Radium Baths For Your Health

Combining bathing and radium doesn’t strike me as a wise idea: as the name alludes, radium is a highly radioactive element that decomposes into Radon, another not-so-healthful element. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, however, radioactive compounds were seen as quite the opposite: a curative, capable of curing pretty much whatever ails you. Radium was […]

Portable Radios: Root of Modern Technology

This is where it all started: you might argue that it was the portable record player, or the Walkman, or the laptop, or the iPod, but portable personal electronics started in the 1930s with the advent of portable radios. As a revolution, the cover shows just how large the jump was from the last comparable […]

20th Century Fox Organization Diagrams

In 1940, this is how 20th Century Fox looked like, when diagrammed out on paper. These sheets — 38 of them — outline nearly every part of studio operation, from the restaurants to the sound effects to the studio security. The extreme detail is absorbing, looking at every little box and seeing where it leads […]

The Stereo Realist In Wisconsin

Today’s image isn’t about deerskin jackets, or who this model is, or about where in Wisconsin this advertisment comes from. In this lady’s hands comes one of the technological marvels of the twentieth century: the Stereo Realist, a 3D camera that the average person could own and use. First manufactured in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1947, […]

Never a More Wretched Hive of Scum and Villany

The perspective and content of this photo requires me to get a little geeky. When I first looked at it, I immediately connected it to a scene from Star Wars — Luke and ObiWan are on their way to save the universe, and in procuring a ship they stop on a cliff overlooking the spaceport. […]

The USS Nautilus. Artist’s Impression

In December, 1952, Collier’s Magazine made the USS Nautilus its cover story. Nautilus was the first US nuclear-powered sub, and it set record after record during its time at sea. The date of the Collier’s article, however, is a clue to this picture’s origin. Construction on the Nautilus started 14 June 1952, and the ship […]

Space Flight – Ten Cents

In 1960, you could drop a dime in the mail and get yourself some genuine space-flight experience! The Science Program was a subscription service, delivering a booklet devoted to a single subject each month. Ten cents was the introductory offer, but future booklets cost a dollar (plus shipping). Subscribers also got posters, star-charts, and other […]