High-School Robots Learn the “Three Rs” (Jul, 1955)

The “Thinker” device sounds like B.S.. They admit that it has to be “pumped” with answers. My guess is that it either it just spits out the next answer in it’s queue when a button is pressed (I doubt the mike is hooked up to anything). Or, more likely, it’s just a complete fake and there is someone controlling it. It sure as hell doesn’t have voice recognition in 1955.

Also, it seems to me that $150 or $200 in 1955 is a hell of a lot of money for a high-school science project.

High-School Robots Learn the “Three Rs”

By Jim Collison

AN ELECTRONIC THINKER—a completely mechanical robot — built by Robert Kotsmith, 16, and Michael Chmielewski, 17, high-school juniors at Foley, Minn., is passing exams of a factual nature that would stump any uneducated robot.

The machine, built during a period of 10 months at an estimated cost of only $120, understands and answers the human voice. The Thinker answers mathematical questions, gives data on current events and history, writes and even learns new facts it does not already know.

Even to persons well versed on scientific progress, this project seems astounding. Foley science instructor Alfred A. Lease says this of his students: “Their accomplishments would make some college graduates look on with envy.”

Electronic Machine Speeds Fliqht Information to Area Offices (May, 1955)

Given all the stories I’ve been reading at the Consumerist, it wouldn’t surprise me if the airlines still used these things.

Electronic Machine Speeds Fliqht Information to Area Offices

American Airlines has turned to an electronic machine to provide fast, accurate flight information to all its offices in the New York area. The machine, the Magne-tronic Reservisor, is already in use, handling reservations automatically. In its new utilization, information on all flights, incoming and outgoing, is fed into the whirling drum that is the machine’s “memory,”
and is then available at any airline office in the area. To obtain the information, an agent has only to push a simple combination of buttons on the branch-office keyboard. The answer is returned in flashing lights. Immediately available flight information allows the agent to answer queries at once instead of checking bulletin-board postings.

The First Ring Tone (Apr, 1956)

Telephones Will “Ring” With Musical Tones
Telephone users will welcome the news that the Bell Telephone Laboratories is experimenting with a new device that will eliminate the b-r-r-r-ing of present-day instruments. The gadget, using transistors, will produce pleasant musical tones resembling those of a clarinet. Sound emanates through the louvred area at the base of the set, shown in the photo with a white background.
This device requires less than 1 volt for operation; the ordinary telephone bell needs about 85 volts. A full-scale field trial of the new equipment is expected to provide enough technical data and customers’ reactions to help determine its future.

Perfected Television Now Ready for the Public (Nov, 1934)

Perfected Television Now Ready for the Public

Practical television is here! Philo Farnsworth’s compact electron camera transmitter and cathode ray receiver will bring movies, radio studio, and even outdoor scenes to every home with magical, photographic clearness.


MOVIES, plucked from the air . . . Football games, seen from a fireside chair . . .

Distant places, noted stars of the stage, industry at work, drama, thrills, all living on a screen in your radio set!

No dream this—for television is now perfected and ready for a hungry market, ready for your home! And before many months pass its wonders will be commonplace, its intricacies clear to every radio set owner.

Aerocoupe Speeds 75 M.P.H. (Mar, 1937)

I’m not quite sure how adding an unneccessary tail to a car makes it highly streamlined, but I do like his driving goggles.

Aerocoupe Speeds 75 M.P.H.
HIGHLY streamlined and following accepted aeronautical design in construction, a novel aerocoupe developed by Richard Crossley, of East Haven, Conn., has a top speed of 75 m.p.h. The cabin resembles an airplane fuselage, featuring longerons, braces, etc. For traction, the vehicle is equipped with three airplane-type wheels.

Electricity Grades Student Papers (Jan, 1936)

Ahh, the birth of the hanging chad.

