A Crater Big Enough to Hold New York and Philadelphia
It’s on the moon and it’s not the largest, either
This moon crater is large enough to accommodate New York, Philadelphia, and the country between
Latimer J. Wilson
THE easiest way to illustrate the making of craters is to fry a cake of batter and watch the plastic mass as the bubbles of escaping steam burst. There, in its surface, are innumerable craters! Look at the moon through a small telescope when the phase is near the first or the last quarter, and you will see similar circular depressions filled with shadows.
Like truth crushed to earth, the old, old fallacy rises again. Here we tomahawk it once more
The Only Sane Perpetual-Motion Inventor
“Worked” by Buoyancy
Levers and Balls
It Stopped When the Power House Did
The Electric Mystifier
He Tried a Vacuum
The Eccentric Weight
“To Roll Along . . . till Time Shall Be No More”
IN the early middle ages the perpetuum mobile, which means “an everlasting moving thing,” or, with a slight stretch in correct translation, “a thing that moves forever,” was launched upon a long but inglorious career by philosophers who knew Latin better than mechanics or physical science.
ROSIN can be classified by its blush! Experts in the Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C., have developed a “comparison-box,” which accurately compares the blush of a piece of rosin with that of a piece of colored glass. It is possible thus to grade rosin rapidly, without physical or chemical test.
PEOPLE live in apartment-houses, so why shouldn’t plants? So queried Walter Gouinlock, of Toronto. Whereupon he invented an apartment greenhouse. The greenhouse is so made that it backs up against a hill, as shown in the illustration.
William Richards has been building ship models all his life
BEING a Boston boy, William Richards was only eleven years old when he read “Treasure Island,” and he was immediately filled with a great craving for adventure upon the high seas, and for battle with pirates over golden treasure. But being a Boston boy—he realized very quickly that there were certain obstacles in the way that were apt to prove insurmountable, so he put aside for the time the craving for travel and adventure, and centered his ambition upon a ship.
The problem of the large airplane and how it was overcome
The Mathematicians Were Wrong
Flying is Easy; But Landing!
Flying in Comfort
Stunting Ability Not Necessary
HOW large can airplanes be built? Mathematicians once maintained that it was impossible to carry the size of an airplane beyond certain definite dimensions—dimensions dictated by theory. The men of figures argued that airplanes had already reached their limit of size and carrying capacity.
THE scales have already been removed from the sardines when you open the can. Is the scaling done by hand? Not any more. Observe the scaling-machine shown above. The sardines are placed in the cylinders, which revolve from right to left. The continued rubbing of the small fish against the perforated cylinder case causes the scales to break off.
PORTLAND, Indiana, is trying out the portable hospital idea for districts not sufficiently settled to make worth while a regular isolation hospital for contagious diseases. The at-your-door hospital is large enough to accommodate a standard size hospital bed, a table, a small heating-stove, and one rocking-chair.
WHEN the chief of the Masai tribe takes unto himself a wife, he places around her neck yards and yards of brass tubing, which she must never remove. She also wears earrings made of steel coils that weigh more than a pound each. Any woman who can carry all that metal around with her deserves to be a queen.
"GLASS that is bullet-proof? Impossible!” But it’s not. This glass recently invented was put to a test in which steel-jacketed bullets of regulation caliber were discharged at it from rifles and revolvers. The bullets damaged the glass, but they did not pass through it.
BELOW appears a ship that was in Popular Science Monthly once before. That was in August, 1919, when Parson Lewis had just started to build it. He intended to sail in it to Liberia, the land of his birth, and to do missionary work. So far, he has built the hull of old lumber and has poured into it a layer of concrete.
THE smoker who must get up and stir around to find something with which to clean the bowl of his pipe is needlessly inconvenienced. If he possesses one of the new ash-trays having a pipe-cleaning attachment, the sophisticated allure of smoking may be enjoyed without any inconvenience.
A WORK-BENCH that will fold up and fit in a tool-chest; that when opened will form a shelf for the tools, and at the same time afford a bench for working, is surely a serviceable aid to the carpenter. But that is not all this workbench will do. It can be used as a truss or “wood horse” to support a platform on which the workman may stand!
WHEN this cannon fires its shell in the eternal fight against the waves of the storm-tossed sea, it is to save lives, not to destroy them. It is a new life-saving cannon, having a range of more than seventeen hundred feet, which is calculated to throw a line to a ship in distress.
HOW can the fountain-pen be filled without having a dropper handy? A man does not usually carry a dropper with him. But in the crowd at hand there is likely to be some one who has a self-filling fountain-pen. If he can be induced to lend it for a moment the trick is done.
IT will no longer be necessary for the potato-picker with row upon row of potatoes to gather to stoop over or kneel on the damp ground for hours at a time to bring forth the “spuds.” Instead, he will have but to pass along each row, poking a grabber-like device at the potatoes which have been dug up.
HERE’S a stereoscope designed to accommodate two people at the same time. In the top of the upper compartment is a brilliant light-source diffused by a screen of opal or ground glass. A partition through the lower compartment has an opening in which the glass positive, a stereoscopically photographed slide, is placed to be viewed from opposite sides.
IF you love your dog, have his teeth examined regularly. A dog’s teeth are just as apt to decay as human teeth. But he must suffer in silence, without even the comfort of holding his paw against his aching jaw. Dentists find that dogs are very apt to shut their mouths unexpectedly and smash all the instruments within.
YOU don’t have to watch your toast when you put it in the new electric toasting oven shown above. The oven will automatically take care of it for you. All you need to do is to place the slices of bread in receivers, press two levers downward, and turn on the juice.
MUSIC with your meals is an old story; but music received wirelessly while you are rolling along the boardwalk is something else again. These people are listening to a phonograph record being played several miles away. This special type of wireless receiving outfit is the invention of Harold Warren, of Asbury, New Jersey.
THIS rudder gives perfect control over a boat. Two semicircular pieces are mounted on two shafts, one within the other. The pieces can be turned independently or together. The normal position of the rudder parts is shown. The boat’s direction will depend upon which half of the rudder is moved.
IN Siam they don’t have water-wagons of any kind at all. When the streets grow hot, a member of the street-cleaning department hangs a pair of watering-cans on the ends of a wooden bar and places the bar across his shoulders. A handle on each can enables him to direct the flow of water.
