"SUPPOSE you tell us, Frank—you’re the financier in this crowd. What would you advise a chap with $1,000 to invest his money in these days?” Roger Blake put the question to him as he and John Fallon and Frank Dickinson were waiting one evening at the latter’s house for Ernest Anderson to show up— so that the weekly bridge game could start.
Today's house can be so constructed that change in temperature will not be felt and home can be warm or cool as you wish
F. G. PRYOR
AT SOME time or another, most of us have had the misfortune to live in one of those sieve-like houses that are cold on frigid days, hot on torrid days, and generally receptive to all outdoor changes. Fortunately, however, there are not many houses of this sort going up today, for good building practice now calls for construction that permits temperature control twenty-four hours a day throughout the year.
AFTER looking over a few back copies of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, I found that there was not a single article on chemistry in them. Each of these issues seemed to be about ninety percent aviation and about ten percent shop. Personally I am interested in aviation, but POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY is getting to be more air-minded than science-minded.
Giant Laboratory Reveals Secrets of Foolproof Flight
NOT long ago a group of aeronautical engineers stood at the Anacostia Naval Air Station, near Washington, D. C., and watched a newly designed Navy bomber howl down from the skies in a 6,000-foot vertical dive. Attached to the plane was a 1,000-pound bomb.
Research Chemists Attack Narcotics to Find Their Habit-Forming Secret and Produce Harmless Substitute to Cure Addicts and End Vicious Trade
GEORGE LEE DOWD
WHAT gives dope its habit-forming property? At present no one can answer that question, but chemists in a special laboratory at the University of Virginia are trying to find the answer. They are seeking a “dopeless dope” that may rescue an army of unfortunates from the body and soul destroying habit that enslaves them.
INTO the next ten years the Russian people must pack the work of a century, or the Soviet’s big plan to turn Russia into an up-to-date industrial nation will fail. These, in substance, were the words, a few weeks ago, of Joseph Stalin, dictator of Russia.
Instruments That Take 40,000 Pictures a Second and Make a Snapshot with Artificial Light Are Other Photographic Marvels.
ALDEN P. ARMAGNAC
A NEW YORK inventor is building for himself a camera the size of a small pill box. It will be so small that he can conceal it in the palm of his hand. Yet its diminutive pictures will be easily enlarged to standard snapshot size, or larger, with perfect clearness.
Revolutionary changes in aircraft may follow use of new type propeller that adds to speed and is silent.
A DESIGN for a siren gave Christian A. Volf, Danish-born acoustical engineer, an idea that may lead to such a new departure in aviation as the aerial leviathan on this page. One day in his New York City laboratory, Volf was struck with the likeness between the spinning rotor that makes a siren’s whine and an airplane’s whirling propeller.
Thrills and inspiring determination mark the life story of this great aviation pioneer as it will be told in this and succeeding issues.
Part 1—Fired from School He Flies to Fame and Wealth
ROBERT E. MARTIN
CHARLES A. LINDBERGH recently told this writer he considers Anthony Fokker the greatest airplane designer of the world. His habitual caution in using superlatives makes such praise even more emphatic. Reflecting upon it later, it occurred to me that these two, the world’s premier flyer and its greatest designer, resemble each other in important respects.
HOUSEWIVES of Evanston, Ill., find a new “butcherless” butcher shop recently opened there a convenience when buying meat. It is one of a group planned to sell exclusively the new “packaged” meat. Soft carpets cover its floors, tables and comfortable chairs are arrayed along one wall.
CANOES and small rowboats are quickly converted to motor boats by a new electric outboard motor, which substitutes a quiet hum for the chugging of the conventional outboard. Power is supplied by a six-volt battery. The motor, which was developed in Long Beach, Calif., can run for about three hours on one charge, at a speed about equal to fast rowing.
FOR many centuries priests have toiled up the steep stairs of tall towers in Mohammedan churches to send their wailing call to prayer floating over cities of the East. Science, however, is planning to lighten their labors. Recent reports that have been received from Turkey say that radio engineers are experimenting with huge loudspeakers mounted at the tops of towers and connected to one central broadcasting station.
Now a hospital patient can talk to the nurse at any time, whether she is in the room or not. An ingenious microphone-and-loudspeaker system makes this possible. A patient who desires attention merely presses a push button lying on the bed near at hand.
A MODEL glider that Martin Moad, Los Angeles, Calif., high school boy, built recently gave him a four-mile chase over hill and dale. When he launched it with a rubber cord from a 450-foot hill, it breasted rising air currents so successfully that a long straightaway pursuit followed before Moad could recover the model.
YELLOW, black, red, and green snow are curiosities reported from many parts of the earth, belying the familiar phrase “white as snow.” Long the subject of controversy, the peculiar tints of these forms of snow have been explained by modern science.
EARLY this summer, workmen and steam shovels will begin work on the greatest private development ever undertaken in America—New York’s $250,000,000 Radio City, financed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. By the fall of 1933 they will have completed what will be a center of music, opera, and radio and television broadcasting.
WHEN a motorist needs chains on his wheels, all he has to do is pull a lever beside his emergency brake handle. This is the feat of an automatic tire chain applier invented by B. A. Small, of Roanoke, Va. When the driver pulls the control lever beside him, a pair of devices beneath the rear part of the running boards go into action.
EVERYONE but the umpire wore a gas mask, when soldiers at Fort Wayne, Mich., recently staged a baseball game. Officers here have adopted a novel policy to accustom the men to the feel of the respirators .They are required to wear the devices when playing games, so that they will become used to breathing through them under the strain of wartime battles, and hence will be less likely to expose themselves to serious poisoning in an effort to escape momentarily from the restraint of the mask.
LONG before aviators thought of leaping with parachutes, fearless Cuban natives invented a substitute to speed their descent from the tops of royal palm trees. Here the camera man snapped a remarkable picture of one of them, Pepe Garcia, as he takes the air in a seventy-five-foot drop, clutching a bundle of palm fronds.
VISITORS to Florida may now rent their own strawberry patches for the season. The “canned” strawberry beds are delivered in concrete troughs four or five wide, with a low rim so that they may hold water. Each plant is set in a small can with holes punched in the bottom in order to allow water to get at the roots.
