I SAW some figures today that make me sick,” remarked Carl Cutler one evening as he and his wife and two neighbors sat down to an evening of Bridge. “Yeah?” said Phil Ogden, just mildly interested in further enlightenment. “They were figures showing gains in securities between 1923 and 1927,” continued Carl, who needed little encouragement to go into details.
JUST OUT— New List of Radio Products Tested and Approved
Popular Science Monthly GUARANTEE
JUST as new models of automobiles are brought out annually at one season, there is now a definite time of the year when practically all new radio products for the year are put on the market. This is logically in the fall when radio interest is at its height—the long winter evenings ahead, extra fine radio features, together with the Christmas gift problem, being largely responsible.
The Great Inventor Tells How Today, at Eighty, He Is Solving the Hardest Problem of His Life
FRANK PARKER STOCKBRIDGE
I HAVE just been privileged to watch the man who has changed the world in the act of starting another revolution. Thomas A. Edison, at eighty, is beginning a new line of research. Rubber—“the most complicated problem I have ever tackled,” he told me—is the objective of this investigation, begun at a time of life when most men have long since retired, when few are still able to work at all.
Great Steam Roads and Government Weigh Plans to Reduce Transcontinental Time by Forty Hours
Pilot of Commercial Aeronautics
WILLIAM P. MAcCRACKEN
ATICKET for San Francisco please.” “Do you want to go by air, airrail or rail?” That question will be asked of passengers applying at ticket offices in all our large, cities unless something unforeseen develops to dampen the interest of railroad executives in the practicability of coördinating passenger service by air with passenger service by rail.
Governor Smith of New York (right) is seen examining a new radio device that will, if perfected, receive a photographic print from a photo-broadcasting station and record it on a roll of sensitive photographic paper by means of an electric light.
Far from being a tragedy of aviation, this remarkable scene is the prevention of one. It is an antiquated and unsafe air mail plane being destroyed at Maywood, I11., by Federal orders to guard against its falling into the hands of “wildcat” pilots, who might try to use it with tragic results.
Planet No Home of Supermen, Says Astronomer, but Bleak Red Desert World, Arid and Freezing, Where Only the Hardiest Plants Can Live
DONALD H. MENZEL
IN RECENT months astronomers, putting on new far-seeing spectacles of science, have gained the first truly authentic introduction to that most fascinating neighbor of ours in the solar community—the planet Mars. Studying the ruddy face of the mysterious traveler as he swings in his far-off path about the sun, they have observed features far different from those long painted by popular guess and fancy.
What Happened When Ten Air Service Fledglings Obeyed and Followed the Bird Who Couldn't Fly
ANDREW A. CAFFREY
KAKA and Kakapo, respectively, were not the familygiven Christian names under which Lieutenant Perlin and Major Poe moved and had their being officially. But Cadet Booth Delano, being up in bug and birdology, had renamed them in that order: Kaka Perlin and Kakapo Poe.
Millions of Insects Imported and Bred to War on Pests That Cause $800,000,000 Yearly Loss in U. S.
JOHN WALKER HARRINGTON
WITH an armful of heather she came down the gangway of an ocean liner, just berthed at a New York City pier. The flower of the Scottish moors matched her sports suit-and she knew it. At sight of her a young man in green stepped eagerly forward and raised his fedora hat.
Inventor Who Amazed World with Transocean Signals in 1901 Now Predicts More Marvels
ALDEN P. ARMAGNAC
A TOP a bleak Newfoundland cliff overlooking the December Atlantic, a young man sat at a queer-looking set of instruments. Wires and coils were grouped about him, while above the small building a kite darted and plunged, carrying aloft a thin wire.
Magic Collars, Electric Belts, and Mysterious “Cure-Alls” Lure Thousands, Who Might Have Real Wonders for the Asking
FROM the earliest times there have been miracle men because there have been men who craved miracles. In time of disease, particularly of incurable disease, the human being apparently loses all sense of reason and is ready to rely on incantation and prayer.
Engineering Problems Mastered to Make the Cathedral of St. John the Divine Stand for 2000 Years, a Mighty Pile of Solid Masonry Unenforced with Steel
JESSE F. GELDERS
HUNDREDS of spectators lined the way, watching the laborious progress of twenty-four horses, harnessed to a single load, straining against their collars. Their burden was a granite column, thirty-eight feet long, six feet in diameter. It was carried low, between huge pairs of wheels, specially made nearly three feet wide so as not to cut too deeply into the streets.
Amazing Guns Hit Aircraft in the Dark and Hurl Huge Gas Shells—-Invisible Rays Exterminate Whole Armies—Submarines Launch Dirigibles and Bombers
GEORGE LEE DOWD
CRASHING, rending chaos! Flame and smoke, sinister vapors pierced by searing invisible rays! Overhead, myriad monster airplanes hurling bombs of hitherto unknown power! Beneath, tens of thousands of cannon firing half again as far as in the World War; hundreds of thousands of machine guns and automatic rifles spraying bullets a third farther than in 1918; thousands of charging tanks, swift now and carrying more and heavier guns; new and deadly gases, incendiary shells and bombs—and amid this inferno he has created, tiny man, pulling his bright new strings that cause the death dance of his monster, the next war.
And Your Speed, Seemingly the Same, Is Faster, Mathematicians Now Explain
Making You Acquainted with the Atom
THOMAS M. JOHNSON
AFREIGHT train going from Chicago toward New York weighs less and travels faster than when it is going back to Chicago. The answer is neither “Now I’ll tell one” nor “So’s your old man.” It is the mathematics of relativity, farthest reach of the human mind into the unknown—or, possibly, a mistake.
Chief of British Scientists Declares Mass of Data Shows Man Rose from Among Apes
EDGAR C. WHEELER
EVOLUTION is in the news again. In the city of Leeds, England, a few weeks ago the British Association for the Advancement of Science witnessed one of the great moments in a world-famous trial, bitterly contested for more than half a century—the trial of Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution he first propounded.