MOIST tobacco is the only kind to smoke; that’s why it is usually put in an airtight container. But there are other ways of keeping it moist. Take, for example, the pouch shown herewith. The flap is lined with material that absorbs water rapidly.
THERE’S hardly a man or woman who has not lost a tie-pin or brooch at some time. And many of the lost pins were valuable. Why not put a safety catch on them? Mr. Harvey Basley, of New Jersey, has invented a simple catch. It is shown above. The pin, instead of being straight, ends in a loop that fits snugly over a ball-shaped projection.
PILGRIMS of the Taoist order wishing to pray to “acquire merit” or “attain their heart’s desire,” visit one of the shrines on top of Hua-shan mountain. To do so they endanger their lives, for the ascent is very steep and the supports insecure.
WHY rent a store in order to sell candy? Here is a man who wears his candy show-case in front of him. It hangs from his shoulders by means of straps. The case is thirty-two inches long, sixteen inches wide, and fifteen inches deep. It is made of transparent celluloid, but has a zinc bottom; the whole case weighs only six pounds.
"GOING to make flashlights?” they asked the photographer who had come to take a portrait in the dimly lighted room. “No,” answers the photographer. “I brought my electric light.” From his coat pocket he takes a powerful little bulb, which, when backed up by a reflector, is strong enough to make short exposures with a fast lens.
RUBBER heels are sold by the million, not because they are noiseless, but because they are springy. Even more people would wear them if they made a noise. Criminals almost to a unit wear rubber heels. Also the rubber heel is open to the criticism that it slips on wet pavements.
IN the construction work at the Erie Basin end of the New York state barge canal at Buffalo, an interesting method of holding the bottom of a sheet-piling wall at rock elevation was used. Instead of drilling a costly trench into the rock for anchoring the bottom of the piling, it was rested on top of the rock.
"GOT a match?” “No; use my pencil,” answers the man with a cigar-lighter attached to the end of his pencil. The top of this pencil pulls out and discloses a wick and metal point. When the metal point is scratched in a groove at the side of the pencil, a spark is produced that lights the wick.
“FIRE! Call the fire department.” But Central is slow to answer, so William J. Luce, of the New York Fire Department, invented this phonograph fire-alarm. The explanation of this novel invention sounds like the old rhyme about “the fire burned the stick, the stick beat the pig, the pig jumped over the stile—”
“DON’T throw that corrugated cardboard away. Let us make the new house from it,” suggested the prospective builder to the architect. They did. The result was the tiny model shown in the illustration. This is how the experimenter explains the construction of the cardboard house:
A SCREW-BENCH having a vertical and horizontal adjustment for the support of airplane bodies has been developed by aviation mechanics at Rockwell Field, San Diego, California. By means of the new bench it is possible to place the body of the machine in the best position for the installation of delicate mechanical work.
THE cow will not kick over the milk-pail if she is milked electrically with the device shown above. Nor will she switch her tail in one’s face. This automatic milker allows one man to milk as many cows as three men could by hand. It is also perfectly sanitary.
RUDDERS are meant to guide; not to wear overalls. The airplane rudder in the picture below caught a pair of overalls that blew out of the cockpit of its machine, became entangled in them, and sent the airplane into a dizzy spin. The pilot was unprepared for it, but he managed to right his airplane.
WRIST-WATCHES are worn so generally that the new wrist golf-score pad will not annoy the golfer or interfere with his play. It furnishes him with a convenient place on which to keep his score. A small pencil fits into a holder at the side of the pad.
PEOPLE are buying ouija-boards faster than the manufacturers can turn them out. A Los Angeles manufacturer has decided that he may as well get rich on spirits while they are in vogue, and so he is manufacturing a new board, enough like the ouija-board to be its brother.
Why do men see water and mountains when there are none?
The Mirages of Hot Cities
Most Common at Extremes
The “Looming” Mirage that Deceives Explorers
Distant Objects Heightened
Origin of the Fata Morgana
DURING the fighting in Mesopotamia the British troops discovered one morning that they were shooting at phantoms. A news dispatch read: “The fighting had to be temporarily suspended, owing to a mirage; but upon this lifting our offensive continued.”
THE man who moves a tool back and forth across a surface of steel or wood, giving to the surface a suitable finishing touch, can now perform this work three times as fast by employing compressed air, which is controlled to furnish the moving power of the tool, and at the end of a day’s work his muscles will not ache as they ached when he did the work entirely with his own energy.
GENERALLY speaking, ships that sink in the depths of the sea are “down and out” forever. But ships that go to the bottom in depths of two hundred feet are now being successfully raised, and many ambitious schemes are being promoted for raising ships from depths that are even greater.
AS the price of meat soars upward, many people are forced to be part-time vegetarians. Thus the old question, “Is meat essential to human well-being?” arises again. The Committee on Food and Nutrition of the National Research Council has issued an interesting report on the relative value of meat and milk.
THE spraying-machine has not escaped the searching mind of the inventor, and now the multiple spraying outfit has come into use. This machine is the invention of an Englishman. It is provided with no fewer than twenty-four nozzles. These are arranged at various heights, so that trees ;of different age can be treated.
A CONVEX mirror of the kind mounted on an automobile to show what is coming from the rear, can be satisfactorily employed to see how much dust has accumulated on the inside of lighting fixtures. When the mirror is secured to the end of a pole, it can be held up over the rim of the inverted bowl that screens the eye from the direct light.
A SYSTEM of sound transmission by reflected rays of light has recently been developed by Professor A. O. Rankine. But it cannot be used for distances of more than fifty miles, because of the curvature of the earth. The transmitter consists of a diaphragm similar to a phonograph sound-box, a small mirror mounted on the end of the diaphragm, a projecting lens, and another mirror.
VISITORS to New York—and not only visitors, but natives—who have suffered confusion in stretching their necks following the black (or the green) line at the Times Square and Grand Central subway stations, will welcome a plan that has been devised to do away with the present complicated arrangem ent of the New York subway transfer system.
MOST pocket-lamps have small dry batteries—and they are always burning out. An English company has put on the market a wet-battery lamp that burns steadily for ten hours. When it runs down, you can recharge it by connecting it with an electric circuit.
