Now that Food Tech week is winding down here at PopSci, it's time to sit back, rest our hands on the shelves of our full bellies and listen to the old timers tell us a few yarns about back in their day.
Despite having a readership made up mostly of men, Popular Sciences of old knew their way around a beauty parlor. Especially from the 20s to the 40s, PopSci offered makeup tips and advice to female readers, saying in effect "Look! We've got incredibly detailed cutaways of how things work AND beauty knowhow! What more could you want?"
By Ryan Bradley
Posted 04.24.2012 at 11:59 am 61 Comments
The complete back issues of this magazine—all 1,680 of them—are stored in a walk-in closet in our New York offices. We don’t often visit the place. It’s musty and locked, and only one person keeps a key. But to put together our May issue on the Future of Flight, which arrives the same month that Edward L. Youmans founded Popular Science Monthly in 1872, we spent many hours there. During our sojourn, things took a turn for the strange.
When Atari's Pong first came out, Popular Science had a succinct opinion: Playing a game on a video screen was "one of those novelties that everyone will shortly get tired of." We've never been so glad to be wrong.
Popular Science's history isn't all flying cars and geodesic domes. Readers of the past liked to have fun, too! Unfortunately, their opportunities to do so, as far as we can tell, were somewhat limited.
Which makes it as good a time as ever to remind ourselves that the idea of an electric car is far from novel; in fact, it's been a persistent, tantalizing puzzle for automotive engineers hoping to eliminate gasoline from the equation for over a century. And there's no better place to track the history of the electric car than in the complete archives.
We've all heard of Roombas, robot submarines, and creepy humanoid robots, but have you ever heard of Elektro, the cigarette-smoking robot from the 1939 World's Fair, or the Budweiser-fetching Omnibot 2000 from 1986? Wrapping up National Robotics Week, we've combed our archives for a primer on the past century's most amazing robots.
Most of us consider airports an unglamorous, necessary evil. Between the inevitable delays, grumpy travelers, long lines, and lost baggage, we can barely summon the energy to appreciate our surroundings, let alone how they were conceived.
Like us, past generations have envisioned a future of efficient, aesthetically-pleasing airports, and our 137-year archive certainly yields a few fantastical gems.
Since we launched our archive viewer last week, it's been a thrill to read emails with everyone's kind words and impressions. Particularly great was reader Michael Dixon's story involving salvaged scrap wood from ships arriving at the Port of Houston, a suburban backyard and the October 1969 issue of Popular Science.
What the "future" of supersonic air travel looked like in 1975
By John Pavlus
Posted 11.24.2009 at 1:21 pm 2 Comments
Here at PopSci, we spend our fair share of time marveling at fantastic visions of the future. So as a result, we know better than anyone how fun it can be looking back a few decades at the visions that flew a bit too close to the sun. And that's what this new series, The Future Then Video (inspired by our magazine's back page), is all about--taking a look back at retro visions of the future and seeing how their predictions panned out.
In our first episode, we're looking at an amazing promotional film that Braniff International made in 1975 to get customers excited about supersonic air travel.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.