Asbestos, the Strange Mineral Textile, Alone Enables Man to Make Flame His Obedient Slave
ORVILLE H. KNEEN
THE Shell oil officials breathed easier. With 2,460 feet of ten-inch pipe securely cemented at the bottom, they felt their newest well was safe against blowing out, the bane of the oil driller’s life. No oil well in history, once cemented, had ever blown out.
Also a Carpenter, Cutting and Fitting the Metal and Fusing It Silently into Machines and Even Buildings of One Solid Piece
L. G. POPE
THE clatter of steel construction is growing unbearable. It is making hotel and apartment rooms all but unlivable. It is disturbing our work and shattering our nerves. It is becoming a real menace to public health. What can we do about it?”
A Plumber Tells from Experience Why He Believes a Diploma Is a Springboard to Bigger Opportunity
J. B. MINNERLY
NOT so long ago a big-salaried job came sailing into my hands —and I muffed it. Not because I wasn’t capable of handling it, but only because I didn’t have a college diploma to catch it with. I’d been doing considerable work for a wealthy man who is interested in several construction and manufacturing companies.
The Story of a Thrilling Round-Up of Striped Beauties for the Zoo
THOMAS W. PHELPS
"KEER! Keer!” shouted the other zebra-hunters to us, meaning “stop him!” Towards us, up the hill, raced a magnificent zebra. Jerry Bouwer, fleetest of the riders, galloped after him, carrying a bamboo fishpole, tipped with a noose of rawhide.
ONE of the strangest new discoveries is that of a changeable island which alters its face from year to year. It is Bogoslof Island, owned by Uncle Sam, one of the Aleutian group southwest of Alaska. Dr. T. A. Jaggar, volcano expert, who has been studying these islands for the United States Geological Survey, recently reported that Bogoslof has changed entirely since he last visited it twenty years ago.
EXPERIMENTS in extracting oil from soil at the bottom of the ocean were described on these pages in the October POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY. Now two French engineers, Georges Lumet and Henri Marcelet, claim success in using oil from fishes to run Diesel engines, which ordinarily use petroleum.
IN THE manufacture of machines and household utensils aluminum soon will have a remarkable rival. The new metal called beryllium, extracted from ores previously dumped away as waste, promises special value in making frames for airships and pistons for automobiles.
IN THE everlasting battle for the relief of suffering, possibly the most important mark of progress during the month is the announcement that erysipelas soon will be added to the list of vanquished diseases. At Bellevue Hospital in New York Doctors Douglas Symmers and Kenneth M. Lewis have met surprising success in the use of an antitoxin for this painful inflammation of the skin.
NEW processes of manufacturing automobile crank shafts that will make new motor cars much easier to break in, prevent wear and reduce oil dilution, were recently described to the Society of Automotive Engineers. Instead of being ground and polished with emery, the crank shafts are by the new method honed like a razor with abrasive stones to make them smooth and true.
ARE the electron and its consort, the proton, after all, the ultimate tiniest units of matter? If not, then what is the smallest thing in the universe? Sir J. J. Thompson, noted British physicist, recently declared his belief that even these infinitesimal electrified particles are divisible into still simpler pieces to be revealed by further study.
WITH the marvel of television achieved, many of us have believed that soon we shall sit by our firesides and view distant events as they happen, but experts now express doubt that this dream will ever be realized. Enormous obstacles, they say, still stand in the way of practical television for everybody.
POSSIBILITIES of artificial rain making are remote, says Charles Maurain, French meteorologist, in a recent summary of present knowledge on this fascinating question. Only when the atmosphere is already supersaturated with moisture—a rare occurrence—could rain be made, he says, unless some way could be found to agitate the raindrops of a cloud and make them combine into bigger drops that would fall.
DAILY tides in blood pressure, heartbeat and other functions of the human body, almost as regular as the tides of the sea, may be caused by mysterious forces beyond the earth, as are the ocean tides. Such is the recent statement of Dr. P. E. Morhardt, French physiologist, who suggests that they may be produced by daily variations in electrification of the air.
A NOVEL way of exploring the mysteries inside the earth recently was suggested by Doctor R. B. Sosman, of the Geophysical Laboratory, Washington, D. C. He proposes to produce artificial earthquakes by setting off small explosions, somewhat as has been done in France, or by dropping heavy weights on the ground.
A Novel of the Automobile Age—In This Installment, the Most Thrilling Race Story You Ever Have Read
EDMUND M. LITTELL
IN THE great Game of Speed, as in the Game of Love, Gil Herrick and big Jim Wendan were bitter rivals. The feud dated back to the early days of the automobile when Gil, a young mechanic, and Jim, the town bully, raced their crude motor-wagons over Michigan country roads, and vied for the hand of a beautiful girl, Gail Caswell.
Flying Only a Step Toward Better Places as Designers, Engineers and Transport Chiefs
WANTED: Ten thousand young men to qualify for positions in aerial transportation service. THAT’S a want ad wich hasn't been printed; but it sums up the needs of commercial aviation in America. Now, don’t crowd, young fellows. There’s plenty of time.
A SPEEDOMETER is an indispensable motor accessory—the only check you have on oil, gas and tire mileage. Yet many automobile owners don’t give speedometers the care they need. The head of the speedometer, which houses the mechanism, should never be tampered with, but you should lubricate the drive shaft every few thousand miles.
FIVE hundred passengers would be carried by a proposed airplane-dirigible that would dwarf the largest flying machines in existence! Its curious bloated hull, 786 feet long, would inclose 4,500,000 cubic feet of gas, making it only slightly heavier than air.
LIKE some giant thermos bottle, a new heat-tight box is now used as a “food trolley” in Bolingbroke Hospital, Wandsworth Common, London. Insulated compartments side by side within the box keep hot foods hot and cold things cold en route to the patients.
