IN THE seclusion of their laboratories a small band of American scientists are laboring desperately to wrest a marvelous natural secret from the green plants around us—a secret that may help us avert a threatening world-wide fuel famine.
ONE of the world’s most famous desert explorers, Dr. D. T. MacDougal, general secretary of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a tireless worker in the field of botany, has actually succeeded in devising an artificial cell that behaves much like the living cells of plants.
Pal of Veteran Speed Kings Reveals Amazing Speedway Trick
WHEN I tell you that the driver of a racing car, with a top speed of 110 miles an hour, can hitch an invisible towline onto a faster car ahead of him, and have his slower car pulled along at a winning pace of 120 miles an hour, you may call the statement ridiculous.
ALONG the stormswept sands of Buzzard’s Bay on the rocky Massachusetts coast, eight towering wireless masts have recently sprung up to mark the site of the most amazing radio experiment station in the world. They stand at once as the fulfilment of a millionaire radio fan’s hobby and as beacons of hope to rebuffed and discouraged radio inventors everywhere.
IMAGINE a great stream of water flowing through a mountain tunnel nearly two miles long, then rushing with tremendous force through 15-foot penstocks, or power house supply conduits, at the rate of 1800 cubic feet a second. What would happen if valves in the penstocks were suddenly closed, causing this great body of surging water to gather its full force and strike a terrific blow, like some gigantic sledge hammer, against the walls of the conduits?
Compressed Air Shoots Round Bullets from High Power Rifle
AMMUNITION costs for hunters may be greatly reduced through the invention of a high power pneumatic rifle by A. V. Dickey, of Seattle, Wash. The gun uses compressed air under 600 pounds pressure and is said to have a muzzle velocity of 200 feet a second greater than that of the ordinary small caliber powder rifle.
THIN, porous concrete slabs that are extremely light in weight yet strong enough to withstand a crushing pressure of 600 pounds to the square inch have been developed recently by a New Jersey manufacturer. Reinforced by wire netting, these concrete boards, only an inch thick, can be nailed to studding much as lumber would be.
Water Pressure in Tube Measures Depth of Soundings
AN INGENIOUS sounding instrument now in general use consists of a brass pipe inclosing an air-filled glass tube and a lead weight that carries the instrument to the bottom of the body of water where soundings are to be made. Depths are determined by noting the extent to which water pressure compresses the air in the glass tube.
Beginning the Most Fascinating Serial of Science Ever Published
The Dawn of Life
What Your Body Is Made Of
The Smallest Living Things
Secrets of Life's Origin in Us
Cell Units Perform Varied Duties
The Largest Flying Creature that Ever Lived
Independent Cells Can Live Alone
How White Corpuscles Attack Germs
All Cells Made of Same Material
Protoplasm Eats, Breathes, and Moves
A Picture Story of Evolution
Invisible Workshops of Life
Plants—the World's Food Factories
The Drama of the Living Past
Dr. E. E. Free
DR. E. E. FREE, America’s best writer of popular science, begins herewith a wonderful series of articles on the secrets of life and mysteries of evolution. He tells the story of how the Life Force first took shape in the sea, a billion years ago; of how it grew into countless strange new forms; of how worms, lizards, reptiles, and apelike creatures each in turn inherited the flame of life and passed it on to still higher animals; of how finally Man himself emerged.
THE most stupendous task of its sort ever attempted in the history of shipbuilding is now under way at Newport News, Va., where the historic “Leviathan,” next to the largest vessel in the world, is being converted from a battered troopship into the finest passenger liner afloat.
PREDICTIONS of two far-seeing American aeronauts have been remarkably borne out by the recent record-breaking motorless flight of M. Maneyrol, French airman, in a Peyret tandem monoplane glider in which he stayed in the air for three hours, 21 minutes, and seven seconds, winning the London Daily Mail’s prize contest on the Sussex downs, England.
ADVENTUROUS scientists who recently attempted to scale Mount Everest in the Himalayas might have been successful if they had been equipped with a newly invented portable oxygen apparatus, designed especially for mountain climbers and aviators, which supplies just the right amount of oxygen at any elevation.
DIFFICULTIES of dental diagnosis have been in part overcome by the recent perfection of a mouth lamp that passes light through the teeth. The fact that the light from the usual mouth lamps is not sufficiently intensive for this purpose has long been a handicap to dentists.
BY MEANS of a storage hopper that can be adjusted to hold a specified quantity of material on a new tractor-loader, manufactured at Columbus, Ohio, batches of material in desired amounts are elevated to the hopper and held in readiness for the next receiving truck.
EQUIPPED with a roll of paper such as that used with an adding or calculating machine, a handy desk pad recently placed on the market enables the user to record data, from day to day, on a continuous sheet of paper, much as stock quotations are recorded on ticker tapes.
SINCE a single defective locomotive axle may cause a disastrous train wreck, manufacturers submit a certain percentage of each batch of axles turned out to tremendous shock tests. In the final test each axle is supported near the ends while a weight of 2240 pounds is dropped on it twice, the axle being turned through an angle of 90 degrees between the two shocks.
Drives Motorcycle out of Mud and Stops It with His Teeth
BY THE clever use of stout twine and a cut-out switch, a Western motorcyclist has devised an ingenious method of extricating a stalled sidecar motorcycle outfit from heavy mud or sand. The problem, as analyzed by this cyclist, whose work takes him into almost inaccessible mountain and desert country, consisted of finding a way to give the machine a “boost” while working single handed—operating the motor while pushing and lifting the machine—and also a means of stopping the motor once the machine was out of the hole.
WOODEN minting machinery more than 300 years old is still in use for coining medals in the government mint at Potosi, Bolivia. Although the wooden gear wheels resemble those in an old fashioned clock, and it might be expected that either the short wooden pegs or the ladder-like pins would be broken if the gear were called upon to transmit any large amount of power, excellent coins are struck with the machinery.