IN most stores wrapping-paper rolls are placed in stands that block up much of the counter space. And every time the clerk wishes to wrap up a package, he must reach for the paper. But now there is a new paper-cutter and -holder that fits under the counter and is invisible except for the cutting-edge.
BEFORE the Occidental clock found its way to China, a cumbersome water-clock was used. It consisted of four buckets placed on four steps and connected by chutes. The top can was filled with water. From can to can the water trickled until it reached the bottom can. A ruler protruded from an opening in the lid of this bottom can, and the ruler rose as the water rose. There were time marks on this ruler and thus the Chinese told the hour.
A BATHTUB seat, a seat attached to the foot of the bed, or a shelf attached to the wall—this is the invention of Mr. George S. Stuart, of Washington, D. C. It is composed of a wooden box open at the bottom and arranged to accommodate the folding legs when not in use.
CONCRETE walls “anchored” to bricks so that they won’t break apart, is a new method in house construction. The “anchor,” a long metal strip hooked at the end, is nailed to wooden forms. After the concrete has been applied, the forms are removed and the anchor remains, embedded in the concrete.
DON’T know when you will get your coal? That needn’t worry you, for an electric heating-fan has been invented. The heater may be attached to any electriclight socket. When the current is turned on, coils within the heater grow red hot, and a small fan sends the heat out into the room.
WHEN you consider the fact that the Chinese eat sharks’ fins, sea-slugs, ducks’ tongues, deer’s sinews, and pickled fir-tree cones, it is not at all surprising that they eat frogs too. They do not stop at frogs’ legs; they eat nearly all of each frog.
DID you ever wonder how lenses were made? First, the molten glass is cast into shape. Such pieces are called “blanks.” The blank is fitted to an iron block with pitch or wax. It is then placed in the rapidly revolving bowl, and held by a steel pencil that fits into a hole in the center, making the blank revolve by friction.
ONE of the faculty members of a dental college invented the trick doorknob shown above. When a prying patient rattles the knob, nothing happens. But when a faculty member grasps it, the door opens easily. He knows the trick. The knob and its stem are separate sections.
IN the state of Washington there are ten large national parks. Chelan Park is one of them, and it is a favorite place for tourists. The Lyman Glacier is located in the park, and many visitors climb it every year. There are deep mysterious crevasses in the glacier, caused, most likely, by irregularities in the bed of the glacier, also its variable movement.
THE Wakamba brave wears a pigtail. Just like the Chinaman? No; the Chinaman’s queue is of real hair, whereas the black man’s is made of string. His hair is short and fuzzy, and he ties the string to it. To cover up the connection, he wears a funnel.
A DESK littered with letters, memoranda, and other data is most unsightly. Keep them, rather, in an expanding desk-file like the one shown below. Each compartment is a separate unit. You can add as many units as your need dictates. If you index each compartment and keep the proper items in it, you will avoid confusion and the possible loss of valuable data, to say nothing of the time saved in being able to immediately locate them.
SEE how well you can copy pictures from the magazines you read. Go about it like this: Place the picture you would like to copy on the table, and directly opposite it put the paper on which you are going to copy. Between the picture and the paper place a piece of plain glass mounted in a frame so that it will stand vertically.
LOG cabins are very nice for the summer, but when old Jack Frost puts in his appearance, the comfortable modern home with its conveniences is the place to live. A man living in Yankton, South Dakota, liked log cabins so much that he built his home to resemble one.
THIS granite pillar shivers in the wind. The slightest breeze rocks it gently to and fro. The great column is almost perfectly balanced on its pedestal. So perfectly that it is sensitive to the smallest atmospheric disturbances. The shaft is over one hundred feet high with a diameter of but twelve feet at the base.
EVERYTHING in the world has its use—even shell fungus. Its outer surface is smooth, hard, white, and on it beautiful scenes can be etched. Any sharp-pointed instrument will cut into the surface. When next you go to the country, etch some scenes on this fungus, or try your hand at portraiture—if your friends raise no objection.
IF you are out in the country and see a man get out of a buggy, tie his horse, and take a long auger with which he drills a hole in the dirt-bank at the side of the road, do not be hasty in passing judgment and think him a lunatic. This man is probably an expert sent out by the Bureau of Soils of the Department of Agriculture.
MANY people followed Horace Greeley’s advice and went West to grow up with the country. The West is largely populated with people who were once Easterners. Every year these eastern Westerners hold state picnics, where they go to meet the people from their own home state and town.
YOU start out in the morning and the sun is shining; you come back at night in the rain—feet dripping wet. Yet you can’t very well carry rubbers with you every time you go out. Now, however, there is a new heel-rubber that you can put in your pocket.
AUTOMOBILES are made for poor men, why not airplanes? The Ricci brothers of Italy have developed a machine that could be sold at a reasonable price. The little triplane is said to be the smallest flying-machine ever built. Its span is only eleven and a half feet.
CONCENTRATION of light in a small area, such as in the electric arc and filament, produces a brightness which greatly harms the eye. It does slowly what a few minutes of direct gazing at the sun would accomplish. We realize now that direct rays from an unshielded illumination are bad for the eye, hence this ray-diffusing device with as little loss of illuminating power as possible.
THE next time you are taken ill with a cold or the measles, weave belts in bed to pass the idle hours away. This little hand-loom is extremely simple to manipulate, and attractive designs can be produced on it. It can be constructed in a few minutes with a few tools, and the results obtainable are surprising in every way.
WRITING in the dark is evidently often practised, for two self-luminous pencils have recently been invented. One comes from England. It has a battery, a light bulb, and a glass case that fits over the pencil to protect the bulb. The American invention, patented by Philip S. McLean, is simpler.
“CHARMED,” you say as you take off your cap in deference to the newly introduced. But, alas, your hair is all mussed up and you are a sorry sight. To remedy this, Alva Dawson, of Jacksonville, Florida, recommends the “combined head-covering and hair-comb” that he has invented.
INSTEAD of having to start the forge fire, carry coke, and heat the rivets separately, here is a device by which a number of rivets can be brought to a working heat at once. Oil furnishes the fuel, and the rivets are placed in a compartment in which they are all heated together, and delivered, ready for the workman, instead of having the workman wait for them.