CHRISTMAS tree “snow” and imitation granite surfacing for stucco walls are among the varied products made from mica, the transparent mineral that windows the peephole of your furnace. Huge quantities of the sheet-forming mineral, valued for its resistance to heat and electricity, are used in radio condensers and other electrical apparatus.
HERE’S an unusual lamp that shows you the righthand side of the road when you drive at night regardless of glare from the headlights of an oncoming car. It keeps you from running off the road, and shows just how much room you can give the other fellow.
A NEW use for the photo-electric cell— a sensitive device that transforms changes in light intensity into electric fluctuations—has been found by a Kalamazoo, Mich., paper mill. One of these cells is placed beneath the continuous roll of paper that travels through the factory, and automatically adjusts the machinery when the paper is getting too thick or too thin.
IN THE south Pacific Ocean has just been discovered the most desolate spot in the world. According to Dr. Austin H. Clark, who helped chart it for the Smithsonian Institution, the place is devoid of any kind of life—either in the surface waves or at the bottom.
NATURAL color photographs on paper are brought nearer by a new process in which yellow, blue and red prints from separate negatives are made in succession upon a single sheet. The tones are obtained by an ingenious choice of color-forming chemicals used to sensitize the paper before each printing.
Autos Built at Home of Junk, Resource and Ingenuity
WHERE there's a will to have an automobile there's a way, even if there is not so much cash. Two men have recently become motor car owners at costs of fifty cents and $18. With half a dollar’s worth of junk, Kenneth Shand and Billy Van Zant, California boys, put together a machine that actually runs—with one of them at the wheel and the other shifting gears!
MORE than a hundred passengers will be carried by a giant air liner which Herr Rumpler, noted German airplane builder, says he will construct. It will have a crew of thirty-four. The illustration shows the designer with a model of the duralumin framework to be used in its construction.
AT A new subterranean laboratory of the U. S. Bureau of Standards, the wave lengths of all the chemical elements will be measured for a permanent record of each substance’s properties. No two elements have exactly the same wave lengths when the light from hot samples is examined with the spectroscope.
THE world’s longest concrete “bowstring” girder bridge, it is said, has just been completed at Bagneux, on the outskirts of Paris. Its 286½-foot arch alters its shape under heavy loads and temperature changes. One end is pivoted upon its supports while the other can slide forward or back.
DESPITE their proverbial reputation for silence, oysters recently forced the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey to change its plans for charting the Atlantic shore between Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout, N. C. To determine accurately the position of the survey ship, underwater sound waves were to be used, as elsewhere; but when the delicate acoustic instruments were made ready, they registered only the clicking “static” of oysters opening and shutting their shells.
PLANES need not fear running afoul of a new type of landing field “blinker,” invented by W. G. Fuller of the Municipal Airport at Fort Worth, Texas. Its standard is flexible, and should a plane run into it, only a broken lamp globe will result.
THAT the spinning earth, like the average man, has its lazy days and slows down now and then, later making up for lost time, is the remarkable theory recently advanced by Prof. Benjamin Boss of the Dudley Observatory, Albany, N. Y. This, he told members of the American Astronomical Society, would account nicely for errors that he found in the Greenwich Observatory’s calculations of the earth’s speed.
HOW long will a white traffic line stand up under heavy traffic? To find out the best kind of paint, the U. S. Bureau of Standards recently used a dozen samples to mark a Washington, D. C., street. Those that withstand the friction of countless automobile tires will be adjudged the best.
NOW the “hot dog,” famed American article of diet, has spread to England, and through promotion efforts of a newly formed syndicate in London is attaining wide popularity. To satisfy the British Board of Health, wax containers for the familiar sausages and rolls have been adopted.
QUEER facts about extremely short radio waves were discovered during recent tests on a five-meter transmitter of the General Electric Company to find its applicability in aviation. So great was the waves’ frequency, it was found, that the ripples traveled in straight lines like light beams.
RUBBER shoes for horses and mules are rapidly gaining favor, and the U. S. Department of Agriculture advises their use to protect the animals’ feet wherever necessary. Shock of hard pavements is reduced and the new shoes are “ready-towear,” a convenience in the present-day scarcity of blacksmith shops.
EIGHT vegetables that were first grown here by the Indians now produce crops more valuable, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, than those of the whole twenty-four important ones that we have imported and domesticated in this country.
A BOAT within a boat is the unsinkable life-saving craft recently demonstrated at Belfast, Ireland. Even if a wave should tip it completely over, the passengers would remain dry, it is said, for the inner chamber is so hung that it always remains level.
IT’S easy to take the children for an airing when you know how! A Frenchman devised this novel trailer to be attached at the back of his bicycle. Now he piles his youngsters in the wide carriage seat, buckles them in with a strap, and pedals along the boulevards.
JUST what makes a good window envelope—the sort with a transparent strip to read the address inside—has recently been studied at the U. S. Bureau of Standards. Such envelopes, made by impregnating a space on their front with oil or varnish to make it transparent, were found satisfactory if kept cool and dry, though separate “windows” of “glassine” paper were more permanent.
BY THE use of an entirely new system of air mapping, Dr. Reinhard Hugershoff, German cartographer, hopes to be able to revolutionize the art. He plans to demonstrate his invention at Washington, D. C., where Government officials who are considering remapping the whole United States will provide him with an airplane, an expert pilot, and a photographer to try his scheme.
A new French shorthand typewriter prints standard characters on a tape at 200 to 250 words a minute, said to be fifty percent faster than the ordinary method. Light in weight, as the picture shows, the machine has twenty-one keys and can be operated with one or both hands.
To lay ground wires for a broadcasting station the British Post Office attached a reel to a tractor-drawn plow, which unrolled the wire into its own furrow. Covering the wires with earth was quick and easy
Long glass tubes have been invented in Illinois to save violin strings from damage by moisture or bad atmospheric conditions. The tubes, shown below, fit into a larger tube, so it is easy for the player to examine them all at one time and select the one which he is ready to use
With an altimeter or height register built into it, this clock will let a balloonist sleep and wake him if his craft sinks below a set point. When the altimeter reaches the danger point it sounds an electric buzzer, and if the ground is approached it flashes a light signal.
