The unusual ideas printed in your book monthly have been beneficial to me in time and money. So, in return, I am sending you an idea that may help other readers: Having quite a large number of copies on hand, I index articles for future reference by attaching a blank sheet of paper to the face of each copy by means of paper clips, glue, or adhesive tape and making notes of the title and page thereupon.
THE Battle of Waterloo, they say, was won “on the playing fields of Eton.” And the athletic field has long been a training ground for the kind of courage and leadership that is vital in visible combat. But the battle for survival, it seems obvious, will be won on the playing fields of science and engineering.
This may look like a rocket-assisted take-off. Actually it is a Fairchild C-119 Packet cargo plane dumping water ballast during a test flight. Replacing 25-pound bags of shot used previously as ballast, the water, contained in four 720-gallon aluminum tanks, can be pumped back and forth to duplicate any load distribution.
Machines that move mountains are helping man literally to change the face of the earth.
Mountain a Day
Working on the Run
George H. Waltz
Trucks follow loader in long procession, each one moving up under the conveyer as the one ahead is filled and moves on. The loader can fill the trucks, each with a 16-cubic-yard capacity, at a rate of better than one a minute. All out, it can dig a ton a second.
THE British airman below is wearing the latest addition to pilots’ safety devices—a parachute with a robot ripcord. The automatic release assures that even a wounded or unconscious jumper’s ’chute will open at a preset height from the ground.
THE Army’s Transportation Corps has taken apart an age-old Eskimo boat, the umiak, and put it together again better. The umiak is a light, small craft with a wood framework covered with animal skin. The Eskimos, propelling it by paddle, find it ideal for Arctic use.
THE U. S. Signal Corps Engineering Laboratories at Ft. Monmouth, N. J., is forecasting storms by radar six to eight hours away. In the picture of the oscilloscope above, the top represents due north. The hard blotch of light in the center, site of the station, is made by nearby land and sea targets.
BUICK unveiled 21 new models at the turn of the new year—with higher compression ratios and resulting higher horsepower. The company’s stable of cars boasts seven models for each of its three lines— Roadmasters, Supers, and Specials. The compression ratio for all Dynaflow models has been boosted from 6.9 to 1 to 7.2 to 1.
Speedy new system for refueling on the wing opens way for revised air strategy and faster airline trips.
Twice as Fast to Come?
Transatlantic Freighters Refueled
Folding Truck Saves Space
"Keymonica" Teaches Music
Sound Makes Odd Fountain
Tiny Ball Supports Tower
Tubes Get Jitterbug Test
Electronics Ices Freight
Small Air-Gun Shears Lop Big Limbs
IT LEAKED out last month that the U. S. Air Force had three Republic Thunderjet fighter planes equipped to be completely refueled in mid-air in 90 seconds each—and the way was opened for a fundamental revision in the nation’s air defense strategy.
THE speeding F-80 jet fighter’s tailpipe is dangerously hot. The pilot doesn’t notice the warning signal on his cockpit panel. In a matter of seconds the pipe burns out and his engine is disabled. But in this case he doesn’t crash. A check pilot simply pushes a button and the world’s first jet instrument trainer gives the pilot a new engine, a new tailpipe, and a new start.
WHEN a real expert talks rocket ships, the amazing-fiction boys take a back seat. Dr. Hsue-Shen Tsien is a real expert—director of the Guggenheim Jet Propulsion Center at Caltech. Here’s his idea of a rocket ship that could be built right now.
A POWERFUL jet of water replaces the propeller in a new kind of shallow-water craft that’s being tried out by the Navy and Air Force. A conventional engine drives a pump that forces more than 7,000 gallons of water a minute out through a nozzle under the hull.
IN THE Pentagon building there’s an installation sometimes called “the place where they teach Air Force officers to read.” This designation isn’t quite accurate, of course, but a battery of ingenious gadgets there is helping the fly boys read faster and better.
ONE of the world’s greatest treasure chests was discovered long ago in Canada, but never opened. It is a bed of sand full of oil. Power shovels can scoop it up, but gas pressure does not force this oil into wells—and getting it out of the sand has been prohibitively expensive.
New uses for high vacuum make empty space one of industry's important raw materials.
Vacuum Casting Arrives from Germany
Disks Mark Traffic Lanes
Making World’s Biggest Hose
YOU’VE got to have air to live. Yet air can be a nuisance, too. Get rid of air—make a vacuum—and you can do a lot of wonderful and very useful things. In a tank of “nothing” you can make water boil even when it’s cold. You can dry things that are frozen solid.
