Inventions and Contraptions (Feb, 1935)

I like the idea about molding the coins in the bottles to prevent counterfeiting. It’s sort of like a backwards bottle deposit.

Inventions and Contraptions

THERE are a number of things on this page which would perplex the reader. The first (upper left) is a bottle, together with a young lady (we don’t know about the singing). The bottle has molded into the glass a coin—a quarter, nickel or dime. When you have emptied the bottle, you break it; instead of leaving it for the garbage man to sell to a bootlegger. The broken glass may be disposed of conveniently, with your old razor blades, in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.

The gentleman in the upper right-hand corner is not a surveyor. He has a harpoon gun for big aquatic game, which works with compressed air, and shoots 150 yards. Between hunting expeditions, it can be used for saving life from shipwrecks, as it will carry a length of strong cord. Powder-operated harpoon guns, with explosive heads, are used in whaling.

More complicated — and more practical—is the new super-adding or “proof” machine. The operator has 24 adders before him like the keys of a piano, and can add each item as he comes to it on any of 24 different paper rolls, with carbon copies. There is an automatic signal to show when any roll is reaching the end, and numerous other refinements. It is for clearing-house and large corporation work.

  1. rick s. says: September 19, 20104:43 pm

    Hi Rick,

    Back in those days pretty much anything or anyplace was fair game for exploitation like that. I’m wondering if the canyon would have been filled by now if it had been used as a dump starting early in our history. Until WW II when everyone was made aware of the wastefulness in our everyday lives (we had rationing back then which brought the point across) we pretty much thought like that. Part of our frontier mentality, I guess, which from the beginning was to use up whatever we had and then push on to the next place.


  2. Rick Auricchio says: September 20, 20107:32 am

    I especially like the idea of using the Grand Canyon as a garbage dump for broken glass and razor blades. “Don’t nobody use an inflatable boat down there!”

  3. John Savard says: September 22, 20102:16 am

    It isn’t people counterfeiting the soft drink that they’re worried about. By “bootleggers”, they mean people selling alcoholic beverages during Prohibition. It’s something like diabetics not leaving their needles around for junkies to steal.

  4. Charlie says: September 22, 20107:45 am

    Prohibition was over at this point.

  5. John says: September 22, 20108:18 am states “131 thousand years’ worth of 1990 US trash production assuming 3 cu.yd. per ton of garbage.” to fill the Grand Canyon, assuming 1990 levels of total trash production. That’s all trash, not just bottles and razor blades. A website with the promising name estimates about 305 years, but they include all food waste and comercial garbage, not just households. Even assuming that in 1935 we threw away a quarter of what we do know, and assuming that all we ever threw away were glass bottles and razor blades (unlikely, since milk bottles were re-used), it would still take over a thousand years to fill the Grand Canyon. I have no explanation for why the numbers gleaned from the internet are so different, so I used the more pessemistic ones. So yeah, even if we started throwing everything in it since the first colonies in North America (I’m assuming the American Indians did not use either razors or glass bottles, and they didn’t throw away much. Generally you need a settled society to produce real garbage), not to mention that a merchant in Boston throwing his garbage in the Grand Canyon is logistically unlikely, we’d still have a good few hundred years before we had to dig even one garbage dump. And by then we’ll probably be living in the non-garbage eco-future anyway.

  6. John says: September 22, 20108:21 am

    To complete my comment, is it a smart idea? No. But we’d have a hell of a long time before it was filled.

  7. Arglebarglefarglegleep says: September 27, 20108:29 pm

    Even if the article was made in 1933, Prohibition just repealed and on a local level in dry counties across the USA were definitely still present. There’s still places in the USA where booze isn’t legal.… Moonshiners still need bottles even today although canning jars seem traditional if this company is something to judge by http://www.thedrinkshop… . And in ’33, I’m not sure how good the distribution of commercial, taxed booze was even for companies like Jack Daniels. So moonshiners might still have been operating in ’33 while taxed, legit companies got their distribution networks back in place.

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