Announcing THE NEW BUSINESS FIRM "GEORGE CASTLE & FAMILY”
How every man may have his own business without changing his job
To Help You Get Ahead
WELL, we did our Christmas shopping early, but—Oh! Boy— how broke we are now! Gee! I hope I get a raise the first of the year. If I was sure of it I would plan a little party down on Broadway New Year’s Eve, but as it is I guess our family will have to celebrate by going to bed.”
An AUTHORITY Answers Your Questions on OIL Heating
COLLINS P. BLISS
EVERY day, by mail and by phone, questions on oil heating are constantly being put to the Popular Science Institute of Standards. There appears to be a tremendous interest in this modern method of heating, and it also seems that there are certain points which need to be cleared up with regard to the subject.
Two Famous Doctors Disagree on the Effects of the Dry Law on the Nation’s Health and Present in a Spirited Debate Startling Views of America’s Greatest Problem
CHARLES A. L. REED
AFTER all, what everybody wants to know about prohibition, and what nobody definitely has found out, is its effect upon our physical well being. The public has been fed so much biased opinion and political ballyhoo on the subject, that facts from which to draw reliable conclusions have been lost in the controversy.
Electrical “Men” Answer Phones, Do Household Chores, Operate Machinery and Solve Mathematical Problems
HERBERT F. POWELL
AN ASTONISHED group of engineers in New York City the other day saw an electrical machine answer telephone calls with almost human intelligence and with more than human accuracy. When the bell rang it lifted the receiver, replied to audible queries from the other end of the line, and executed instructions to perform certain mechanical acts, such as switching on lights and starting an electric fan and a vacuum cleaner.
Five Systems by Which You Can Make Yourself More Efficient
Why We Are What We Are
HARRY A. OVERSTREET
TWO young men were fired from the same office a few weeks ago. One, whom I'll call Walter Brandt, promptly found himself a better place. The other, Joe Raymond, is still out of work. These two chaps apparently are very nearly equal in brains, experience, energy and initiative.
Here, After Ten Years, Is Revealed the Real Story of the Huge Guns That Went Ashore and Beat “Big Bertha” at Her Own Game
REAR ADMIRAL CHARLES P. PLUNKETT
OUR Navy's most spectacular deed in the world’s greatest war was not on sea, but on land, and at the critical place and time to hasten the war’s end. American battleships on wheels cut the main German line of supply and retreat in France by hurling shells weighing a ton twenty-three miles to blast away their vital railroads at high tide of the greatest battle in world history.
The control mechanism of the newest antiaircraft gun responds to sound waves of an airplane’s drone and aims the gun at the craft. The weapon is shown at the Aberdeen, Md., Proving Ground, where it was inspected by Secretary of War Davis
Seamen were amazed recently when fragments of a reef near Ensanada, Mexico, on which the S. S. Circinus struck, were found to have plugged up some of the holes made in the vessel’s hull, enabling her to limp into port
Airplanes Fail as Practical Carriers and Demand Revolutionary Improvements, Says the Writer of This Illuminating Article
BY A queer turn of the wheel 1927 will be remembered as the year that yielded the most superb individual feat in aerial annals—Lindbergh’s flight— and as the year in which we first paused for a serious examination of our vaunted “conquest of the air.”
Though Its Working Day Can Be Stretched by Artificial Light Even a Vegetable Needs Sleep
BLUE light cast a weird shade over our faces, as we stood in the “spectral greenhouse.” Beyond, broad beams of yellow and orange tinted sunshine bathed boxes of growing plants in an unnatural radiance. Growing plants under colored lights to find out how they behave—that is but one of the strange experiments you can watch daily at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, in Yonkers, N. Y.
Astronomy Predicts Annihilating Explosion Such As That Which Hurled the Asteroids into Space
RICHARD ALDEN SWALLOW
THE world will end in a gigantic explosion! As it grows old, great cracks will appear in the Earth’s surface, like lines on an old man’s face. These cracks will widen into vast abysses, until at last the entire globe will be rent asunder. A colossal blast, a momentary flash in the starry heavens, and our planet will be snuffed out forever, scattered into countless fragments flying through space.
HERE are pictured details of one of the world’s great engineering achievements—the Holland tunnel for vehicle traffic under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, recently opened. The construction of the tunnel was a triumph for compressed air, which enabled the diggers to pass through chambers of successively higher pressure to endure the maximum pressure at the point of work.
LEADERS in many fields of invention, research and discovery tell of the year’s progress — wonderful structures and machines, conquests of the earth and sky, new victories over disease, promise even more riches, health and comfort in coming months
MEDICINE AND HEALTH
ADVANCES in civil engineering during 1927 are exemplified in many notable structures, of which only a few may be briefly indicated. Great tunnel projects included completion of the six-mile Moffat Tunnel under James Peak, Colo., and the two-mile Holland Tunnel for vehicles under the Hudson at New York, and near completion of the Oakland Estuary Tube, largest subaqueous tunnel, connecting Oakland and Alameda, Calif.
Skill, hate, reckless courage crowded into one flaming hour of the fire boat service
KARL W. DETZER
THE brothers McCarty quarreled over a girl. Her name was Helen. She tipped up her chin jauntily when she met the brothers on the street, so that they glowered suspiciously one at another, and at all other men. Joe was the elder, a long-armed giant, slow of speech.
The Celebrated Inventor of Wireless Peers into the Future
FRANK PARKER STOCKBRIDGE
WENTY-FIVE years ago I stood on Table Head, Cape Breton Island, looking out across the Atlantic. The black Smoke of a steamship, hull down beyond the horizon, was the only thing visible to seaward besides the lowering sky and the turbulent ocean. The slender, blond, boyish man of twenty-eight who stood beside me waved his hand.