LONG-RUMORED in the car industry, a Chevrolet with an automatic transmission as optional equipment was announced last month as the company’s bid to retain the car’s lead sales position in the low-priced field. An adaptation of Buick’s Dynaflow, the Chevrolet torque converter is called “Powerglide.”
New Atomic Charts Reveal Secrets of Radio-Elements
Like jumping beans, atoms of the radioactive families hop about the periodic table of elements as they change spontaneously from one substance into another. Recent discoveries link atom-bomb ingredients and newly discovered elements to these radioactive families—and solve the riddle of what such oddly named members as Uranium X2 and Radium C' really are.
New Radioactive-Family Charts
Key to Atom Bomb Shown
Six New Elements Charted
“Natural” or “Artificial”?
“Prehistoric” Family Re-Created?
Isotopes Solve Old Mystery
Log Walls Made Weathertight Without Chinking
Atomizer Sprays Ice Away
Vapor Machine Kills Viruses
Baby Pinned Painlessly
Coin Operates Shaver
Small Ultraviolet Lamps Kill Germs in Phone Handset
Homes Ride on Housemobile
Safety Hook Has Lock
Ship’s Anti-Roll Fins Turn Rough Water to Smooth
Alden P. Armagnac
SOME day soon, a brand-new chemical element seems likely to be added to the 96 now known. Like astronomers training their telescopes on the predicted position of a new planet, chemists seeking it have considerable advance information to go on. The predicted new element will be radioactive.
NEW lines of De Soto, Plymouth, and Dodge cars, resembling their 1949 predecessors but restyled to give them a longer, lower appearance, were announced by the Chrysler Corp. at the turn of the year. Dodge offered its Gyro-Matic semi-automatic transmission at a cost described as lower than competitive automatic transmissions.
BUILT on the chassis of a 2½-ton war-surplus Army truck, this homemade fire engine can crash right through dense brush and woods to fight runaway fires. High-pressure spray jets along the sides envelop the truck in a cloud of waterfog to protect its men and equipment while it roars in to attack the head of a fire.
YOU start from the roof and work down in setting up these midget grain elevators. Made entirely of aluminum, they are assembled by fastening the roof sections to one “tier” of corrugated siding, lifting this unit and fastening another tier under it, and so on until the building is complete.
A NEW hydraulic hinge for the front end of a truck trailer goes a long way toward minimizing that trucker’s nightmare—jackknifing. Jackknifing occurs when the brakes are applied too hard on the tractor. The trailer, trying to overrun the tractor, whips off sideways.
A wrench, screwdriver, and reamer—those are all the weapons you need to fight water waste on the home front.
Field X-Ray Unit Weighs Less
Vacuum Cup Clings to Slippery Surfaces
DRIP, drip, drip. From leaking faucets in homes everywhere, millions of dollars of hard-earned tax money are daily going down the drain—literally. Even more important is the. grim reality of dangerously low water supplies in many parts of the country as a result of last year’s drought.
SPRAYING paint through a high-intensity electrostatic field now turns its atomized particles into a barrage of tiny “homing missiles” that literally wraps itself around objects to be painted. The drawing at left shows a setup for the process, called Electro-Spray, developed by the Ransburg Electro-Coating Corp., Indianapolis, during the war (PS, March ’45, p. 118) and now used in many industries.
Tray Handles Three Jobs. Molded of Bakeliteⓣ, this refreshment tray holds four glasses in non-tipping coasters and has space in the middle for snacks. And when the food’s gone, that center space serves as a jumbo ash tray. Made by the Count-Rite Corp., of Cleveland, Ohio, the tray retails for about $1.50. Easy to clean, it can be rinsed and scrubbed without damaging it. Rubber pegs support the tray.
Scissors Fold Up. One of the first products to be imported from the U. S. zone of Germany, these scissors fold up for easy carrying in pocket or handbag. When closed, the tool is SM" long; open it’s 4". The blades are made of carbon steel with a highly polished nickel finish. Hoffritz Cutlery, New York City, prices the scissors and case at about $3. When folded, the points cannot rip clothing or the lining of a purse.
Brush and Hanger Combined
Brush and Hanger Combined. Besides folding up to save space in your suitcase, this coat hanger has a clothes brush at each end. The Rola Novelty Company, of New York City, sells the hanger for about 70 cents. When it’s folded, the hanger arms serve as a handle for the brush. When opened as a hanger, a small hook locks it.
Ironing-Board Cover Is Ruled. With a graduated yardstick printed on this ironing-board cover, the housewife can do a professional job of altering hems, laying pleats, and blocking sweaters or other knitted garments. The figures are printed in ink that won’t rub off. The maker is Hart-Beckner Mfg. Co., Versailles, Mo.