HOUSE-WRECKERS recently saw a new tool tested, which is designed not only to save time, but also to prevent the lumber from being split prying it apart. The invention is that of a carpenter, William Henry Rich, of Wrentham, Massachusetts.
YOU don’t need a straw with this drink, A or that ice-cream soda. The handle of the spoon, being hollow, serves as a straw. Eat the ice-cream or the crushed fruit with the spoon, then draw up the delicious liquid through the hollow handle. The spoon is made entirely of glass, and at the back of the bowl there is a small opening through which the liquid is drawn.
Reading Can Be Enjoyed When Wearing This Headlight
OFTEN you may wish to make notes with pencil and paper, or to read when suitable illumination is not at hand. Then the “head-lamp,” invented by Charles S. Burton, of Oak Park, Illinois, becomes serviceable. It consists of a bulb and socket connected with a battery which can be carried in the pocket; a shade to protect the eyes from the rays of light; and a reflector to throw the rays downward upon the book or paper held in a position for reading.
THE side-wheeler, though obsolete as a steamboat, is quite new as a hand-propelled craft. A satisfying speed can be made in this boat and it can be managed with little trouble, hence the new invention is very popular. A crank in each side turns the wheel by a simple arm movement, and the boat can be sent on a forward, backward, or a turning course at will.
LONG iron rails have been installed along the wharves at San Francisco for hitching the big truck-horses left standing by teamsters. The traces are fastened to a long stout bar, and the horse stands as if hitched to a wagon. The reins from the bit are also tied to the bar.
A SPECIAL apparatus has been constructed by Dr. Hortvet, at the laboratory of the Minnesota State Dairy and Food Commission, by which the amount of water contained in a sample of milk is determined by the milk’s freezing-point. The unadulterated milk of a healthy cow freezes at thirty-one degrees Fahrenheit.
USUALLY one does not like to burn garbage near the house because of its disagreeable odor. Now comes a home garbage-burner, which is placed beside the gas-range. It is gas-burning, and has a draft to carry away all the unpleasant fumes.
THIS watermelon got mixed up with an old bicycle wheel when it was young, and it grew up fettered with the wires. Although its shape was affected, its size was normal and its flavor was not impaired. “Warmed by the sun and wet by the dew,” the watermelon grew, despite the resisting wires.
STRANGELY freakish as it may seem, some heifers feed upon their own milk, thus depriving the farmer of the valuable product. J. Luther Emerson, of Frankfort, Kentucky, has patented a “cow-weaner” that breaks this habit. The weaner has a stiff collar that fits tightly round the cow’s neck and is so arranged as to prevent the animal from reaching around.
IT took Abraham Max Holtzman, of Brooklyn, New York, to discover from experience that a new style of iron would be a relief to the presser, so he invented one. With the ordinary light iron, all the pressure that counts is the strength of the man who moves the iron.
GONE is the lay figure with the far-away stare and the painted black hair that glistened like patent leather. Gone, too, the ill-fitting suit of hand-me-downs, marked “Take me home for $10,” that the figure used to wear. In its place is a lifelike wax figure, displaying its expensive clothes with aristocratic carelessness and epitomizing what Broadway considers “class” in beauty
COLD-STORAGE eggs have been found to be palatable. Now we are presented with cold-storage fish. Those who have already eaten some say that it tastes just the same as fresh fish; and chemists say that the food constituents of the fish do not seem to be affected by the months of freezing.
Even a cannon-ball can be trapped by this extraordinary invention of a French cinematographer
THE operator of the ordinary moving-picture camera is often called upon to record the movements of a bird or an animal that is moving with flashlike rapidity. The Akeley camera is specially constructed and admirably adapted to this branch of rapid photography.
A FLASH of fire, a cloud of smoke, and down comes the wood-and-cloth airplane, a burning mass. Nothing of the kind can happen to the new all-metal monoplane, the latest innovation in aircraft. As solid as a battleship, and covered with corrugated sheets of metal, the monoplane looks too heavy to fly.
ON some of the great farms in Texas they are now singeing the sharp, hard stickers off the prickly pears, so this peculiar variety of fruit can be fed to the cattle. The growth of this large pear with its ugly “stickers” is limited to the desert sections of the South.
How the Popular Science Monthly would keep city streets clear in winter and save millions of dollars
Removing Snow the Old Way
Popular Science Monthly Offers a New Plan
Show This Article to Your Mayor and Your Board of Trade
Use Plows with Motor-Trucks
The Need of Cooperation
Time Is the Essence of the Problem
The City's Part Requires No Heavy Investment
The Popular Science Monthly’s Plan for Snow Removal
NEW YORK failed miserably in its attempt to cope with the mass of snow that clogged its streets in February, 1920. In fact, it has always been more or less helpless in the face of a heavy snowfall. It takes days to clear the streets after a storm.
New York to Have the World’s Biggest Radio Station
The six antennae can be operated as one unit
REMEMBER how it was in the early days of electric traction, electric light, and power service, or telephony? There were small companies with isolated stations, each pursuing an independent policy in engineering development and business expansion.
THE first large steamship, the Great Eastern, was a financial loss partly because it took too much time to load and unload her cargo. It costs $3000 a day to hold a modern transatlantic steamer at her pier. An invention of Gibson L. Douglass, of Duluth, Minnesota, promises to revolutionize the unloading of vessels at their docks.
GET the oil-tank ready and prepare to spray the stubble in the field with liquid fire! Burning is the surest way to get rid of this obstinate and disastrous pest of the cornfield, the corn-borer. The European corn-borer has made its appearance in certain sections of this country, probably being imported in cargoes of raw hemp which came here from abroad.
OIL is taking the place of coal on the high seas. Sweating, half-naked stokers have disappeared from the leviathans of the ocean, and instead only a few furnace-tenders are seen in the boiler-room. But that is not the reason oil was adopted.
A Controller on Deck Directs This Ship Like a Trolley-Car
THE latest invention in marine engineering, the yacht Elfay, comes into port with the navigating officer manipulating a control handle similar to that used by a trolley-car motorman. If the officer wants the engine to stop, he merely turns the handle of his controller to the “off” position.
ALAS, the poor doggie is dead—not Mother Hubbard’s dog, but the dog that smuggled quarts and quarts of whisky from Mexico to this land of the free. Every night he swam the Rio Grande at least a dozen times, carrying on his back, each trip, four full quart bottles of whisky.
