Archive
Sign of the Times
Big City Sign (Oct, 1939)

Very cool article from 1939 about the first programmable electronic sign in Times Square (think the grandfather of the Jumbotron). Every single change of a light, and there are 27,000 of them, is punched as a row on a 160 column roll of paper that gets fed through the vast machine.

Oh, and in response to the question posed here:

“The paper is wide enough for 160 perforated holes across. One hundred holes to represent all the lights in each zone. Thirty to represent the zones in all the sectors. And nine to represent the sectors.”

“But that’s only 139 holes’” we remark brightly.

“Well, there are nine holes to erase the sectors.”

“That’s 148.”

“And nine for flashing the sectors on and off.”

“That’s 157.”

“And—” Mr. Latz scratched his head. “There’s three more for something else, but darned if I know what they are!”

The answers are:
158 – displays goatse
159 – displays Xeyes. Every platform needs Xeyes.
160 – reserved for pending MPAA DRM solution.

Big City Sign

“How does it work?” is the question most frequently heard, as New Yorkers and visitors gaze at the sign whose color and action make it one of Broadway’s most startling attractions.

27,000 light bulbs! 40 miles of wiring! 500,000 connections!

THESE figures are impressive, but an electric “spectacular” must depend on more than sheer size to attract attention in New York City’s Times Square, which has the most imposing collection of electric signs in the world. It must have action, color, and originality—and that’s just what the Wonder-sign, newest and brightest addition to the Great White Way’s signs, has.

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Metal Lungs Give Life (Jul, 1938)

Words I never thought I’d say: “Wow, that girl in the Iron Lung looks sexy!”

Metal Lungs Give Life

DEATH stands at the hospital bedside, waiting. Beneath the covers, a gasping youngster rights for breath. He is a’victim of infantile paralysis. Slowly, cruelly, the dreadful fingers of paralysis clutch at the chest muscles which pump the breath of life through his body. Soon those muscles will cease to function and the youngster will cease to breathe.

But death has not reckoned with the mechanical ingenuity of man.

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Metalized Window Curtain Aids in A-Bomb Protection (Jul, 1951)

Metalized Window Curtain Aids in A-Bomb Protection

Heavy canvas window curtains, specially treated, are designed to give partial protection from the effects of an A-bomb blast. The curtains are metalized with aluminum and lead. They will help protect persons inside a building from flying glass, radioactive dust and flash burns, according to the manufacturer. They are said to be effective at distances beyond 2600 feet of the explosion. When not in use, the curtain rolls against the upper part of the casement like a window shade.

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The New Attack On Venereal Disease (Jan, 1949)

Really interesting article from the 40′s about combating VD. Both in terms of medical treatment (the new wonder drug penicillin) and in terms of health education (removing the taboo from talking about VD). It’s also really interesting to see the how little has changed in regards to the balance between curing illness and “promoting sexuality”. This quote from the article:

Not all experts see this as an unmixed blessing. Dr. John Stokes, syphilologist of the University of Pennsylvania, is worried about the effect on morals. “If extramarital sexual relations,” he has said, “lead neither to significant illness nor unwanted parenthood, only a few intangibles of the spirit remain to guide children of the new era from an outmoded past into an unbridled future.”

Is very similar to this one regarding the recent HPV vaccine

“Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV. Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex.” – Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council

The basic idea being that people should be punished for having sex outside of marriage.

The New Attack On Venereal Disease

Tent shows, hill-billies and a new drug are some of the weapons which may relegate syphilis and gonorrhea to the text-books in a few years

A carnival tent show in a Michigan State Fair (top photograph and opposite page) and a little bottle of creamy white liquid (above) are the new shock troops in a two-front war against venereal disease. Between them, they may wipe out this scourge of mankind within the next ten or twenty years.

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Things You Never Knew About Your Fountain Pen (Sep, 1956)


Things You Never Knew About Your Fountain Pen

A leaky 1884 pen let loose the flood tide of American ingenuity that has kept the world writing.