Attachment Shampoos Rugs. The Rexafoamerⓣ shampoo attachment, sold by Martin-Parry Corp., Toledo, Ohio, is molded of Teniteⓣ. It fits the spray-pot attachment of tank-type vacuum cleaners. A wire mesh in the nozzle mixes the liquid soap with air to form suds for washing rugs or upholstery. The plastic attachment is moisture-resistant and corrosion-proof. Its non-porous surface is easy to clean.
New Table Lighter. This lighter, for home or office, has a clear-plastic reservoir so you can always see the amount of fuel in reserve. It’s priced at $7.50 by the Ritepoint Co., of St. Louis, Mo., and is available in four colors. The reservoir is sealed and cannot leak or let fuel evaporate. Fuel is transferred to the wick chamber only as needed by a finger-touch valve. All the metal parts are chrome-plated and polished.
The Small Fry
Frying Pan Accessory. The Small Fryⓣ set includes two 3½" aluminum rings that are ¾" deep, two aluminum covers, and a lifter. According to the makers, Benmatt Organization, Chicago, use of the rings to fry or poach eggs saves shortening and reduces cooking time. The rings leave room in the skillet for bacon. Price is $1.
Rain Leggings. Empire Products, New York City, markets these slip-on plastic leggings for $1. They fit over the lower part of your trouser legs, protecting them from rain and splashes. A clip slips over the edge of your pocket to hold them up.
X Rays Spot Orange Frostbite
X Rays Spot Orange Frostbite Now they’re X-raying oranges. A new machine uses the rays to spot cold-damaged fruit—the frost-bitten oranges contain less juice and therefore let more rays pass through. The machine automatically throws out the damaged oranges and separates the good ones into three grades, all at the rate of 35,000 an hour. Developed by the Automatic X Ray Corporation, the first unit is being used by Sunkist at Upland, Calif.
Basket Guards Jet Intake
NORTHROP engineers aren’t taking any chances on being sucked into the jet engines they work on. They designed this steel-mesh wheeled basket that can be rolled up to cover the intake port. Without the guard, it’s dangerous to walk within 25 feet of the intake when the engine is revved up.
Clamp Ends Power-Line Break
A NEW clamp to keep power lines from breaking and interrupting electric service has been developed in Europe. Wind makes the cables sway, frequently snapping them at the insulator. Ice and vibration also give trouble. Developed by Sverre Sandberg and J. Lindblom, of the Swedish Aluminum Company, the clamp has a shallow, longer bend to reduce stresses. It is in use on power lines in Norway and Sweden.
ASPHALT roads are being sampled to learn how to build better ones. Boring a hole in the surface, a whirling diamond-edged tube extracts a four-inch-diameter cross-section from top to bottom. Pieces are then squeezed in testing machines until they break.
GLIDER pilots are now dogfighting buzzards and gulls to find out how to design airplanes that will fly as easily as the birds do. Flying a camera-carrying, Englishbuilt Kirby-Kiteⓣ sailplane, they have chased the soaring birds 15 miles at speeds up to 50 m. p. h., sometimes only 15 feet behind the bird’s tail.
SOME of the world’s fastest research aircraft are kiwis—birds that can’t fly—under certain conditions. Because they are highly experimental in the transand supersonic ranges, these hot-rod planes need exceedingly wide and open areas for their Buck Rogers’ flights, such as the vast expanse of California’s Muroc Dry Lake with a natural runway seven miles long and desert wide.
DURING his years in the Model Garage, Gus Wilson has seen a lot of disgruntled motorists. But not one of them was more fed up with a car than Val Murdock the day Officer Cecil O’Toole handed him a ticket for reckless driving at Main and Center Streets.
Safety Pins Hold Chrome. If a trim strip on your car has lost any spring clips, safety pins will fasten it down. Cut the ends off each pin as indicated and attach to the body metal with a self-tapping screw through the loop of the pin and into a small drilled hole.
Amplifying distant signals may give you grandstand reception in the bleachers.
ARE your TV pictures as good as they ought to be? If not, you may be able to help yourself to greater video enjoyment with a booster that will strengthen weak signals on the low channels. “Snow” in a picture is a sure sign of weakness. Not only can a booster cure this condition but it can also sharpen image outlines and improve contrast and clarity.
Everybody has his own pet idea of some gadget he would like to see in general use. What is YOURS? Popular Science will pay $5.00 for each one published. Use government postcards only. Contributions cannot be acknowledged or returned.