In the business end of this English label and envelope licker is a piece of felt. When it is applied the pressure releases water from the reservoir in the handle into the felt. When the pressure is released the reservoir is closed
Time is saved in taking insulation off an electric wire by the machine at the right. Close the plierlike handles and one set of jaws grips the wire; the other, with notched knife blades, strips the coating off clean
Berlin has devised a street cleaning car whose operation does not scatter clouds of dust into the air. Mouths of the refuse cans fit into openings in the revolving bin. When it turns their loads are dumped in. When the dust is settled they are removed
This remarkable mirror, installed in a Portland, Ore., store, has a scale so placed that the figure at the point where your eyes are reflected gives your height. The arrangement is possible by reason cf the fact that the elevation from the eyes to the highest point of the head is almost exactly the same with all persons, regardless of height.
Snail Is a Rip Van Winkle, Sleeping for Twenty Years
TWENTY years of continuous sleep! That is the amazing slumber mark held by a land snail, the property of Walter F. Webb, of Rochester, N. Y. It followed another ten years’ dormant stretch, terminated one summer when Webb revived the snail. Now it has equaled Rip Van Winkle’s fabled record and still seems able to sleep indefinitely.
FAR from being a lost art, as many suppose, the hardening of copper is daily practiced by modern metallurgists. Copper scissors, knives and other cutting tools are used in a few places where they possess special advantages over steel. Alloying and “cold working,” the two methods used centuries ago, are still employed successfully; a recent new way of hardening copper is by the addition of silicon, a nonmetallic chemical element, to copper-containing alloys.
THE impact of a lion’s paw, the flip of a whale’s tail, and the kick of a giraffe are said to be the most powerful blows that animals can deliver. The lion's is the most forceful, upholding his title as “King of Beasts.”
“FOLLOW the trade” is the motto of a novel lunch wagon, and it observes it literally by rolling itself to wherever the trade is liveliest. It is a motorized coffee stall, which appeared recently on London streets. Its specialty is catering to the night workers and the theatergoers, many of whom do not wish to buy expensive dinners at a restaurant, but just a cup of coffee and a sandwich.
DID anyone say a woman can’t drive a nail straight? Some can’t, perhaps, but not Mrs. Benjamin F. Rennard, champion woman nail driver. She won a recent contest at Philadelphia in which thirty women competed. Each drove five nails into a plank; Mrs. Rennard took the shortest time.
WOULD-BE fliers soon learn the inside workings of a plane with the aid of this novel skeleton craft, used for the instruction of German pilots. All the parts can be seen in operation, and the student can master the “how” and “why” of the controls long before he actually takes to the air.
SOON the longest bridge in the world will cross an arm of the Baltic Sea, according to reports from Germany, to connect the island city of Rügen with Stralsund, on the mainland. It will traverse more than two miles of water, making it the longest railroad bridge ever built.
THAT crickets are vocal thermometers is the astonishing conclusion of Bert E. Holmes after a four-year study of the insects. You can tell the temperature, he says, by timing the frequency of their chirps. His formula is: “The prevailing temperature in degrees Fahrenheit equals the number of chirps made in a quarter of a minute, plus thirty-seven.”
AGAIN the center of industry of the United States has moved westward. The latest survey of the Department of the Interior finds a spot about fifty miles southeast of Chicago is now the midpoint of industrial development. The real, or geographic, center of the nation lies near the middle of Kansas’ northern boundary. The center of population is in Owen County, Indiana.
FIVE children of Arthur Duffey, of Boston, first sprinter to run 100 yards in 9 3/5 seconds, show promise of following in their daddy's athletic footsteps. This sight may be seen on roads near Boston almost any morning. Under the coaching of Duffey, Arthur, Jr., oldest, has achieved something of an athletic record at Arlington Junior High School, Boston, in football, baseball and hockey.
IF RECENT discoveries of X-rays’ effects on fruit flies, made by Prof. H. J. Muller, of the University of Texas, prove true for other creatures, he will have speeded up evolution a hundred times! Under the rays the flies’ offspring include an extraordinary number of freaks, or “sports,” with modified characteristics—wings altered or body of unusual shape.
BY ADDING to glass extremely thin films of gold, an English inventor, S. Cowper Cowles, has recently found a means of making “one way windows.” They are said to be transparent and of a pleasing greenish color to a person looking out, but one trying to look in sees only an opaque burnished gold panel.
WHEN the curtain is due to fall at an outdoor theater recently completed in Philadelphia, they turn on the water! The descending liquid wall, from an overhead pipe at the front of the stage,, forms an effective and beautiful screen. Colored lights play upon the waterfall while the “curtain” is “down.”
THE miniature scissors shown in the photograph above have been produced by a Los Angeles manufacturer, who calls them the smallest working shears in the world. The blades, which are less than an inch long, are of good steel and may be used for fine cutting that is impossible for shears with larger blades.
BY THE transplantation of glands, Dr. Serge Voronoff, noted surgeon, proposes to create a race of supermen! In a recent amazing address to the Zoological Congress at Budapest, Hungary, he told of his successful experiments with aged rams whose lives he had prolonged, and whose offspring yielded more wool.
THE first lifelike mounted hippopotamus to grace a museum, on display at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, is really not a hippo at all! The peculiarity of the hippopotamus’ skin, taxidermists say, makes it appear unnatural when it is preserved. So Leon L. Walters, the museum’s taxidermist, and inventor of a celluloidlike substance that he had to use to model snakes, molded from the skin of a real hippo a “celluloid” reproduction.