Black Diamonds, the Most Precious Stones on Earth, Put to Curious Industrial Uses
ORVILLE H. KNEEN
ON YOUR mountain hikes some day you may come to a dry creek bed showing bits of gray granite, sparkling quartzite, or pieces of conglomerate, rounded stones set firmly in natural cement. You may spy a dark colored pebble, perhaps tinted green, brown or gray.
World-Wide Building of Giant Balloons Is Under Way for Spectacular Contest With Winged Craft for Air Supremacy
GEORGE LEE DOWD
FOR a year the airplane has monopolized the limelight. In the heroic drama of the skies, it has reaped all the glory—and the tragedy. But in the coming months, unless all signs fail, the winged ship is to encounter a formidable rival. It is the dirigible.
Why with 455,000 Words Available Most of Us Bungle Along with Just a Few Thousand
Are These Sentences Right or Wrong?
Answers to Right and Wrong Sentence Questions
GEORGE McLEAN HARPER
HOW many words do you know how to use correctly? Or, to put it differently, how many do you use incorrectly in ordinary conversation and writing? Did you ever stop to test yourself, to measure your knowledge and command of the English language?
How Lincoln, Mark Twain and Many Other Celebrities Patented Ideas
AUBREY D. McFADYEN
MORE than one million six hundred and fifty thousand patents have been granted by the United States of America since that last day of January, 1791, when George Washington as President and Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State signed the first American patent, issued to Francis Bailey for a type punch.
Tremendous Waste, Which Would Pay Taxes and Buy All Cars and Houses in America Every Year, Is Reduced by Working Over Cast-Off Goods—Even a New Woolen Suit Is Partly Old
ROBERT E. MARTIN
HERBERT HOOVER recently warned Americans that unless we eliminate much of our waste we cannot expect to maintain our present standards of living and high wages. Hoover’s committee of engineers figures that by eliminating waste we can save ten billion dollars a year—which will be enough to pay all our taxes and buy all the motor cars, gasoline, and houses in the country!
The results of that comparison, just announced by Dr. James W. Papez, curator of the collection, seem to show that she was right. “The study of Mrs. Gardener's brain,” says Doctor Papez’ report, “reveals a wealth of cortical substance of gray matter that is only equaled, but not exceeded, by the best brains in the Cornell collection. It definitely substantiates her contention that, given the same environment, women's brains are equal to men’s.”
DURING her life Mrs. Helen Gardener, author, lecturer and champion of women’s rights, contended that women were in no way inferior to men in mental capacity. To prove her point she bequeathed her brain, when she died in 1925, to the Burt G. Wilder brain collection at Cornell University.
AS EVERYONE knows, a tire or any other article made of rubber deteriorates very rapidly even when not in use, due to oxidation caused by the oxygen in the air. To combat this decay chemists of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company recently have developed a new product for treating rubber goods. Tests promise that it will greatly prolong their life. The new enemy of oxidation is called neozone.
A POUND of liver condensed into five tiny vials full of powder is the newest discovery for restoring vitality to persons suffering from pernicious anemia, the disease which halts the building of red blood cells in the body. Some three years ago the discovery was made, by chance, that beef and calf liver possessed a mysterious element capable of restoring this blood-building process.
GIVEN a few hairs as clues, the Sherlock Holmes of modern science now can tell the race and, most likely, the sex of the individual from whose head the hairs came. This novel means of identification, developed by Dr. Morris Bernstein and Sylvan Robertson of the University of Chicago, is based on the comparative weight of human hairs. Taking ten pieces of hair two inches long from people of different races, the experimenters weighed them on delicate balances.
WHAT is it that makes your heart keep on beating seventy or eighty times a minute, year after year, throughout your life? Of many explanations offered, the latest comes from a noted Dutch physiologist, Dr. H. Zwaardemaker of the University of Utrecht.
AN UNUSUAL dog took intelligence tests at Columbia University the other day, and convinced psychologists that animals of his kind possess more brains than most men suppose. The subject was Fellow, a highly pedigreed German shepherd dog owned and educated by Jacob Herbert, of Detroit, Mich. Five years old, he showed the apparent intelligence of a child of eight.
CAN you imagine a movie camera working so fast that it would take twenty minutes to view on the screen all the pictures it photographed in one second? Such a camera has just been brought to the United States by Baron C. Shiba, head of the Aeronautical Research Institute of Japan.
THE flash of light you see when a star shoots across the night sky may not be caused by heat, as has been generally believed, but by electric sparks. Dr. Pietro Burgatti, of the University of Bologna, has just completed a study of this light, and concludes that it is due to electricity developed by friction when particles of matter, hurling through space at enormous speeds, encounter our atmosphere.
A NEW steel alloy which possesses amazing powers of magnetization is the recent discovery of Dr. P. H. Brace, research engineer of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company. It is cobalt steel alloyed with tungsten. In the form of a horseshoe magnet it will lift a bar thirty times its own weight!
A Romantic Novel of the Automobile Age—How a Great Game of Skill and Ingenuity Was Won
EDMUND M. LITTELL
GIL repaid that note in full a year later, with a light in his eyes that was a fire, and a kind of a before-the-battle grin deepening the creases in his cheeks. “Great day,” was the way he led off. “I pay off my note on the day the Selden patents are quashed.