A NEW winter sport has come to us in the form of snow skates, invented by Peter Barlow, of Minnesota, which can be used in gliding over snow only half an inch deep. The wooden runner has a broad steel shoe and is fastened to the skater’s shoe in the same way that ice skates are clamped. The turned up toe serves to pack down the loose snow and to prevent the skater from tripping as the skates sink in.
A NEW method of equipping the home with storm windows, said to be more satisfactory than the present clumsy outside sash, has been devised by a concern in St. Paul, Minn., which utilizes the regular sash as a base for a second pane of glass. The inside edge of the window sash is cut to receive a metal strip, the side of which is pressed into a groove to receive the pane.
IF ALL highways were lined with a cable fence such as is used on the Lackawanna Trail in Pennsylvania, motor accidents caused by swerving off the road might be minimized and the number of deaths correspondingly decreased. Two three-quarter-inch cables are stretched between posts on those sections of the highway that run along the side of hills or embankments.
FOR the use of workmen in small shops where there are no heating facilities, and in buildings under construction during the cold weather, a portable coke stove has recently been placed on the market by a manufacturer in Trenton, N. J. The stove is made of cast iron and has a single opening at the side through which the coke is fed.
FROM 10 to 20 million books have been published since the invention of movable type in 1454, some authorities placing the number more accurately at about sixteen and one half millions. These have been issued in the following order: fifteenth century, 40,000 volumes; sixteenth century, 570,000 volumes; seventeenth century, 1¼ million volumes; eighteenth century, two million volumes; nineteenth century, 8¼ million volumes, and 4 million since the beginning of the present century.
DESIGNED to increase safety and comfort for passengers, a double-decked city type motor bus of unusual strength and stability is being built by California manufacturers for interurban transportation. To insure stability, the frame of the bus is set only 14 inches above the ground, while the gage of the car—the distance between wheel treads—is 70 inches.
THE San Francisco fire department is making new efficiency records by having a specially constructed residence for the fire chief, making it possible for him to attend a fire as quickly as the engines. When there is a fire, an alarm wakens fire chief and drivers, and automatically opens garage doors.
A NEW attachment for electric floor and table lamps makes it possible to obtain both a desirable diffused light throughout the room and the reflection of a brilliant light from the ceiling. This indirect lighting adapter is provided with a screw that will fit into a socket in the top of the lamp, and is constructed of a translucent glass bowl surmounted by a reflector.
THAT righthandedness developed when man began to use metal instruments during the so-called bronze age is the conclusion of Sarafin, eminent French archeologist, as the result of a study of implements used at various periods.
A NEWLY invented toothbrush equipped with bristles at both ends, affords a means of cleaning teeth better than the ordinary brush. The smaller brush is held in the handle by friction and can be removed instantly when it is desired to use the big brush.
AN APPARATUS that photographs an object from five sides simultaneously, and on the same plate has been designed by the photographer of Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md. The object to be photographed is placed on the floor and the camera positioned so as to obtain a direct view.
BY BUILDING the longitudinal sections of Pullman cars in one piece, the manufacturers have added greatly to passengers’ safety. Shop riveting is much more satisfactory than field riveting, it is found, with the result that the sections have a much greater power to resist impact.
TO ELIMINATE double heating of metal used in auto castings, the River Rouge, Mich., foundry of the Ford Motor Company employs a container, operating on the principle of a thermos bottle, in which the molten iron, coming from the furnaces, is maintained at white hot furnace temperature until the casting room is ready for it.
MANY of the accidents caused by the skidding of motor cars may be prevented by the use of a sanding device invented by August Schon, of New York City, and successfully tested recently on New York municipal passenger buses. This anti-skid apparatus consists of a circular drum, attached to the under side of the chassis in front of each rear wheel.
A NEW rotary cloth cutter, invented by John Holtzman, of Brooklyn, N. Y., has been designed to replace the shears as a cutting agent in large tailoring establishments, where it is said to turn out better work in shorter time. It consists of a rotary cutter that presses, while rotating, against a fixed blade.
Medical Expert Recommends Reversals in Posture to Stir Circulation of Stagnant Blood, Energize Under-Fed Nerves and Tone Sagging Digestive Organs that Have Grown Lax through Ages of Walking Erect
A Source of Many Ailments
A Blood-Stirring Gravity Couch
Causes of Falling Organs
One Result of Erect Posture
A Health Giving Fluid
Edwin F. Bowers
IF YOU could hang by your heels or stand on your head a certain number of times every day, physicians now agree that you might guard against many annoying ills of later life, from which few of us suffered in childhood, perhaps just because we did stand on our heads or performed other similar feats.
THE Roman Colosseum, which stood for centuries as the greatest amphitheater in the world for the presentation of sport spectacles, is to be dwarfed by two huge modern stadiums, one of which will accommodate three times as many persons, while the other will have twice the capacity.
SURPRISING simplifications of the English invention by which a specially taken photograph is reproduced in basrelief on alabaster, ivory, or wood, have been made since the photo sculpture machine was first described in the October issue of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
A NEW small thresher that sells at a price within easy reach of the small grain farmers, should prove a great time saver, for with it the farmer can follow up the reaper, thresh his grain immediately, load his wagon with the grain, and scatter the straw about the field to be plowed under as fertilizer.
NONE of the foreign or domestic commercial bottled water sold to consumers on the claim of radioactive content really contains sufficient radioactivity to warrant its purchase, according to the report of investigations completed by the water and beverage laboratory of the United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.
How to Shift Gears Noiselessly—Other Useful Tips from an Expert
Can You Shift Down?