ROADS unrolled from a spool—that is the dream of Benjamin F. Morningstar, Park Ridge, N. J., inventor. Recently he exhibited a model of a truck he has designed which could lay a 100-foot section of corduroy road in two minutes across a swamp.
THREE small steel balls rolling in inverted “V” slots of different slopes in a piece of cardboard allow a motorist to test his brakes without leaving the wheel. The tester is placed level and parallel to the side of the car. With the car going twenty miles an hour, the brakes are suddenly applied.
DON’T be alarmed if you visit a movie studio and are warned to look out for the dynamite. It doesn’t mean high explosive. According to a glossary of movie terms compiled by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, it refers to “an open connection box into which the studio lamps are plugged—dangerous if stepped on.” “Canaries” are unidentified. high pitched noises in the sound recording system. A “bug” is defined as an insect that flies across the set while a scene is being photographed, usually spoiling it.
IN A DETROIT hotel the other day engineers gathered to watch a demonstration of one of the latest wonders of radio, a typewriter which sent typed letters through the air without the aid of wires. At the receiving end they are automatically reproduced upon a typewriter without the touch of a human hand.
STEEL “biscuits” were baked in ordinary biscuit pans as a test in San Francisco the other day before a group of metallurgical experts. Unlike the biscuits that mother makes, which are all from the same batch of dough, each of the steel biscuits was made from a different mixture of metal.
AUTHORITIES at the Mount Wilson Observatory, California, soon may announce the site for the huge new 200-inch telescope now under construction. The big telescope must be placed on a mountain top, with plenty of clear air around it. It must be in a position where there is little wind, and where there is a relatively slight change in temperature during the day and night.
ONE man can easily lift a 2,000-pound telegraph pole with a jack recently developed by a California power company. When he swings the handle a worm-and-gear drive elevates the lifting arm. The base is so large that it may be used on soft or uneven ground. When the lifting arm is lowered, it can be slipped under a pole with a clearance of one half inch.
ALL sorts of shields have been designed to fit over the bulb in the automobile headlight with the object of cutting down the glare. Here is a novel type fitted with a horizontally slotted spherical front piece that allows some of the light to reach the road directly in front of the car.
NOT everyone called to serve on a jury knows just how his name happened to be chosen. The illustration shows how names, written on slips of paper, are tumbled in a revolving wheel-like cage and then drawn one by one. An innovation in this particular machine was the idea of jury commissioners of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Tiring of complaints that the jury-selecting wheel was fixed so that certain names fell into hidden pockets, they put a large glass window in one side.
ODDEST of railway cars is a vehicle that speeds at fifty miles an hour along a private railway near Paris, France. It carries models of helicopters, or vertical-flying aircraft, to be tested for their lifting power and stability. The user of this strange equipment is Louis Damblanc, French aeronautical engineer, who for years has predicted the ultimate triumph of the helicopter over conventional airplanes.
JUST how a “lie detector” traps the prevaricating criminal was strikingly shown not long ago when the Illinois State Criminologist, Dr. John A. Larson, obtained permission to try the device upon a Chinaman accused of murder. This type of machine, developed at the University of Chicago, makes a chart of a suspect's pulse and breathing while he is being questioned.
A TRUCK body recently developed by a Portland, Ore., department store makes loading easy and relieves traffic congestion. Side doors open downward, forming a gangway from the sidewalk. Loaded hand trucks are pushed up this inclined runway and remain in the delivery truck when it goes out on its route.
Gas and Oil Pumped into Exhausted Fields Start New Flow of Liquid Gold
AN OLD oil field, almost exhausted by a quarter century of draining, has just sprung into the spotlight by suddenly yielding a heavy flow of high gravity oil. Ancient wells whose output had dwindled to a mere trickle of oil from a sluggish pump have astounded oil experts by beginning to flow at the rate of several hundred barrels of thirty-two-degree oil a day.
Miracles of Change in the Industrial World Show How By-products That Caused Big Losses Have Been Transformed into Valuable Assets by Work of an Army of Chemists
JESSE F. GELDERS
BELGIUM’S mysterious poison fog is no longer a mystery. The source of its death-dealing fumes, which claimed seventy human victims and a large number of cattle, has been traced to near-by factories from which sulphurous fumes escaped.
MAKING a motion picture camera peer into small deep holes and record the condition of their inner surfaces is the achievement of German engineers. They developed a “pipe camera” for this purpose as an aid in inspecting the inside surfaces of pipes and gun barrels.
TINY steamers are pushed over a huge brightly-painted relief map of the world in a show window of a steamship company in Berlin, Germany. By this mechanical means the passers-by are shown the location of each of the company’s vessels on the ocean highways.
NOW that the North Pole has been conquered by dog team, airplane, and dirigible, northward-bound explorers are turning to less widely-advertised goals. Recently two Canadian government flyers, Major L. T. Burwash and W. E. Gilbert, became the first to reach the little-known North Magnetic Pole by air.
SOON you will see, if you have not already done so, a new kink in book matches. An ingenious manufacturer recently conceived the idea of shaping the match “sticks” themselves to resemble the product whose merits the cover describes. Thus they are shaped to simulate cigars, tooth paste tubes, and bottles of soft drinks according to the needs of the advertiser.
QUICK detection and diagnosis of lung trouble are made possible by the invention of two German physicians. Their new instrument resembles a stethoscope, but wires carrying an electric current take the place of a listening tube. For the physician’s ear is substituted the cathode ray, which has hitherto been associated with such uses as the measuring of lightning flashes and other high-voltage currents.
A SMALL cheap photo-electric cell, or electric eye, has been developed by a manufacturing firm in Camden, N. J. This little electrical device has the power to release a current of electricity whenever light strikes it. Although this model has been developed for the use of amateur experimenters, it can be put to many useful tasks.
IF A HALF-INCH cube of water from the average pond were suddenly enlarged to a million times its natural volume, an observer might see with a shock some of the strange creatures that live there. That startling feat of magnification was performed not long ago at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York, where glass models form an exhibit of “rotifers” and other oddities of aquatic life magnified a millionfold.