Machine of 6000 Horsepower with Crew of Thirty-Six to Cultivate and Plant Nine Square Miles Daily
ACROSS the field, advancing at a speed of ten to fifteen miles an hour, sweeps a monster of iron and steel. Smoke belches from its funnel. On a tower platform seventy-five feet above the ground stands its captain, shouting orders that loudspeakers relay to the crew of thirty-six men.
WHEN Owen Adames, of Havant, Hampshire, England, had bad luck with his apple and plum trees, he procured a spade and set to work to discover the reason. Beneath his orchard he found the remains of an ancient Roman furnace! In ancient Roman times such devices were used to heat elaborate baths and dwellings, with earthenware pipes to conduct heated air from the subterranean fire chamber.
LIGHT acts directly on the human muscles, and not through the nerves as has hitherto been held, according to Dr. Lippay, head of the Physiological Institute of the University of Vienna. While experimenting in the effects of light rays on the nervous system, he observed that the muscles subjected to the rays underwent a contraction independent of the nerves.
THROUGH the invention of some new kind of ticker that will print as many as 500 characters a minute, the New York Stock Exchange hopes to avoid such confusion as recently occurred when for nearly an hour shares of stock were changing hands at the wild rate of five million a day.
LIKE a rifle, a powerful telescope may be quickly aimed at night by the invention of new illuminated “gun sights” developed by the General Electric Company and the U. S. Geodetic Survey. At the front and back of the telescope’s barrel two quartz rod tips, made luminous by a concealed flashlight, serve as sights which speedily train the telescope on a distant object, such as the signal lights fifty miles away used by the Survey.
CRIME waves may be due to the influence of sun spots on individuals, in the opinion of Professor Alexander Tchijevski of the University of Moscow, who claims startling discoveries regarding the effects of the spots on human conduct. In a paper read recently he said : “The responsibility of a person in the commission of a crime decreases according to the nearness of the period of the sun spots’ greatest activity to the time of the crime.
New Zealand Opposes Burial Of Identity in “Australasia”
GEOGRAPHIES must revise their nomenclature if the commercial interests of New Zealand succeed in a new movement to suppress the use of the term “Australasia.” The New Zealanders are tired of being the tail to the kite of Australia, due to the use of the general geographic name applied to the island groups of the Pacific.
WHEN an enterprising tool manufacturer recently sought to demonstrate the strength of one of his hammers, he hung an automobile from it! The spectacular test, designed to show that not even terrific weight could pull the hammer's head from the handle, proved successful; then the car was slowly lowered to the floor without injury.
Why Furniture Weighs More In Summer Than in Winter
THE weight of furniture varies with the seasons, according to the U. S. Forest Service. No matter what kind of wood has been used and how it has been seasoned and finished, the wood takes in and gives out moisture with changes in atmospheric humidity.
ALL rubber, the first of its kind, is a remarkable speedboat that has recently proved successful in tests at Akron, O. It is made of hard rubber “lumber” which has a core of softer spongy material. Since this does not absorb water, as wood does, no boathouse is required.
THERE is little danger that “the women are going to run everything.” So concludes Julian Huxley, scientist and grandson of the great Huxley. We are not headed even for full sex equality, he says, basing his view on anthropological research and modern biology.
MODEL airplanes, big and small, vied for prizes in a recent tournament at Los Angeles, held under the auspices of the city’s playground association. Their youthful makers saw the models tested for airworthiness by towing them from a special frame at the back of a moving automobile.
GAME wardens of the Cascade Mountains, in the State of Washington, reported seeing last autumn a huge cloud of flying butterflies ten or fifteen miles long and three or four miles wide. From their description of a few that descended, it is probable that these were the brown, black-marked “ milkweed butterflies” seen about the juicy plant all over the country.
SLOW motion pictures of racing greyhounds, taken as they pursue an “electric hare,” are made by a new British type of gyro-balanced camera. Clockwork drives it and the camera is attached to the body of the hare. This remarkable “animal”—an imitation rabbit propelled around a race track —is used widely in England, where greyhound racing is popular, to incite the dogs chasing it to great bursts of speed. Remarkable photographs of the dogs in action are expected of the new camera.
EVEN the frailest person, it is said, can maneuver a heavy car with ease through the aid of a new steering amplifier, said to magnify ten times the power of his touch on the wheel. It relieves the strain of driving by making the auto engine itself, instead of the driver’s hands, apply the steering force.
GEAR shifting is eliminated in a new car invented by a French engineer; it has no transmission gears at all, the motor’s power being transmitted directly to the driving wheels at the rear. When Sensaud de Levaud, the inventor, recently demonstrated his machine, it is said to have accelerated briskly up a twenty percent grade, stopped in the middle of the hill, and started again at the will of the driver to show that gears were unnecessary.
ONE-SPEED streets are part of a novel scheme proposed by A. D. Smith, chief constable of Glasgow, Scotland. He would set a definite rate for each of Glasgow’s narrow streets, fast for some and slow for others, according to the type of traffic carried.
SOON you may be able to drive at night undisturbed by the glare of oncoming headlights. A new kind of “specs,” made especially to protect motorists’ eyes from blazing lights, has been invented by Dr. Carl G. Bostrom, chief medical officer of the Swedish Navy.
SOMETIME in the near future, if his plans succeed, the young runner Levett will dash into New York with the first transcontinental endurance record. He expects to run the entire 3157-mile distance from Los Angeles, his starting point, in sixty days.
