You don’t need an engineer on this tractor-train, because the system at Esso’s Baton Rouge refinery is electronically controlled. The train, which pulls five trailers at 2-3/4 miles at hour, follows the electromagnetic field of a wire laid in the floor.
Two gates in the building open automatically as the train approaches and shut when it passes. It makes 11 stops at service points called “beacons.” Each “beacon” sends out a different signal to stop the train at the proper place.
Known as “Guide-O-Matic,” the train is made by the Barrett-Cravens Co., Northbrook, 111.
This is pretty cool. Someone realized that when you fax something you can print the output at any scale you want. They connect the output to a giant inkjet printer (using an airbrush as a print head) to create huge images.
Giant Photos Made Electrically
WITH a new apparatus recently developed in in England, small sized photographs, drawings, aerial photo maps, blueprints, sketches, painted portraits or scenes, printed or typed matter, and prints of almost any kind including reproductions of photographs or paintings, are directly reproduced and simultaneously enlarged to any size on almost any kind of paper, linen, canvas or other fabrics, or any other material such as even thin metal if it will wrap around a drum, by means of an airbrush jet controlled by a photo-electric scanner. One of these sharply detailed enlarged pictures, showing the head and shoulders of a child, measuring 30×34 feet and said to be the world’s largest photograph, is at present being displayed in London.
Interesting article on the history and development of the lowly tin can. Also, if you have not yet been introduced to the techie crack that is the National Association of Manufacturers Blog, by all means, check it out. Every Saturday they post a video tour of a different factory or manufacturing process. One of my dreams has always been to make a Factory Tour tv show (without John Ratzenberger and all the promotional sound bites). Anyway, they have an excellent video showing the entire manufacturing process for tin cans here and it is very, very cool.
ROMANCE Of The TIN CAN
CUT all the tin plate used annually to make the tin cans of America into a strip one foot wide and you can wind that strip around the earth fourteen times.
Or, to visualize it another way, take the five billion odd square feet of tin plate into which we put our fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, beer, paint, oil. candy, cheese and tobacco each year and it would be a simple matter to can the moon. You’d have the biggest cheese can ever made, and still have a lot of tin plate left over.
The vastness of tin can production has brought this familiar article into the lives of nearly every American family, for it is in this country that the greatest volume of tin cans is produced. A good year will find between eight and nine billion cans for the food racks of this country and this is the business that accounts for the major percentage of cans.
For 1956 that is actually an impressively small camera.
World’s Tiniest TV Camera
Telecasting of programs by means of a TV camera palmed in the operator’s hand is forecast as a result of the recent development of a new electronic device in West Germany. As shown in the photo (left), the video pickup is smaller than many microphones. Heart of the instrument is a miniature tube called the ‘Mini-Resitron.”
This camera works in pretty much the same way as conventional, larger TV “eyes,” converting optical images into electrical signals. Operation depends largely on a sensitive layer of semi-conductor material developed by Prof. I. Walter Heimann. The inside of the camera is an amazingly compact array of tiny components and intricate wiring. Subminia-ture tubes and other parts are clustered around the “Mini-Resitron,” while a flexible metal hose is wrapped around the cable that leads from the camera.
Still in the experimental stage, the new unit will probably go into production some time later this year.
Camera Gives Print in a Minute
NOW you can snap a picture and see it only a minute later. The camera that does this is an entirely new type. It’s the first production model of the Polaroid Land Camera (PS, May, ’47, p. 150). It costs less than $100.
The camera uses a special film that gives you eight pictures. Each one costs just a little more than you’d pay for drug-store processing of ordinary prints of this size.
Contained in the roll of positive paper are eight tiny capsules of jellied reagent. When you advance the film after snapping a picture, a capsule is opened as it passes between two rollers. The jelly simultaneously develops the negative and forms a print. You pull out the print after a 60-second wait. For extra prints, you make another exposure or copy the original.
One control sets both shutter speed and lens opening. Numbers from 1 to 8 in an opening above the lens show whether the camera’s set for bright sun or poor light conditions. The camera has flash contacts.
This is actually a really good idea. Most fans have really irritating and balky aiming mechanisms. Where can I buy one of these?
Fan in Place of Light Bulb Makes Lamp Produce Breeze
You can turn a desk lamp into a ventilating unit with a recent German invention. It’s a compact fan that screws into any light-bulb socket. The three propeller blades are plastic and the device comes in a variety of colors.
Black Light and the Criminal
Ultra-violet rays, now readily accessible to law enforcing bodies, adds another weapon to the arsenal of the government’s war on lawlessness.
THE use of filtered ultra-violet light for crime detection and identification purposes has been made available by the presentation of a comparatively low cost, yet powerful, efficient and portable black-ray quartz lamp. Specially formulated dark-colored Wood’s glass filters in the front of lamp hold back the visible light emitted by the mercury arc and allow only a concentrated beam of invisible ultra-violet, or “black light,” to pass. This ray cannot be seen by the eye, even in the dark or semi-dark, yet its radiations are absorbed by a wide variety of substances and instantly re-emitted as visible light of constant intensity and color.
Machine Speeds Pretzel Bending
THERE are more crunchy pretzels to munch when you sip long, cold drinks this summer, thanks to a new automatic pretzel-twisting machine that rolls and ties them at the rate of 50 a minuteâ€”more than twice as fast as skilled hand twisters can make them. Developed by the American Machine & Foundry Co., of New York City, the pretzel . bender is helping to meet the increased demand of pretzel lovers, who eat millions of pounds each year. On this and the following page is the story of how pretzels march from raw dough to baked twist.
Safety Belt Devised For Car
DESIGNED to hold passengers firmly in their seats in event of a crash so that they will not be thrown violently against the car interior, a newly developed safety belt for automobiles may eliminate injuries attributed to this cause.