GOVERNMENT entomologists are now going up in the air to trap insect pests. Their latest device is a wind-vane trap, which keeps its mouth wide open in the direction of the wind to catch insects enroute from their breeding places to sugar-beet fields in the West.
SINGING wires of aerial cable-ways form the chief means of communication between cities of the coffee-growing district of Colombia, in South America. These cities are isolated from each other by mountain ranges and impassable jungles.
FROM ships to mammoth motor trucks is an easy step for Anton Flettner, noted German inventor. A few years ago his “Flettner rotorship,” a strange craft propelled by vertical revolving stacks instead of screws or sails, startled the world by traveling across the Atlantic.
SUCCESSFULLY demonstrating in test flights that it practically can fly itself, land, or take off without the aid of a pilot and cannot stall, spin, sideslip or stunt, a new “free-winged” airplane is scheduled to be produced on large scale by its Los Angeles designer, G. Wilbur Cornelius.
MAIL sometimes soars from a gun in the British navy. This rarely used way of delivering letters was demonstrated not long ago when H. M. S. Nelson left England to be a guest at the American Navy’s maneuvers off Panama. The destroyer Windsor steamed up to the departing Nelson and hove to.
ALMOST 500 bottles are thrown overboard daily from British ships into the oceans of the world and allowed to drift where they will. They are not empty, for each contains a set of printed instructions, besides a record of the point at which it was dropped.
WHEN an earthquake moves a good-sized piece of land ten or twelve feet, everything on it goes with it. Naturally the men who build highways and dams would like to know in advance whether a local earthquake is likely to disrupt their handiwork.
Now a doctor may see a patient’s internal organs in relief, unlike the flat view given by an ordinary X-ray machine. A “three-dimensional” X-ray outfit that accomplishes this surprising result is the recent invention of Dr. Jesse William DuMond and Archer Hoyt, of the California Institute of Technology, located at Pasadena.
FEW are the homes without enough space for a home workshop, since the recent introduction of a novel woodworking cabinet that folds up and can be stored in a corner of a clothes closet. Completely motorized, its eight power tools perform practically any task that the householder desires.
“JOINTED” street cars have been developed by German engineers as a means of providing additional comfort to riders and greater ease of operation on sharp curves. The new trolleys are really two cars, joined together by an accordionlike device between them, much like the connections between cars of a vestibuled American railway train.
PRACTICAL experiments at the University of Illinois prove that the best way for beginners to learn the golf swing is by the use of blindfolds. Dr. Coleman R. Griffith taught two groups, one by the "blinders” method and the other by the “keep your eye on the ball” system.
WHEN the naval airship Los Angeles drones in for a landing at the Lakehurst, N. J., air station, her commander’s voice now personally directs the ground crew who moor the giant ship. Recently six huge loudspeakers were added to the mobile mooring mast that tows the big airship into her hangar.
DEEPER and deeper into the earth’s crust are poking the drills with which men bore for oil. Nearly two miles deep, or 9,700 feet, is the world’s record reached not long ago by a well in a California oil field, fifty miles northwest of Bakersfield.
THE world's first Diesel racing car recently sped over the sands of Daytona Beach, Fla. It attained a speed of more, than 100 miles an hour. So promising was its performance that its designer, C. L. Cummins, of Columbus, Ind., pioneer builder of Diesel automobiles (P.S.M., May ’30, p.52), has announced he will enter it in the famous 500-mile race to be held at Indianapolis, Ind., on Memorial Day.
AUTOMATIC shifting of automobile gears is the purpose of a new device designed by a Cincinnati, Ohio, inventor. When starting a car, the gears are shifted from low to high without attention from the driver. It is claimed that if the car strikes muddy roads or heavy sand, the gears automatically shift back to low.
TEN thousand pounds of metal went into what is said to be the largest warm-air furnace in the world, just completed for a large church in Rochester, Minn. An interesting feature of its construction was the use of electric welding as a substitute for riveting.
THE story of a fish that “shoots” its prey was brought from Siam recently by Dr. Hugh M. Smith, scientific adviser on fisheries to the Siamese government. If an insect or spider is perched on overhanging brush or tree roots near the water, the shooting fish knocks it over with a squirt of water.
Now receiving her glistening “overcoat” of shiny fabric, the Navy’s newest and greatest airship Akron is nearing completion in her dock at Akron, Ohio. Workmen are rushing the work so that her maiden flight, it is announced, will take place early in June.
A TRIM little biplane, said to be the speediest fighting plane in the world, was tried out the other day at Mitchel Field, N. Y. Navy officials refused to give out any information about the new hornet of the skies, but it was believed to have a top speed of about 300 miles an hour and to be able to attain an altitude of 29,000 feet.
TO THRILL airplane pilots and spectators and to test an aviator’s skill in speedy maneuvers, a flying school at San Diego, Calif., has revived balloon-bursting. A door is removed from a brougham airplane and four huge, gas-filled balloons are placed in the cabin. An assistant pilot gets in with them. The ship takes off, followed by another. Then the four balloons are pushed out of the cabin, in quick succession.
PRACTICE of aerial machine gun fire on the ground is made possible by a device which has been installed at a Texas flying field. The ground device, used in training airmen, is a wooden framed cockpit with a machine gun fitted to it. The frame is pivoted in such a manner that it will turn or nose down or up like a flying plane so the pilot may train his gun on the target.
AN AIRPLANE gets worse bumps in the air than when it is landing. That was one of the surprising facts recently discovered when Westing-house engineers fitted a plane at the Newark Airport, N. J., with a new electric shock recorder. Heretofore such shocks could only be estimated by mathematical calculations, after testing models in a wind tunnel.
BIGGER than the giant airship Los Angeles will be an all-metal dirigible for the U. S. Navy on which work is expected to start shortly. It is to be patterned after the much smaller metal-clad blimp built for the Navy some time ago by a Detroit aircraft company, which has proved itself in numerous cruises.
AN ODD looking little plane is the one recently perfected by Earl E. McClary, aeronautical engineer, of Huntington Park, Calif. It is a cabin monoplane with fuselage cut away in unusual fashion in order to give the pusher propeller room to turn.
