense to blow your horn or drop a cigarette butt in the street.

Coddle That Bump of CURIOSITY! (Aug, 1950)

Cute article explaining why you should act on your curiosity because you never know when you’ll get rich off of it. Examples include the inventors of: saccharine, synthetic dyes, the carburetor, Kraft pasteurized cheese, mayonnaise, safety razors and my favorite: Thomas Edison’s voice activated sewing machine (top left image on the page.)

Coddle That Bump of CURIOSITY!

Don’t stifle your urge to inquire about the nature of simple things —you may be cutting yourself out of a million-dollar windfall.

LABORATORY assistant Constantic Fahlberg was late for his lunch so he didn’t stop to wash his hands. To his astonishment, when he ate a piece of bread it tasted sweeter than the sweetest cake he had ever eaten.

So, he questioned the waitress. No, she said, the bread was unsweetened and the butter was the ordinary unsalted variety. Then he touched his tongue to his unwashed fingers: they were many times sweeter than honey! Thinking back, he concluded that his fingers must be invisibly smeared with the crystalline compound he had been mixing just before lunch hour.

All agog with curiosity, Fahlberg hurried back to the laboratory and tasted the mixture. Sure enough, it was sweeter than sugar—five hundred times sweeter! More experiments followed, and soon the medical profession had wonderful news for diabetics—saccharine!

How Firebugs Burn Millions (Dec, 1930)

How Firebugs Burn Millions

Criminal Torch Starts One Fourth of All Fires—This Costs You Money


STORES in a big town in western New York had closed for the day when a small delivery truck drew up at the curb of one of the main shopping streets. A few minutes later two men, one of whom carried a bundle, stopped in front of a furniture store just across the street, looked about as if to make sure they were unobserved, and went inside. After a little while, one of them came out, carefully locked the door, and walked away.

The instant he was out of sight, the driver of the truck leaped from his cab and dashed to the back of the store. Soon he returned, dragging by the arm the man who had carried the bundle—a well-dressed, middle-aged individual. The package now was held by the driver, a powerful fellow who, with his free hand, forced the other into the truck.

Wooden Highways That Carry Rivers (Dec, 1928)

Wooden Highways That Carry Rivers

Wooden Pipe Lines, First Used by the Ancients, Now Built In Gigantic Sizes


CONVEYING of water for domestic and industrial purposes dates back to early civilizations. The ancient Romans constructed aqueducts which diverted streams of water to their cities and filled their domestic needs. In more recent times bodies of water have been carried over mountains and plains, far from their sources, and utilized to irrigate deserts or to turn the wheels of industry. These modern engineering achievements constitute one of the romantic pages of industrial history, but it is interesting to note that while many refinements have been introduced, methods have been simplified, and quantity production developed, which combine to enlarge the scope of application—the principle has not materially changed.





THE canvas-topped prairie schooner, the original home on wheels, crawled across a continent and transformed it into a nation. This slow, clumsy conveyance carried the pioneers and their meager belongings across the plains and pushed our frontiers westward to the Pacific.

Today America is returning to the covered-wagon era, and the modern covered wagon again is extending our individual boundaries by releasing us from permanent abodes and providing a mode of travel so comfortable and inexpensive that we are likely some day to become a nation of nomads.

Today’s prairie schooner is a streamlined, luxury-crammed “cottage” on rubber-tired wheels. It is hitched to a 100-horsepower car instead of to a team of oxen. Thousands of families are towing these rolling homes behind their cars today, living in them as they travel. They stop where fancy dictates, and wherever they stop, home is waiting just behind the rear bumper. When they tire of sitting still, they move—and take their home along.

Birth Control – A Two-Edged Sword? (Mar, 1922)

According to the author of this article the main issue surrounding birth control is how to get the “shiftless and stupid at the lower end of the scale of social worth” to use it, thus committing “class-suicide”. As well as convincing the “higher classes” to turn their women into baby factories.

Birth Control – A Two-Edged Sword?

It Is the Only Road to Race-Improvement, But—May It Mean Retrogression? — What Is Your Own Relation to It?

By Albert Edward Wiggam

PRESIDENT HARDING recently wrote, a letter which ought to have attracted international attention. The letter was addressed to a citizen of the United States, whose name would never otherwise have gotten before the public, congratulating him upon the fact that he had achieved a family of sixteen children. I naturally supposed upon reading President Harding’s laudatory comments that the parents of these children were persons of exceptional distinction in some field of science, commerce, art or public service, and that these fine talents would be inherited by the children to spread through the nation. What was my astonishment and disappointment, when I learned that this man’s services to human society were valued by his fellow men at twenty dollars a week!

Now some of the greatest men who ever lived had fathers who earned even less than twenty dollars a week. But Sir Francis Galton, the founder of Eugenics, Havelock Ellis and others, have found that, in the long run, at least one-half of all the great men of the world, who have made civilization what it is, were born from parents who had achieved great distinction and usually wealth, and that nearly all the other half sprang from parents of the abler and more well-to-do classes.

Grow “ERMINE” Coats in Back Yard Rabbit Hutch (Sep, 1932)

Be sure to check out the picture of the little girl dressed head to toe in rabbit skins on page 4. She looks like a character out of the Flintstones.

Grow “ERMINE” Coats in Back Yard Rabbit Hutch

Furriers pay rabbit growers in United States over $30,000,000 a year for pelts, from which are made fur coats selling from $300 to $5,000 each. This article tells you how you set up in rabbit raising as a backyard pastime and reap the biggest profits from smallest outlay of cash.

by H. H. DUNN

MARY PALMER, who teaches school for $1,500 a year at San Diego, California, came out of the winter of 1930-31, with the determination to have a fur coat for the next winter.

“If I start saving now, and go in debt a little in the fall, I can get myself one of those $300 coats for a Christmas present,” she told her father.

“If you will give me an hour of your time every day, from now until next October,” replied her father, “I will give you a fur coat that you cannot buy for five times $300 and it will cost not more than $30, probably half that amount.”

As a matter of fact, for this is a true story, Mary’s father produced the fur coat on the date promised, and Mary sold it for $650 to a furrier, who, in turn, sold it for $1575. Then Mary’s father gave her another just like it. The total cost of the coats to Mr. Palmer was less than $15 each, and, with their trimmings, they represented an actual outlay of not more than $35 each.

Living Automatically (Jul, 1946)

Long before computer labs and internet cafes people had to make due with coin-op typewriters.

Living Automatically

New machines ready to serve at the drop of a coin

A New York restaurant has substituted machinery for waiters. The diner needs only to write out the order and drop the card into a slot in the table, as above (see PSM, Apr. ’40, p. 126). In a basement kitchen the food is prepared and, course by course, served through the center of the table, which operates like a dumb-waiter (right) by hand or hydraulic power, compressed air, or electricity.

Uranium For Sale (Mar, 1950)

Uranium For Sale

A-metal goes on market, and other odd metals find new uses as they step out of chemistry boohs into everyday living.

By Alden P. Armagnac

WANT to buy some uranium? You can, now, for the A-metal’s on the market. Just explain to the New York licensing division of the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission what you want it for, satisfy them that you’re a reputable researcher, and you’ll get a license entitling you to send in an order.

To meet legitimate needs, the AEC has authorized the sale of 200 pounds of uranium through normal commercial chemical channels. That’s news, because in recent years every available ounce of the silvery metal has been earmarked as a source of fissionable material for A-bombs and chain-reacting piles.