A MOTOR car once used by liquor smugglers has been converted into the rolling church or “Gospel Patrol” shown in the photograph below with Lawrence E. Greenwood, evangelist, at the organ on the extension platform at the rear of the vehicle. Greenwood started his work at Wiscasset, Me., where a tabernacle was built and many foreign missions were sent out. Then the minister acquired the chassis of a rum runners’ car and built upon it the unique rolling church, with which he tours Eastern states, visiting not only cities, but tiny communities having no churches of their own.
THE largest and most beautiful water lilies grown are claimed by the Georgia Experiment Station at Griffin, one of whose gigantic blossoms is exhibited here. The flowers are not only far beyond normal size, but they have a delicacy of texture and faint coloring that is said to be unequaled.
THAT America, through Lieut. John A. Macready’s flight of last year, may hold the world’s altitude record for airplanes is the consequence of recent charges by the Aero Club of France against Jean Callizo, French flyer. The club expelled Callizo and voided all his records, including the world’s record of 40,820 feet, on apparent proof that he “faked” a barograph chart with invisible ink to show a new record in his latest flight.
IN RESPONSE to the demand for a fertilizer of nonobjectionable odor, the U. S. Department of Agriculture, through researches by its Bureau of Soils, has developed a new, pleasantly fragrant soil enricher. Obtained as a by-product in the manufacture of cocoa and chocolate, it contains valuable agricultural ingredients that remain after the food substances are extracted.
NOW arrangements are nearly completed for an air mail line from Chicago to Mexico City. Harry S. New, United States Postmaster General, is devoting his efforts to the establishment of this latest link between the nations. Aviation progress in Mexico has been rapid; recent lighting facilities have made it possible for Mexican pilots to fly at all hours of the night as well as by day.
Nickel-in-Slot Soda Water Dispensed in Ten Flavors
NICKEL-IN-THE-SLOT soda fountains have been invented by F. E. Gray, of Philadelphia, who has just put them in operation there and arranged to do so elsewhere. Not unlike the coffee slot machines in operation, the new devices provide ten flavors.
TINY cubes of ice are frozen by the smallest refrigerator in the world— a remarkable model built by L. S. Cooper, of Piqua, O., pictured below. An exact copy of a popular make of iceless refrigerator, the miniature device is only eight inches high.
QUEER rivers that never reach the sea, dotting the “Great Basin” of the West, have just been studied extensively by the Department of the Interior. They flow to inland lakes where the water vanishes by evaporation, leaving its dissolved minerals behind.
TWELVE-INCH X-ray photographs of crushed samples of every known mineral are to be the basis of an identification laboratory for geologists, first of its kind, at the University of Wisconsin. Already 170 specimens have been “fingerprinted” by the X-ray to identify duplicates without complicated analysis.
RUSTED oil storage tanks, no longer fit for use, have recently been found valuable, when split in halves by acetylene torches, as houses for power pumping stations. One such power house, near Eldorado, Kans., was constructed of several sections of tanks, mounted on a concrete base, and closed at the ends. The house, illustrated below, shelters a fifty-horsepower pumping engine that operates a dozen oil wells.
Aurora, 600 Miles in Air, Highest Ever Seen by Man
ONE of the highest things ever seen by man, a remarkable display of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, was recently observed by Dr. Carl Störmer, Norwegian expert, who has made a special study of auroras. This one occurred at least three hundred miles above the earth, and parts of it may have been as high as six hundred miles.
NEW YORK’S “white way,” Broadway, is by no means the only one, according to a recent survey directed by W. D’Arcy Ryan, director of the General Electric Company’s illuminating engineering laboratory. Alore than fifty streets in America are brilliantly enough lighted by electricity to be classed as “intensive white ways.”
ELECTRICITY and gasoline did a thorough job of clothes cleaning recently in a house on the Teakwood Dairy Farms, near Bakersfield, Calif., occupied by an employee of A. B. Tieck, owner of the farms. The photograph below shows what was left of clothing and house after the “cleaning.”
Three Boats Battered to Bits Filming the Colorado Rapids
FIRST motion pictures of the treacherous Colorado River as it swirls through the Grand Canyon were recently brought back by an expedition headed by C. L. Eddy and Frank M. Blackwell, camera man. Twelve college students completed the party.
THESE huge balloon cord tires, as big around as a man’s body, take the punishment when the Army’s latest bombing plane, the giant “super-cyclops,” comes to earth. Their enormous size, as shown below, enables them to withstand a sudden shock of many tons.
WHEN James W. Jump, millionaire sportsman, goes fishing at Catalina Island, Calif., he takes his kite along! From it is hung, by a long line, a flying fish bait that skims the water in lifelike manner, causing swordfish to rise and seize it. Another line to the pole reels them in.
NINETEEN twenty-seven has been a record health year, according to a great insurance company. Fewer persons among the company’s policy holders died during the year’s first half than in any corresponding period previously recorded. The nearest approach to this health mark was made in 1921.
EVEN the distance between the layers of atoms in a piece of metal can be measured by a new form of X-ray machine used in metallurgy, Dr. W. P. Davey, of the General Electric Company's research laboratories, recently told the American Chemical Society.
IN A balloon which, when deflated, he could pack on his back, A. Leo Stevens recently made a 350-mile overnight flight to the Adirondacks from Englewood, N. J. So narrow were his quarters that he had to stand erect. Near Lake Clear Junction Stevens released 4000 cubic feet of gas, folded the balloon and boarded a train for Saranac Lake, N. Y.
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY is pleased to answer reasonable inquiries on subjects in its field. Send stamped, self-addressed envelope to Information Department, POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, 250 Fourth Avenue, New York City.
FOUR thousand gallons of water are cooled each hour to keep down the temperature of the giant tubes at radio station WEAF’s new fifty-kilowatt transmitting station in Bellmore, N. Y. The great water cooler is equipped with a huge blower fan that chills the circulating water much as does an automobile's radiator.
WITHIN the next six months, the U. S. S. Lexington, largest and highest powered naval vessel in the world, will be ready to put to sea, reports say. Shipbuilders are putting the final touches on the tremendous airplane carrier at Quincy, Mass., where she was launched two years ago.