FOR many years the X-ray has been the invaluable ally of surgery and medicine, but until recently it has been necessary always to transport the patient to the laboratory. Now, however, there is a portable X-ray outfit. It is possible for a doctor to transport the entire apparatus, packed in four bundles, to any house wired for electricity, and produce radiographic results as good as those secured in a completely equipped X-ray laboratory.
THE heads are chopped off crimson clover and the seeds subsequently removed for future sowing, Heretofore a mowing-machine has done the beheading, but the Department of Agriculture has recently developed a new machine that does the job more efficiently.
Popular Science Monthly is proud of these young Americans
A Composite Best Paper
The Questions, Based Monthly for on the Popular Science May, 1920
IN January, 1919, the POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY made a $5000 scholarship offer, to be competed for by high-school and preparatory-school students. The contest committee divided the United States into ten groups, the best student in each group to receive a $500 scholarship, the prize-winners to be selected by JOHN F. WOODHULL, Professor of Physics at Teachers College, Columbia University; Professor ALFRED E. BURTON, Dean of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Dr. C. R. MANN, Chairman of the Advisory Educational Committee, United States Army.
SWEET smelling soap and slaughter-houses are closely allied. In fact, soap-making is part of the meat-packing industry. The picture shows the method of soap-milling used in one of our large packing-houses. The soap—consisting of fats, vegetable oils, and caustic—is boiled, hardened on a chilled granite roller, and dried on screens.
A HIGH shoe is easy to pull on, but not so easy to pull off. That’s why this boot-remover was invented. You place your foot securely in the groove and grip the handle tightly. When you pull up your foot, the shoe remains behind. Tight pumps and ties may also be removed this way.
TOY balloons on strings are such a common sight that the usual balloon-seller does not attract much attention. But there is one balloon-merchant in London who always has a crowd around him. Why? Because he fills your balloon for you out of a com pressed-air tank while you wait.
IN our land there is a man of most gigantic size. But he did his growing in Holland, his native country. This man measures eight feet, five inches. He wears a size nine and a half hat, a thirteen shoe, and a fourteen glove! It takes six yards of cloth to make him a suit.
WATER seeks its own level, and so does punch. The punch-server shown above is a glass bottle with an opening in the bottom as well as at the top. You lower it into the punch-bowl, and the punch flows in until the punch within is level with the punch without.
THERE are more ways than one of killing a goose. There is also more than one way to tie up packages with string. A man in a large Chicago department-store has found a very good way of keeping the string at hand. He probably thought of the idea when he saw his sister using a crochet-ball holder on her wrist.
PEOPLE cannot be killed by freight-cars if the cars are equipped with wheel-guards like those shown in the picture. As the car comes along, the guards hang in a horizontal position at the end of arms just above the tracks. But as soon as they come in contact with a body, counter-balances cause them to drop so that they touch the tracks.
YOU can touch a high-voltage wire in safety if you are standing on a nonconductor, such as dry wood. That’s why the small wooden platform shown above was built. The workmen standing on it must make repairs in the midst of wires carrying as high as seventy-five thousand volts.
A FLOWER-POT, a jelly-glass, a saucer, and three small wooden blocks make a splendid wasp-trap. The saucer, filled with sweetened water, is placed on the table. The flower-pot, inverted, rests on the wooden blocks and partially covers the saucer.
CARBON paper treated with heat brings it back to a useful condition. Two sheets of worn carbon paper are placed together face to face so that their carbon-covered surfaces will be in contact. The sheets are then placed on a flat surface and covered with a piece of thin paper.
IF you have an air-pump on your car, driven from the engine, you will find it useful for many things besides flat tires. It will clean mattresses and upholstered furniture just as effectively as a vacuum cleaner, though its action is entirely different.
GOING through the weird region of Death Valley, in California, travelers looking from their perch upon a hillside where a wide view is commanded, may see what appears to be a lake of ice gleaming in the sunlight. When the lake is reached, one finds it to be not of ice, but that it has a crust of salt.
"STATIONERY” reads a sign on top of a small cabinet in the lobby of a hotel, or in a store. It tells you where to get paper and stamped envelopes. The cabinet is a silent salesman, ever at the service of the one who would buy stationery. When you go in and ask for an envelope, the clerk points to the corner of the room and says, “There’s the cabinet; help yourself.”
A FARMER in Oakland, Oregon, had several horses that defied all barriers and wandered into his or his neighbors’ wheat crops. One day, he found a large rusty nut, about two inches square. He looped a string through the nut and tied it to one of the horse’s forelocks.
THE shoe below looked like an all-leather one, but when it was ripped open, paper was found in several places. When you wish to test a pair of shoes, press a pointed knife against the leather. If it sinks in easily, you’ll know that there’s paper present.
IT is necessary for the farmer to know how rapidly the moisture in his part of the country evaporates. And he is able to find this out by using an evaporometer. Mr. C. G. Bates, of the United States Forest Service, has recently invented one, and it is shown above.
“PLEASE speak louder. I cannot hear you.” It will no longer be necessary to strain your hearing over the phone. This new sound-amplifier makes it possible to hear long-distance calls in a noisy room with perfect ease. The device is not electrical.
CANDLES, though cheap, should not be wasted. And the best way to prevent waste is to prevent dripping. Here is a new dripless candle-holder. A metal cap fits over the wick end of the candle and keeps the melted wax from running down the side. In fact, a small pool of wax collects in the cap, feeding the wick as long as the wick will burn.
BALE your sheet-metal scraps and you will find them easy to dispose of. A small press that will do the job well is shown below. The scraps are dumped into a hopper at the end of the machine, and when it is full, the lid is closed down. Next, the press is set in motion by a crank-lever and in ten seconds the bale is finished!
VOTE by machinery—that’s the latest. Instead of filling out a ballot by hand, you punch a button directly under the name of your candidate. Your own voting number has already been adjusted on the machine; thus both your number and the name of your candidate are registered.
The Reverse of That Adage About Oil on Troubled Waters
NOW that ships have begun to burn oil instead of coal, the danger of fire in and around harbors has been greatly increased. Although it is against the law to clean ship tanks and bilges near docks, seamen persist in doing it. At Brooklyn, New York, a thick layer of oil can almost always be seen around the repair yards.