ONCE more builders are turning to the “pusher” type of airplane in which the propeller is mounted at the rear of the wing, reviving early styles in aviation. A little two-place monoplane recently designed by Hammondsport, New York, airplane builders is driven by a forty-horsepower motor turning a pusher propeller.
A TINY airplane which needs no elevators, or tail to control ascent and descent, was flown recently in Tellerton, England. The ship, which is a high-winged single-seated monoplane, has wings of an unusual design. The after edge of its wing tips extend back beyond the center of the wing, forming a shallow “V” in a horizontal plane.
PILOT and passenger ride in a car shaped like a Zeppelin gondola, beneath the wings of a novel sport plane tried out the other day at Lincoln, Nebr. Devoid of fuselage and with only the suggestion of a tail, the strange craft is an innovation among light airplanes.
AUTOGIRO police may be an actuality in New York City, one of these days. The New York Police Department is investigating the possibilities of this odd type of “windmill plane,” which could land in city parks within congested areas. New York was one of the first cities to employ conventional planes as an aid it its police work.
A CHICAGO weather forecaster, C. A. Donnel, recently set aside his official duties long enough to run down a curious bit of weather lore. He checked up on the performance of the groundhog, as a weather prophet, for the last eleven years. On the second of February each year, tradition has it, this small furry animal comes out of his burrow and surveys the world about him.
Lighter Than Cork, Ecuador's Strange Product Makes Fine Life Preservers and Insulates Against Noise and Heat
CLAYTON R. SLAWTER
ENGINEERS of a big silk manufacturing firm in New York City were faced recently with a difficult problem. Vibrations caused by heavy machinery in their plant on the twenty-third floor of a skyscraper ran down the building’s steel framework and were felt on every floor.
Soaring enthusiasts prepare for big season, and this year thousands will ride sailing planes—Endurance flights and altitude attempts certain to set new marks as pilots acquire skill in guiding light motorless aircraft
EDWIN W. TEALE
A TWENTY-MILE flight across the open sea, a half-hour ride on heat currents rising from New York skyscrapers, a thrilling leap on skis with a wing-clipped glider strapped to the jumper’s waist, a swoop across the San Fernando Valley from a California mountain peak, and the trial of a weird rubber monoplane inflated with air have been the high lights of recent glider activity.
BUBBLES galore, to delight a child’s heart, are the product of a new toy that forms them with the rapidity of a machine gun. Blowing into its pipe shoots a rapid stream of the colorful bubbles into the air. The novel plaything is filled with soap solution, made by dissolving a supply of prepared soap in a glass of water.
ONE of the ways that Chicago keeps clean is to prevent locomotives in railroad yards from belching black smoke into the air. At one of its terminals, a specially-constructed hood, like that illustrated above, is swung out over the smokestack of a standing engine while it is getting up steam.
SPEEDY, accurate filing in the shop is now made easier by an entirely new type of hand tool. It works by compressed air, and makes as many as 5,000 strokes a minute. A unique “file guide,” an eight-sided knob keyed to the spindle, turns the file to guide it over an irregular surface at the touch of thumb and forefinger, while the tool is held steady.
“SYNTHETIC air,” new aid to divers, recently received a successful try-out at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, in anticipation of its use on Sir Hubert Wilkins’ submarine trip across the Arctic Ocean. The man-made product proved better than natural air.
Now even the humble snapshot has a picture frame designed especially for it. A favorite snap of mother, father, or sweetheart slips between two panes of beveled glass and stands upright in this ingenious little frame of modernistic design.
A NEWS photographer of Omaha, Nebr., invented a “sky hook” for a camera the other day as an aid in taking shots from difficult angles. His camera is mounted at one end of a light plank about eight feet long. A movable wooden rod extends from it to the end of the plank.
UP AND down a ladder runs a novel “rescue basket” demonstrated the other day by German firemen. Suggesting the “bo’s’n’s chair” used to lower persons over the side of ships, it makes easy the task of saving invalids from a burning building. The escaping person is helped into the basket at the window’s level and lowered by a rope to the ground.
IN THE photo above is shown the “wobble meter,” a machine that measures human fatigue. When the subject stands on a low platform that teeters forward and sideways, two little dials add up the wobbles. They are a direct measure of his tiredness.
FEW people realize that the oval disk of light that is seen on the floor of a darkened room wherever a pencil of sunlight filters through a chink in the blinds is an actual image of the sun. The oval shape is a mere distortion. If a piece of cardboard is held at right angles to the pencil of light, the image becomes a circle, whose diameter can be measured and made the basis of a fairly accurate calculation of the sun’s diameter!
A GIANT among castings is the cylinder jacket for a huge 14,000-ton forging press constructed recently at Bethlehem, Pa. It is made in one piece and weighs 230 tons, 460,000 pounds, or about as much as a large locomotive. Six furnaces working at one time supplied the melted metal for making this titanic casting, said to be the largest ever poured.
LEST the rustle of a speaker’s notes destroy the illusion of spontaneity in his spirited oration, a large broadcasting company is trying out a “crackleproof” paper. If successful, it plans to have all speakers use this style of paper for their written speeches.
AN ENORMOUS German “coal shovel” runs on the outer tracks of a four-track railway, straddling the two center tracks. The grotesque looking machine digs coal out of a huge storage pile and loads it into cars on the center tracks. Its swinging boom digs to a maximum depth of 100 feet. In an hour it loads about 1,242 tons.
BABIES with breathing troubles at a Chicago hospital receive treatment in a strange looking machine. It is an artificial respirator, for use when tiny lungs have difficulty doing their work. Feeding oxygen to infants through masks, or forcing their breath by mechanical means, often was injurious or irritating.
A POLO pony made of metal helps Robert W. Harasta, of Los Angeles, to improve his game. Harasta devised a make-believe mount from which he could practice. The product of his handiwork was a hobbyhorse standing on adjustable legs. Changing their height gives Harasta a chance to experiment with strokes from ponies of different stature.
SUCCESSFUL photographs of television images, made recently at the Schenectady, N. Y., laboratory of Dr. E. F. W. Alexanderson, give the man in the street his first view of “what television looks like.” Only a privileged few, to date, have been able with their own eyes to witness actual demonstrations of seeing at a distance, for at present television is admittedly still in the experimental stage.
