Just 15 minutes a day! Absolutely free! Guaranteed results! The same breathless promises have been prying open our wallets for decades, offering hope for beauty, health, popularity and eternal youth. We combed the archives for the most brazen scams from the 1920s to the 1940s. Some seem harmless, while others are downright sinister (such as Alois P. Swoboda, who even managed to swindle Woodrow Wilson, with his supposed secret to "supreme life.")
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.