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Two Wooden Boxes–How Fast Technology Can Run When It’s New!

Here are two wooden boxes (missing their leather handles).

They are both portable radios marketed by RCA in the 1920s. Each contained up to date technology at the time it was made. They are only separated by two and a half years. If those two and a half years occurred sometime in […]

The Victrola Ad–The Marketing Wasn’t Just Hype

When I was in junior high I would ride my bicycle around the little town of Forbing where my family lived on the outskirts of Shreveport. The deep woods, the railroad track dropping from the town to the cypress-filled lake, the old warehouse complex, and other places kids are no longer allowed to explore were […]

Early Electrical Lighting in Homes

I WROTE THIS BACK IN 1997. AT FIRST I THOUGHT I MIGHT WRITE AN ARTICLE FOR “AMERICAN HERITAGE OF INVENTION AND TECHNOLOGY.” AS IT PROGRESSED, I DECIDED IT MAY WORK BETTER AS A RETROSPECTIVE IN AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING JOURNAL. I THEN DECIDED THAT THE ARTICLE I WANTED TO WRITE REALLY DIDN’T FIT IN ANYWHERE, SO […]

Two Artifacts of the Cold War

Growing up during the Cold War, I was always aware that political unrest or misinterpretation could quickly lead to a nuclear war in which the entire country (and particularly my city next to a SAC base) could become a battlefield. There were products that met some of the needs of that time. Here are two.

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A Heavyweight Office Accessory–The Electronic Secretary

When I was a kid I always appreciated that my father bought home things he thought would interest me and spur my creativity. These items were usually discarded electronics. Some of them have turned antique over the years such as a late 1930s broadcast microphone from hometown station KRMD. Another less rarified piece is the […]

Preventing Light Bulb Theft! Locking Light Sockets

The value of things changes over the years. There was a time light bulbs were valuable enough that people would steal them from hotels, public buildings, and the workplace. Below is a little artifact of that time, a 1920’s light socket with a lock. Once a bulb is screwed in, it will not come out […]

A Handmade Clock with a Long History–The Morbier

I placed this picture of a 1940s television in my blog a few weeks ago. In case any clock collectors happen across it, I thought I should explain the mess-of-a-clock that is hanging to the right of the TV.

It’s a project that I have been working on very slowly. Since it ended […]

A Pretty Machine–The British Imperial Typewriter

Ok. I’m not collecting typewriters. Really. I’m not. Really. But I bought one anyway. My wife was wanting to use a really old typewriter in the banner of her blog, so I was half looking for an ancient Underwood or Oliver. Turns out her dad gave her the Royal portable that took him through college […]

When Technologies Collide! Radio Interference from Light Bulbs

No, I’m not going where you think I am—this blog is not about compact fluorescent lamps. It’s actually about a much older technology and how it caused problems twenty five years after it became obsolete!

My interest started with a story. My friend, Dan worked for decades as a two-way radio system design […]

Another Tool of Yesterday’s Road Warriors—The Soundscriber

Some 25 years ago I saw something that interested me in a local pawnshop. I had collected Victrolas and other obsolete sound recording machines for some time so this caught my eye. It was about the size of a 1970s cassette recorder, but far more interesting.

It was a Soundscriber portable […]