IF you leave your dusty shoes outside of your door when you stay at a hotel, you may find them shining in the morning light or you may never see them again; the chances are about even. But there is now a new boot-lock that can be attached at the side of a door.
UP-TO-DATE dairies have individual sanitary drinking-cups for cows, instead of the old-style buckets connected with the same supply-pipe. If any animal was diseased, the germs would be carried from bowl to bowl. This new drinking-cup is a small iron basin just large enough for a cow.
THE Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank has put into service the “vault on wheels” shown in the picture. It is an armored truck having two compartments. One, in which the driver and chief of guards ride, has no bars. The second compartment, in which the cash is carried, will carry as many as eight guards.
WHILE the pneumatic shock-absorber for Ford cars is more expensive than devices of the spring or lever type, this is more than offset by its better riding qualities. As shown in the cross-sectional view, the apparatus is made up of a compound cylinder composed of three separate cylinders.
IN the present state of high prices of horses and mules, many lumberyards and sawmills are turning to the small gasoline tractor. Owing to the special tasks to be performed, not every small gasoline tractor will give good results. Some do not secure sufficient traction in rainy weather; others do not have sufficient pulling power; and still others cannot turn in a small enough radius to permit of quick work in the narrow lanes between the lumber-piles.
A TENDENCY is abroad today toward the greater use of closed cabs on motor-trucks in order to protect the driver in rainy or snowy weather. Most of the completely enclosed truck cabs, however, are fitted with door units, which must be removed in hot weather.
THE track-laying wheel shown in the accompanying illustrations is different from all other types of similar devices in that the tread is flexible and follows the contour of the ground, instead of being rigid, such as was the type used on the British tanks.
PUT-PUT—your engine gasps and then dies. You waste an hour going over the engine, the ignition system, and then decide that it must be dirt in the gasoline feed-pipe. You spend the rest of the day under the car. Clean, filtered gasoline is absolutely essential to the good running order of your car.
AN ocean liner is coming close to port and a dense fog blankets the sea; yet the engine is running at a scarcely noticeable reduced speed. “What a reckless pilot!” might be your thought. But if you stepped into the cabin where the navigating officer is listening to what the telephone receivers have to say, a remarkable condition is disclosed.
OUT from the fleet darts the Sea Hornet. It is a mere speck, barely visible, like a small raft moving at great speed, showing only six inches of surface above the water. The Hornet is a one-man submarine which travels at a speed of 30 knots and carries a torpedo charged with from 300 to 500 pounds of T.N.T. The length of the submersible is 40 feet and its weight is 8500 pounds.
Imitating Rain, Thunder, and Snow for Amateur Theatricals
Lawrence B. Robbins
MANY effects simulating nature on the stage are made by the orchestra, but there are a few that call for special appliances. On the professional stage these are somewhat complicated, but for the wants of the amateur actor the machines herein described will give those effects very realistically and will be found simple to construct.
Out of the way when you don’t need it, but ready for instant use
Theron P. Foote
PERHAPS one of the most useful household articles I ever turned out with my own hands is the adjustable, collapsible, and out-of-the-way clothes-rack. “A common, ordinary clothes-rack,” you will say. “Anybody can string a clothesline across the kitchen for service when the rain is pouring down.”
FOR a very small sum an electric toaster can be made at home. Secure a piece of asbestos 6 by 10 in., and ¼ in. in thickness. Twelve holes are punched in the asbestos, six at each end, to hold electrician’s bolts, which in turn hold six strands of electrical heating wire stretched across the asbestos, held straight in the center by running them through six round-eyed screws.
IT only takes a few simple materials to construct an alarm that will warn the user by a sudden or loud sound operating the mechanism. Such an alarm can be used in various places, such as the sickroom, the nursery, etc., where the noise can warn people in the other part of the house that assistance is needed.
CEMENT is a mighty tenacious material, as any one who has been obliged to dispose of cement walls, posts, or other structures made of the substance can testify. It is that very tenacity that makes it valuable and so highly appreciated as a building material.
IT is surprisingly easy to cut large holes in glass. For a drill use a copper tube the size of the hole required, make the end square and true and put it in an ordinary brace. For a cutting medium use a mixture of turpentine and fine carborundum and keep the drill well supplied.
THE illustration shows a tool that was constructed to bend U-bolts which were threaded at both ends and taken hot from the fire. The body, A, is made from a piece of flat bar steel, a little wider than the U-bolt and was cut out on the top side the desired shape of the formed bolt.
A PRIVATE monogram or display of the owner’s initials upon the doors of his automobile always adds class and distinction. But it generally is thought that to work out a monogram is the job for an artist or professional painter and is beyond the ability of the amateur.
DID you ever wrestle with a tire valve-stem that had become stuck below the top of the valve? They are obstinate things, but here is a simple way to remove them: Take a large cotter-pin that will fit easily inside the valve and file two or three little barbs inside of each end of the tines.
IT is foolish to ask if you have ever lost your collar button. You have, of course; every one has. The next time you lose it, make an emergency one from shirt buttons. Take two shirt buttons, one a little smaller than the other, and sew them together as shown in the illustration, leaving about ⅛ in. of space between them.
EVERY pipe-smoker knows that the instant he lays down his pipe it tips over and spills ashes. Naturally it is impossible for friend wife to keep the house clean when this is the case, for the minute she sweeps up the ashes, more are deposited.
IN order to take pictures at an angle, a convenient tripod arrangement can easily be made. It consists of two thin boards, from ⅜ to ¼ in. thick, fastened together at one end by a hinge. The center of each board has a small hole. Into the lower hole a nut is countersunk so that the board can be tightly screwed to the tripod plate.
THE electric light in a storeroom was made to turn on automatically when the door was opened by simply connecting it as shown in the illustration. Being of the pull-chain type of light socket, the two movements required to turn it on and off were alike.
A SIMPLE way of replacing a coupling and magneto when the taper is worn is to true up the taper by using the compound rest on a lathe (not by moving the tailstock). Set the compound rest so that it will turn the new taper as shown in the illustration.
