Tag "Useful"
Machines that Pick Your Pocket – AND MAKE YOU LIKE IT! (Dec, 1932)

Excellent exposé about all of the ways slot machines are rigged to screw you.

Machines that Pick Your Pocket – AND MAKE YOU LIKE IT! —Inside Story of the Slot Machine Racket


No matter how clever you are, you can’t beat the slot machine racket. If you play the game, you’ll have to reconcile yourself to seeing your nickels flowing away in a steady stream, paying tribute to the engineering brains which have designed these mechanical pick-pockets so efficiently that they can’t fail to keep half or more of the coins fed into them, giving the player nothing in return except the thrill of seeing his money vanish.

“GOSH!” you’ve probably said more than once, as the symbols halted, hesitated, and then swung tantalizingly away from the center row, “I almost got the bells that time. Watch this one” —and out of your pocket and into the slot machine goes another hard-earned nickel.

Sun Furnace Goes to Work (Mar, 1954)

Make posted a few articles on solar furnaces yesterday. (link, link) Here’s a companion peice from 1954 with a few that get up to 8,000 degrees F. I particularly like the solar cigarette lighter on page two.

Sun Furnace Goes to Work
A man-made inferno tries out materials for jet and rocket engines—and shows one way to capture free solar power.

By Alden P. Armagnac

ATOP a 6,000-foot mountain near San Diego, Calif., they’re harnessing the sun to help build airplanes. A solar furnace newly installed there focuses the sun’s rays, with a 10-foot-diameter mirror of polished aluminum, upon a spot smaller than a dime. It surpasses by far the temperature of the hottest blowtorch or electric furnace.

Researchers of the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation apply the sun furnace’s terrific heat to materials under trial for jet and rocket engines and for guided missiles. Aim of their experiments is to develop substances more resistant to heat and thermal shock than any yet known—stuff that won’t soften and flow, say, when a long-range missile screams back to the earth from dizzy altitudes.

Clock Tells Time from Any Angle (Jun, 1940)

Clock Tells Time from Any Angle
Fitted with specially designed numerals, a novel clock makes it easy to tell time no matter at what angle the timepiece is viewed. Hour numbers are lettered on both sides of projections from the clock face, which are shaped like wedges of cake. Thus the numerals can be seen from an angle far to the right or left of a position directly in front of the clock face.

O-Gauge Pike Highballs Hot Cargo (Jun, 1949)

This is a really cute hack using model trains to transport radioactive materials throughout a hospital.

O-Gauge Pike Highballs Hot Cargo
KIDS long ago became resigned to seeing Daddy play with their toy trains most of the time. Now some grown men have taken over a model railroad full time—and they are not just playing. The miniature electric train carries highly radioactive radon gas, used in cancer treatment and research, back and forth between a storage room and a laboratory, eliminating dangerous handling.

The model—a standard Lionel O-gauge locomotive copied from the Pennsylvania Railroad’s GG-1—shuttles over a 21-ft. right of way, hauling its “hot” cargo in a lead-lined flatcar. It is the first part of a completely automatic system for transporting radon in the Cleveland Clinic. Eventually, reports Dr. Otto Glasser, medical physicist, the train will be equipped with an automatic dumping device to drop the radon capsule into a pneumatic tube. This will shoot the capsule directly to the hospital’s surgery room. When this system is completed, technicians will hardly need come near the radon.

New Projector Throws Illustrations Behind Speaker’s Back (Apr, 1935)

New Projector Throws Illustrations Behind Speaker’s Back
FACING the audience as he talks, a speaker may now illustrate his lectures on a screen behind him without turning around with the aid of a novel optical projector recently perfected by a well known German firm.
The speaker, directly facing his audience, illustrates his talk by writing or drawing horizontally on a sheet of cellophane lying on a glass table before him, and the script is projected, ten to fourteen times enlarged, on the wall screen behind him.
Underneath the glass table, the light of a 500-watt bulb is condensed and reflected through the transparent cellophane. The lines then pass through a lens to the mirror and -are projected onto the screen.

Keeps Smoke Out Of Eyes (Sep, 1939)

Keeps Smoke Out Of Eyes
WISHING to read his newspaper without the annoyance of clouds of smoke getting in his eyes, an Englishman invented an ingenious device—a flexible cigarette holder of unusual length. Not only does it keep smoke out of the eyes; it also keeps tobacco
particles from getting in the mouth. The idea may spread like wildfire—or smokers may
find it too much trouble to bother with.

Perambulating Press Prints On Paving (Mar, 1936)

Perambulating Press Prints On Paving

THERE have been sandwich men, sound trucks, and sky-writers to carry advertising messages before, but it was left for a Spanish inventor to devise the perambulating printing press for making bill boards of the pavements.
The entire press is no larger than a baby buggy, and is no more difficult to push. Paint which dries upon contact with the pavement is used instead of printer’s ink, and the advertising message may be walked upon immediately after application without tracking. The machine made its first appearance in Barcelona, Spain.

Build your own LASER! (Nov, 1964)

PS Builds a LASER …and so can you

The incredible ruby ray is the hottest scientific discovery of the decade, but practical uses are still scarce. Here’s your chance to join the search

-June, 1960: Dr. T.H. Maiman, of the Hughes Aircraft Co., reports the development of the first successful ruby laser.
—November, 1964: Popular Science publishes plans for the first do-it-yourself ruby laser.

By Ronald M. Benrey

IT MAY sound like science fiction— but it’s really science fact: You can build a working ruby laser. It could be the most challenging—and rewarding— home-workshop project that you have ever tackled.

A ruby laser is a source of coherent light. All of the light waves in the pencil-thin, bright-red ruby laser beam are in phase—or in step—with each other. This extraordinary property of the laser beam—shared by no other light source—has spurred a world-wide search for practical uses.

Ordinary light sources—a light bulb, for example—generate incoherent light; the light waves are out of phase with each other.

Drop a pebble into a still pond, and the waves ripple out smoothly in all directions. This represents a single light wave from a light source. All light sources produce more than a single wave, however.

They act as if you dropped a handful of pebbles at once: You get a jumbled clutter of waves one on top of another. This clutter of waves is analogous to incoherent light.

Suppose, though, you dropped your handful of pebbles one pebble at a time, each in exactly the same spot in the pond. The waves would continuously radiate from that point. All of the wave crests would be in phase. This is coherent radiation.

A ruby laser generates a coherent light beam by a similar process. Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Inside the ruby laser rod—heart of the ruby laser—excited atoms are stimulated to emit light waves in phase with each other.

Toy Train Delivers Rural Mail (Apr, 1935)

Toy Train Delivers Rural Mail

“NECESSITY is the mother of invention.” An Oregon rancher, living a mile from the highway, proved the truth of this old maxim when he put the world’s smallest mail train in operation over a spur line between his home and the road to save his wife the trip.
The train, powered with small dry-cell batteries, makes the trip to the road every morning, pulling a tiny mail box. Upon arrival, it is stopped by a lever laid along the track.

Divine Strobotron (Jul, 1957)

Why divine? Well if you look at the diagram on the third page you can clearly see the image of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Obviously the designer has been touched by his noodly appendage.

The next steps for me are an ebay listing, followed by the inevitable pictures of me in a Golden Palace Casino T-shirt and hat.


High Speed Stroboscope Freezes Motion


WOULD YOU LIKE to examine the contortions of your high-speed circular saw, drill or handsaw under conditions that seem to slow it down to a crawl ? Any repetitive movement, whether rotary or reciprocating, can be viewed as though the moving body were at rest or in very lazy motion—under the flashing illumination of this wide-range “Varistrobe” (variable flash-rate stroboscope).