Sixteen Needs Met by Ingenuity (Oct, 1927)

Some of these are great. I love the coin-op hair curler and the stylin sippy cup. Plus that pedal powered merry-go-round looks like a blast.

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Sixteen Needs Met by Ingenuity

  • With these shears you can clip grass without tiring the hands. A jointed bar connects the blades, which open and close as the up and down motion of the grips bends or straightens the joint
  • A cent in the slot, and in two minutes the “hair-curling automat,” invented in Europe, electrically heats the attached iron. The hotel guest, aided by the mirror, does the rest
  • To remove a broken-headed screw, drill a hole in it, drive in the fluted end of this tool and twist the square end two or three times with a wrench
  • Hay is cut and delivered into a tube by this German machine. Air driven through the tube carries the hay to the loft and automatically stores it

  • Brackets on perpendicular belts, moved by an engine, elevate lumber for piling in a huge mill yard. When the belts turn at the top the opposite brackets lower the boards to the desired height
  • Sixty slices a minute is the capacity of the toaster shown above. Bread passed between electrically heated graphite rollers comes out below, toasted, in two seconds. Thick cuts take longer. The dial on the front is used to regulate the roller speed
  • Imperfections in a singer’s notes that are so slight as to escape the ear are seen with the eye by the device at right. Each circle of dots on the rotating disk represents the vibrations of a true note. The flame responds to the vibrations of the singer’s note. If these correspond to the dots, the latter appear like a continuous line, not moving points
  • A swimmer’s life preserver that weighs two ounces and can buoy a 250-pound man is demonstrated at the left. Toy balloons with a tiny bomb of compressed gas are inclosed in a folded cloth ball. Squeeze the preserver and steel prongs burst the bomb, inflating the balloons. The picture shows one of the balloons collapsed on the shoulder, the other inflated. In the right hand is the inflating mechanism
  • Their own merry-go-round is the cycle swing for children shown here. The seats are saddles, swung on swivels from the crossarm. Pedals under one seat operate a sprocket and an endless chain, which extends to the top and conveys power to a center wheel that turns the device for all who are riding
  • The thornless rose and seedless orange are joined now by the skinless “hot dog.** The frankfurters at the right were inclosed in a synthetic vegetable covering instead of the usual membraneous skin. The vegetable jacket is removed after the “dogs” take shape and before they are shipped to market from the factory
  • Hikers and others on highways at night may protect themselves from motor cars with the electric signal light for hats, shown above. The “ornament” at the front is a bulb with a reflector, connected by invisible wires with a control button at the end of the ribbon on the girl’s shoulder. A man would wear the button in a lapel of his coat
  • A new magnifying instrument can be attached to any desk, as shown below, for use as a microscope. By insertion of objective lenses of various powers it becomes a powerful telescope. The tube of the telescope serves here as a standard. For telescopic work, the support would be the bar that holds the microscope. The instrument can be closed so compactly that it may be carried in the pocket
  • To test a bulletproof vest of his invention, Louis Wisbrod, Chicago, “shot himself” repeatedly with an automatic pistol. He is seen at the right examining the flattened bullets and wearing the vest that stopped them. The garment, which is made of Swedish steel, is one thirtieth inch thick and weighs only three and a half pounds
  • A magnifying glass that needs no focusing is flat on the under side, convex on the upper. Simply lay it, as shown above, on what you wish to examine. The metal holder can be removed easily if desired
  • The problem of drinking on swaying trains or boats without endangering clothing is solved by the non-spill glass pictured above. Its small top outlet makes it suitable also for use by those ill in bed
  • If not satisfied with what you have written with this fountain pen, you can scratch it out with the folding knife blade which is set in the other end
  1. MAKE: Blog says: July 28, 200610:49 am

    Sixteen needs met by ingenuity…

    “Sixteen Needs Met by Ingenuity” – Popular Science 1927. I like the pedal powered merry-go-round and the high speed bread toaster – Link…….

  2. Stannous says: July 28, 20067:14 pm

    79 years later you can still buy screw extractors, double spring garden shears, sippy cups (though as Charlie points out, nowhere near as cool), skinless franks, and self-inflating life vests.
    Similar conveyors (which attach to ladders) are used to lift roofing materials and lumber, every smart bicyclist I know uses a flashing version of the head light and body armor is available for soldiers who buy their own because their government won’t.

  3. jon says: July 29, 20063:34 pm

    The children’s pedal merry go round reminded me of this clever modern use for the energy of kids. They push a merry go round which is actually driving a water pump. The kids have fun, the parents get fresh clean water.


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