Engine and Electric Circuit Test Antiknocking Gasoline
HOW effective is an antiknock auto fuel? To test the ability of various blends as preventives of knocking, an Eastern gasoline firm has perfected a new type of testing machine. It consists principally of a one-cylinder engine that is run on the fuel being tested; an outside pin, piercing the cylinder head to rest on the piston, is so arranged that a normal explosion will jar it only slightly, but a distinct detonation or “ knock ” will cause the pin to bounce.
IT’S easy to throw away your old hat, or your discarded cooking pots; but what is to be done with the car when it’s worn out? Recently the New York State Bureau of Municipal Information asked 125 cities how they solved the problem. Suggestions ran from using the discarded automobiles as fills for river fronts and deep dumps to flattening them and leaving them on city dumps.
SHOULD Chicago’s motorists fail to halt their cars at “stop streets,” established at dangerous crossings, a jolt from a new traffic signal, shown below, reminds them of their duty. Actually a thickness of rubber affixed to the pavement, it resembles a sheet of steel, and bears the word “Stop.”
RUBBER tracks for caterpillar tractors, experimented with for three years, are now being marketed. They enable a tractor to tread lightly and softly so as not to injure a paved highway; powerful traction, however, is said to be obtained by their use.
A DEPARTMENT of Commerce survey of seven great cities shows 6993 persons killed by automobiles in the twelve months ended last August, or seven percent more of the total population than met a like fate the previous twelve months. The present yearly death rate is 217 for each million population.
TIME to change the oil or grease in your car? Compare the numbers of a new reminder dial with your speedometer reading, and it tells you in an instant. Whenever you stop for oil, look at your speedometer reading, add the number of miles the manufacturer recommends for oil changes, and set the upper row of your reminder to the new figure.
INTENSE colored beams of light from a new form of automobile lamp are said to pierce fog and reveal objects that ordinarily would be hidden by the white vapor. Particles of various metals, including gold, silver and platinum, deposited in minute quantities in the glass of the lens, produce the color fringes.
LATEST device to regulate the speed of motor trucks is the “monoblock,” a French invention brought to the United States and recently demonstrated in New York City on a standard one-and-a-half-ton vehicle. Weighing only two and a half pounds with its cast aluminum inclosure, it is attached between the intake manifold and the carburetor of the truck’s motor.
A pencil that can’t be mislaid is that shown above. It is part of a ring that is worn on the index finger and consists of a diminutive lead-holder which can be refilled as required. The user writes as if with the finger itself. So small is the device that the wearer is said to be as unconscious of it as of an ordinary finger ring
The new glass that is said to admit the health-giving ultraviolet sun rays, now coming into use for windows, is also being molded into hats for women whose hair is an asset to be conserved. Martha Lorber, actress, above, is wearing one of the hats
Like that of a real ship the muslin sail of the boat shown at the right is operated. She is steered with a standard catboat tiller and the boom can be cleated on either side. Pedals will drive the craft if the wind dies down
An improved padlock, shown at the left, consists of a ring that is locked into its container. When the key releases it you simply move the ring around until you reach a break in its circumference, when the device can be removed
In fields where cotton has matured uniformly this new machine is said to pick effectively. Gathering shoes on the front hold the branches up for the picking spindles, which send them through the cleaner to the bags hung at the rear
For writing at night the pencil shown above is mounted on a barrel which contains tiny batteries that cast light on the paper at the writing point. A cap protects the pencil and bulb when carried in your pocket
The transmitter of this telephone, invented in England for use in places full of the noise of machinery, is curved to fit snugly against your throat. When you speak, your words are transmitted, but the racket is excluded
Kuno Schragin, inventor, is here from Germany with a pneumatic tire he says is puncture proof. It is of rubber with tiny chambers which naturally take in and expel air, like a rubber sponge, through little holes in the tire's side
ONE of these days, in a device that exerts a pressure as terrific as would be the weight of a house upon your thumb-nail, chemists may succeed in making diamonds as fine as any you might buy at a jewelry store! Such a machine has just been invented by James Basset, a French engineer.
MARKS of molding boards, and other surface irregularities, are whisked away from a concrete slab as by magic through the use of a new electric tool. The versatile device is equally useful to remove paint from brick walls, or to cut the brick for the application of stucco.
SOME four thousand oil burner installations have been investigated thoroughly and from all angles by the Popular Science Institute of Standards. Advice based on the resultant findings will be gladly furnished free to readers. Satisfactory answers are dependent, however, upon adequate information regarding the conditions in which the burner is to be used. Inquirers must supply this information: (a) Number of rooms in house; (b) type of heating system; (c) annual coal consumption; and (d) is gas or electricity installed? Address Oil Burner Service, Popular Science Institute, 250 Fourth Ave., New York City.
NOW you can have a fast motor-driven manicure! A machine with five different attachments—filing wheel, emery wheel, cuticle point, cotton point for cleaning under the nails and buffer of chamois disks—is the invention of Mrs. Ida M. Eldridge, of Los Angeles.
A STORAGE battery that weighs thirty-nine tons drives the largest electric locomotive in the world that runs under its own power. Capable of hauling a 1500-ton train, the engine has just been placed in switching service in a railroad freight yard at Hammond, Ind.
NO WASTEBASKET fire can start from this new office receptacle. One of its metal sides swings open, by a convenient hand tab, to receive undesired papers. When closed it is fireproof; even a burning match or cigarette within can cause no damage to office or furniture.
STRONG but lightweight railway axles are brought nearer by the revolutionary idea of Charles G. Steele, a California inventor. He has perfected a machine that turns out hollow steel axles at the amazing rate of one every fifteen seconds.
