Site Redesign (Aug, 1934)

I’m going to be redesigning this site soon and I wanted to ask for suggestions. What do you find annoying? What would you like changed? Added? The biggest complaint thus far seems to be that the white on grey text is hard to read.

Also, are there particular kinds of scans you’d like more of? Other topics?

Bringing the Sun Indoors (Sep, 1938)

I’m not sure if they still do this at the new Hayden, or if they do elsewhere, but it’s really cool. Basically using a set of mirrors they project an image of the sun onto the roof of the planetarium, so you get 26 foot wide image that’s safe to stare at.

Bringing the Sun Indoors
AT the Hayden Planetarium in New York a huge 26-foot image of the sun is being projected on the interior of the dome every day that the sun shines. This is accomplished by means of a first system of moving and fixed flat mirrors for bringing the sun’s image indoors and a second system of mirrors and lenses for enlarging and projecting it.

The actual sun is shown at the top of the drawing. Its rays are caught by an eight-inch flat mirror mounted on an axis parallel with the earth’s axis. A clock-like mechanism slowly turns this mirror as the earth’s turning “moves” the sun. This image, after passing through an opening in the building, is kept constantly spotted on a second flat mirror which is permanently fixed in position. It in turn passes the image downward to the third element of the Jong optical train, a flat mirror fixed at a 45-degree angle which turns it horizontally. The sun’s image is now where it can be used but as yet it is neither magnified nor projected.

Magnification is done in an ordinary eight-inch reflecting telescope, just as it would be if that telescope were directed at the sun out of doors; and since it is possible with any telescope to view the image not alone by looking into the eyepiece but also by projecting it on a screen at some distance from the eyepiece, the same is done at the planetarium. Here the distance is long, hence the image is very large—larger, in fact, than any solar image previously projected by similar methods. All this apparatus—the coelostat, fixed flats, and telescope—is entirely separate from the regular planetarium apparatus and could be similarly used with any ordinary house or building.

Look! It’s Flying Disks Again! (Aug, 1951)

Yes, now you too can cook eggs on a flying disk!

Look! It’s Flying Disks Again!

PARIS has its flying saucer, but it is called “The Magic Plate.” It is a two-pound aluminum disk that floats in air without apparent support.

It moves up and down. It rotates. It lifts an ornate chandelier with bulbs burning continuously as it spins. If such trickery doesn’t prove that the plate is magic, it will fry eggs to a golden brown with nothing between it and the table but air!

Actually, of course, it is no more “magical” than the magic of electricity and the phenomenon of induction.

Below the plate, concealed in the table, are two concentric coils. The inner coil sets up a magnetic field that repels the tray, forcing it into the air. To keep the tray from slipping sideways out of the lifting field, a large outer coil is used. This develops a conical field, tapering toward the top, to keep the plate centered.

A third field makes the disk rotate. Four coils create it. Once the tray starts spinning, it does so for a long period even after the rotation coils are turned off because the drag of friction is almost nonexistent.

The chandelier weighs one pound. Its bulbs are lighted by induced current. The aluminum tray gets hotter than an ordinary electric iron, providing ample heat for egg frying.

What’s it all for? It is strictly a stunt used in Parisian store windows to attract customers and impress them with the magic of electricity.

Drop Dead Cigarette Box (Jan, 1965)

From the department of unintentional irony:


For the man who is dying for a cigarette, this 3-3/4″ x 1″ x 1-1/2″ completely metal, copper color coffin is a true replica of the real thing… Beware—your friends will fall in love with it. So-O-O buy several for gifts.
No others like it! Send $2.00 for each prepaid DROP DEAD COFFIN to
Andrea Specialties, Dept. S.M., 2700 Point Breeze Drive, Wilmington, Delaware 18903.

TV Wet Bar (May, 1951)

Tired Of TV?
A certain New York executive was, so he took his 19 in. receiver, remounted the front on a swivel and now he and his friends find the set much more stimulating.

Alarm Warns Of Fire In Cellar Of Home (Feb, 1939)

Not quite a smoke detector, it has to reach 145 degrees to go off.

Alarm Warns Of Fire In Cellar Of Home
ATTACHED on the ceiling or wall over a furnace, a new automatic fire-alarm device invented by T. E. Campbell, of Wilkinsburg, Pa., provides added protection for the home. If the furnace overheats or a fire breaks out, the alarm rings the doorbell when the temperature reaches 145 degrees, allowing time for investigation before the fire gains headway. The device is small enough to fit in the hand (insert), yet is rugged in construction, its adjustment being unaffected by hard knocks.