Speed the Engine—then Shift
When Engine Is Shut Off
Mud a Cause for Worry
Local Rights of Way
Horn Prevents Disaster
Harold F. Blanchard
HOW many automobile drivers are satisfied with the way they shift gears from high to second or from second to low? Do you know how to make the most effective use of the appliances on the dashboard and of the levers at your side? And do you know how to safeguard yourself and your car again'st the chance of accident—a disturbing chance that continually hovers over the average motorist (whether he is aware of it or not)?
THE picture and diagrams above illustrate what goes on inside the transmission when you move the gear lever for the various gearshifts. The main numbered diagram shows the entire transmission gear mechanism as assembled in the ordinary car, while the small diagrams, numbered correspondingly, show the gear positions for various shifts.
THE function of the vacuum tank is to draw fuel from the gasoline tank and deliver it to the carburetor, utilizing suction from the intake manifold. The tank incloses two chambers, a float, and valves. In the upper chamber are intake pipes connecting with gasoline tank and intake manifold, while an outlet pipe in the lower chamber runs to the carburetor.
CONFRONTED with traffic problems that seem beyond solution under present conditions, faced with ever increasing streams of automobiles, and impressed with the need for adequate rapid transit, authorities of greater American cities, especially New York, are desperately trying to find some way to meet the situation.
WITH this century will pass the age of iron suspension bridges. We are about to reach the furthest advance in the art of bridge building we shall ever know. Indeed, the Hudson River Bridge project, most stupendous structure ever proposed, may mark the ultimate in bridges.
A NEW collapsible, rigid stepladder is a valuable addition to household accessories. The ladder has a skeleton frame of wood fastened together with nickel - plated steel catches. Each step is of two pieces hinged in the center and, when in use, is supported at the center by steel braces.
A GLOBULE of mercury inside a glass bulb filled with an inert gas is being used to control pressures by making and breaking electric circuits. The tube is usually attached to one arm of a Bourbon tube. When the pressure increases, the tube tends to straighten out and the action shifts the mercury from one side of the control tube to the other.
AN “EVERLASTING” tablet for memoranda, recently invented, consists of a rectangular sheet of metal, with edges bent over to form a frame, and coated on the upper side with a black composition of waxlike consistency. Over the black coating is a sheet of very tough tracing paper, held in place by a metal strap across the top.
MANY persons in London and vicinity are learning to speak and understand the French language as the result of the broadcasting of music and speeches from the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Thousands of British citizens listen in. Most of the London department stores are selling a cheap standard receiving set from which good results are obtained. Hearing the spoken French over the radio and supplementing this with textbook study, makes it much easier for students to understand and speak the language.
THE recent invention of an electric sealing machine marks the first important improvement in methods of applying sealing wax since King Solomon’s time. The new appliance eliminates the fire hazard that accompanies the present crude method of heating the wax over a flame, as well as effecting an appreciable saving of time, wax, and postage.
HANDLELESS camping utensils, which can be attached with a thumbclamp to improvised handles, have been invented recently by a Canadian— William J. Feldkamp, of Brantford, Ontario, to save packing space and weight—serious problems for all campers.
DESPITE unsettled industrial conditions, engineers in Central Europe are planning the construction of what will be one of the world’s most important artificial waterways—a water route from the North Sea to the Black Sea, extending 2100 miles across the European continent, and linking the Rhine and Danube rivers in Germany.
Fortune for Inventor Who Saves Mountains of Grape Pulp
FORTUNE awaits the man who discovers a profitable method of converting into salable jellies, cream of tartar, oils, and extracts the enormous quantities of grape skins and pulp wasted each year by grape juice factories. Reports of the Department of Agriculture show that the average quantity of grapes crushed yearly for beverage purposes in the five years ending in 1918 was 22,000 tons.
WHERE do eels come from?” This apparently simple question has for many years excited the curiosity of scientists. Strange to say, the eels familiar to us in aquariums and museums have been a complete mystery to naturalists. Nobody had been able to find baby eels. Nobody knew where they were born.
TWO carloads a minute is the rate at which these huge mechanical arms transfer ore from lake boats to freight cars at Ashtabula, Ohio. Buckets are suspended from long steel plungers, the upper ends of which are pivoted to walking beams supported by movable trucks on rails
THE critical fuel shortage in the United States, due to diminishing available coal and to unfavoiable industrial conditions, is commanding the attention of scientists and inventors, who are experimenting with methods of salvaging vast piles of “coal waste” containing enormous quantities of fuel.
Eyeglasses Fitted on Plaster Casts of Patients’ Noses
BY MAKING plaster casts of the noses of patients who come to him for eyeglasses and spectacles, Dr. Nelson Y. Hull, of New York City, is able to provide glasses that fit perfectly, even if the patient does not appear in person at his office after the first visit, when the cast is made.
DAIRY cows give just as much milk when a third of their food consists of hydrolyzed sawdust— that is, sawdust resolved into other compounds by taking up water. The Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment station reports as follows: “Two groups of three cows each were fed for 70 days.
Stresses in Materials Measured by Remarkable New Apparatus
WHEN you cut a piece of steel or other metal with a dull tool, just what happens in the metal? Every mechanic recognizes the necessity of having keen edges on his cutting tools; yet the exact effect of dull tools on the material—in terms of strain and stress, in splitting and in jagged surfaces—has remained a mystery.
Expert Reports Remarkable Success with Simplified Receiving Outfit
Portable Outfit for Beginners
Electron Tube Principle
Tube Glows Dimly
Many Users Satisfied
Tubes Withstand Rough Usage
Radio on the Road
Thousands to Learn of Wireless
LONGER life for the vacuum tube, greater economy, a more simple and convenient receiving set, and one that may easily be carried about from room to room or to a friend’s house—these things are made possible by the use of the new low-voltage electron tubes that require only a dry cell to light the filament.
