Radio hats. DIY jetpacks. Even those of us who never experienced a time when you could purchase science projects for $4.95 and telescope lenses for $1.95 can't help feeling a twinge of longing looking at these crowded, black-and-white illustrations.
A part of their charm lies in the element of surprise. Nowadays, you can scour a product's reviews online and zoom in on its photos before committing to a purchase. But magazine coupons are risky. Like Calvin, you could wait six weeks for a propeller beanie only for it to break upon assembly (and for your pet tiger to scoff when you demonstrate it for him). On the other hand, you could rip open the box to find something completely wonderful.
We've gathered a few of the more promising-looking coupons here, with an emphasis on build-it-yourself projects. Long story short, these kits became more sophisticated over time. In the 1920s and 1930s we advertised DIY phonographs and erector sets. By the mid-1970s, readers could purchase DIY jetpacks and kit cars.
You'd be surprised at what you can build from a kit. In addition to jet powered aircraft, readers could buy construction packages for electronic organs, fireplaces, weather stations, dome houses, atomic energy labs, and trailers. Don't believe us? Click through our gallery to see these old ads in full.
The incredible innovations, like drone swarms and perpetual flight, bringing aviation into the world of tomorrow. Plus: today's greatest sci-fi writers predict the future, the science behind the summer's biggest blockbusters, a Doctor Who-themed DIY 'bot, the organs you can do without, and much more.