SEVERAL million persons, in more than 100,000 petitions, have urged Congress to establish the metric system of weights and measures in the United States, according to the Metric Association. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs also has called on Congress to scrap our present measures such as yards, rods, gills and pennyweights, and substitute instead such units as the meter or world yard, the half-kilo or world pound, and the liter or world quart.
Origin of Life Is a Riddle Yet Unsolved, Say Savants
SIXTEEN University of Chicago professors have issued a symposium summarizing recent extraordinary achievements of science, “But in all frankness,” the book says, “it must be admitted that the problem of the origin of life has not been solved.
FOR the most part the influence of the Dyak women is on the side of head-hunting. They urge their husbands, sons and lovers to join in expeditions to prove they are really men of valor,” says William O. Krohn in his new book, “In Borneo Jungles.”
THROUGH the marvels of modern machinery, only sixty-seven men are now required, on the average, to do what was the work of a hundred twenty-five years ago, according to the National Industrial Conference Board. At this rate forty-five men will be doing the same work in 1950.
Telegraph Pole “Medicine” Injected with Huge Needle
THE practice of giving logs a “hypodermic injection” to preserve them, invented in Germany not long ago, has spread to England, and a new tool has been invented to do the work. The new scientific method is being used to inject into telegraph poles a spreading paste that is said to keep fungi at bay.
GERMAN marine science and industry have come back since the war. German shipyards built 188,362 tons in 1925 for export to foreign owners, against the 133,047 tons built by British shipyards. In 1913 it was Germany, 28,578 and Great Britain, 487,102.
ONE of the most remarkable loudspeakers, if not the largest in the world, is that atop a building that houses a Paterson, N. J., broadcasting station, pictured below. Its twelve separate speakers, combining the effect of cones and horns, are united to sound with one mighty voice. Ten feet high, the entire speaker is powered, by a 500watt built-in amplifier; it weighs, altogether, more than a ton.
FROM New Jersey to Venezuela flew a toy balloon recently, and a South American chicken fancier picked it up. It had been released by A. O. H. Perry, of Hasbrouck Heights, N. J., who had attached a card bearing his name and address. He received word from the Venezuelan that the balloon had successfully crossed the sea to land in his back yard, scaring his poultry out of a year’s growth.
WIRELESS aerials, lead-ins, and grounding switches were standard fixtures, the same as plumbing, provided in 300 houses that were recently built in Newport, England. The concern erected them as an added attraction for its homes, and by doing the work itself was able to see that they were installed uniformly.
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY IS glad, whenever possible, to answer readers’ questions on technical or other problems within its scope. Queries should be addressed to Information Department, POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, 250 Fourth Avenue, New York City.
TO PROTECT pedestrians from cars that emerge from its driveway, a London firm of caterers has installed a novel warning signal. When a delivery truck is about to emerge a miniature of it appears on a sliding rod above the entrance. Passers-by see the toy car and stop, knowing the real one will follow.
THOUSANDS of flies, believed to include several kinds hitherto unknown to science, were recently brought back by Dr. J. M. Aldrich, entomologist of the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, after a 9200-mile tour of the Northwest. A study of these insects is declared important, since they are among man's most dangerous competitors for food.
SAVING the coasts of England and Holland from the battering sea is the newest use discovered for an humble English pasture plant known as Spartina townsendii. It was named for the botanist Townsend, who saw its suitability for pasturage and its rapid growth.
IN THEIR attempt to solve the night traffic problem in Paris, authorities are trying out a remarkable new electric signal light built into a gendarme’s club. It has two lamps, red and white, controlled by a switch. A battery on the officer’s belt supplies the electricity.
THE heat imprisoned in the depths of the earth will supplant coal just as soon as some economical method can be found for drilling through the earth’s crust to a sufficient depth and releasing it. That is the contention of John L. Hodgson, English engineer.
GREEN concrete “which will harmonize with the rich semitropical verdure and growing crops” is the material of which Cameron County, Texas, plans to make its new six-million-dollar system of highways. On a smaller scale, colored concrete roads have already appeared in certain parts of the country; many of those built in parks and on private estates have been tinted.
INDOOR baseball of a novel kind is played in a mechanical game recently invented by L. B. Elliott of San Francisco. Originally designed for disabled war veterans, it is rapidly growing in popularity. An entire contest, with all the variations and thrills of a real league game, can be played with the new device.
ALL the comforts of home while you? travel are provided by a remarkable vehicle now under construction by a Rochester, England, air firm. Known as a “highway motor yacht,” it has two stories; its capacious interior includes a lounge, bedroom for eight passengers, a bathroom complete with shower, and a glass-windowed observation chamber.
IN 1930, it is expected, the first world agricultural census in history will be completed under direction of the International Institute of Agriculture at Rome. This is the recent announcement of Leon M. Estabrook, director of the project and chairman of the U. S. Crop Reporting Board, who has visited every capital in Europe and North Africa to discuss the plan with government officials.
"NATURAL gasoline,” made from natural gas, recently proved its value as an aviation fuel. Tried in thirteen planes making a tour of the country, it increased the motors’ speed with a fuel saving of more than three gallons an hour. Since it weighs considerably less than ordinary gasoline, the new motor fuel may prove important in distance flying, where every ounce of weight carried counts.
LIKE the first inventors who attempted flight by imitating the birds, Lehman Weil, at Curtiss Field, N. Y., promises soon to take the air in a remarkable “ornithicopter” or wing-flapping plane of his own design, weighing 250 pounds. While two fixed wings, not unlike those of a biplane, support it in the air, Weil expects to supply motive power through a pair of bicycle pedals operating flapping wings.