COWBOYS of the Western ranches whose business has outgrown their art, except in the movies, have found a new field in the Far North, using their lassoing skill to capture live polar bears. A recent expedition employing about a hundred men skilled with the coiled rope, recently caught about a thousand full grown bears in this way.
A “FRAMELESS” automobile chassis, radically different in principle from the conventional design, was an interesting feature of a recent Paris automobile show. Although the question of just how a car of this general type would perform over rough roads, is a disputed one, experts generally agreed that some of the principles employed may find wide use in the future.
THEY are saying good-by to the whiskbroom in barber shops in Chicago. Attendants are using a small vacuum type dust collector, weighing no more than the electric flatiron. It is far more hygienic than the whiskbroom germ scatterer.
Suction Knife to Revolutionize Slaughterhouse Methods
DESIGNED to eliminate the barbarity of slaughtering methods now in general practice, a new butchering device, manufactured by a concern in Kansas City, Mo., provides a cleaner and quicker method of killing animals. The mechanism consists of a suction pump to which is attached a hose equipped on the end with a sharp blade.
ONE of the recent additions to the pipefitter’s toolchest is a threadless and nutless pipe wrench, invented by Walter I. Brockover, of Tipton, Ind., which can be used on pipes of varying sizes without preliminary adjustment. The wrench consists of three parts: a handle and upper and lower movable jaws.
FROM a few spare Ford parts of standard type and connecting parts made at home, J. 0. Michaud, of Fort Kent, Me., has built a serviceable three-wheeled automobile. The Ford parts used were three front wheels, front wheel steering spindle, rear axle, drive shaft, pinion ring gear, and bearings.
BY FORCING compressed air through a soap solution in an electric washing machine, a furniture store has adopted a novel window display scheme which has proved effective in attracting the attention of passers-by. The sea of soapsuds produced covers much of the display.
RESEARCH that soon may result in the employment of the ordinary leather-winged bat to police our homes against flies, insects, and mosquitoes, is now being carried on by certain scientists who have undertaken a thorough study of the subject.
TO A person rowing a boat, a knowledge of what is going on behind him is even more important than to one driving an automobile, and therefore the automobile mirror has been put to this second use. Attached to the side of the boat immediately in front of the rower and tilted to reflect images at the proper angle, the mirror affords a good view of what is ahead, making it easy to keep the boat in its straight course and avoid collisions.
LATEST estimates made by scientists of the Royal Observatories at Greenwich, England, are that there are approximately 1,600,000,000 stars. Of this number between 3000 and 4000 are visible to the unaided eye. The late Franklin Adams made a set of 206 photographs covering the entire sky from which it was possible to estimate the number of recorded stars at about 55,000,000.
“TALKING” signal lamps, with complete traffic regulations printed on their sides for the benefit of the passing motorist, are being widely used in some of the larger cities and at dangerous crossings. The lamps are of two types, one of which is a lamp box on a pedestal, supplied with red lamps that flash regularly night and day.
IN ORDER to instruct workmen in the best methods of manipulating a machine or performing an industrial operation, Major Frank B. Gilbreth, noted efficiency expert, has perfected a small stereoscopic movie machine that enables the workman to study each movement of an expert in minute detail.
THE most spectacular recent boiler explosion—just one among the 500 that annually snuff out from 700 to 800 lives in the United States, causing property t loss of more than half a million dollars—occurred in a sawmill at Le Roy, Ohio, when the shattered boiler was hurled high across a stream for a distance of 200 feet from its foundation.
Master Gear Molds Perfect Gear Teeth in White Hot Blanks
Gear Teeth Hot Rolled
INCREASED accuracy and greater wearing qualities in the production of toothed gears of all types have been achieved recently by the invention of a revolutionary machine that forms gear teeth by rolling a plastic, white hot gear blank in mesh with a water cooled, accurately formed master gear.
IN THE most complete and luxurious flying boat ever constructed, six nationally known American sportsmen, accompanied by four newspaper and movie men and a crew of three, will fly from New York to the Arctic Circle next summer in an effort to establish an aeromarine line that will bring New York within 72 hours of the Arctic.
A ROTARY soil tiller that performs simultaneously the operations of plowing, harrowing, rolling, and disking, has received the approval of an English horticultural society. The motive power is supplied by a single cylinder engine, giving 4.17 horsepower at 1800 revolutions a minute.
Marvelous Lighting Systems, Safe Underground Paths, Automobiles and Good Roads, Combine to Exploit Nature’s Age-Old Cavern Architecture
Nature s Drainage System Maizes Caves
$250,000 Spent to Exploit Caves
Fantastic Forms and Colors
Robert E. Martin
IN THE Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where many of the historic battles of the Civil War were fought, science is putting the finishing touches on marvelous works of underground architecture begun by nature millions of years ago, and is converting them into scenic attractions of rare beauty to entice the touring public.
WITH the aid of a 20-foot tide and an ingeniously constructed cribbing, engineers recently succeeded in floating the steamer “Empress” from the rocks in the Bay of Fundy, after every effort to pull the vessel into deep water with tugs had failed.
USING a new “even heat” electric iron, the housewife can set her iron for low, intermediate, or high heat; thus regulating the temperature to give the best results on the particular material being ironed. When a control button is set for low heat, a thermostat consisting of a laminated metal rod is so bent that any temperature above 150 degrees will cause a further bending of the rod and will break the circuit until the excess heat has been consumed and the rod contracts to its original position, when the current is again permitted to flow.
Former Woman Swimming Champion Says Masculine Title Holders Must Look to Their Laurels—Girl First to Smash Record
An Era of Women Champions
Tennis Marvels Vie with Men
FOR the first time in history a woman athlete, in competition with a man, has broken a world’s athletic record. When Sybil Bauer, an 18-year-old girl student at Northwestern University and member of the Illinois Athletic Club, recently swam 440 yards backstroke in six minutes, 24 4/5 seconds, she not only smashed the world’s record for that event, held by her own teammate, Harold Krueger, but she issued a challenge in behalf of all womankind against the supremacy of man in the world of sports.