By Richard Match

FROM Murmansk to Timbuktu the American fountain pen, streamlined, durable and leakproof, is a symbol of U.S. technological excellence. After World War II our trim Parkers, Sheaffers, Watermans, Eversharps brought $400 each on the black market overseas. Today Japanese and Italian street vendors hawk shoddy counterfeits; the Russians turn out imitation Parker 51′s which cost more than the real thing. But American manufacturers make 75 percent of the world’s output—some 200 million pens a year.

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John Chinaman – His Science (Mar, 1933)

This is a really odd article. The basic proposition seems to be, “Wow those stupid, plodding Chinese sure are smart. How is that possible?”

It is rather fascinating to conjecture on some of these things, to realize that plodding John Chinaman, who seems thick and slow and dense to modern Western culture, should have sought out these truths of nature, these mechanics that we today are using in the iron men of our machine age. And to realize that we haven’t yet extracted all of the value from their applications as in some instances John Chinaman has done with his science.

John Chinaman – His Science

WHERE there ain’t no ten commandments and a man can raise a thirst, there’s an ancient science extant that looks like the very first. We think we’re the only ones who know smelting and hydraulics and ceramics and printing and electricity. But old John Chinaman had a civilized working knowledge of them all so long ago that our ancestors appear to have been dumbells at the time. They were living in total ignorance of a civilization so advanced and so fundamental that even to this day John Chinaman is ahead of us in the application of many things mechanical he has known since Noah built the ark.

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OCTOPUS! Terror of the Deep (Feb, 1939)

OCTOPUS! Terror of the Deep

How would you like to battle a 24-ft. octopus 20 fathoms under the sea? That’s the thrilling adventure of Lieut. Rieseberg whose diving bell was attacked by a monster squid. Read how the battle was filmed and the octopus killed. These authentic pictures are the most spectacular filmed in underwater history.

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GAS MASKS FOR ALL (Mar, 1937)

I’m not sure what’s scarier, the picture of children in gas masks, or the horse wearing one.
And I love that they insist that being exposed to mustard gas is really no worse then getting a bad sun burn.

GAS MASKS FOR ALL

ENGLAND is manufacturing 30,000,000 gas masks for civilians at the rate of 250,000 per week. By the end of the year they will be stored at convenient centers available for instant use. Italy has decreed that every new house constructed must have a concrete anti-gas shelter in the basement in accordance with government specifications. Masks are sold in Rome on the installment plan.

French drug stores sell masks. Russia has devised special models for children and conducts gas as well as fire drills in schools. Germany and every other European country have provided masks and fume-proof shelters for civilians operating electric power plants and other vital services. A Czech manufacturer is marketing a mask with a telephone and microphone attachment for the conduct of business as usual in spite of gas.

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Bodyguards Face Death to End Kidnap Menace (May, 1934)

What I found really interesting about this article is the picture of Roosevelt on the second page. He was generally tried to hide the fact that he had Polio from the public. But if you look at that picture it’s obvious that he’s holding the man on the right for support. It also looks like he is using his other hand to support him self on a cane and possibly has leg braces under his pants. Rarely do you see unobstructed pictures of F.D.R standing.

Bodyguards Face Death to End Kidnap Menace

IN THE ordinary run of things, a man does not go about looking for trouble. But this is not the case with a new type of professional men. They are called bodyguards. Trouble is their business — and death not infrequently is their reward.

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FREE 10 HITLER STAMPS! (Jan, 1952)

FREE!
10 HITLER STAMPS!

10 SCARCE STAMPS
ALL DIFFERENT
SENT FREE
TO SECURE NAMES FOR OUR MAILING LIST

Mail coupon at once. We’ll send you this fascinating set of 10 Hitler stamps. Differnt sizes, colors, values. NO COST TO YOU. Stamps were issued by short-lived nation of Bohemia-Moravia. Much sought after. Now becoming SCARCE. Our supply is limited. Don’t ask for more than one set. We’ll also include other interesting offers for your inspection – PLUS a FREE copy of our helpful, informative book, “How to Collect Stamps.” This speccial offer may have to be withdrawn soon – so rush coupon NOW to: Littleton Stamp Co., Dept. PM-1, Littleton. N.H

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