They Travel To Keep Motorists Posted (Apr, 1940)

They Travel To Keep Motorists Posted

LIVING like gypsies in their own trucks, signpost crews of the Automobile Club of Southern California have erected 500,000 signs of 125 types in their area. They cover 200,000 miles a year, posting 50,000 signs annually to keep abreast of changing road conditions. Often the crews are gone from headquarters ten days at a time, sleeping in beds which swing down from the roofs of their trucks and cooking on gas stoves which slide out onto the back platform.





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.


I have no idea if this worked, or if it was even real, but it sure does look cool. Recently Boston Dynamics has made a robot pack-mule that is somewhat similar.

Here is a later article in Mechanix Illustrated with little tanks that look somewhat similar.


A MECHANICAL horse that trots and gallops on steel-pipe legs, under the impulse of a gasoline engine, is the recent product of an Italian inventor. With this horse, he declares, children may be trained to ride. The iron Dobbin is said to canter along a road or across a rough field with equal ease. Its design recalls the attempts of inventors, before the days of the automobile, to imitate nature and produce a mechanical steed capable of drawing a wagon.

Tots protected by plastic cocoon (Feb, 1968)

Tots protected by plastic cocoon

For $19.95 you now can buy an item called a Tot-Guard to protect your moppets from injury in case your car has a collision. Developed by Ford Motor, it consists of a hollow-molded shield and three-inch-high cushion of polyethylene. A removable foam pad fits inside the shield to take impacts. Engineers have crash-tested it for safety.

Parlor Is Garage (Jan, 1948)

Parlor Is Garage for this unique cycle-drive car made by an ingenious Englishman for taking his wife out into the country. Yes, they keep it in the drawing room! It fools the police, for they think it’s an auto and ask to see the license.

Make Trailer From Defunct Auto (Nov, 1932)

Make Trailer From Defunct Auto

OLD automobile bodies that have been consigned to the junkyard can still do a lot of good in the world, for they can be pressed into service as very substantial trailers.

The chief operation you will have to perform on the auto is the cutting ofF of the front at about the point of the dashboard. This disposes of the motor and its weight. You can easily contrive your own coupling. In the photo above the side members of the chassis are bent in, to form a V, at the point of which is attached the coupler.

Of course, weight should be reduced to a minimum. Strip the machine down to its essentials, and you’ll have accommodations for extra passengers and luggage when you go camping.

Bulletproof Body Turns Any Auto into an Armored Car (Dec, 1940)

Bulletproof Body Turns Any Auto into an Armored Car

Every automobile in the United States is potentially an armored car, under a plan recently proposed to aid the national defense program. The scheme would provide tanklike bodies of half-inch steel which could be speedily mounted on the chassis of standard cars. Swarms of these “minute man tanks,” the proponents claim, would prove an invaluable aid in combating invaders and parachute troops.



SAFE-T-BELT holds driver and passenger firmly in seat, prevents injury in minor accidents. Bolted to car’s floor, it is easily installed. The Rapid Tool & Mfg. Co.. Grand Rapids. Mich.

This Sidewalk Runabout is Easy to Build (May, 1938)

This Sidewalk Runabout is Easy to Build

By Hi Sibley

THERE is one definite rule to follow in making a sidewalk automobile—get your engine first and build the car around it. This applies pretty much to the wheels, too.

A half-horsepower, two-cycle washing machine engine is available in nearly all sections of the country, and as these can be had second-hand at a reasonable price and have sufficient power for moderate speeds, they make satisfactory installations. Herewith are working drawings of the little car owned by Richard Weber, of San Marino, California, which is driven by this type of motor and has proved successful for a long period. It is very easy to build.

Indoor Ambulance (Nov, 1950)

Indoor Ambulance
On duty 24 hours a day, a small ambulance can speed down the aisles of a big factory to pick up any worker who becomes sick or is injured. The ambulance, made from a Crosley station wagon, provides quick pickup service inside the Transformer Division plant of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation at Sharon, Pa. The factory is 3/4 mile long.