Records that Show Women Athletes Are Running Close Second to Men
And women are now throwing themselves into a supposedly exclusive sport for men. The football team of the George Peabody Teachers College of Nashville, Tenn., attracted considerable attention last season. The first real track meet for women was held last summer in New York.
IMPORTANT new truths about exercise in relation to your particular job or profession—facts that you can use every day in the year to keep yourself fit—will be revealed for the first time in next month’s issue of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY by a national authority on the subject, Dr. C. Ward Crampton, aide to Secretary of War Weeks in his nation-wide campaign for better American manhood.
AMONG recent novelties for pipe smokers is a pocket “gun” holding eight tobacco cartridges. The case is equipped with a plunger that forces the tobacco from the cartridge and rams it into the pipe. When not in use, the plunger rests in the groove that separates the two layers of tobacco cartridges.
A SPECIALLY designed railway car, which not only measures accurately the clearances of bridges and of other objects along the line, but also records the curvature of rails and the height of one rail above the other where tracks are banked at curves, is being operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad.
WITH his coalbin depleted of its last shovelful, W. T. Cox, state forester of Minnesota, went out into his back yard during the past winter and dug up enough peat to keep him in fuel. In so doing he set an example for thousands of other families in his state, who “mined” enough of the long overlooked substitute to tide them over the coal shortage.
THE feat of editing and printing 10,000 copies of the Yankton (S. Dak.) Press and Dakotan in 23 editions in 23 towns in the course of a 300-mile automobile trip was recently accomplished with the aid of radio. From a radio car fitted with complete receiving apparatus, up-to-theminute state news and Associated Press despatches sent by Yankton College wireless station, were received.
A SIMPLE office desk device that does the work of office boy or secretary in informing visitors whether the business executive is absent, where he is, and when he may be expected to return, consists of a stand that supports a drum in which is a rotating cylinder.
Postal Inventor Devises Miles of Belt Conveyors to Keep the Mail Moving in New Chicago Post Office
Machines that Spell Speed
Mail Congestion Is Prevented
CHICAGO has practically completed the most marvelous post office in the world—a post office built for speed, where dozens of ingenious mechanical inventions will keep parcels on the move every minute of the day, from the time they enter the building until they are loaded on trains for their destinations.
STATISTICS gathered by the Chicago post office department show that last year one out of every 150 packages received went astray because of incorrect address. Of 2,266,243,054 pieces of mail, statistics show that: 6,788,000 were returned to the sender; 1,021,300 were corrected and forwarded; 4,370,500 were held for postage; 97,800 bore no address of any kind; and 2,905,000 had to be disposed of as waste.
Cheaper Print Paper Made from Weedlike Water Plants
THROUGH the invention of a process for the production of cellulose in commercial quantities from reeds, rushes, and other weedlike water plants that clog lakes, rivers and swamps, German scientists claim to have solved the print paper problem, providing a comparatively cheap substitute for the world’s diminishing supply of wood pulp.
GIGANTIC words of smoke written across the sky by an airplane in letters half a mile high recently startled New York. The new method of advertising was invented and perfected by Capt. Jack Savage in England. The words are written by maneuvering a plane carrying special smoke generators that discharge smoke produced at the rate of 1,000,000 cubic feet a second by chemicals that react on each other without producing combustion.
“Burbank of Strawberries” Pays $50,000 for New Variety
WOULD you pay $50,000 for the right to propagate a single strawberry? That is what Frank E. Beatty, president of a Three Rivers, Mich., fruit growing concern, did recently. And yet, the buyer does not consider the price he paid too great. In fact, he is willing to risk his reputation on the statement that “the plant will revolutionize the strawberry industry.”
ONE of the most pressing problems of modern municipal administration is keeping the streets of our great cities clean,” says Commissioner A. R. Taylor, of the New York Street Cleaning Department. "The tremendous increase of pedestrian and motor traffic makes it increasingly difficult to keep our highways free from germ-laden dust which not only spreads disease, but destroys our clothing, buildings, and merchandise.
THREE hollow bamboo poles fastened in an upright position to the front edge of a thick plank so that their ends come just in front of three wooden harrow teeth, are the essential features of a semi-automatic seeding machine invented centuries ago by the natives of India, and still used by the farmers of the South Deccan.
AMONG the novelties in garage accessories is an aluminum nozzle small enough to fit in the palm of a person’s hand, and which may be used for washing automobiles. It is screwed to the end of a hose attached to a hydrant faucet and emits a fine but powerful spray for rinsing purposes.
IS THE earth being bombarded continually by explosions of huge solar “bombs,” shot from the sun’s surface? Science believes that it is and that the air we breathe often becomes abnormally charged with this “bomb” dust, causing unnatural vagaries of the weather such as rain and electrical storms.
ARMED only with a city sprinkling wagon placed on a government barge, a mixture of oil and organic acid, and data obtained in laboratory experiments, Pittsburgh, Pa., scientists, cooperating with the United States Engineering Department and the Weather Buraeu, recently outwitted nature, proving that fog prevention is possible.
FOLLOWING recent amazing exhibitions by a new amphibious gun carriage tank that “runs like a rabbit, climbs like a squirrel, and swims like an otter,” nearly a hundred military authorities of this country pronounced it one of the most revolutionary war machines ever invented.
TO PREVENT automobile radiators from freezing, glucose—or sugar syrup—has been recommended by Dr. Charles H. La Wall, of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, as a substitute for anti-freezing compounds containing denatured or wood alcohol.