HERE is the simplest thing there is in the way of a drill-press. Use the ordinary hand-drill for the “business” part of the apparatus, and secure it to a board. The exact method of securing it will depend largely upon the construction of the drill, but for one which has a handle in the frame, this can be unscrewed and a machine-screw of the right size and thread put through the board and into the frame of the drill, in addition to which there must be another fastening to keep the tool in line.
BATHTUB drain-pipes will get clogged up at times and prove very difficult to clear on account of the small diameter of the discharge pipe. After working over three hours with a plumber’s rubber suction pump, that failed to remove the deposit, the writer made the device shown in the illustration that did the work in less than two minutes.
HERE is how a paint-pail bracket was devised from an old door-hook. This painter was a crank on hooks and declared that he would quit the job unless he was provided with a paint-pail hook of some sort. When it looked as though the wielder of the brush would pull his stakes and depart, the handy man of the place hove into view with a hook made from an old 6-in.
WHEN cutting a wooden curtain-roller to an undersized window, it sometimes happens that the grain of the wood runs very much on the bias. Driving a stout pin into it may cause a portion of the roller to split off, as in Fig. 1. A good preventive for this fault is to use the brass cap from an old dry-battery carbon.
WHERE a steady supply of air at pressure is required, it can be obtained by using an old water-tank, such as is used for hot water, and connecting the tank with the water supply in any convenient way. The idea is to allow water to run into the tank, thereby compressing the air in it, and piping the air to the blowpipe or other work from the top.
IT is difficult to determine the condition of a spark-plug, unless the plug can be subjected to pressure, for under atmospheric pressure a spark will leap across the electrode gap, even if the porcelain or mica is broken down. For this reason, every garage or repair-shop should have a compression tester, a device in which the plug may be placed and subjected to a pressure of from 60 to 75 lbs. a sq. in., then connected with a coil and the action of the spark noted.
ANY ONE who pulls and tugs on a split rim in an endeavor to remove the tire is as foolish as the fellow who tries to blow up a tire with his mouth and lungs. It is an easy matter for any one to make a split-rim contracting-tool that will do the work without wasting one’s strength.
A NUMBER of short tubes or bushings which were a snug fit in larger and longer ones were to be removed, and after machine work was performed on them they were replaced. A wrench to grip them on the inside was needed, since that was the only place to get a grip to remove them.
A BINDING-POST made of one piece of metal makes a handy accessory for the amateur electrical experimenter. It is instantly adjusted, simple to make, and costs little. Cut a piece of heavy spring brass the shape and dimensions shown in the detail sketch.
ALTHOUGH this method of cutting large holes may be used for cutting thin metal, and even glass, it is more practical for use on wood, especially where such devices as clocks, ammeters, etc., are to be installed on the dashboard or instrument board of an automobile.
WHEN you wish a grooved pulley for a toy machine, model, or other light use, you can make one out of sheet tin as described and save the expense of buying one. Cut out a disk of sheet tin about ½ in. larger in diameter than the pulley. Punch a hole in the center for the axle.
A HANDY form of seesaw for the children is shown in the accompanying illustration. It is portable, and thus makes itself useful in any location without having to hunt for a raised position on which to rock it. The plank is of oak or hard pine 12 ft. long by 12 in. wide by 1½ in. thick.
IT is not hard to make an emery-wheel that is very serviceable. In fact, it is so easy that no amateur mechanic need be without wheels of almost any desired size and any grade. The first thing to do is to make a wood wheel of the right size, have it perfectly true and, preferably, run it on some sort of a metal hub.
THE leaves of an automobile spring are intended to slide upon one another when the car is in motion. Many drivers allow their springs to get dirty, to go without lubrication, and to become very rusty. The leaves become so dirty that instead of sliding on each other, they work almost as if they were one solid piece of steel.
GEARS for temporary use, as in model-making, experimental purposes, etc., can be made in the following manner by casting in soft metal and will be the means of saving much time, effort, and expense. First, it will be assumed that the gears are to run in conjunction with some already in use, so they will have the same tooth dimensions and general characteristics.
TO attach a “Roll of Honor” tablet to the wall of a lodge room, and also to arrange it so as to be readily removed if necessary, I fitted it as shown in the illustration. Securing two small angle-irons I cut them so as to get four straight pieces. The reason I used angle-irons was that they were already bored and countersunk for screws.
ONE of the problems to solve in having your typewriter at home is to provide a proper table and seat which will have all the conveniences of an office without taking up much room and at the same time will make a presentable appearance in the home.
Promoting rifle practice for those who like to shoot
Fred Gilman Jopp
HOW you envy the man who is an expert shot, and how you wish that you could shoot as well. Of course you realize that it takes lots of practice, but that you would gladly do provided you had a place in which you could learn. Why not construct your own rifle range?
RECENTLY I was called upon to do a piece of work on a milling-machine which was beyond the range of any tools I had. The job was one for a face-cutter, but not having any that would reach the work I made a special arbor to carry the cutter as shown in the illustration.
CUTTING out glasses for headlights, etc., is not always easy for the man not blessed with a multitude of tools for glass-cutting, but if he has a lathe, here is the way it can be done. First build a wooden base after the pattern shown in the drawing.
A SIMPLE universal joint that may be used in light drilling, valve-grinding, machine-driving, etc., is illustrated which can be quickly made by any amateur mechanic from old pieces picked up around the shop. Take two old gas-engine valve-stems and drill eight 3/16-in. holes concentric with the circumference and about ⅛in. from the edge in each one.
AN accelerator for your Ford, by which the speed of the car can be controlled by the foot, can be made at home of odds and ends about the workbench at practically no cost. The general layout showing the operation of this idea is shown in the illustration, with all details of individual parts.
UNFORTUNATELY our eyes are not like those of the lobster, mounted on long posts and sticking out of our heads. If they were we should have little trouble seeing into a transmission or engine cylinder. Since we are handicapped by nature’s mistake, we must make the best of the situation and use tools or devices to suit the occasion.
WHEN heavy articles, such as cylinder blocks, fly-wheels, storage batteries, etc., are being handled on a work-bench, considerable effort is required to constantly turn them about and back and forth for inspection and alteration. Consequently a turntable attached to the bench would be a labor-saver and a convenience for the workman.
