Sign of the Times
25,000 Bowlers Participate In National Contest (Jun, 1938)

Apparently bowling used to be a lot more popular.

25,000 Bowlers Participate In National Contest
CLOSE to 25,000 bowlers, members of 5,000 five-man teams, recently gathered in Chicago, 111., to attend the mammoth competition sponsored by the American Bowling Congress. The competition lasted for one and a half months and the prizes totaled $290,000. Because of the large number of contestants, the competition was declared to be the nation’s most extravagant sports event. More than forty alleys were constructed at the contest site to accommodate the bowlers.

Look! It’s Flying Disks Again! (Aug, 1951)

Yes, now you too can cook eggs on a flying disk!

Look! It’s Flying Disks Again!

PARIS has its flying saucer, but it is called “The Magic Plate.” It is a two-pound aluminum disk that floats in air without apparent support.

It moves up and down. It rotates. It lifts an ornate chandelier with bulbs burning continuously as it spins. If such trickery doesn’t prove that the plate is magic, it will fry eggs to a golden brown with nothing between it and the table but air!

Actually, of course, it is no more “magical” than the magic of electricity and the phenomenon of induction.

Below the plate, concealed in the table, are two concentric coils. The inner coil sets up a magnetic field that repels the tray, forcing it into the air. To keep the tray from slipping sideways out of the lifting field, a large outer coil is used. This develops a conical field, tapering toward the top, to keep the plate centered.

A third field makes the disk rotate. Four coils create it. Once the tray starts spinning, it does so for a long period even after the rotation coils are turned off because the drag of friction is almost nonexistent.

The chandelier weighs one pound. Its bulbs are lighted by induced current. The aluminum tray gets hotter than an ordinary electric iron, providing ample heat for egg frying.

What’s it all for? It is strictly a stunt used in Parisian store windows to attract customers and impress them with the magic of electricity.

Drop Dead Cigarette Box (Jan, 1965)

From the department of unintentional irony:


For the man who is dying for a cigarette, this 3-3/4″ x 1″ x 1-1/2″ completely metal, copper color coffin is a true replica of the real thing… Beware—your friends will fall in love with it. So-O-O buy several for gifts.
No others like it! Send $2.00 for each prepaid DROP DEAD COFFIN to
Andrea Specialties, Dept. S.M., 2700 Point Breeze Drive, Wilmington, Delaware 18903.

Meta-Branding 2 (Jan, 1955)

Another lesson in how to be a consumer. Oh, and remember “Man, you’re the boss.”!

the standards

Products with brand names that you call for again and again are literally just what you order, because you yourself are constantly dictating their quality standards.

Your approval is the measuring stick that manufacturers go by. You decree how a seam will be sewn, an edge ground, a design balanced. You say if a flavor will be sharpened, a fragrance tempered, an angle softened, a color heightened. Products stand or fall on your acceptance … so their makers keep quality up, UP to the point that keeps you buying.

Man, you’re the boss. And lady, you couldn’t be closer to quality control if you sat in the manufacturers’ collective lap.

Guide to good buying: the ads in this magazine.


Walking Robot Has Radio Controls (Oct, 1948)

Walking Robot Has Radio Controls

Controlled by a radio installed in a truck, a 400-pound robot can walk under its own power. The mechanical man, built by Reat Younger of Springfield, Mo., stands over six feet tall and weighs 400 pounds. Younger was intrigued by a robot he saw in a motion picture when he was a boy, and started building his own automaton while he was in high school. He now is working on plans to make the robot walk through a complicated system of transmitters, receivers and relays.

Don’t Envy The PLUMBER – Be One! (Mar, 1950)

Just the other day as a plumber was cleaning all of the delightful muck out of my clogged sewage line, I thought “Gee, I envy that guy!”

This ad is also incredibly repetitive and has ellipsis (…) in the oddest places.

Don’t Envy The PLUMBER – Be One!
Make $15 to $50 a Day
(and work every day)
Every skilled workman will tell you Plumbers have the best of it. WINTER and SUMMER the Plumber is busy at top wages. No skilled Plumber is ever out of a job . . . compare his opportunities with any trade, and decide where your opportunity is.
Plumbing, to the man with know how, means profit. Investigate Universal’s unique “Shop Method” system . . . This system, developed over a quarter century ago by a master plumber, offers you the opportunity to quickly get into the plumbing business. This is not a “war born school” . . . but a plumbing school developed and operated by plumbers since 1923.