STEEL tubing is being used by a Detroit concern in the manufacture of ladders, which, it is claimed, are lighter and stronger than wooden ladders. Oval tubing of specially tempered steel used for the side members is drilled to take round tubular rungs.
A NOVEL rowboat rudder that may be used either for steering or for propulsion has a rudder board cut in the form of a U. When the rudder is to be used for steering only, this opening is closed with an oval flap hinged to the arms of the U. When this flap is swung free, it trails in the wake of the rudder.
BY AN ingenious method of attachment, a new type of tractor plow recently introduced into the United States by Harry Ferguson, of Belfast, Ireland, becomes a unit with the machine that hauls it. Only slight exertion on the part of the operator is required to raise the bottoms of the plow from the ground.
BY WRITING three words at one time and accompanying this feat with a song a young German woman, Thea Alba, recently exhibited her remarkable ability to conduct simultaneously four separate nonrelated actions. Many of us who have tried to write a figure eight on the wall while describing a circle with one foot will appreciate the skill required for such performance.
BY DELVING into a field hitherto little explored by scientists, Ben H. Peterson, recently graduated student in chemistry at Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Ia., has succeeded in explaining some of the reasons why many stucco homes crack and otherwise deteriorate sooner than they should.
SPEED of production in a shop or factory in which metal rods or pipes must be cut to size in large quantities is being increased by the use of a new and extremely handy power driven bench saw that weighs, with motor, only 40 pounds. The new saw, driven by one-eighthhorsepower motor, is one-thirty-second of an inch thick and has a diameter of 3½ inches.
CALIFORNIA this month celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of Luther Burbank’s wizardry in creating new flowers, fruits and vegetables. This grand old man of plant breeding is one of America’s most picturesque and fascinating figures.
ALTHOUGH it is impossible to give positive comparisons as to the relative cost and durability of brick, frame, and stucco houses, architects generally estimate that on a basis of 20 cents a cubic foot for frame houses, brick houses of the same class cost 22 cents, and stucco approximately 21 cents a cubic foot.
AN INDUSTRY from which the South, especially Louisiana, derives an income of $3,000,000 annually has been developed by the commercialization of methods of converting the picturesque but tree-destroying “Spanish moss” into a cheap substitute for horsehair for use in mattresses and upholstery.
Mechanical Arms Pick Up and Elevate Boxes in Tiers
ARRANGEMENT of boxes and other materials in tiers has proved such an expense to factories that engineers, casting about for a means of doing this work mechanically, have succeeded in designing a small electric storage battery tiering truck equipped with sets of arms that imitate human arms.
A PROCESS for the artificial production of effective fertilizer from straw has been patented in England. Straw is subjected to the action of a culture of cellulosedestroying organisms with the addition of certain chemicals to start the reaction. The final product contains about two per cent of nitrogen. Any farmer, it is claimed, can turn his entire straw crop into about half its weight of nitrogen-bearing fertilizer.
A MOTORIST, who had painted his roadster dark blue and had given it a high luster with coach varnish, found that the old mohair top looked shabbier than ever by contrast. He decided to re-cover the top himself and found the work not as difficult as he had imagined.
OFTEN the tops of pistons and the walls of the combustion chamber in an automobile motor are not thoroughly cleaned of fine carbon dust after they have apparently been scraped clean. The removal of this dust can be accomplished with a wire brush and a small hand drill.
A NEIGHBOR who recently put in a portable garage and was particularly anxious to have it comfortable, made a floor of wooden paving blocks obtained at a nominal cost from the surplus stock of a street paving company. The earth was leveled and the blocks laid in even rows. Since the blocks were creosoted, no precautions were necessary to prevent decay. In case it becomes necessary to move the garage, the floor can be taken up and relaid.
THE addition of a vibrating coil will sometimes remedy serious difficulties in an ordinary battery ignition system. Such a system supplies a single spark and when the ignition, carburization, cylinders, and valves are in first class condition, that is sufficient.
TO REPAIR a cracked windshield, first take a piece of sheet steel and bend it to the shape of a channel slightly larger than the thickness of the glass. Next, soak a piece of canvas or similar goods in shellac and lay this over the edge of the glass. Force the channel over the canvas onto the glass.
Burned Out Electric Lamp Tests Automobile Spark Plugs
A NOVEL method used by an automobile mechanic to test out spark plugs while the automobile engine is running requires nothing more than a burned out electric light bulb and a piece of wire. The wire is twisted around the socket to form an extension and is touched against the engine headwhilethe central terminal of the lamp is pressed against the spark plug binding post.
ALMOST every autoist is confronted at some time or other with the task of removing a small dent or dents from the fender of his auto mobile. This is sometimes a difficult undertaking, but a simple method that usually works well is to clean the dent carefully, fill it with solder, and scrape off the solder flush with the surface of the fender.
IS YOUR home workshop really well equipped to do all the odd jobs about the house that would cost money if you appealed to an outside man? Have you enough tools? Have you the right tools? Do you know how to care for them properly? Good tools represent a permanent and valuable investment, which can be wasted by lack of care.
LIVING in what might be called a toolmade world, every man finds fascination in the subject of tools and tool craft. In fact, the use of tools in the home workshop has lately become a leading hobby in this country—a hobby that is winning new recruits daily.
THE addition of drawers for “3 by 5” filing cards and a rack for stationery makes this telephone table a particularly useful piece of furniture, and it can be used, when necessary, as a writing table. The telephone rests on a swinging arm and turns back out of the way when not in use.
How to Build a Cedar Chest that Will Last for Generations
FEW pieces of furniture that the home worker can make are more appreciated or will better repay his efforts than a cedar chest. It is comparatively easy to build a chest, the material costs comparatively little, and if care is taken in selecting a good design and working out the details accurately, the home mechanic is pretty sure to make a finer chest than the average commercial one.
