Pocket-Size Exposure Suit (Jul, 1948)

Pocket-Size Exposure Suit
Exposure, one of the biggest trials of airmen downed at sea, is curbed by an inflatable rubber suit small enough to be rolled into a pocket in the collar of a Mae West jacket. It weighs less than three ounces and provides air insulation against cold and damp. The suit is being tested in England and may soon be adopted as standard equipment for Royal Air Force crews.

Letter-Matic 1960? (Jan, 1956)

This is the first in a great series of ads for New Departure ball bearings, none of which have anything to do with ball bearings.

Letter-Matic 1960?
Think of dashing through your correspondence with this imaginary scribe! It converts your voice into electronic impulses which type, micro-record, fold, insert, seal, address and stamp letters almost as fast as you can dictate!
It’s just a notion now! But when some foresighted engineer works it out, you can bet New Departure will be called in to design the right ball bearings to keep these intricate parts working smoothly. New Departure works with engineers right from the planning stage to develop the exact bearing for even the newest departure in design.


Advertising Emblems Glow Weirdly In Cathode Ray Tubes (Mar, 1935)

Advertising Emblems Glow Weirdly In Cathode Ray Tubes
IN ONE of the most unusual of modern forms of advertising, trademarks mounted at the anode position of giant cathode ray tubes are painted in cold light of great brilliancy and dazzling color by electronic bombardment. Displayed in store windows, the tubes demonstrate to shoppers one of the many feats of the electronic tube, and at the same time display a business emblem.
Gilbert T. Schmidling, inventor of the first true cold light, coats these emblems with different chemicals, each giving off a certain color of cold light under electronic bombardment. Over 400 different shades, all of great brilliancy, have already been produced. Any number of colors may be obtained in one tube by using the different chemicals.

Trapped Rat Shoots Self and Photographs the Fatal Event (Jan, 1935)

This just seems really sadistic to me. Why would you want this picture?

Trapped Rat Shoots Self and Photographs the Fatal Event
TRAPPED in an ingenious contrivance built by George W. Fenner, Syracuse photographer, a hungry rat shot himself and left a picture of the event in a camera trained upon the device.

A piece of bait was suspended from a wire at one end of the trap. Nibbling eagerly at the bait, the rat released a catch which dropped a spring-operated hammer, tripping the trigger of a revolver mounted at the opposite end of the trap.
The shot not only killed the rat but also cut a piece of string connected with still another spring. The latter set off a flashlight, supplying the illumination necessary to take the picture. In addition to the camera and lethal apparatus, a watch hung near the gun recorded the time of shooting.

New Phone Rings Loud or Soft (Jun, 1949)

New Phone Rings Loud or Soft
THERE’S a new telephone on the way that will let you control the loudness of its ring. And at whatever volume you adjust it to, the ringing tone will be both lower-pitched and more resonant than that of your present phone. For easier dialing, the numbers and letter prefixes are placed outside the finger wheel. Another feature is an “equalizer” that automatically adjusts the voice sound level to compensate for the difference in distance between each telephone and the central office.
The phone’s handset—transmitter, receiver, and handgrip—is slightly smaller than
earlier models, weighs 25 percent less, and is designed for a more comfortable head fit. The new instrument, developed by Bell, is still undergoing tests. Some trial installations will be made this year, but regular production, by Western Electric, will not get under way until late 1950.

Mechanics Masquerade as Men from Mars (Apr, 1939)

Mechanics Masquerade as Men from Mars
NOT weird, helmeted men from Mars, but merely airplane mechanics carrying metal propeller-hub protectors are pictured in the curious photograph reproduced above. Because of their unwieldy shape, the hub spinners were easier to carry when held over the heads of the workmen as they walked out to install them on giant 1,200-horsepower transport-plane motors. The spinners help prevent the formation of ice on propeller hubs during winter and early-spring flying.

New Calculating Wizard (Feb, 1948)

Let’s see 10,000 operations per minute, that works out to about 166.6 hertz. Not mega or kilo, just plain hertz.

New Calculating Wizard
EDSAC, a British cousin of our electronic mathematical brains, such as ENIAC and ED VAC (PS, May ’47, p. 95), will handle 10,000 multiplications a minute. Now under construction at England’s Cambridge University, EDSAC will remember details of calculations and use “judgment” in choosing the best way to reach a result.

Women Stars Wrestle Under Water (Jan, 1935)

Women Stars Wrestle Under Water
ONE of the world’s strangest athletic events was held recently when Dolly Dalton, Canadian champion, engaged Dixie Taylor, southern women’s champion, in an underwater wrestling match at Silver Springs, Florida. The remarkable clearness of the water enabled spectators to follow every-move of the contestants. Good wind is essential for this strenuous sport.



A large mathematical machine must be able to store information and refer to it. This requirement has stimulated the evolution of information-storage units based on various physical effects

by Louis N. Ridenour

A computing machine capable of solving problems must possess a “memory” or, less poetically, an “information-storage unit.” The recent history of improvements in computing machines has been largely a history of improving memory devices. No ideal system has yet been found, but there has been a great deal of progress within the past decade, and several promising new developments are on the horizon.

Revolution In Toilet Technology (Jul, 1938)

It may look commonplace now, but in 1938 this was cutting edge. This is the ancestor of all those “hybrid” devices everyone is so fond of today. Whever you snap a picture with your camera phone, or make breakfast with your mp3 playing waffle iron, remember, it all started with the toilet shelf.

Tank Unit Creates Odd Shelf
PLACED on top of a toilet water tank, a new unit provides extra shelf space for bottles too large to place in a medicine chest. The unit is adjustable to various sized tops
and can be installed without tools and without marring the finish of the top.