BECAUSE it is by no means rigid, our earth’s crust rises and falls like the ocean’s tide under the gravitational attraction of the moon and sun. There is no doubt that this occurs, says Dr. Walter D. Lambert, of the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, though difficulties have so far prevented exact measurement.
ECONOMIES in manufacture and transportation of gas are promised by a new high-pressure electric cell that manufactures it from ordinary water alone. It has long been known that when strong electric currents are passed through water, hydrogen and oxygen gas are produced at the electrodes.
SEVENTY-NINE flying schools throughout the country have a total enrollment of 4,739 students, a recent questionnaire discloses. Army aviation training camps say more than 1,700 Air Corps Reserves, National Guard and R. O. T. C. students took summer courses.
SEVENTEEN men recently stood on the wings of a new type of monoplane near New York City to demonstrate in a striking way its builder’s claim that struts to brace them could be eliminated. This cuts down the wind resistance and consequently increases the plane’s speed.
HUGE waves or swells that rise unexpectedly out of a calm sea, such as the one that recently rocked the liner France as it was about to enter New York harbor, are explained by G. W. Littlehales, Navy hydrographic engineer. Three different causes may produce such a wave, he said.
BUILDINGS and whole cities of glass are the amazing proposal of William Orr Ludlow, noted New York architect, going much farther with an idea noted in POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY for September. “The use of glass,” says Mr. Ludlow, “is the next logical step in the evolution of the window.
IN WHAT direction is airplane design leading? “Scattering in all directions,” says Col. V. E. Clark, chief engineer of a great airplane concern. There is no “standard” type of machine; never before have so many craft of utterly different structural and mechanical design been proving their worth.
AT LAST a mighty bridge is to span the Hudson River to connect New York City with the New Jersey shore. Amid the rattle of cranes and the puffing of steam engines, the foundations for the Jersey end of the great span are already being laid, as seen in the photograph below, beneath the shadow of the Palisades—the high cliffs that the finished highway will surmount.
WHEN the National Zoological Park at Washington, D. C., discovered that the eggs must be dampened before they could be hatched, zoologists had their first glimpse of baby “blue geese,” winter inhabitants of the lower Mississippi Valley.
THE better a horse can see, the faster he can run—this was the theory recently applied by Dr. Ernest E. Emons, of Akron, O., to increase the speed of race horses. Tests that he made with special instruments and powerful lights made him sure that one horse out of every ten suffered from defective vision.
“TIME flies; you cannot—they go too fast,” was a time-honored catch phrase, until recently the U. S. Bureau of Entomology did that very thing. House flies, it found, often made a journey of five or six miles in twenty-four hours. Some 234,000 flies of different species were obtained for the unique flight tests, which were conducted in Texas.
WAR continues against the “puncture weed,” California’s rapid-spreading vine whose half-inch thorns play havoc with motor car tires on country roads. The illustration shows L. S. Neville, chief county horticultural commissioner, with a single vine found near Los Angeles.
SOON amateur observers the world over may be asked to assist in a unique census of lightning flashes. At a recent meeting of the International and Geodetic Survey in Prague, Czechoslovakia, experts on atmospheric electricity urged that a careful count be kept in every country.
PADDED headphones and ten-foot aluminum tubing aerials that would lie down for low bridges recently made possible the first radio communication between war tanks in action. The apparatus was invented by Capt. K. E. Hartley, British Territorial officer.
On the roof of the Biltmore Hotel, Providence, R. I., L. Duane Wallick, hotel man’s son, raises chickens, vegetables and flowers 400 feet above the street. Here he is shown after he caught a rabbit stealing his beans
Forty years it has taken Tom Thomas of Wales to build the miniature colliery, shown with him here. His work, noted eight years ago in this magazine, was finished recently. The steamship took six years to build
Dr. John C. Wichmann, Los Angeles, is shown at the left with the juice he extracts from cactuses by boiling, which he declares makes a satisfactory rubber substitute. He predicts that his method will soon turn cactuses into automobile tires
Equal to climbing the Alps on wheels was the recent feat of Russell Ridley, left, and Lawrence Steele, of Milwaukee, who on a transcontinental tour climbed Mount Rainier on bicycles. In negotiating the treacherous surface of the Nisqually Glacier they had to dismount as shown and climb with their machines across the yawning crevasses
The motor and wheels on the center of this airplane propeller vary the pitch of the blades at the flyer’s will, says J. E. Carroll, inventor, photographed with the device. When the pitch is reversed, he declares, the propeller will act as a brake, landing the airplane in twice its length
Frank A. Doll, standing, and Edward B. Doll, of Marshall, I11., are seen at the left with the unique motor car they built in spare time in a year. Many of the parts they cast themselves and made of the raw material, such as the wheels, which are cast aluminum
SOON America may have homes built while you wait. Engineers gathered at Manhasset, N. Y., the other day, witnessed a demonstration of housebuilding with new concrete “boards.” Workmen raised these novel pieces of “lumber” into place and fastened them with steel wires to form walls and flooring said to possess the permanence of brick at even less than the cost of a frame dwelling
HOT water pipes freeze quicker than the cold. Householders who are well broken in know that. But why? The pipes are usually parallel and one would think heat could resist freezing temperature better than cold. The first laboratory demonstration of this fact, made recently at East Pittsburgh by Leon McCulloch, research engineer of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, has now given a scientific explanation of this seeming violation of natural laws.
SEVERAL forms of alternating current tubes are on the market that are operated by means of a I heater element that is electrically insulated from the surface which actually emits electrons. A tube of this type must necessarily have at least five terminals—two for the current to operate the heater element, one to the surface that sends out the electrons, taking the place in the radio circuit of the usual filament connection in the radio circuit; another for the grid and the remaining one for the plate connection.