WINDOWS that you can see out of, but not in through, a sliding roof to let in sunlight by day, and a 225,000-candlepower searchlight to illuminate the way at night are features of two motor buses just completed in England for an Indian prince.
IN WINNING the honor of being the foggiest part of the United States for 1930, the coast of Maine took first, second and third places. Moose Peak Lighthouse won first place with 1,526 hours of fog. Libby Island and Petit Manan, also on the Maine coast, won second and third places.
EVERY part of a plant’s foliage gets its share of sunlight with a new “sun-chasing” stand for a flowerpot invented by a Winchester, Mass., man. The stand revolves on ball bearings at the finger’s touch. Given an occasional turn, it protects plants against becoming lop-sided from unequal growth.
IN PRODUCING talking pictures, it is often necessary to move the camera while the scene is being filmed and the sound to accompany it is being recorded. The most recent device to facilitate this operation without noise or jar is a flexible camera mounting by which the tripod can be raised on wheels and the entire outfit moved to a new position.
SLOWING down the blood stream by self poisoning, according to Dr. Arnold Lorand, of Carlsbad, Germany, is one of the principal causes of old age. It is brought about by eating insufficient supplies of mineral salts and gland stimulating chemicals.
A YEAR or so ago the board of directors of a New York City trust company sent out engraved notes of apology to some 500 of its neighbors, asking their indulgence “during the unavoidably noisy weeks” that would occur while rivets were being placed in its new building.
A USED washing machine motor, a length of rope, some lumber, and a few pieces of gas pipe—with these materials, Charles Johnson, of Cleveland, Ohio, fashioned an automatic garage door opener that has given him unfailing service without need of maintenance or repair.
THE newest war terror is an anti-aircraft gun, built in England, that could fire a shell over the top of Mt. Everest, world’s highest peak. The weapon’s extraordinary vertical range enables it to destroy airplanes flying as high as five and a half miles above the earth’s surface. Few planes climb higher. Developed according to an entirely new pattern by the famous firearms concern of Vickers, the gun is controlled by a device that holds it automatically on the target.
Now electricity tests your soil, and tells you what sort of crops you may expect from a hitherto unused piece of land. A compact electric instrument, that weighs but nine pounds with its wooden box, can be carried anywhere in the field. A sample of soil to be tested is placed in a cup on the instrument.
“FLAT” hailstones, shaped like coins, were a novelty that fell recently on the island of Cyprus. They melted first at the centers, forming doughnutlike rings. Recently reported to the British Meteorological Office in London, they remain a curiosity for which that office is unable to give an explanation.
MAGNETIZED letters are used in a new type of sign perfected recently by an Omaha, Neb., firm. Mounted on a back-ground of steel, they are held against it by the magnetic force. Both background and letters are made in varying sizes, each letter having two or more magnets in its back, depending on its size.
“MERRY-GO-ROUND” lunch counters are the newest idea in restaurants. So far a dozen of these unusual eating places with revolving tables have been opened on the Pacific coast. They introduce an entirely novel idea in service, and do away with the necessity of employing a staff of waiters.
CHEAP gas produced from cornstalks and sewage may soon be lighting and heating homes in the corn belt, according to Dr. A. M. Buswell of the University of Illinois. Recent experiments show, that these farm wastes, when placed in a tank eight feet square and eight feet deep, will provide all the gas needed by the average family.
A MACHINE, invented by a California engineer, bores horizontal holes for pipes under streets. Operated by compressed air, it can dig small tunnels as long as forty feet from the starting point at one setting of the device under working conditions.
A SERIES of bumps, about a foot high, extending across streets at intervals, is solving the speed problem in the residential section of Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Traffic rules set a speed limit of twelve miles per hour. Serious violation of this limit is prevented by the series of bumps, recently installed, which make fast driving uncomfortable and dangerous.
SOAP and water won’t hurt a new washable wall paper coated with a cellulose material developed in the laboratories of the Du Pont company. Samples of this paper resisted 8,640 rubbings with cheese-cloth, soap, and water before showing signs of wear.
HAVE you ever wondered how savages living under insanitary conditions, with no knowledge of diet, keep healthy? Carl van Noorden, Viennese doctor, believes it may be due to two factors —sparing use of salt and unfertilized cultivation of the vegetables they eat.
AT LAST a way to give scientific mirrors a durable coating has been discovered. Silvering them has always been a problem, since the shiny coat must be on the front of the glass—unlike that of a boudoir mirror—and consequently is exposed to the air’s tarnishing effect.
FREE from annoyance by insect pests is the fisherman who dons a new head net. Unmindful of them, he can tramp through the most mosquito-infested marshes; nor can gnats and black flies and other insects get at his face. The net fits over any hat, and is attached to a collapsible steel frame.
A GIANT among grinding machines was completed the other day by a tool manufacturing firm in Worcester, Mass. It is said to be the largest machine of its kind in the world. Comparison with the man in the photo gives an idea of its size. Huge steel or iron rods, as large as three feet in diameter and twenty feet long, can be handled on it.
CAMPERS or tourists may get clean water almost anywhere by using a small filter developed recently by a Chicago, Ill., firm. The filter, to which a length of rubber tubing is attached, fits over the necks of one-gallon or two-gallon bottles.
A DEVICE recently placed on the market by a Detroit, Mich., manufacturer, is an electric heater for hotbed sections in greenhouses. It resembles a steel bed spring, since it consists of a light angle-bar frame across which the heating elements are stretched.
ON ITS much-delayed way toward South America from Germany, the giant German seaplane DO-X recently set a new world’s record for heavier-than-air machines. In a test flight it lifted a total load of fifty-five tons into the air.
A NEW British phonograph plays records at any angle. It is fitted with a specially-balanced tone arm that remains in contact with the record regardless of how the machine is tilted—even upside down. Taking phonographs out in small boats, cars, and airplanes made necessary this acrobat among talking machines.
ODDEST - costumed man aboard each of the naval aircraft carriers Saratoga and Lexington during recent maneuvers off Panama was a figure clad in asbestos. He dared not remove gloves or helmet for a second. He watched planes leaving and alighting on the decks.
