“Wand” Speeds Checkout (Jul, 1964)

I guess this was an alternative to barcodes, though it doesn’t seem too practical. I’d think that the labels would get lost, and would be easy to spoof. Plus you only get to scan it once.

“Wand” speeds checkout.
To move supermarket lines faster, this recent IBM patent would use a flexible tube and a vacuum pump to suck up magnetically printed stickers and feed them to a register. The register would read the magnetic code and total the purchases quickly. The tabs would also serve for the store’s stock and inventory control.

The Truth About Pot (May, 1968)

This is a surprisingly honest, un-biased and well researched article about marijuana from 1968. It’s kind of sad that essentially nothing has changed in this debate since this article was written.


  • Is marijuana addictive?
  • Does it have bad physical and mental effects on the user?
  • Does its use tend to increase crime?

Here are the conflicting opinions of leading experts on this highly controversial subject.

By Robert Gannon

After reviewing Mr. Cannon’s article on marijuana, “The Truth about Pot,” a consultant for the American Medical Association had this to say: “This is an excellent article. The author has done a wonderful job of making some legislative zealots look ridiculous simply by quoting their exaggerated statements and reciting the disconcerting facts.”

The great debate about marijuana ranks closely behind Vietnam and civil rights as one of the top issues of our time. And as the number of pot users grows, so does the controversy in which marijuana is called everything from a menace to a harmless delight.

    What is the truth about this strange drug? Here is an in-depth report on the nation’s pot problem and what science has learned so far about its effect on those who use it.

Self-navigating robot gets its own charge (Jan, 1965)

Self-navigating robot gets its own charge

A machine that recharges its batteries by finding and plugging into the nearest wall outlet is under test at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Like a hatbox full of bees, it buzzes up and down a hall, probing ahead to avoid open doors, stairs, and other obstacles.

Equipped with sonar, the robot may find use in moon or undersea explorations.

Living Shadow Dances on Giant Electric Sign (Mar, 1941)


Living Shadow Dances on Giant Electric Sign

PIROUETTING in front of a bank of photo-electric cells, Dixie Dunbar, New York dancer, recently cast a living silhouette on the world’s largest animated electric sign above the Great White Way. Her shadow, thrown on the electric eyes, blacked out lights in corresponding areas of the sign. In regular operation, animated-cartoon silhouettes are projected on the cells from a movie film.



Climaxing the mystery yarn of 50 years ago was the instant the intrepid spy or detective clicked his concealed camera, capturing the evidence. Cameras were bulkier then, byt designers disguised them ingeniously. These cameras are displayed at the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y. Opera glasses and pistols are sure-fire giveaways for spies, yet that didn’t deter the designers. Those in Photo 1 are cameras in disguise. That harmless-looking man surveying land near the Army base was really a spy and his thotolite, like te one in Photo 2, was a camera! The dapper detective was never without his cane because it had a camera in its handle, Photo 3. Back in 1890, the ascot tie, Photo 4, was the mark of a gentleman, but this one had a built-in camera, its lense forming the stickpin. Cruder but just as efficient is the circular camera that shoots through a buttonhole, Photo 5.

Tanks Simplify Bullfrog Culture (Jun, 1939)

Friday Animals for Profit Blogging:

Tanks Simplify Bullfrog Culture

COMPLETE protection against all natural enemies, perpetual shade, adequate feeding, abolition of
cannibalism, elimination of red leg frog disease, ideal temperature control, confinement of frogs to the domestic range, greatly reduced mortality and a growing time of seven months from baby frogs to marketable maturity are some of the many advantages claimed for a patented system of frog culture in concrete tanks developed by John Eugene Stearns of El Monte, California.

Early Airbags (May, 1968)

Pillow protects you in auto crashes
This “Auto-Ceptor” pillow is designed to prevent or lessen injuries in car accidents. Triggered by a crash sensor. it inflates in 1/25 second between the instrument panel and the driver and passenger. A model and dummy child demonstrate it here. It’s a joint product of two companies: Eaton Yale & Towne and the Ford Motor Co.

Tax Return Spelunking (Jul, 1952)

Cap Lights Illuminate Warehouse
Office employees at a Government warehouse in Chicago look more like miners than clerks. The warehouse is used to store Government records. Instead of going to the expense of installing a new lighting system which would have cost an estimated $20,000, officials have provided cap lights for the clerks who search through the records. The lights are operated by rechargeable batteries and provide more than adequate illumination.

Transistor Pocket Radio (Jan, 1955)

Transistor Pocket Radio
THERE ARE NO vacuum tubes employed in this transistor pocket radio recently introduced by Regency of Indianapolis, Ind. It is claimed to be several years ahead of the time set by many stereatronics experts for the development of such a unit for consumer use.
This model, TR-l, is priced at $49.95 and comes in four colors: Black, bone white, cloud white and mandarin red. It measures 3 by 5 by 1.25 inches and weighs less than 12 ounces. Its size is, of course, made possible by the use of tiny high-performance transistors. A miniature 22.5-volt battery supplies the power for the radio.

Hang your kids out the window (Aug, 1953)

This is completely insane.

Apartment-Window Cage Protects English Tots
Enclosed in a wire cage suspended from an apartment window, English children play in the sunlight and fresh air while their mothers are busy with housework. The cage, made of wire netting is strongly braced and is guarded on the apartment side by a cloth net which prevents children from crawling back into the room. Loaned by an infant welfare center to families with no gardens, the portable balcony is apparently popular with children and mothers. The demand exceeds the supply.