As our archives’ lovingly-illustrated cutaways show, true beauty does lie within, whether you’re a mechanical dinosaur, a Xerox machine, or a World War II aircraft.
While most of our cutaway drawings are of car engines and weaponry, we couldn’t resist including a few whimsical entries, such as our 1926 conception of the future’s electrically-powered home. For all the things we got wrong in the 1920s, we’re proud to say that we were right in illustrating a cutaway that included basement washing machines, electric dishwashers, and curling irons that could be plugged into the wall. A rotating observatory mounted on a merry-go-round track, a 100-pound satellite, and of course, the electric dinosaur round out our more fanciful features.
Then there are the cutaways that tickle our instinct to take things apart. There’s one of the Polaroid Land Model 100, which came with electric components instead of mechanical gears and springs. Meanwhile, a diagram of the General Motors 1951 LeSabre concept car reminds us of everything we have yet to learn about fixing an engine.
But enough words. The real joy in this gallery are the intricate illustrations, so look inside to see them for yourself.
And read our 2011 dissections of How It Works:
- A Smarter Crash-Test Dummy
- An Affordable Telephoto Lens
- 3-D TV Without Glasses
- World’s Fastest Roller Coaster
- An Implantable Bionic Eye
- The Make-All 3-D Printer
- Better Curve Control
- The Light-Driven Computer
This month’s How It Works section is brought to you by Digikey. All posts are purely editorial content, which we are pleased to present with the help of a sponsor; the sponsor has no input in the content itself.
Marvels of the Electric Home: March 1926
Mechanical Dinosaur: October 1931
X-Ray Machines: April 1937
Rotating Observatory: February 1940
Warplane: February 1942
Synthetic Motor Oil: June 1946
General Motors LeSabre Concept Car: February 1951
MOUSE Satellite: August 1954
Copying Machines: April 1960
Polaroid Land Model 100: October 1963