AIRPLANES are changed into life rafts by the latest safety device, developed by the U. S. Navy shortly after several tragedies of attempted transAtlantic flight and recently tested at San Diego, Calif. A deflated balloon is attached to the fuselage of the plane.
TREES, flowers and a fountain glowing in a sunken garden under the rays of invisible light were part of a striking night demonstration recently given to illuminating engineers at Colorado Springs, Colo. The shrubbery had been painted with such chemicals as the zinc sulphide that glows in radium watch dials, and the water of the fountain treated likewise.
Women Are More Like Apes Than Are Men, Says Savant
SIR ARTHUR KEITH"S notable summary of proofs of man’s common ancestry with the anthropoid apes, as reported in last month’s POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, has just been amplified by other world famous scientists. Addressing the Royal Academy in London, Dr. Arthur Thomson, British anatomist, declared that a baby, until it can walk, resembles the ape in nearly every respect.
IN SPITE of its frigid climate, the Arctic region has fewer actual inches of snowfall than ours, official figures reveal. Its dry air, the result of low temperature, can give rise to little rain or snow; the,total annual precipitation is seldom more than ten inches, as compared with forty or more in the central parts of the United States.
TEST your knowledge with these twelve questions, selected from hundreds sent in by our readers. The correct answers are on page 106. 1. Which ocean has the smallest tides? 2. Where do dates grow in the United States? 3. What river’s direction of flow was reversed by man ?
Panama Gasoline Dyed Green To Entrap Men That Steal It
MOTORISTS who are partial to antiknock gasoline are familiar with the tints used both to give it a distinctive marking and to warn of the poisonous varieties that must not be handled carelessly; but it remained for authorities of the Panama Canal Zone to discover a new use for dyed gasoline in the tracking of Governmental joy-riders.
TO BRING up samples of the sea bottom, from depths that a diver could not reach, a heavy bronze “clamshell” scoop was recently constructed at the precision laboratories of the University of California. It will be used by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, at La Jolla, Calif., to aid in extensive studying of the ocean floor.
AUTOMOBILE cooling systems are designed to keep the engine at the proper operating temperature in hot, summer weather. This means the cooling effect is much too great for use in fall and winter. In consequence the motor runs too cold, resulting in poor gasoline mileage, lack of power and excessive wear due to rapid dilution of the lubricating oil by unburned gasoline.
LANDING field lights are automatically turned on by the hum of an approaching airplane by use of the amazing invention of T. Spooner, research engineer of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company. In a recent night demonstration at McKeesport, Pa., a plane 1000 feet up actuated the sensitive control and caused the entire field instantly to be illuminated by a bank of floodlights.
BY A new Marconi radio device, a ship can receive a distress signal from a near-by vessel even though the regular operator is not on duty. When there comes through the ether the special new call that will be used—twelve four-second dashes spaced one second apart—the device will respond by an automatic selecting mechanism and sound a bell or other alarm signal.
ON HIS farm near Providence, R. I., Arthur C. Gould, pictured here, has one of the first privately-owned airplane service stations. Passing flyers see two signs in fifteen-foot letters : “Aviation Gas” and “A. C. Gould Farm Landing Field.” They may descend and replenish their tanks with the special fuel and lubricant that aircraft motors require.
Prof. V. Bartos is seen at the right making X-Ray film one thousandth of an inch thick in the U. S. Bureau of Standards. Mistress in her chosen field, she was made Professor of Physics at Goucher College
Dr. M. B. Church, microbiological expert in the Department of Agriculture, examines moldy food found in the markets and takes up with the manufacturers ways to overcome such decay. Her work has greatly reduced the national losses and has also improved health
Dr. Eloise B. Cram, bacteriologist of the Department of Agriculture, aids with her extensive research in the fight against disease among farm animals and blights that attack crops. Her work against various poultry diseases alone has saved fortunes for American farmers
Adequate Fires and Dampers, Drafts and Proper Moisture Keep Heat from Going up the Chimney
COAL wagons had just pulled up at the side of my friend Smith’s house when I called the other day. “Just putting in my winter’s supply!” he said. “Looks like a cold winter, so I’m laying in plenty.” “You certainly are,” I agreed. “You have a load out there that would do for a dwelling in Siberia.”
How you hear sounds that don't exist, and other curious effects revealed by new tests
SOUNDS that appear and disappear like Will-o’-the-Wisps—sounds that you can hear when they don’t exist—these and many other startling effects have cropped up during elaborate investigations of loudspeakers made in the laboratory of the Popular Science Institute of Standards.
With Homemade Crystal or One-Tube Receiver You Can Tune-in What You Want, When You Want It, and Learn
ALFRED P. LANE
HAVE you a hankering to find out what makes the wheels go round in radio? Do you often want to tune in jazz when the rest of the family insist on classical music? Would you like to be able to listen in for an hour or two after the others have gone to bed and you can run the regular set for fear of wakening them?
PUZZLES that are not only amusing and entertaining, but train the mind to think swiftly and accurately, are presented each month on this page by Sam Loyd, the world's foremost puzzle maker. They give you fun without wasting your time. See how quickly you can determine the answers.
Too Much “Art” May Ruin Your House, While Jazz Designing Surely Will
JOHN R. McMAHON
WHAT kind of a house do you want, sir?” asked an architect of his client a century and a quarter ago. “The best in design and materials, with all modern improvements,” replied the substantial American citizen. “I want high ceilings, not less than seven feet for the first floor.