How You Can Tell Whether Queer Music Is Fault of Broadcasting or Your Own Set—Ways to Locate and End Trouble
ALFRED P. LANE
OF ALL the thousands of radio questions we receive from readers of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, the most frequent is: “Why can't I get good tone quality?” And questions about the most elusive and easily destroyed quality of any radio installation are the hardest to answer because tone quality depends on so many things.
PUZZLES that have more than an amusement value, because they train the mind to think fast and straight, are presented on this page each month by Sam Loyd, the world’s foremost puzzle maker. They show conclusively that a puzzle can be fun without being nonsense.
Don't Let Her Waste Money and Destroy Beauty by Changing Your House Plans During Construction
Building Queries Answered
JOHN R. McMAHON
HOW much is our house going to cost, George?” asked his little wife one evening. "Exactly seven thousand, five hundred dollars,” replied the young man, looking up from a sheet of paper crowded with penciled figures. “And that figure includes everything down to a toothbrush holder in the bathroom.”
Gus Tells of the Best Mixtures to Use in the Radiator and Gives Tips on Winter Motoring
GOT plenty of alcohol in your radiator?” Joe Clark inquired of his customer as he cranked the gasoline pump in front of the Model Garage. “Pretty cold today—better let me test it, anyway.” “You keep away from that radiator,” Tom Madden objected.
IN LOCALITIES where the water supply is delivered to your home at a pressure of fifty or sixty pounds you can arrange to let the water pressure do the work or pumping up your tires. All you need is an old water tank, the larger the better, and a few pieces of piping.
NO WIPER will keep your windshield clear when snow freezes to everything it touches. Then you must apply heat to melt the snow. Fig. 2 shows a homemade hot air heater applied to the exhaust pipe. A funnel arrangement with the opening toward the fan forces air through the stove, up an old vacuum cleaner hose and out the nozzle, also a vacuum cleaner part.
GARAGE doors, because they are large and heavy, often give trouble. They sag and stick and the pounding required to open them loosens up the hinges and aggravates the trouble. Fig. 3 shows a simple way to brace the door so that there will be less tendency to sag. Metal bars with a cross section measuring by 1 inch are bolted to each door as shown. Aside from stiffening the whole door, these bars transfer the weight to the point beSt able to bear it, the lower hinge.
THE value of any secret ignition switch depends on how cleverly it is concealed. The switch shown in Fig. 4 is so constructed that it doesn't look like a switch and can be placed in plain sight if necessary. No one would suspect the wire cleat of harboring a concealed break in the wiring.
SECTIONS of old inner tubes tacked along the lower edge of the garage door will help keep the garage warm and prevent fine snow from being blown under the door. Be careful that the tube projects only far enough below the edge to make contact with the ground.
HAROLD NOWELL WHITMORE, of Oak Park, I11., wins the $10 prize this month for his suggestion of a windshield ice-clearing device (Fig. 2). POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY awards $10 each month, in addition to regular space rates, to the reader sending in the best idea for motorists.
How to Build a Simple but Valuable Model of the World's Most Famous Ship as She Really Looked
E. ARMITAGE McCANN
MOST model makers would like to build a model of that famous ship, the Santa Maria, if they knew that the result of their efforts would be reasonably like the vessel in which Christopher Columbus sailed to America. With the aid of the accompanying plans, any handy man now, for the first time, can do this.
Transforming Inexpensive Novelties into Artistic Christmas Presents—Polychroming, “Pour Finishing,” Other Methods
ARTISTIC and genuinely desirable Christmas gifts can be prepared at absurdly little expense if you know the secret. It is just this: Buy well designed but cheaply finished novelties and art wares, or else get entirely unfinished articles, and decorate them yourself by the easy methods which have been recently devised for amateurs.
It Can Be Made at Small Cost by Any Handy Man or Boy— Complete with Furniture
F. CLARKE HUGHES
NO CHRISTMAS gift is apt to delight a small girl quite so much as a really fine doll's house. To her it is a fairy home where her doll children can live and play. She can devise new furnishings, redecorate the rooms, and sweep, dust, wash and cook to her heart's content.
How to Create Brilliant Christmas Effects—An Illuminated, Stand, Varicolored Spotlight and Other Novelties
LAWRENCE B. ROBBINS
DECORATING the Christmas tree is truly an art. With so many varieties of electric bulbs available in countless sizes, shapes and tints, you can create the most gorgeous effects, and play with light and color like a stage decorator. Only a little ingenuity is required.
Easily Made Fixtures Help You to Locate Round Work for Drilling, Milling and Boring
ONE of the stepchildren of the shop is the vee-block. But so long as things are turned from metal, vees will be used for some of the operations on them. Almost every shop owns one or two sets of such blocks of conventional design, with the usual clamps, and very good tools they are.
Setting Up a Foot-Power Polishing Machine— Blowtorches and Heating Equipment for Soldering
IN EQUIPPING a home workshop for decorative metal work and model making, you will find many uses for a small polishing head or lathe, driven by either a foot wheel or an electric motor, together with several small polishing and buffing wheels and an emery wheel or two.
The Secret Lies in the Method of Painting and Glazing, Which May Be Used for Any Homemade Furniture
F. N. VANDERWALKER
WHAT can be done in the line of furniture building by one with no special training in the work is shown in the accompanying illustrations of a desk. It was made at odd times from pieces of lumber left over from the building of a new home—yellow pine, birch and oak.
A BABY’S push sled can be constructed with little difficulty by any handy man who follows the general method of construction illustrated. The wooden parts required are two pieces ¾ by 6 by 36 in. for the runners, 1 piece ½ by 14 by 24 in. for the floor, 2 pieces ½ by 12 by 26 in.
An Expert Repairer of Old Pieces Reveals His Secrets — How to Preserve the Original Patina
R. C. STANLEY
IN THIS day of the “antique craze” a great many amateur mechanics are attempting to repair and refinish old furniture. To these I shall endeavor to impart some of the knowledge gained through long experience in this work. What I write is not merely personal opinion, but includes a lot learned from others and now used in my own shop.