FUN with QUICKSILVER (Apr, 1939)

Last week we had an article on how to make Nitrous Oxide, today we have fun experiments you can do with mercury, a poison. Mercury is considered toxic enough that when it is spilled in schools they are routinely closed and decontaminated. The article does point out that it is a poison and should be handled with care, then goes on to explain how to build a little straw-device for picking up stray globs of mercury. While this device does prevent you from sucking up mercury, it does nothing about the fumes.

Just to be clear: Mercury is a poison, it can cause neruological damage, it can give you cancer, it can kill you. Do not do any of these experiments.


Mercury, the Liquid Mystery Metal, Offers a Fascinating Field of Experiment to Amateur-Chemistry Enthusiasts

MERCURY seems to be nature’s joke on the scientist. The only metal that is liquid at ordinary temperaatures, it still outweighs most solid ones-lead included. Volume for volume, among all the substances you encounter in your everyday life, only a few such as platiinum, “gold, and tungsten are heavier than mercury. Though it runs like water, it does not wet objects, and a drop of mercury in the palm of your hand is so elusive that it defies you to pick it up with your fingers.

Transients Build Skyscraper Wigwams (Oct, 1934)

Transients Build Skyscraper Wigwams
ALONG the shore of Medicine Lake, near Minneapolis, Minn., homeless, unemployed men have built one of the strangest communities in America—a white man’s village of tepees and skyscraper wigwams.

Originally started as a minor relief project, the camp now covers 93 acres and is one of Minnesota’s largest relief depots.

Local building and wrecking companies. donate material for the structures which range from a two-person hut to a three-story community dwelling. These buildings have the customary Indian ridge poles, but the sides are covered with shingles instead of skin. The interiors are attractively equipped with rustic furniture.


This is a pretty cool house, if you go for the woodland-critter, industrial-flintstones look. As far as I can tell the only real feature it has that is in any way associated with “atomic protection” is the bomb shelter. However, the fact that the bomb shelter must be entered by swimming through a tunnel in the pool gets them major James Bond points.
Oh, and am I the only one who would be terrified to try parking on that crazy cantilevered track thing?


A swimming pool that becomes an automatic decontamination bath during an A-bomb attack is one of the features of a home that Hal B. Hayes, Hollywood contractor, is completing for himself. In the hillside next to the swimming pool he’s building an underground sanctuary that you reach by diving into the pool. His house is designed to “bring the outdoors indoors” for ordinary peaceful living, yet has a structure built to resist great destructive forces. Several of the walls are completely of glass that would be swept away by a powerful shock wave, but could later be replaced. A continuation of his living-room rug is pulled up to shroud the glass wall in that room when a button is pressed.

Other walls of the house have a fluted design to resist shock wave and a fireproof exterior surface of Gunite.

A garden growing in half a foot of soil on the flat roof provides insulation against extreme heat or shock. All exposed wood, inside and outside of the house, is fire-resistant redwood coated with fire-retarding paint. In addition to the underground sanctuary, equipped with bottled oxygen, there is a bombproof shelter in the house itself, consisting of a large steel-and-con-crete vault containing a sitting room and bathroom. Other features of the home include a three-story indoor tree. * * *

“Suicide Club” Makes Own Diving Suits (Jun, 1935)

Heh, could you imagine this club now? The liability for the city would be insane if someone ever got hurt.

“So, let me get this straight…. you had the children build their own diving suits made out of water heaters and garden hoses, then sent them down into dangerous wrecks. Didn’t you think it might be a bit dangerous?”

“No? Um…. what as the name of that club again?”

“Suicide Club” Makes Own Diving Suits
THE “Suicide Club” is an apt title for a group of eight Cali-fornian youths who, assisted by friends at the air pumps, indulge in small scale deep sea diving.

Under the direction of Jack Cheaney of the Los Angeles playground department, the amateur divers have equipped themselves with complete homemade outfits constructed from odds and ends. Sections of water heating tanks, fitted with windows, provide suitable helmets for the sub-surface workers. Ordinary garden hose is attached to bicycle pumps which furnish up to 20 pounds of air pressure.

Salvaging sunken craft, retrieving lost anchors and freeing fouled lines are the everyday jobs of this venturesome group.