THE foot scraper is one of the few home accessories that haven’t shown much improvement in design down through the years. With that in mind, John P. Arnold, of Doylestown, Pa., went back to the products of Colonial metalworkers for the scrapers pictured here.
MODERN kitchens and laundry rooms are making old-fashioned water systems obsolete. New robot dish and clothes washers have boosted hot-water consumption in many homes, and at the same time improved new heaters have appeared that generate hot water faster and more efficiently.
ONCE there was a basement mechanic who needed a dozen pieces of ½" cold-rolled steel, all cut off square in 6" lengths. A metal-working lathe would have done the job in jig time, but, as is the case in many home workshops, none was available. So a special self-guiding cutting tool that could be attached to a wood-working lathe, a drill press, or a grinder was devised.
INEXPENSIVE small 115-volt shadedpole induction motors are a convenient source of light power. They’ll handle scores of jobs—running working models, action displays, small fans. Sometimes you must adapt the motor to a particular job. Here are ways to do it.
Give yourself a capsule course in machining by building this lively model. Then ask your friends what makes it go. Few of them will know.
How to Turn Plastic Scraps into Popcorn Scoops
Wire Extends Flashlight
Turning Work to Small Size
CHANCES are neither you nor your friends ever saw an engine like this. Guesses will run wild when you ask others how it works, and most of them will be dead wrong. Substantial and good looking, it has a lively pop as you turn it over by hand, and it has the staccato roar of a small gas engine when it’s running at speed.
Three simple home experiments suggested by Kenneth M. Swezey.
Waxed Nails Hold Securely
White-Lead Putty Won’t Bleed
Adhesive Bonds Wall Anchor
Triangles Held in Book
Tin Can Holds Paint: Brushes
These Coasters Won’t Stick
Holds Shop or Garden Tools
ALTHOUGH heat makes your car go, too much would quickly bring it to a halt. Left unchecked, the intense heat of combustion would soon warp and bum the valves, break down the oil, overheat the bearings, and “freeze” the pistons to the cylinders.
Home Accessories You Can Build on Your Kitchen Table
LOOK for parts instead of finished products the next time you go shopping—and you may discover ways to save money while having fun. Even apartment dwellers without workshops can produce many useful and decorative home accessories by cleverly combining odd items.
TRAILING a pair of flippers at its stern, this new boat mysteriously propels itself without apparently receiving power from anywhere. The toy-size model above will sail around a bathtub when the water is only slightly agitated. The man-carrying version at left works in a gentle sea.
QUICK, clean, noiseless splices of magnetic recording tape can be made with the Carson Tape Splicerⓣ, which can be attached right to the recorder. It consists of a metal form with grooves that serve as razor guides. The tape ends are simply clipped to the tool, slightly overlapping (photo 1), and then razored to a close, clean fit (photo 2).
YOU’LL find many spots where you can put towel racks to work. One over a workbench holds catalogs, magazines, plans, flat or round plastic, or dowels. Ceiling storage also handles table leaves, and a rake and hoe could be stored like the broom.
WHETHER on a porch or in the house, shelves like those at right make good use of bare wall areas. They are built of stock lumber with nailed butt joints. A ¼" plywood back serves as a brace for the shelves. You can hang them with screws through the back or you can use shelf brackets underneath with one or two screws through the back near the top to steady the shelves.
Dies Held Square. For threading work in the lathe, a die is often held against a drill pad while the spindle is turned by hand. Since the rotating parts have a considerable mass, it’s hard to tell by feel how the die is cutting or how fast to advance it, so threads are often damaged or not started square.
You can throw away your rivets, and join sheet metal with a welding outfit assembled from surplus items.
J. B. Posner
BY EQUIPPING your shop for spot-welding, you can seam together two pieces of sheet metal as easily as your wife sews cloth. Made as shown here, the outfit costs very little. Materials are available in radio-parts and electrical shops as war surplus.
BY USING the De-Dizzerⓣ, the pilot of a cable-controlled model plane doesn’t have to stand up and turn around and around as he guides the ship. The plane can be controlled from a comfortable sitting position. The plane is attached to the rotating arm by the usual two control wires.
You don’t need a lab full of fancy equipment to develop and print your film—just a kitchen.
George S. Cowlam
SAYS you: "I"d like to make my own pictures, but it costs too much to buy the equipment, and it’s too technical, and besides, I haven’t the time.” Says we: Are you through work for the day, must you go to bed before 10 p.m., and can you get up 55 cents?