MANY motor car owners hesitate to tackle any job that requires crawling under the car, because, even with overalls, clothes are ruined by the oily slime on the floor. The remedy for this situation is to build yourself a comfortable auto creeper so that you can slide under any part of the car without damaging your clothes, and in a most convenient manner.
THE mud brought into your car often works down through the hole around the starter switch plunger and pieces of grit jam it so that it will not work. A simple way to overcome this trouble is to cut a disk of sheet rubber out of an old inner tube and in the center of the disk cut a hole somewhat smaller than the starter switch plunger.
HIGH tension current, such as is employed to produce sparks at the spark plug points in an automobile engine, jumps across the points only when it can find no easier path to travel. Occasionally a cylinder will misfire in a mysterious way, due to an accidental path being provided for the passage of the high tension current.
IF YOU are tired of the steady tone of your horn, here is a way to get a warbling effect that will arrest the attention of every pedestrian. The illustration below shows the arrangement. It can be applied to any type of horn, either motor driven or buzzer type.
TAKE a bottle of small size and a piece of rubber tube large enough to stretch over the end as shown. Cut a small hole in the side of the tube a distance from the end equal to the height of the battery solution at the maximum point. Squeeze the tube with your fingers, insert it in the battery till it touches the plates, and let go the tube.
Gus Rescues a Victim of Carbon Monoxide, and Tells How to Guard Against This Deadly Peril of Motoring
HEY, Joe!” Gus Wilson shouted to his partner in the Model Garage. “What do you think this is, a cold storage plant? My fingers are so cold I can’t tell whether I’ve got hold of a monkey wrench or a screw driver! It’s your turn to manicure the furnace this week.
A Pier Cabinet and Decorative Wall Shelves Anyone Can Nail Together
TO MAKE room for all the books and magazines that accumulate in a small house or apartment is often a difficult problem. It was with this idea in mind that the pier cabinet illustrated on this page and the hanging bookshelves shown on page 97 were designed.
They Partly Conceal the Ugly Heating Coils and Save the Window Draperies from Being Bombarded with Dust
Portable Kindling Boxes
PRESENT-DAY fashions in house heating equipment dictate that the radiator be wholly or partly concealed. When its covering is finished to harmonize with the woodwork and furniture of the room, it becomes a decoration instead of a homely piece of heating apparatus.
How to Decorate Unfinished or Old-Fashioned Seats in the Artistic Color Schemes That Are Now the Vogue
IN EVERY room there is usually some place where an odd chair in just the right color treatment would add much to the attractiveness. By the same token, there are usually in every home one or more chairs of good design and solid construction that are of undesirable finish or so badly worn that they have been relegated to the attic.
Our Blueprints Will Help You Build an Authentic and Unusually Beautiful Model of the Flagship of Columbus
E. ARMITAGE McCANN
LAST month we made on a small scale the hull of a Santa Maria such as Christopher Columbus must have used. This model, it has been shown, is quite different from the vessel sent to the Columbian Exposition, which, although it is more like a seventeenth century carack, has been reproduced everywhere as an authentic fifteenth century vessel.
In Your Own Workshop You Can Turn Cheap Barn Door Hinges into
F. N. VANDERWALKER
NINE dollars a pair was the price asked for the hinges that the writer wished to mount on a desk made of odds and ends of lumber. Cheaper hinges were to be bought, it is true, but the commonplace, machine-made scrolls and curls would not do at all.
The Simplest Method of Making Frames—Third Article in a Series on Amateur Stage Carpentry
IN DISCUSSING the making and covering of the actual frames for a stage setting, I must make it clear to the reader that I am addressing myself solely to beginners in the art of play producing and not to members of a thoroughly equipped little theater group who by means of a theater workshop and access to an ample purse are able to build their settings in a professional manner.
A Simple Holder for a Standard Caliper Head Which Makes It Easy to Measure Awkward Parts Accurately and Quickly
ONCE made, the micrometer measuring table illustrated is one of those devices for which new uses are found every day. It combines a remarkable degree of versatility with the utmost simplicity of construction. Because of the fact that it has no movable parts other than the spindle itself, the possible sources of error are reduced to a minimum, while the ends of accuracy and of rapid work are served by the provision of means for clamping various auxiliary equipment to the table in almost any position without resorting to undesirable makeshifts and cluttering up the working space.
ANY machinist familiar with tool-room grinding will note the advantages of the combination illustrated, which makes possible a quick change from cylindrical to internal grinding. The change may be accomplished in about three minutes. In this particular case the small tool-post grinder is retained as permanent equipment for the universal grinder and remains clamped to the machine most of the time.
Oversize Wheels Reduce Cost of Cylindrical Grinding
ON CYLINDRICAL grinding machines, whether of the plain or universal type, where the diameter of the wheel is 10 in., it is advisable to buy wheels 10½ in. instead. The extra cost, if any, will be small compared with the additional service the wheel will give.
TWO snap gages had been made and were ready for grinding in one large shop when changes made by the engineering department in the design of the work resulted in their becoming worthless. The writer was told to make two new gages to correspond with the revised design, but suggested that the original gages might be saved by following the method illustrated.
BECAUSE of its extensive use for fuel and lubricating lines in automobiles, airplanes and various shop installations, an ever increasing number of mechanics have to know how to work with copper tubing—how to anneal, straighten, cut, bend, and install it.
MANY a person who has observed an experienced glazier handle window glass with ease and rapidity has felt encouraged to do some glass cutting for himself, but usually with a disappointing outcome. Others have never had the courage to try to use a glass cutter; to them the process of cutting glass is a mystery.