DOES your daily work grow dull sometimes? Do you feel misplaced in the thing that you are doing? Would you like to find a healthful hobby that would bring you both recreation and additional income? Then listen to this story of “The Man of a Thousand Tools,” who spent 29 of his working years working at jobs that failed to interest him or bring him the joy of accomplishment.
BROACHING is often the quickest and most satisfactory way of finishing the interior surfaces of oddly shaped holes, and sometimes the only one. Square, rectangular, and splined holes, used in automobile construction, are invariably made by the broaching process.
VERY thin shim stock, such as is used for liners for connecting-rod bearings, will make good erasing shields. Holes can be cut in it with a knife to permit the correcting of small details that could not be erased without damaging surrounding parts, even with the ordinary commercial sheild.
AN ANGLE iron of cast iron is generally recognized as the most accurate of all the angle iron family. It seldom changes when once it is thoroughly seasoned. Making it is much cheaper than to hog an angle iron from a block of steel, and is much less discouraging, especially if the steel happens to crack in hardening.
RUGGED and substantial wrenches for tightening or loosening the nuts holding spring clips and automobile wheels may be made in a repair shop—where many of them are required—out of bent and broken front radius rods from Ford cars. An 18-in. section of the radius rod, with the eye at the end, is cut off and the end is heated red.
A SLIGHTLY bent and otherwise useless auto chassis will serve for the frame of a shop truck. Use solid steel shafting for the axles and clamp them to the under side of the frame, as shown. Handles may be provided at the rear so that the truck can be pushed back and forth.
IN THE small shop, where expenses must be kept down, it is customary to buy solder in its cheapest form—the pound bar. There are many jobs, however, that could be executed more easily if the solder were in the form of long, narrow strips similar to the higher priced commercial wire solder.
A MACHINE shop making up some plates that had to be drilled with a large number of holes, but that could not be conveniently handled in a drill jig, used the special marking punch illustrated. The tool was turned from cold rolled steel and the V marking edge was made the diameter of the holes that were to be drilled.
WORK often done on sensitive drill presses, such as drilling rivet holes in thin sheet metal, could be accomplished more quickly and cheaply on a light punch press. Also, in the experimental departments and in the model building workshops of amateur mechanics, a small punch press is a handv tool.
IT IS sometimes necessary to make a cap similar to that shown in the illustration, the outside having to be turned up smooth in a lathe. Where there are quantities to do, make an arbor to fit on, or in, the spindle of the lathe. Where there is but one or two to make, chuck a piece of scrap cast iron in the lathe chuck and make a temporary arbor.
THE popularity of worm and wheel reduction units among designers of various classes of machinery has made it necessary for our shop to make a great many worms at various times, and we felt the need of a process more efficient than chasing, yet not requiring costly equipment.
TO HOLD small drills in the tailstock of the lathe ordinarily requires either a small draw chuck or a wrench chuck with a Morse shank to fit in the spindle. A special adapter, made as illustrated, will take the place of such a chuck. It is a simple piece of bar stock turned with a Morse taper shank and drilled with two holes, as shown, to accommodate the drills.
Clamps Quickly Made from Short Lengths of Channel Steel
IN EVERY shop large clamps, small clamps, wide clamps, and all kinds of clamps are constantly in demand. Good serviceable ones may be made from ends of structural channels. These are cut up in convenient lengths and tapped for one or two setscrews, as shown.
SUCCESS in making gasoline and oil line connections that will not leak depends mainly upon the flanging of the copper pipe. A shallow or an uneven flange is difficult to draw up firmly enough to prevent leakage, and there is danger of stripping the thread from the coupling in an effort to tighten the joint.
ALTHOUGH many mechanics use only lathe tools erected in the toolpost of the lathe cross head, special tools for duplication work set into shanks fitting the tailstock are often advantageous in that tools for different purposes are made available without changing one for another.
THE feature of this neat and craftsmanlike cedar-lined chest is two doors or lids that take the place of a large cumbersome one. These lids have the usual halved joint with a small bead on the edge where they meet at the center. The diamond in the center of each lid is carved to form a recess, as shown.
A CLAMPING, gripping and pressing fixture of ample size is a valuable addition to the home workshop. It saves straining the vise jaws, takes work that cannot be accommodated in the ordinary vise and does away with the necessity of improvising clamps.
IS THERE an old table in your attic that might be refinished, or a bureau of your grandmother that could be remodeled into a writing desk, or an old walnut breakfast table with a warped top that might be transformed into a dressing table? If so, why not undertake the work now, when the evenings are long and your home workshop is particularly inviting? You can do all sorts of miracles in the way of remodeling and refinishing old pieces, as I know from my own experience.
TO MAKE easier the innumerable painting, enameling, and varnishing jobs that constantly arise in every home, a painting kit can be made from any stout box of good size. It should have two hanging plates, so that it can be hung on the wall in the cellar, garage, or workshop, and a handle for carrying it from place to place.
RADIO fans who use the Baldwin type C telephone in connection with a horn as a loudspeaker may have felt the need, as did the writer, for some method of adjusting the diaphragm so that the modulation and volume of tone can be regulated. To accomplish this the device illustrated, which cost about $1, has proved satisfactory.
MY WORKSHOP comes second only to my family in my affections. It is a dream shop—a boy’s dream made possible through a man’s work and development. My tools are chosen particularly for metal work, and with a few additional carpenter tools, they have served in the construction of many pieces of experimental and model work.
For my garage tool equipment I have the following:
George A. Luers
IN SELECTING tools for my own tool roll and for my garage, I followed a definite plan that has proved satisfactory and economical. Starting at the radiator and working back to the rear axle, I examined each detail of the mechanism of my car to obtain a good idea of the fastenings, bearings, adjustments, packings, and working parts, and consequently of the tools necessary for making such repairs and adjustments as might be necessary.
