Modern Mechanix Minutia …

I've been browsing through the Archives over at Modern Mechanix this morning and there are a couple of posts from the past I want to highlight quickly.  So, in honour of that …

<GEEKRANT> 

$7,000,000,000 for door-to-door salesman is a wonderful article that could only have been written in the 50's.  I suppose today's brave new world of direct sales are Internet e-commerce sites … the most direct way to direct market these days.  Fascinating to see chain letters and pyramid schemes touted here as excellent business plans, but equally fascinating to see the genesis of the home sales party and other unique ideas.

Compressed Air to Shoot Packages into Moving Train – this is one of those wonderfully whimsical ideas that really required some sober second thought.


Click to enlarge

You don't need a ton of technical details to echo the words of the writers of Modern Mechanix on this one … "Sounds great, what could possibly go wrong?"

Build Your Own Dive Helmet – This is one of those stories that comes from a different time.  In today's world, the liability issues of this sort of thing would have killed this article faster than you can imagine.  Like the home chemistry set, the wood burning kit, and the pocket size Uranium kit this is one of those articles that just couldn't be published in today's world.  Love the technical details though … anyone wanna try?

The prophylactic-toothbrush – Just a quick example that sexual innuendo in advertising is hardly a product of today's society.  We may be more blunt about it, but this is pretty darned suggestive, really ;-).

And finally, the New Heath Kit Personal Computers is an excellent piece on what probably represents the first true, fully functional PC to be sold.  Even in today's $$, the process listed aren't cheap, and given that the ad is from 1977, they are pretty pricey pieces of kit.  Having said that, the H11 16-bit system was truly revolutionary for the day, essentially a full "mini-computer" on the desktop.  This is pointed out near the end of the write up in geek-speak … "DEC PDP-11 software is included."  PDP-11 was still in business use a decade later on mini-computers in a variety of industry and educational settings, and at the time represented a VERY powerful operating system.  And on top pf all that, you have a choice of paper tape or the ultra high-tech cassette tape deck (still in development, you'll note, lol) for data storage.  Its also worth noting that the internal storage set of this high-end system was 20Kb … far less than the 5MB hard disk I wrote about earlier.  As late as this ad in 1977, a 5MB hard disk was still a pretty cool, and pretty high-end, piece of kit.

</GEEKRANT>

The irony, ofc, is that non-geeks don't even REALLY get the joke, lol.

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