ONE of the most annoying of the petty accidents that happen, is to knock off a hub cap by grazing a gatepost or other obstacle. This usually means nothing more than fifteen cents for a new cap, but occasionally a piece of the thread is broken out at the same time.
THERE are many auxiliary spark intensifiers or spark-gaps on the market at present for overcoming spark-plug trouble and increasing mileage in automobiles. These can be used just as efficiently on stationary or motor-boat engines. But where the commercial article costs nearly four dollars for a set of four, the home mechanic can make such a set for practically nothing.
AUTOMOBILE tires are wrapped in paper by the manufacturer because tire-makers know that sunlight and air sap the strength of rubber. The tire should be protected until it actually goes on the rim for road service. Statistics prove that a tire good for an average of 6000 miles when it leaves the factory will lose approximately 2000 miles of life by being carried, unprotected, as a spare for one year.
MANY a hand job in the shop which takes a long time can be done with a small electric motor in one fourth the time, provided one knows how. Here is the way to do it: Remove the motor’s pulley and make a chuck, as shown at the top of the illustration, using safety setscrews for the jaw and screw.
THE illustration shows an easily made container to hold oil or other lubricant and which can be either clamped to the table or work on a drill press or other machine, or which can be arranged to ride along on the tool slide of a lathe. A small tin can of rectangular shape is obtained, a brass air-cock or priming-cup, a short length of copper tubing about 3/16-in.
Make a Motor or Engine Bed of Pieces of Angle-Iron
AFTER a motor or engine is set up on the foundation, the belt stretches or the shafting works out of line. This often necessitates moving the position of the motor a trifle and is an awkward task and an expensive one if the fixtures are set solidly in place.
SOME one, some time, told me how to sharpen a scraper for floors or cabinet-work that will last a long time and insure a perfect cutting edge. You are familiar with the ordinary blade used for such purposes—size 3 by 4½ in. Place it flat side down on a box of convenient size to sit upon, allowing the end to project about an inch; drive three or four shingle-nails into the box close to the blade, and bend them over to hold the blade perfectly rigid.
A VERY simple and handy tool for machinists, especially for those not supplied with combination centering drills, is shown in the illustration. The tool consists of a piece of hexagon brass with a notch cut out as shown, a V-shaped opening cut in the center with a hacksaw, a hole drilled to receive the shank of a drill, and a center hole drilled in the opposite end.
BRIEFLY, the driver consists of a shaft with a magnetized head which slides back and forth within a brass tube. A bushing at the upper end of the tube prevents the rod from coming out, and the handle keeps the head from going farther than the lower end of the tube.
INSTEAD of selling all your old automobile shoes for junk, why not make some use of them about the house? Lumber and metal piping cost money today, but sections of tires can be used for water-troughs and spouts to good advantage. A section about 1½ ft.
THIS is a very accurate instrument, and can be made by even a boy, from materials found in or around the workshop. The case from any old “dollar watch” will do, though a No. 18-size case is to be preferred. After you have found a suitable case, make a permanent magnet by bending a thin piece of steel into shape, as shown in the illustration.
IN these days of high-priced farm machinery a satisfactory green-feed cutter of medium small capacity can be built out of an old lawn-mower, provided the blades and cutting-bar are not past usefulness. The accompanying illustrations show, in a way, how this is done, but should not be taken as conclusive, as the make and design of lawn-mowers differ.
THE illustration shows how an old emery-grinder was made into a serviceable drill and lathe after the surface of the emery had become badly worn and uneven. The shaft which originally held the emery was removed and threaded to take a small chuck, not unlike those with which small hand-drills are equipped.
POSSIBLY one of the most annoying places to build a house that is free from cellar water is in clay ground. It seems that no amount of careful and painstaking construction of the foundation will keep out the water. However, there is at least one way that proves very successful and that way is made clear in the illustration.
SOMETIMES an idea or method is so old that it is new. This method of raising water from an outside well to a room in the top story of a house was in use in Italy in the sixteenth century and even before that, but it is so simple and ingenious that it may find a place in modern rural life.
SINCE a very small table must suffice for the camper, the one here shown, which takes up no additional room among the equipment, will be found very desirable, and it can be set up in a moment after unpacking. A strong box is procured of dimensions approximating 28 to 30 in. in length, 24 in. width, and 1 ft. or 14 in. in depth.
DRAFTSMEN who have occasion to draw many lines in parallel will appreciate the little device illustrated herein by which they can set two common ruling-pens in position to do this. Several of these devices arranged for different widths will enable any one to draw parallel lines different distances apart by simply changing the pens from one to the other.
WHILE there are many schemes for automatically stopping a gas engine or electric motor, the methods here described will be found to serve nearly every practical purpose. They will be found advantageous in cases where the engine cannot be closely watched and tended, as in pumping water at a distance, shutting off when a certain pressure has been reached, etc.
OLD Necessity certainly is the mother of invention, as I am perfectly willing to admit since my experience of a week ago. One of the joints in my house water-pipe system had rusted badly and sprung a leak. I had taken the Stillson wrench to tighten it, and of course split the elbow just when water was badly needed.
THE exact center of a shaft or disk can be found almost instantly with the aid of the tool here described, and the result will be perfect if the tool is carefully made. The dimensions of the tool will depend upon the needs of the maker, but one tool will handle work of all sizes up to its maximum capacity.
IN the collective detail view of this tire, the parts fit together in the order shown and form a complete armored tire having no inner tube. Metal sections or armor scales extend about the sides of the rubber tube and afford protection against puncture.
OFTENTIMES the artist or draftsman is troubled by the lead in even a good pencil working loose in the wood so that the least pressure of the point upon the paper will push it out of sight. This is annoying, to say the least, especially when pencils are scarce at the time.
A SALT-WATER aquarium should be made from one piece of glass. It should be 12 in. high and at least as wide. A salt-water aquarium is much easier to make and maintain than a fresh-water aquarium. The bottom receives a few inches of beach sand or pebbles, according to the character of the creatures to be introduced.
The Popular Science Monthly will pay ninety dollars for the best answers
Rules Governing the Contest
HOW do you save steps in your home? What arrangements or what appliances have you made that save time and reduce work that would otherwise have to be done by hand? The Popular Science Monthly wants to know just what practical and useful things can be constructed to make every house a step-saving house.