A NOVEL rear wheel enables a British motorcycle race driver to skid his machine around turns on dirt tracks. It has a grooved rim that carries a series of balls free to rotate on small axles. The device is like a large ball bearing, except that the balls rotate at an angle to the direction of the wheel moving forward over the ground.
THIS disk shows at a glance all of the salient points regarding the nations of Europe. By setting the pointer opposite the country about which information is desired, the disk shows the name and population of the capital city, the location of the country in Europe, the area in square miles, the population per square mile, the population of the country, the form of government, the name and length of the principal river, the name and height of the highest mountain, the standard time when it is noon in Greenwich, and the national colors.
ASTRONOMERS travel thousands of miles to observe the sun’s luminous halo, or “corona,” during a total eclipse, the only time when it may be seen by human eyes. But a French astronomer, B. Lyot, has now successfully tested on a mountain peak in southern France a way to trace the form of the corona without waiting for an eclipse.
A MODERN marvel of radio engineering—an airplane without a pilot, steered and controlled entirely by radio—is scheduled to start next month from Texas on a tour of 100 principal cities of the United States. POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY presents to its readers on this page the first published story and pictures of this radio wonder, which has hitherto been tested and flown in strictest secrecy.
TO AID a veterinary surgeon operate upon a sick horse, a unique revolving cradlelike operating table was recently installed at a “horse sanatorium" of Hoppegarten, near Berlin, Germany. After a small injection of a narcotic to make him manageable, the horse is strapped in the special harness provided.
DR. CHARLES HERTY, former president of the American Chemical Society, announced recently that “slash pine,” a tree with which the South abounds, may become a crop rivaling cotton in importance, following the discovery that it can be made into white paper and newsprint.
THAT rarest aid to restless sleepers— a really dark room—is brought within the reach of everyone by a new “sleep mask” designed especially for the purpose of shading a sleeper’s eyes. Padded with soft down, it fits lightly and comfortably over the face.
A NEW rowboat comes in halves, so that it can be stowed away easily for carrying on the back of a car. Arriving at the water’s edge, the owner has merely to join the halves together to have a full-sized, seaworthy sport boat. No special water-tight fitting is required, since each half is complete and able to float by itself.
DESIGNED to take the place of human cooks, an automatic pancake cooker, recently invented, flips the cakes automatically. When its electric switches are turned on, a measured quantity of batter flows into the pan. At the end of an interval timed for proper cooking, the half-cooked pancake is deposited on its opposite side, on another cooking plate.
Two small openings shaped like markings on cards of the “heart” suit enable a new window shade roller bracket to be used at either end of the roller. The smaller of the openings holds the projections on the ends of the roller. These are passed through the jaws that connect the openings. Putting up shades on these brackets is said to be easier than when one closed-jaw bracket is used to hold the “fixed” end of the roller. According to the inventor, the bracket can be used with any type roller.
LAST month a British passenger vehicle that can travel on road or rails, known as the “Ro-Railer,” was described in POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY. So successful were the first tests of this extraordinary gasoline motor car that a new type, the “Freight Ro-Railer,” has now appeared.
FATAL to rats or mice, but harmless to humans and cats and dogs, a new rat poison was developed recently by the United States Department of Agriculture. It is made by grinding bulbs of the red squill, an onionlike ornamental plant found along the shores of the Mediterranean.
A HUGE transatlantic passenger liner was equipped recently with a novelty in the way of officers’ quarters. A smoking room is built into its forward smokestack. Since it is a motor vessel, its funnels are dummies. Their great size, however, enables their interiors to be used to good advantage.
How would you like to use a typewriter like this one every day? Said to be the largest in the world, it was not designed for correspondence work, but was developed to handle forms and wide ledgers required by some steamship and insurance companies.
“NOSE hangars,” which protect airplane engines from subzero weather, have been put in service in Canada. Stoves in the hangars send heated air around the motors, keeping them from freezing. Folding wings on the plane enable it to tuck its nose easily into such a shelter.
WITHIN the last few months, “flying weather” predictions have appeared in newspapers. Where they come from is shown in this picture, made at Mitchel Field, N. Y. Here and at other fields, small balloons are released periodically. Observers watch their drift with theodolites, or measuring telescopes, to find the velocity of high-altitude winds.
THE airport at Newark, N. J., terminus of transcontinental air routes and hub of coastal air lines in the East, is now the busiest in the world. Fifty passenger planes, each bearing six to eighteen passengers, land or take off each day, and twelve mail planes arrive or leave nightly.
A DEVICE developed in the World War to detect enemy tunneling or “sapping” may safeguard coal miners from one of their strangest hazards. Occasionally underground pockets of gas, compressed under high pressure and tightly sealed by Nature, are found near coal mines.
A ONE-OUNCE locomotive recently shown in London seems to justify its builder’s assertion that it is the smallest one in the world. Leonard Beal, a musician of Hampstead, England, built the tiny locomotive. Though but two inches long, it is an exact miniature of a light side-tank locomotive, a type used for short suburban runs in Great Britain.
DANGERS of blind, or instrument, flying experiments are eliminated by a new type of hood, just constructed by two Brooks Field, Texas, engineers. It snaps open at the release of a trigger, enabling the flyer to climb out and free himself in his parachute in the event of a fall.
A RAILWAY car designed by Professor Wiesinger, head of a technical school in Zurich, Switzerland, is believed to be capable of speeds of 225 miles an hour in daily operation with 150 passengers. The designer constructed a small scale model of his unusual looking vehicle, fully streamlined and fitted with aerial propellers at each end.
WHAT is said to be the first school for florists as a part of a public school system is in operation in St. Louis, Mo. Classes are held two evenings a week and students are taught designing, window trimming, and color harmony.
Now you can tell the length of a story or letter as you type it. A little device that counts words written by typewriters is the product of a firm of instrument makers in Hartford, Conn. It is operated from the space bar. Every time you depress it after writing a word, the device tallies up a word for you.
WITH outer walls made almost entirely of glass and steel, this office building represents a new trend in architecture. Windows are set in light steel frames and extend from floor to ceiling. Since the framework has been reduced to a minimum, the effect is that of an almost solid glass wall.
