Double Bullet on Wheels (Jan, 1952)

Double Bullet on Wheels
By Michael Stern

Mi’s European Correspondent

AN amazing contraption, I thought, as the odd-looking car was unloaded from a truck onto the Appian Way, just south of Rome. The kind of vehicle that springs full-grown out of fantastic comic books. But, it was an automobile, all right—a pair of sleek silver-and-blue torpedoes, shaped very much like the deadly fish launched by submarines, connected by two thin strips of beveled aluminum.

Intricate “What-Is-It” Gathers Cushion Data (Oct, 1940)

This looks like it should be in a Dr. Seuss book.

Intricate “What-Is-It” Gathers Cushion Data
NO, it’s not a car of the future; nor the past either. The strange-looking contraption in which the young woman seems to be going for a drive is designed to gather information for engineers. Installed at the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, where thousands of persons have sat in it, the apparatus was built for a cushion manufacturer who hopes from countless measurements made on it to obtain an average-size automobile-seat cushion that will be comfortable for the majority of motorists.

House Boat Is an Old Oil Tank (Jun, 1939)

House Boat Is an Old Oil Tank
Made from an old 20,000-gallon oil tank, an unusual four-ton house boat built by Rene Tatro, of Kankakee, Ill., skims along the water at almost ten miles an hour. Powered by an old automobile engine, the curious craft has twin propellers and is balanced by five steel drums below the water level. Windows were cut out with an acetylene torch.

Gunboats To Fight Shark Menace (Mar, 1935)

This seems like a bit of overkill to me…

Gunboats To Fight Shark Menace
THE gunboats and seaplanes of three nations, England, Holland and Portugal, will soon combine in an attempt to drive dangerous tiger-sharks from their breeding grounds near the Island of Timor. The main weapons used will be torpedos dropped from circling planes and depth bombs released from the gunboats.

Yet Another Attempt to Defeat the Law of Gravity (Jan, 1932)

I’m going to hazard a guess that this attempt to defeat gravity did not meet with success.

Yet Another Attempt to Defeat the Law of Gravity
THE recent success of the Cierva Autogiro has brought forth a deluge of attempts to defeat the law of gravity. Harry Cordy, a Los Angeles inventor, is about to introduce into a startled aviation world a model of his idea of just what an airplane should be.

This plane of the helicopter type is characterized by a new form of propeller which is said to produce a superior degree of lift and thus effect a true vertical takeoff or landing.

Detroit’s Latest Plastic Fantasies (Mar, 1954)

Some of these look surprisingly modern. Particularly, the front end of the Corvette Nomad looks a lot like a current Thunderbird.

Detroit’s Latest Plastic Fantasies

Built to be seen but not sold, they are the banners in front of this year’s automotive circuses.


Built for speed, this Pontine racer has knock-off hub caps and safety belt for driver. It is one of 11 rein forced-plastic cars pictured on this and the two following pages. Stylists’ pipe dreams, they were socked into form largely for exhibition at auto shows. You couldn’t buy one for a million dollars. They are not for sale.

Ball Protects Children (Sep, 1949)

Who needs seat belts when we could just stick rubber balls on every protrusion in the car? Everyone knows, you can’t get hurt by slamming into something flat.

Ball Protects Children

Knobs or handles on the dash can give youngsters a bad bump on sudden stops. Sponge-rubber balls fitted over the protruding parts reduce this hazard. A dab of gasket shellac in the, hole will attach the ball securely.

Building Stratosphere Air-Liners (Apr, 1935)

Building Stratosphere Air-Liners


Noted Plane Designer

This article on the strato-plane of the future tells how huge double-decked planes will speed through the rarefied air from coast to coast in six hours.


Supplies the nation’s premier flyers—Lindbergh, Earhart, Hawks, Post, Wilkins—with Lockheed planes for their record feats. This pioneer of early aviation, now active on design work for air transports of the immediate future, contributed many of the ships that today are burning up commercial airline schedules and cutting air mail time in half. Consequently the words of Allan Lockheed, today one of the outstanding individual technicians of aviation, are of more than usual significance when he deals with the problems of flying airplanes in the stratosphere. His story follows:

Chicago’s Airmail Pick-up Catapults Mail Bags To Planes (Mar, 1935)

It would be so cool if airmail really worked this way.

Chicago’s Airmail Pick-up Catapults Mail Bags To Planes
DRAWINGS revealing the operation of the pick-up device used at the 1934 Century of Progress in delivering and receiving mail from planes in flight have been revealed by the inventor, Dr. Lytle S. Adams of Chicago.

Most ingenious feature of the device is the method by which the incoming bag is released and the outgoing mail tossed into the air. As the plane flies directly over the chute, the comparatively fragile wire dangling from the plane is broken at the mail bag as it reaches the end of a narrowing chute in the pick-up device, releasing the bag. A steel ball on the dangling wire trips a lever which catapults a new sack out of the chute and into the air. Shock absorbers on the plane take up any jars not offset by the catapult when picking up a new bag of mail.

Can We Ever Fly Faster Than Sound? (Oct, 1944)

Can We Ever Fly Faster Than Sound?

A seemingly impassable barrier blocks the way to higher plane speeds. Can we hurdle it? Our aviation editor gives his views.



DESPITE glowing newspaper reports, man cannot now fly at the speed of sound. In fact it is doubtful, according to the best authorities, that man has ever closely approached sonic speed (764 m.p.h, at sea level and 664 m.p.h, at 40,000 feet), let alone attain or exceed it. Speeds of over 500 m.p.h, in level flight are a serious challenge to design and power-plant engineers. Even in a terminal-velocity dive (straight down with all stops open), it is doubtful that any pilot has attained the speed of sound.