Electricity Grades Student Papers
IMPERSONAL electricity, which never grows tired or irritated by wrong answers, will be used in several schools this winter to correct examination papers. By means of a small device invented by Joseph Sveda and Herbert Lehmann, two New Jersey high school teachers, the papers will be electrically corrected at the rate of 25 a minute.
On the examination paper, the student punches out disks corresponding to “yes” or “no,” and “true” or “false” in answer to the questions. The correct perforations set up an electrical contact when passing through the machine, and the number of contacts represents the student’s grade.

Automatic Lard Ladling Device (Jul, 1938)

Builds Automatic Lard Ladling Device

A DISPENSING device that enables him to measure out any amount of lard in about one-fifth of the time required by the usual hand-dip method has been developed by Martin L. Jackson, a store operator in Winston-Salem, N. C. The home-built dispenser features a small handle which, when turned, ejects the lard from a special spout in the form of a thick ribbon, as shown in the photo. The “secret” of the automatic ladling unit is a rubber diaphragm and a small jack which apply a constant pressure against the supply of lard, forcing it out of the spout when the handle is slowly turned.

Our Air Force – A Farce! (May, 1939)

Interesting article from just before WWII pointing out that the U.S. air force sucks ass, has slow planes, is disorganized and hobbled by politics.

Our Air Force – A Farce!

“We are five years behind England and Germany in planes, engines and equipment and a full 10 years behind in the development of our air force as a third arm of defense”

by Major Al Williams

AMERICA is not an airpower! We have, instead, two flying services— one with the Army and the other with the Navy—and they are not adequate for the defense of the nation.

As airpower goes, I estimate that we’re about five years behind Europe’s leaders in planes, engines, and equipment, and a full 10 years would be needed for the maturity of a brand new service. This goes in spite of a European demand for American fighting ships, in spite of “downhill” speeds of from 575 to 700 m.p.h. claimed for blunt-nosed radial engined planes, and in spite of a college-student civilian training program which portends to be a solution to the pilot problem.

Our air-cooled engines are good, and hold their own with foreign radials. Our ships came in handy in the scramble for planes after the Munich incident; they are fill-ins for building programs that weren’t geared to air war. But they are powered by engines which can’t approach the English Rolls-Royce streamlined power plants, for instance, and none of the planes is in the same speed bracket with standard fighting ships of the airpower nations.

Don’t Envy The PLUMBER – Be One! (Mar, 1950)

Just the other day as a plumber was cleaning all of the delightful muck out of my clogged sewage line, I thought “Gee, I envy that guy!”

This ad is also incredibly repetitive and has ellipsis (…) in the oddest places.

Don’t Envy The PLUMBER – Be One!
Make $15 to $50 a Day
(and work every day)
Every skilled workman will tell you Plumbers have the best of it. WINTER and SUMMER the Plumber is busy at top wages. No skilled Plumber is ever out of a job . . . compare his opportunities with any trade, and decide where your opportunity is.
Plumbing, to the man with know how, means profit. Investigate Universal’s unique “Shop Method” system . . . This system, developed over a quarter century ago by a master plumber, offers you the opportunity to quickly get into the plumbing business. This is not a “war born school” . . . but a plumbing school developed and operated by plumbers since 1923.

Build your own answering machine (Jun, 1958)

“Impossible, you say? The miracle of electronics has all but removed the word “impossible” from the dictionary.”

Make the POP’tronics Secretary

Tell your friends that their telephone messages to you will he recorded by electronics


HOW WOULD YOU LIKE to have a secretary who will answer your phone and take messages at any hour of the day or night but who will demand no pay and no coffee breaks? Impossible, you say? The miracle of electronics has all but removed the word “impossible” from the dictionary.

There are two types of systems you can build which will do this job for you. The deluxe system requires two tape machines or one tape machine and one disc machine— when a call comes in, it plays a recording of instructions and then switches over to record the message. The simpler type, to be described here, requires only one recorder and anyone who can put together a small amplifier can build it.