THE flexible shaft drive shown in the accompanying drawing was used to turn a generator for the electrical system of an automobile on which a burned-out generator had been replaced by one that was too large to go into the bracket. The former coupling had consisted of a circular disk held between two sleeve fasteners. The improvised coupling was made by riveting into two sleeves the ends of a heavy spring. Over this spring a section of rubber hose was placed. This drive compensated for lack of alinement of the parts and provided a serviceable coupling.
Rolling “Your Own” with the Simplest Cigarette Machine
R. S. G.
A SMALL piece of tracing cloth and a meat skewer are all that is necessary to make a cigarette rolling “machine.” The device is amusingly simple and yet turns out cigarettes that are rolled as well as machine made “butts.” The cigarettes can be made thin or thick, tight or loose at will.
LIKE millions of others, I owned a cheap camera and soon filled an album with interesting poses of every member of the family, but, as my wife often complained, the portraits were not “finished” like those taken “at the photographer’s.” Critical comparison brought out the fact that the homemade portrait, if taken out of doors, usually showed “sun squints” and too much contrast between light and shadow, while those taken inside included sections of furniture or wall paper that could not qualify as good backgrounds.
MANY a time the amateur mechanic comes to a stopping place in his work for lack of a lathe. Yet in a large number of cases the obstacle can be surmounted satisfactorily. A ½-in. hole in an iron casting, for instance, had to be enlarged, for a depth of an inch, to ⅝ in.
A SIMPLE fretsaw for light work such as toymaking and cutting out panels with pierced designs and puzzle pictures, can be constructed quickly and easily along the lines shown in the accompanying illustration. The framework of this saw is made from metal strips taken from a toy construction set, but other material will serve as well.
SOME smokers prefer tipped cigarettes, but cannot obtain their favorite brand with ends of cork or straw. To tip plain cigarettes at home involves nothing more than dipping the ends for about half an inch in collodion dissolved in ether. When the collodion is hard, punch two or three holes through the film at the end of the “butt” so that the smoke will draw through easily.
MORE substantial than an ordinary folding card-table and practically as convenient to store away, the table illustrated will be found a useful article for many purposes. In winter it can be used as a card-table and in summer on the veranda or lawn for luncheon.
FOR cutting insulating tubes of fiber or mica and thin brass or other light tubes, try using a reversed hacksaw blade. This can he used in the regular saw frame or provided with a handle shaped from a piece of hardwood and fastened to it with tape or rivets.
THE drawings show how to make a new game in which the players each pretend to ride a mule. The rider who first crosses the line at the top of the hill is the winner. Only two can play the game. Two pushpins represent the mules, or the heads cf clothespins with 1-in. brads driven through their centers will serve.
WHY pay a lot of money for a pneumatic door closer when you can make one yourself? The main part of this homemade door check is an old bicycle pump. The cylinder is cut off at the lower end and plugged up with a round piece of brass, which has a projection through which a hole is drilled to take a bolt.
Links from Sash Chain Make Neat Terminal Connectors
NEAT terminal connectors can be made from an old sash chain. Cut off a link, open it, and flatten it out. Then cut one end of the link as shown and bend the other end around the bared terminal of the wire, soldering the connection thoroughly.
Miniature Tool Holder Increases Scope of Small Lathe
THE usefulness of a small lathe used by the writer for model work was limited by the fact that the tool holder of the slide rest provides for only two tool positions— one at right angles to the bed and the other parallel with it, and there was no provision for altering the height of the tool.
WHEN the handle of an ax, hatchet or hammer breaks short, so that a tightly wedged piece of wood is left within the tool, the eye can be cleared by using an alcohol lamp or bunsen burner as shown. A gentle but continuous blast is blown through a blowpipe so that the intense heat concentrated at a point will soon burn a hole through the wedged fragment of the handle.
Simply Made Weather Telltale Gives Warning of Storms
E. A. McCann
ALTHOUGH this apparatus must not be considered as a really scientific instrument, it is easily made and as a rule will give warning of fine or wet weather, storm or calm. First, get a glass jar, C (a milk bottle will do), and a flask, B, from the drugstore; then, to fit them, build a framework, A, which is just an incomplete box, with back, top, bottom, sides, and a partial front.
A CONVENIENT and decorative window garden may be made by attaching a ledge or board to the lower sash. The board must be as long as the glass is wide, and about 4 or 5 in. wide. A tiny railing on three sides is made from strips of wood about ⅜ by ⅝ in. and heavy wire.
BY CUTTING out “dustless” corner pieces as shown, they can be fastened in place in stair corners and in the corners of rooms where they are needed with one nail apiece. Driving the nail slantwise into the corner draws in the center of the triangular piece firmly and makes a neat, quick method of fastening as shown here.
Rig Makes Light Work of Drilling and Boring by Hand
Henry S. Laraby
WHENEVER heavy drilling or boring is to be done in the home workshop and no machine is available, much labor may be saved by constructing a drill rig like the one illustrated. It is easily adjusted, has few parts, is very strong, and takes up no room when not in use.
ALTHOUGH the difficulty of papering ceilings is what deters many home workers from doing their own paperhanging, it is not really hard to do, and if the proper system is followed, an amateur can quickly learn to paper ceilings as deftly as a professional.
AN OAK rolltop desk would be out of place in the small workshop and would soon get scratched and scarred, but a desk almost as serviceable for keeping correspondence, reference books, plans, and miscellaneous data, can readily be made from a kitchen table.
Tractor Pulley Drives Tool Grinder Clamped to Wheel
IN SHARPENING those farm tools that ordinarily are sharpened on an emery or carborundum hand power grinder, much time can often be saved by driving the grinder from the tractor pulley, as illustrated. The handle of the grinder is removed and a 5or 6-in. pulley substituted.