BUILDING a concrete bridge in winter was the problem that highway engineers of Lansing, Mich., recently faced. They solved it by constructing a steam-heated house over the entire length of the bridge site. This enabled them to pour concrete in weather that was frequently below zero.
The Architect Builds His Own Home—A Series Simplicity Adds Beauty to House
The Architect Builds His Own Home—A Series Simplicity Adds Beauty to House
GEORGE WILLIAM TEARE
IF SOMEONE were to ask me what was the most difficult commission I have thus far had, I should answer at once: “That of designing and building the house in which my family and I were to live.” Perhaps the reason for that difficulty lies in the fact that, in planning and designing homes for others, there come to the architect's mind all the unique features that have been involved in making each particular job a little different from the rest.
MOP THAT CAN’T MAR. It is impossible for this unusual mop to scratch floors or woodwork, as no stick or metal part projects beyond the threads of which it is made. The head is fastened right on the end of the stick by an ingenious arrangement of staples as illustrated in the photograph above.
THE air is surcharged with hokum. The wonderful radio networks, described in these pages last month, are used by a small army of fakers as webs in which to catch the unwary. Nowadays, every receiving set is a trap for the gullible. The turn of a knob, almost any hour of the day or night, will bring you the voice of an astrologer warning you not to get married while the moon is waning.
IN BUILDING any type of portable radio receiver, the limiting factor is the size of the individual parts. Fortunately tuning coils can be wound of fine wire on small diameter coil forms without seriously impairing their efficiency.
Special Apparatus Needed if You Want to Hear Short Wave Vibrations that Carry Long Distance Broadcasts
ALFRED P. LANE
IN THE average radio fan’s mind, the words “short wave radio” conjure up thoughts of unbelievably long distance reception, queer apparatus, and unusual complications. An atmosphere of mystery surrounds the whole subject. As a matter of fact short wave transmission is just one branch of radio and is no more complicated or difficult to understand than ordinary broadcasting.
An Auto Is As Old As It Acts, Says Gus, and You Can Keep It Young by Proper Repairs MARTIN BUNN
COUNTERFEITING KNOWN TO ROMAN CROOKS
WALKING STICK LIGHTS AS END HITS GROUND
GUS WILSON, half owner of the Model Garage, had about decided to call it a day when his partner Joe Clark called him to the window. “What’s the idea of the funny decorations?” Joe asked, pointing to a small sedan that was coming slowly down the road.
Here is a brand-new and amusing pastime that you’ll really enjoy—and a chance to win one of eighteen cash awards
$100 in Cash Prizes
Prizes for Photographs
WHAT can you whittle from a single match stick? To find out, POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY is offering prizes amounting to $100 in all. A list of the prizes and the rules of the contest are given on page 86. With two exceptions, the prizes will be awarded for human figures, animals, or other objects or models made, in each case, from a single large wooden match stick of the common kitchen variety that can be struck anywhere.
Simplified Plans for Making a Model of The World's Fastest Racing Auto
DONALD W. CLARK
BECAUSE of its extraordinary design and almost incredible speed, Sir Malcolm Campbell’s latest stream-lined racer Bluebird II is a timely and interesting subject for the model maker. Streaking across the smooth sand at Daytona Beach, Florida, this car recently attained a speed of 245 miles an hour, winning for Sir Malcolm the world’s automobile speed record (P.S.M., Apr. ’31, p. 32).
All you have to do is to pull open a small drawer, and a novel three-piece rack automatically appears like magic
How to Take Better Photographs
WALTER E. BURTON
CONTAINING thirty cigarettes, four ash trays, a lighter or box of safety matches, and a little brass statue or “stomper” used to press the life out of glowing butts, this novelty box adds to the attractiveness of any smoker’s table. Furthermore, it measures only 4⅛ by 4½ by 7¾ in.; and it contains mechanical features that make it as interesting to operate as a toy.
There’s a famous story connected with it which you can tell to amuse your friends
CHARLES H. ALDER
IN BALZAC’S famous tale, The Magic Skin, there is a description of the hide of a wild ass on which appeared in mysterious Sanskrit characters, as if inlaid, the following legend: Possessing me thou shalt possess all things. But thy life is mine, for God has so willed it.
Clarence E. Mulford brings to life a great trading post of the Old West and introduces a novelty for model makers
PERHAPS only the zealous history hound, hard-bitten by the romance of the West in the interval between Manual Lisa's first expedition up the Missouri River in search of furs and the dying out of the great western cattle trail, might be expected to find Fort Union a fit subject for model making.
ONE observation of Saturn with its beautiful ring system would repay anyone who is astronomically inclined for the slight expense and work necessary to construct this portable telescope outfit. The telescope, which was purchased new for $13.98, has a 2-in. objective; with a celestial eyepiece, it gives a magnification of sixty-eight diameters.
TO ASSIST you in your home workshop, POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY offers large blueprints containing working drawings of a number of well-tested projects. Each subject can be obtained for 25 cents with the exception of certain designs that require two or three sheets of blueprints and are accordingly 50 or 75 cents as noted below.
After a dusty trip you can spruce up quickly with this Leather Covered Whisk Broom and Shoe Polishing Kit
F. CLARKE HUGHES
THIS combined dustbrush and shoe polisher will appeal to every traveler and motorist. It is, indeed, an almost indispensable article. After a drive in the country, both brush and polisher are always useful; and in this compact form they take up so little room that they can be carried in the pocket of one of the automobile doors or in a corner of even the most crowded traveling bag.
Pointers on the care of a lathe and on the best way to center the work
W. CLYDE LAMMEY
MANY excellent small wood turning lathes are now available. They may be classified roughly into two divisions, depending upon the way in which they are driven. One type has a cone or step pulley on the headstock and is driven by means of a belt from a similar pulley mounted on a countershaft, which, in turn, is driven by a motor or engine.
Mechanical Assistant Helps in Taking Nuts from Oil Pan Bolts—Mica Tests Plugs for Internal Shorts
AS IT is impossible on most cars for one man to reach both the bolts and the nuts on the oil pan from one position, it is common practice to have an assistant remove the pan. Figure 3, at right, shows how to make a mechanical assistant. The counterweight at the end of bar B holds the socket wrench in place and a properly placed foot will keep it from turning.