Meta-Branding 2 (Jan, 1955)

Another lesson in how to be a consumer. Oh, and remember “Man, you’re the boss.”!

the standards

Products with brand names that you call for again and again are literally just what you order, because you yourself are constantly dictating their quality standards.

Your approval is the measuring stick that manufacturers go by. You decree how a seam will be sewn, an edge ground, a design balanced. You say if a flavor will be sharpened, a fragrance tempered, an angle softened, a color heightened. Products stand or fall on your acceptance … so their makers keep quality up, UP to the point that keeps you buying.

Man, you’re the boss. And lady, you couldn’t be closer to quality control if you sat in the manufacturers’ collective lap.

Guide to good buying: the ads in this magazine.


Dawn of the Electronic Age (Jan, 1952)

Odd article written by Lee deForest the inventor of the Audion, a vacuum tube amplifier that ushered in the radio and electronics age. He discusses the origins and growth of electronics and what the future may bring, including dissing the transistor and living room walls that keep one warm by microwaves. He also has some firm opinions regarding the uses to which his invention has been put:

The microphone-amplifier-loudspeaker combination is having an enormous effect on our civilization. Not all of it is good! Consider to what heights of impudence and tyranny, and to what depths of moral depravity, has radio broadcasting and the loudspeaker attained in that recent monstrosity, Transit Radio, Inc. Almost incredible is the loathsome fact that already in 21 cities bus riders must listen to never-ending, blatant advertising and unwelcome jitterbug and bop music, “viciously repugnant to the spiritual and intellectual assumptions of American life,” as Prof. Charles Black of Columbia University wrote. This outrage is unquestionably the all-time low to which radio broadcasting can sink.

Dawn of the Electronic Age
By Lee deForest (“Father of Radio”)

WHEN VOCAL SOUND first became articulate the ancestor of man leaped suddenly from the dumb shackles of the brute. The first crude sign writing, whereby thoughts might be recorded, helped to bring scattered men and tribes into social units and establish contact with future generations through the permanency of the written word. For ages, ecclesiastics maintained a monopoly of reading and writing. Then came movable type and the printing press of Gutenberg. Reading and writing became common heritage. The postal service followed, fostering a moderate exchange of thought between people. Ancient Greeks developed a crude method of heliograph for military signaling. Then flags by day and fires by night conveyed information over wide distances. Later, the system of signaling by semaphore devised by Claude Choppe during the French Revolution blazed the path leading to the electric telegraph of Morse. Scarcely more than a century ago came the first telegraph, an instantaneous means for communicating over great land distances, followed by the submarine cable for spanning the oceans. Bell, experimenting with a new form of telegraphy, came upon the telephone, and as a result business and social life were; immeasurably increased in tempo. Late in the 19th century, wireless telegraphy entered the communications field, first as a means of spinning threads between ships and shores, and robbing the sea of its sinister silence; later as a practical means of transoceanic communication. Inspired by the classical formulas of Maxwell in England, Hertz in Germany in the 1880s discovered electromagnetic waves, proving them akin to light waves but of vastly longer wavelengths and lower frequencies.

Walking Robot Has Radio Controls (Oct, 1948)

Walking Robot Has Radio Controls

Controlled by a radio installed in a truck, a 400-pound robot can walk under its own power. The mechanical man, built by Reat Younger of Springfield, Mo., stands over six feet tall and weighs 400 pounds. Younger was intrigued by a robot he saw in a motion picture when he was a boy, and started building his own automaton while he was in high school. He now is working on plans to make the robot walk through a complicated system of transmitters, receivers and relays.

Human Squirrel Cage (Sep, 1954)

This looks like a hell of a lot of fun.

Human Squirrel Cage

THRILL ADDICTS registered their screaming approval of a German-made fun machine introduced at Chicago’s Riverview Amusement Park this summer. Little cars circle a drum 27 feet in diameter which supports five circular tracks. The cars are loosely attached to the tracks and, by operating a foot pedal, the rider can lock his car to the track. As the drum revolves at about 15 miles per hour, the cars go around with it. Timid riders can release the brake pedal and their cars merely rock back and forth. But braver souls press the pedals and make like squirrels in a squirrel cage.