A NEW photo paper coated with two emulsions offers photographers a quick way of making sepia or other single-tone prints from color transparencies. A negative image forms on the top emulsion, a positive on the lower. After the negative layer has done its job, you simply wash it away.
Spring Agitates Tank. A cigar box, wire coat hanger, 48 inches of string, and a spring combine to form an excellent film-tank agitator. Given a good twist, the one shown spins and jounces for 15 minutes.—J. M. Overstreet, Birkenfeld, Germany.
BESIDES lightening your chores, these easily built poultry feeders will increase your profits. They reduce feed losses, keep the feed clean, and—by letting the birds eat as much as they want when they want it—cause the chicks to grow faster and the hens to lay more eggs.
Antique Flies on Tether. A scaled-down version of a Curtiss biplane flown in 1914-15 by Lincoln Beachey, this model has a one-cylinder engine that whips the ship up to 55 m.p.h. on a control line. For flying, the center of balance was moved forward by casting the body of the pilot of lead from the waist down.
Tool Reduces Drill Speed. With Grip-Torcⓣ attached, any ¼" drill becomes a multi-purpose tool for heavy-duty boring, drilling, reaming, and other jobs. The geared mechanism increases torque output about 5-to-1. Grip-Tore is controlled by gripping or releasing the body of the unit, starting or stopping the working tool while the drill motor continues to run. McLaughlin & Co., Los Angeles, prices it at about $15.
McLaughlin & Co.
Hand Sander Rotates. The pivoted disk of the Rota-Matic® sander is free to rotate at random as you push the tool back and forth. This motion brings into use all facets of the sanding grit. Interchangeable sanding disks—fine, medium, and coarse—are included with the sander, priced at $2.50 by the Binkley Manufacturing Company, Warrenton, Mo. The disks come with an adhesive coating on them.
McLaughlin & Co.
Typewriter Marks Metals. Designed for pressing markings into metal, this electric typewriter can be adjusted to letter wood, leather, or plastics. The interchangeable letter wheels—for various type sizes—are made of tool steel. To operate it, all you do is punch the keys. The machine can be set up to letter unhardened steel Yd' thick. It’s distributed by the Cadillac Stamp Company, of Detroit.
McLaughlin & Co.
3-hp. Saw Weighs 25 lb
3-hp. Saw Weighs 25 lb. The one-cylinder, two-cycle, air-cooled gasoline engine that powers this saw operates in all positions. The tool is available in two straight-bladed models—18" and 24"—and as a 14" bow saw. The throttle is controlled by a trigger in the pistol-grip handle. A manually operated chain oiler is controlled by a button above the throttle. McCulloch Motors Corp., Los Angeles, is the maker.
McLaughlin & Co.
Tool Handles Six Jobs. Made in England and distributed in the United States by the Laster Export-Import Co., New York City, the Utilex® combines six everyday tools in one. It’ll serve as a hammer, adjustable wrench, file, 6" rule, screwdriver, and a claw for pulling nails. It’s priced at about $5. The Utilex is manufactured from forge-hardened steel.
McLaughlin & Co.
Improved Plier-Wrench. The Snap-Lock® plier wrench, manufactured by Seymour Smith & Son, Inc., of Oakville, Conn., has a finger-tip control that releases the jaws. A capacity indicator on the handle shows the extent of the jaw spread so the tool can be pre-set. The tool serves as pliers, clamp, or vise. With work locked in the jaws, the tool can be clamped in a vise.
McLaughlin & Co.
From 40 to 50 nails a minute can be driven with the Azor Portable Pneumatic Nailing Tool, made by Azor Products Co., Los Angeles. The machine weighs about 30 lb., has a hopper capacity of from 400 to 600 nails, and handles 8d, 10d, and 12d nails. Nails may be driven vertically or at an angle. The nail set can be adjusted for depth, and the tool automatically stops driving at the predetermined depth. In a test, the Azor nailed 100 lineal feet of joists in eight minutes.
McLaughlin & Co.
Magnetic pull has been stepped up 10 times in these power and hand screwdrivers made by the Magna-Tool Corporation, of Buffalo, N. Y. The power-driven tools include magnetic “finders” that pick up and automatically position the screw. Finders are available for various sizes of flat-head, round-head, oval-head, and fillister-head screws. The hand screwdrivers are furnished with a handle compartment for holding an assortment of bits for different screws.
STEAM-DRIVEW CARS are being talked-up again in England—now that financial difficulties have forced Britain to curtail importation of gasoline. LIGHT ALLOYS instead of steel save three tons in the weight of a Navy motor grader that can travel by air.