How to reduce costs in the small shop by reclaiming worn or damaged cutters
HECTOR J. CHAMBERLAND
VALUABLE high-speed tools often are discarded in the small machine shop long before their useful life is over. They could be salvaged at a fraction of the cost of providing new tools; and in any large manufacturing plant where a careful study is made of all ways to reduce waste, they would be restored to usefulness.
SPIRALLY fluted taper pin reamers should never be run at a speed greater than two thirds of the proper speed for a drill of the same diameter. A discarded hack saw blade, ground to a knife edge and inserted in a hack saw frame, forms an excellent knife for cutting rubber.
How to start taps, extend parallel clamps, and fasten down machinery—A center gage and a handy drill case
STARTING TAPS STRAIGHT
HOLDING DOWN MACHINES
CENTER ALIGNMENT GAGE
DRILL AND TAP CASE
CLARENCE J. TURCOTTE
CHRIS N. SCOTT
F. J. WILHELM
CHARLES H. WILLEY
CARL O. LANDRUM
WHEN a machinist’s parallel clamp will not open wide enough to take the work at hand, it sometimes can be made to serve by using with it one jaw and both screws from another similar clamp in the manner illustrated in Fig. 1. Open the complete clamp to its full extent, allowing the front screw to enter only halfway through the threaded hole in the jaw and then start the front screw of the single jaw into the other end of this same hole.
How to install an underground watering system that rivals rain in its efficiency
B. M. BEEMAN
HOW often have you wished for an underground sprinkler system with which you could water your entire lawn by a turn of the wrist? A well-designed system of this kind is rain’s only rival; it provides a fine mist that gathers on the bushes, flowers, and lawn like dew.
WHEN you are selecting the finish for your floor, three things must be taken into consideration—the type of room, the condition of the floor, and the kind of wood from which it is made. The more formal room ordinarily has stained and varnished floors, the exception to this being in a strictly “period” house.
TO ALL appearances, this mirror is nothing out of the ordinary; it reflects your face like any other glass. But turn on the electric light concealed at the back, and it is no longer a mirror. Instead, it is a photograph beautifully illumined by the soft radiance from behind.
WHEN the edge of a lawn is to be trimmed along a sidewalk or drive-way, it is common practice to stretch a rope to serve as a guide. A better method is to use a board 10 or 12 ft. long, as illustrated. This is prepared by snapping a chalk line along one edge and planing it straight.
THE discarded shell or body of a mechanical lead pencil will serve as a holder for a small ice pick. It may be attached to the wall in any convenient position near the refrigerator by means of two screw eyes, one large enough to slip over the body and the other of a size to fit the tapered nose about halfway up.
SIMPLE as it is to make, the trick or puzzle illustrated is quite deceiving and can be passed around for inspection. First, you show the blocks of wood closed and pull the string back and forth to demonstrate that it is a continuous length. Then you ask someone to run the blade of a penknife between the blocks so as to cut the string.
THE plant-hole punch, depth gage, and spacer illustrated is a timesaving tool for setting out a number of small plants such as required for a hedge. It is merely a piece of wood 2 by 2 by 16 in. with two guides nailed on the sides 2 or 3 in. from the end to gage the depth of the holes.
WHILE repainted golf balls may not be as lively as new ones, many golfers find them good enough for practice. First, the balls must be thoroughly cleaned by scrubbing them with a stiff brush in warm water and soap. In applying the enamel, which should be the special golf ball enamel obtainable at sporting goods stores, pour a small amount into the palm of the left hand, place the ball in it, and place the right hand over the ball.
MANY readers of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, judging from my own experience, would take up the useful and most entertaining subject of home chemistry as a hobby if only they had a convenient place to work and do their experimenting. In my own case, the problem of arranging for a suitable table near running water kept me from entering into this work in the way I desired for three or four years.
FOR the delicate shaping of model parts, small sanding disks often can be used to advantage. For example, the spokes of the covered wagon model shown in POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY Blueprints Nos. 118, 119, and 120 (see page 110) require arc-shaped depressions or “flats” to be formed just outside the hub line. On my model I made these with a ½ in. thick wooden disk of suitable diameter, to the edge of which a strip of sandpaper was fastened.
HERE is a little game that will amuse any small boy. It is so simple that he can make it himself in less than two hours, since all it consists of are five wooden pegs or dowels of various lengths set into a base ¾ by 6 by 24 in. The pegs are spaced as shown in the drawings and set into the base ⅝ in.
Building a Backgammon Table Fit for Championship Play
R. EUGENE DOWNER
WITH backgammon enjoying its present extraordinary popularity, no amateur woodworker has far to look for a project upon which to demonstrate his skill. All he has to do is to build an inlaid backgammon table. While not an especially difficult task, it will reward him with more favorable comments and reflect greater credit upon his craftsmanship than almost any other piece of furniture he could construct.
TWELVE-ROOM HOME FOR MARTINS BUILT LIKE A FAIRY MANSION
THIS twelve-room bird house for martins has a wide roof which gives protection from rain as well as from the hot sun, and its base is wide enough to allow the young birds to stretch their wings and gain a little confidence before they fly. Another of its advantages is the ease with which it may be taken apart and cleaned.
A SIMPLE yet attractive screen for hiding the fireplace opening during the warmer months when the fireplace is not used can be made by the home worker with little expenditure of time and money. The frame consists of two turned upright pieces (square ones may be substituted if the home worker does not have the use of a lathe), two small cross-pieces, four feet, and two pieces of dowel as long as the frame is wide.
IF YOU are, you undoubtedly wish POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY would publish more articles on model engineering. Please send your suggestions for such articles to the Home Workshop Editor. Specify what particular subjects you would enjoy most.
AMONG the native trinkets I brought home with me after a year’s residence in the Philippines was a small but perfect plaster cast of a carabao. In case of breakage it could not be replaced, since the original mold had been destroyed, and it was otherwise valuable to me, yet because of the ears, horns, tail, and slender legs—the latter integral with a heavy plaster base—the packing of it presented a puzzling problem.