Lamp Sunburns in 20 Minutes (Mar, 1933)

Err… Great. Thanks. How’s work going on that new air conditioner. You know, the one that can freeze a person solid in half an hour?

Lamp Sunburns in 20 Minutes
A NEW kind of glass used for the bulbs of ultra-violet lamps makes it possible to get a sunburn in 20 minutes. Termed a “soft” glass it transmits 50 per cent more of the ultra-violet energy generated in the lamp. This new lamp has found immediate use in the medical field for the treatment of skin diseases and for the cure and prevention of rickets.

CONSTIPATION— The Plague of the World (May, 1939)

So says Charles Atlas.

If You Had Only 10 Days to Live
Suppose doctors said you had only ten days more to live! What would you give to have another ten YEARS of life? “Anything in the world !” you would say. Unfortunately, it would be too late. NOW, while you have many years more to live, is the time to fortify yourself against later troubles.

Pooch Is Up to His Neck In Automobile (Sep, 1954)

I’m not sure why, but this just seems wrong to me.

Pooch Is Up to His Neck In Automobile
European cars are small and have no room for large dogs, so an ingenious dog lover has converted the trunk into a roomy traveling kennel. A hole cut in the trunk lid permits the dog to get air and, if he desires, to see where he has been, at least.


This is a pretty cool house, if you go for the woodland-critter, industrial-flintstones look. As far as I can tell the only real feature it has that is in any way associated with “atomic protection” is the bomb shelter. However, the fact that the bomb shelter must be entered by swimming through a tunnel in the pool gets them major James Bond points.
Oh, and am I the only one who would be terrified to try parking on that crazy cantilevered track thing?


A swimming pool that becomes an automatic decontamination bath during an A-bomb attack is one of the features of a home that Hal B. Hayes, Hollywood contractor, is completing for himself. In the hillside next to the swimming pool he’s building an underground sanctuary that you reach by diving into the pool. His house is designed to “bring the outdoors indoors” for ordinary peaceful living, yet has a structure built to resist great destructive forces. Several of the walls are completely of glass that would be swept away by a powerful shock wave, but could later be replaced. A continuation of his living-room rug is pulled up to shroud the glass wall in that room when a button is pressed.

Other walls of the house have a fluted design to resist shock wave and a fireproof exterior surface of Gunite.

A garden growing in half a foot of soil on the flat roof provides insulation against extreme heat or shock. All exposed wood, inside and outside of the house, is fire-resistant redwood coated with fire-retarding paint. In addition to the underground sanctuary, equipped with bottled oxygen, there is a bombproof shelter in the house itself, consisting of a large steel-and-con-crete vault containing a sitting room and bathroom. Other features of the home include a three-story indoor tree. * * *

Plastic Shell Equips Phone For Two-Way Listening (Nov, 1953)

Plastic Shell Equips Phone For Two-Way Listening

Two persons can share the same telephone with a device patented by Roger Heap of Lyme, Conn. Simple in design, it consists of a T-shape plastic shell which cups over the receiving end of the phone. The hollow arms transmit the message to listeners at both sides. Heap fashioned the device so that he and Mrs. Heap could join in three-way conversations with their son in Detroit.

Pipe Is Effective Tear Gas Gun (Mar, 1933)

Pipe Is Effective Tear Gas Gun

TEAR gas guns have taken many forms in the past and now the weapon comes out in the form of an innocent looking pipe, which no one could possibly suspect of evil purposes. Fortunately its shape permits it to be held like a pistol. The stem does duty as a barrel to spray the smoke in the culprit’s face, while a small knob on the underside works as the trigger. The pipe may be carried in the same manner as its inoffensive brother. How it is held may be seen from the photo above.

Surgical Mask Made From Transparent Material (Jun, 1938)

Surgical Mask Made From Transparent Material
INVENTED by a well known doctor, a new type of surgical mask is constructed from transparent material and, due to its flexible metal frame, can be instantly adjusted to fit the contour of the face. By permitting lip reading, the transparent mask enables doctors and nurses to converse more conveniently during an operation. An opening in the bottom of the mask permits air to circulate.

“Suicide Club” Makes Own Diving Suits (Jun, 1935)

Heh, could you imagine this club now? The liability for the city would be insane if someone ever got hurt.

“So, let me get this straight…. you had the children build their own diving suits made out of water heaters and garden hoses, then sent them down into dangerous wrecks. Didn’t you think it might be a bit dangerous?”

“No? Um…. what as the name of that club again?”

“Suicide Club” Makes Own Diving Suits
THE “Suicide Club” is an apt title for a group of eight Cali-fornian youths who, assisted by friends at the air pumps, indulge in small scale deep sea diving.

Under the direction of Jack Cheaney of the Los Angeles playground department, the amateur divers have equipped themselves with complete homemade outfits constructed from odds and ends. Sections of water heating tanks, fitted with windows, provide suitable helmets for the sub-surface workers. Ordinary garden hose is attached to bicycle pumps which furnish up to 20 pounds of air pressure.

Salvaging sunken craft, retrieving lost anchors and freeing fouled lines are the everyday jobs of this venturesome group.

Big City Sign (Oct, 1939)

Very cool article from 1939 about the first programmable electronic sign in Times Square (think the grandfather of the Jumbotron). Every single change of a light, and there are 27,000 of them, is punched as a row on a 160 column roll of paper that gets fed through the vast machine.

Oh, and in response to the question posed here:

“The paper is wide enough for 160 perforated holes across. One hundred holes to represent all the lights in each zone. Thirty to represent the zones in all the sectors. And nine to represent the sectors.”

“But that’s only 139 holes'” we remark brightly.

“Well, there are nine holes to erase the sectors.”

“That’s 148.”

“And nine for flashing the sectors on and off.”

“That’s 157.”

“And—” Mr. Latz scratched his head. “There’s three more for something else, but darned if I know what they are!”

The answers are:
158 – displays goatse
159 – displays Xeyes. Every platform needs Xeyes.
160 – reserved for pending MPAA DRM solution.

Big City Sign

“How does it work?” is the question most frequently heard, as New Yorkers and visitors gaze at the sign whose color and action make it one of Broadway’s most startling attractions.

27,000 light bulbs! 40 miles of wiring! 500,000 connections!

THESE figures are impressive, but an electric “spectacular” must depend on more than sheer size to attract attention in New York City’s Times Square, which has the most imposing collection of electric signs in the world. It must have action, color, and originality—and that’s just what the Wonder-sign, newest and brightest addition to the Great White Way’s signs, has.

“Radio Nurse” Watches Child (Jul, 1938)

Did you think that the baby monitor was a recent invention?

“Radio Nurse” Watches Child

A “RADIO NURSE” now brings the nursery into the living room, kitchen, or any other room desired. When a child is sleeping or playing in a room when no older persons are present, every sound within that room can be transmitted to any spot in the house. The outfit consists of a pickup unit, placed near the child to be “watched,” and a loudspeaker, which can be placed in any convenient location.