Tobacco Stained Teeth Instantly Whitened New Safe Way (Jun, 1924)

My 10 year old self can just imagine seeing the Blech-o-dent parodies in Mad magazine.

Tobacco Stained Teeth Instantly Whitened New Safe Way

No need now for yellow, discolored, spotted, tobacco-stained teeth. Bleachodent Combination costs just a few cents and removes unsightly stains in three minutes at home. Leaves teeth white, lustrous, clean and flashing. Recommended everywhere as quicker, surer, safer than old-fashioned scouring methods which injured the enamel.

Oddities of Physics (Oct, 1937)

Oddities of Physics

Science is much closer to our daily lives than many of us believe. Some of the simplest phenomena and everyday occurrences which do not strike one as of any particular interest, abound with scientific explanations.

Hairdressing “Meter” Eliminates Guesswork (Sep, 1939)

Hairdressing “Meter” Eliminates Guesswork

A device recently invented by a well-known New York beauty expert is said to enable hairdressers to eliminate guesswork from the problem of designing the most flattering hair style for their women customers.


So, apparently in 1931, tuning a car radio was even more dangerous than texting is today. Also, Google Chrome, even with enhanced Google suggestion based spell checking, does not understand the word “texting“.


A radio set that can be carried about like a suit case is designed for the convenience of fans who do not want to miss favorite programs while motoring.

Unless we act, 1 in 8 will die of Cancer (May, 1947)

Well, apparently we acted, because in the U.S. cancer is now responsible for 1 in 4 deaths. Globally it is 1 in 8. (yes, I know that this primarily has a lot to do with people living to an older age and not dying of other things)

Unless we act, 1 in 8 will die of Cancer



Ten Miles High in an AIR-TIGHT BALL (Aug, 1931)

If it began to leak then the ball wasn’t exactly air-tight…
Also, with its tethers attached the capsule looks a lot like one of the tripods from War of the Worlds.

Ten Miles High in an AIR-TIGHT BALL

A HUGE yellow balloon soared skyward, a few weeks ago, from Augsberg, -Germany. Instead of a basket, it trailed an air-tight black-and-silver aluminum ball. Within Prof. Auguste Piccard, physicist, and Charles Kipfer aimed to explore the air 50,000 feet up.

Making A Power Loom (Sep, 1936)

Making A Power Loom

This automatic device will weave cloth. Its size may be changed to suit the individual builder.


WEAVING, as an industry or art, is so old that its origin is unknown. The most ancient example of weaving of which we know is a flax-like cloth found in the ruins of the Swiss lake dwellings, supposedly of the Stone Age.

A Machine with a “Memory” (Oct, 1937)

At first I thought this was a kind of Williams Tube, an early type of computer memory that used a grid of illuminated dots on a cathode ray tube to store data. However, according to the summary of this paper, it is basically what it looks like: a system that uses a camera to take a picture of an oscilloscope. Which made me wonder why they would call it a “memory” when it’s just a camera.

The reason I think, is that it uses the short term persistence of the oscilloscope image as a sort of buffer. When the event you’re interested in happens it will trigger the camera, giving you an image of the activity from before the event.

This is actually pretty handy and reminds me of the modern high-speed digital video cameras used on nature shows. They have to capture very unpredictable phenomenon that happen incredibly fast. By the time the photographer noticed, the event they care about has already happened. The trick to the cameras is that they are continually recording footage, keeping it for a short time in a buffer and then overwriting it. When an event happens that the photographer wants to capture, he presses the button and the camera just stops throwing away the old footage. This means the actual recording starts a few seconds before the button was pressed. This video from David Attenborough’s Life in the Undergrowth explains it perfectly. (I remembered the clip from watching the “making of” videos when I saw it a few years ago and wanted to link to it with this post. Apparently my google-fu is weak because I just spent the last hour searching before I found the right combination of keywords.)

By the way, if you haven’t seen Life in the Undergrowth, you should get a copy. It is mind-blowing and possibly my favorite nature documentary.

A Machine with a “Memory”

THIS machine has the faculty for picking up the results of electrical disturbances and registering them in its “mind.” A short time later they are illustrated on an oscilloscope, where photographs are made. The entire operation is automatic.

Hunting Miniatures (Sep, 1936)

Hunting Miniatures

24,000 pieces in world’s largest museum of the smallest articles.

ONE of the most remarkable exhibitions of miniatures, which has been collected painstakingly over a period of sixteen years by Mr. Jules Charbeneau, is on exhibition in St. Louis.

The articles come from thirty countries and the collection consists of 24,000 different items.

Murdered On The Operating Table! (Oct, 1937)

Apparently this story was so sensational that the editors had to abandon their headline capitalization style guide. “Screw it, this story is too big, I’m going all in. If I don’t, how will our readers know that it happened On The operating table?”

Surprisingly, operating room fires still happen quite often. The FDA has an initiative to help reduce the number of occurrences.

Murdered On The Operating Table!

AN anesthetized patient on an operating table — the surgeon approaches with a white – hot instrument—the patient explodes and two operating room attendants are injured!—The clipping from the New York Times tells the story.

Medical history will show that this is not the first time such an accident occurred. That same history should also record that there is no reason why such accidents should happen.