THROUGH the installation of an oil burner, the coal bin space in my cellar became available for a workshop. At small expense I converted it into the shop illustrated. There is a space of about 3 ft. in front of the benches. The general arrangement is shown with sufficient clearness in the illustration, but there are two or three features which may be mentioned, as they may appeal to other home workshop enthusiasts who have not adopted corresponding devices.
Second of a Series of Articles on Amateur Theatrical Scenery IN THE first article of this series Jerry, the stage carpenter, was introduced to you as one of the most important members of an amateur playproducing group. I showed him up in all his three-way glory, that is, as the designer of the sets, the builder of them, and, more often than not, the man who has to paint them.
AFTER vainly trying, in a city of half a million inhabitants, to purchase a kaleidoscope for my grandchildren, and failing even to get information as to how to construct one, I succeeded in making just what was wanted at the cost of a few cents.
THE popularity of this type of tool case is sufficient proof of its many merits. Although used primarily by the carpenter, it is a fine case for the handy man with his informal set of tools. Its ease of portability makes it useful even to the mechanic who already possesses one or more large chests or cabinets.
FOR use in the home shop, an inexpensive marking gage may he improved by mounting a lead pencil at one end of the bar as shown. The pencil does not follow the grain of the wood when running parallel with it, as the steel point is apt to do, and the line is easier to see.
LIGHT motor oil, or the lubricating oil sold as machine oil, has many uses in the home workshop. (It can be used not only for lubricating machinery but also for polishing woodwork and protecting iron from rust. To use the oil as a furniture polish for varnished and shellacked surfaces, first dust the surfaces with a soft brush or a piece of soft cloth.
IN MANY places it is advisable or desirable to use water from cisterns rather than from wells; for instance, where the water is alkaline or brackish, or if there is doubt as to its purity. When the owner does not feel justified in going to the expense of building a filter cistern, the method described below will serve the purpose.
A CHANGE in our home electrical system deprived me of a motordriven tool grinder. I fell back on a hand-turned grinder and worried along with it for quite a while. This often meant enlisting family assistance, with few volunteers. A bright thought: why not foot power?
WHEN building a house which is to be lined with wallboard instead of the regulation lath and plaster, time will be saved and a better job will result if the builder takes the forethought to cut notches in the studding and joists of a size to receive a 1 by 4 in. rib board, as shown.
FOR storing screens I use the single 2 by 4 in. beam across the center of the garage just under the pitched roof. Three cross members are nailed on top of the beam so that they support the top, bottom and center members of a screen door. On top of the door I pile all the wooden screens.
WELDING rods seem to be regarded cheaply by some welders, but in a month’s time a considerable amount of money will be represented by the pile of short ends accumulated in a busy shop. One way of using up the short ends is to fuse the pieces together, usually as the work goes on, by welding the short rod to the end of the succeeding one.
SMALL die parts, or other thin pieces similar to that shown in the illustration, are very difficult to hold in a vise without scarring the edges, if they can be held at all. In addition, there is the danger that the file will be damaged by the contact with the hard jaws of the vise.
THIS extractor was made for removing shafts from holes, withdrawing dowels that cannot be driven out, and similar work. It looks like the conventional clamp dog, except that it has two set screws.—G. A. L.
THE problem of supplying draftsmen with sufficient irregular curves (French, ship or railroad) has always been a rather hard one to solve. If the company buys them, they are continually getting lost or misplaced; if, as is generally the case, the individual draftsman is left to provide them, some men neglect to do so and are continually trying to borrow them.
IN REPAIRING anything about the top part of fire hydrants, C. R. Dale, Superintendent of the City Water Works of Galena, Kansas, saves time by using the simple tool illustrated. It is obvious that a similar device could be used for other purposes where a pipe or shaft has to be kept from turning in an inaccessible place or some position which will not allow an ordinary pipe, chain or strap wrench to be used to advantage.
WHEN supervising the laying of a concrete floor in a building which was to house electric transformers, the foreman ordered the placing of a number of 1-ft. lengths of l¼-in. iron pipe vertically in the concrete. These were in addition to the usual supports for the machinery.
IT HAS been said that the engine lathe is the foundation of machine shop practice and that any other machine tool could be dispensed with much more easily than it. Examples of its versatility are often found. Lathes are used for milling operations, for facing that is really planer work, and, in the set-up illustrated, for keywaying a long arbor for a milling machine.
INCINERATORS manufactured from heavy wire, concrete or sheet metal are often unsightly, and wire basket burners in particular permit small rubbish to fall through and litter up the ground. Without expense one can make a baked mud affair that is as efficient, yet is not offensive to the eye.
TO FLY airplane models that you have built yourself is thrilling sport. You can hardly imagine the fun it is until you have tried it. The takeoffs, the flying and the landings are all of breath-taking interest. Even more so is the participation in the airplane contests conducted by many model airplane clubs.
THE use of light or aluminum colored paste wood filler to obtain a weatherbeaten or silvery finish on oak and other open grained woods is well known to many home workers, but few amateur painters and decorators realize that many other novelty effects may be obtained in a similar way.
IN LESS than an hour’s time the scooter illustrated was made from a few scraps of crating and four discarded ball bearings. Such bearings are replaced in automobile shops when they show wear beyond a certain “tolerance,” but for many uses are still quite serviceable.
IF YOU wish to connect up a telegraph or buzzer line with the fellow next door or within two or three hundred feet of your own home, the accompanying diagram will show you how to do it in the simplest possible way. Only one wire is run between the houses, no switches are used, yet a pressure on either key operates both telegraph instruments or buzzers.
SIMPLE as it is to construct, the toy cannon illustrated is one that can be swung around, aimed and shot with surprising accuracy. All that is necessary is a piece of wood ⅞ by 2 by 12 in., two thread spools, a thin piece of packing case, a few brads, a 1¼-in. wood screw, a ¼-in. dowel for the 6½-in. long projectiles, and a rubber band.