IN SEVERE winter when it is too bitterly cold and windy to allow the windows to be left open, adequate ventilation may be insured by making narrow wooden frames covered with cotton for use as ventilators. It is often sufficient if the frames are 1 in. wide, inside measurement, and they rarely need to be more than 4 in.
KEYS, coins and other small articles cannot fall through a cold or hot air register in the floor if a piece of mosquito netting (wire cloth) is fitted underneath the iron grill as illustrated. It is necessary only to unscrew the grate, cut the netting the correct size, set it in place, and refasten the ironwork.
NOT least among the trials of winter is the freezing of a water pipe. A plumber is not always available and you may find yourself up against a real emergency, especially if the cold water pipe has become frozen in a section that is out of reach in the walls.
THE convertible ice, land and water sailboat illustrated is an all-year-round toy. It can be built in any convenient size. One feature is that when the boat is used on the water, it is not apt to turn over, as many toy yachts do. When equipped with runners for sailing on ice or hard crusted snow, the boat appears as in Fig. 1. The method of connecting mast and main frame is shown in Fig. 2.
You Can Make It in an Hour or Two from Cigar Boxes—Fascinating but Not Hard to Solve
ARTHUR L. SMITH
IN FIGS. 1 and 2 below is shown a block puzzle designed to interest the little folks and made entirely of cigar box stuff. It is a little better if the box has a sliding cover constructed with square corners as described on page 78 of the last June issue of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY or, as illustrated in Fig. 3, with mitered corners, which make a neater finish for those who take the trouble to fit them well.
PAPER funnels for the chemist, photographer or other user of liquids can be made from heavy envelopes such as those in which photographic papers come. The funnel is formed by cutting off a corner of the envelope. The cut takes the path of a quarter circle at a distance of 3 or 4 in. from the corner. The tip of the cone thus formed is then clipped off as shown.
A JIG like that below will prove a timesaver in drilling round stock. A small V is milled at the bottom, and central with it a ¾-in. hole is bored to take bushings for drills ranging from 1/16 to ½ in. inclusive. One end of the jig has an adjustment with a lock nut to regulate the distance of the hole from the end of the piece to be drilled; this stop can be turned upwards out of the way if desired.
THE sheet metal boiler illustrated below is used during the winter by a plumbing concern in Golden, Colorado, for thawing out frozen pipes. It consists of a boiler 18 by 10 in., of eighteen-gage steel, carefully riveted at all seams, and an inclosing hood of similar material, which is supported on legs of 1-in. angle iron.
LOST MOTION sometimes can be taken up in a machine without disassembling it by making a washer of wire and slipping the ends over the rod, bolt, or other part. The washer then can be closed by holding a bar of iron on one side and striking the opposite SIDE.
THE turtle compass illustrated below is made of two pieces of soft wood, each approximately ⅛ by 1⅞ by 2½ in., cut to the shape shown. Round the legs, tail and head, as indicated in the side view, and drill a 3/16-in. hole through the center. A double-edged razor blade of the type having a hole through the center is chipped or broken at the ends to fit the body of the turtle.
WOODEN shingles and the nails holding them can be removed easily and quickly from a building, with no damage to the shingles, by puncturing each shingle directly above and below each nailhead with a ¼-in. chisel. This severs the grain of the wood crosswise and allows the shingle to be removed by prying up the butt end.
IN THIS day of the sectional bookcase, those of us who are gradually accumulating a library add a section from time to time. Even then there comes a “time between” when the bookcase is filled up and we have a few books over. It was such a time that prompted me to build the book stand illustrated, which is made of white pine, the base being tongue-and-grooved stock (flooring).
How to Make a Strong Combination Kitchen Stool and Pantry Steps
CHARLES A. KING
KITCHEN stool and pantry steps are combined in the useful piece of household furniture illustrated at right. Because of its broad bearing on the floor and its well braced and substantial although simple construction, it has to a marked degree the strength and rigidity necessary to insure the safety of those who use it.
THE secret of making a good outdoor rink for ice skating is to spray the water on as if watering a lawn. When the ground is flooded too rapidly some of the water is apt to drain off after the ice has begun to form and the thin shell of surface ice soon breaks.
IN A small kitchen where there is little room for a shoe shining stand of the usual type, a sliding attachment may be fastened as shown under the seat of a heavily built kitchen chair. To prevent the stand from coming out too far, a large screw is driven into the side of the box toward the rear and another into one of the slides near the front, so that the two screws cannot pass each other.
ANY ONE of the blueprints listed below can be obtained for 25 cents. The blueprints are complete in themselves, but if you wish the corresponding back issue of the magazine in which the project was described in detail, it can be had for 25 cents additional so long as copies are available.
IN ALMOST every family there is an old-fashioned high chiffonier with a mirror that has been consigned to the attic, and nearly all secondhand furniture stores have such pieces for sale at low prices. At a cost of not more than five dollars you can convert a chiffonier of this style into an up-to-date wardrobe and an attractive dressing table.
THE andirons illustrated in Fig. 2 are suitable for any fireplace,and especially for one in a log cabin or camp. Separate andirons have a tendency to move about when the fire is being built or rebuilt, but this one-piece set eliminates that. The materials may be found in any pipe fitting shop or wherever considerable pipe fitting is being done.
1. The Pacific. In many parts the tidal rise and fall is only a few inches. Seldom does it exceed three or four feet. 2. The culture of the date palm has been attempted in a number of places in the United States. It is markedly successful only in two regions—one near Phoenix, Ariz.; the other in the neighborhood of Indio, in southern California.