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|"QUANTUM SHOT" #552 |
Link - article by Avi Abrams
As vacuum tubes softly glow... and my guitar gently weeps
Since we started our Coolest Retro Devices series, we've been receiving many tips and info about bizarre devices from the last century, and even into the 1800s. It's a great subject; there is something passionate in contemplating retro technology - a strong nostalgia factor, of course, but also a "freedom of design" factor: there were no cast-in-stone design rules yet, and consumer electronics could be as wild and woolly, as consumers wanted them to be:
The Twin-Gramophone set-up, with a valve in the middle, allowing for the groovy cross-fades between the two: early DJ technology?
The Gaumont Chronophone: 1910 - photos by Douglas Self
Japanese consumer electronics catalog from the early 1970s:
Portable LP, combined with solid-state radio (when you need to listen to your records ALL the time), and a 1975 prototype Hi-Fi Sphere (probably should be called "HyFy" nowadays, in light of the recent developments)
(image credit: Josh DiMauro)
Scientific frontiers, like they used to be
1968 Control Center of the JINR's (Joint Institute of Nuclear Research) synchrophasotron in Dubna, Russia (I'd say, they had ladders to access the central panel, or maybe they just levitated up and down on excited electrons)
Another weird control panel: abstract UFO symbols? No, this is a panel for a Russian power plant in the 1950s:
More conventional Soviet nuclear plant control center, from the 1950s -
Scientific experiments in Russia, "Tekhnika Molodezhi", 1974
Left image is from the American 1950s pulp magazine. Right image - a real Soviet laboratory (of the kind described here) from the 1960s, complete with larger-than-life Faraday Spheres. Fantasy and reality go hand-in-hand here:
Dry cleaning? (well, then, why not get inside the machine yourself) -
Multi-processor computing in 1924:
Washington, D.C. "Bonus Bureau, Computing Division", image via Shorpy
This looks much better:
Fax machines were invented earlier than you think
From this wonderful overview of fax machine history, come the following huge table-sized devices:
1947, World's First Color Fax Machine, that used colored pencils to print the output - via
Newspaper via Radio: 1939 and later - The "Reado" facsimile receivers (big enough to occupy a whole room corner) More info -
One could even send "kisses" by fax - just leave a lipstick impression on a telegram blank - info from 1938.
Speaking about clunky, over-sized devices... the evolution of Soviet mobile phones is also something to behold: here is the late 1960s mobile phone "Altai", used by Communist Party elite -
(images and more info)
However, old-school Cold War-era Russian phones are even groovier - see our article; they are quite collectible and much-desired today.
Old Russian Steam Irons: Heavy Metal from the 1800s
Russian elaborate and impressive steam irons, from Yaroslavl and Pereslavl-Zalesski (they even have the Steam Iron Museum) -
(images via 1, 2, 3, 4)
Behold, an iron with the optical gunsight! (left image)
Right image - underneath a big iron there is a microscopic one (made by some skilled master from Tula) designed to iron... shoelaces!
(images via 1, 2)
Kitchen Kool, with "Massagett"
Miniaturization comes to personal massage devices (used for scalp and foot massages). Some of them look like they can be used in Star Trek, as well:
See more here
What are they doing? Apparently, the girl on the left is choosing a modern-styled lamp, and the couple on the right is preparing to drill things (and can barely contain the excitement):
Portable broiler and oven from 1975 (designed by Greta Magnusson Grossman) -
(image credit: Derrick Bostrom)
And... definitely not for the kitchen.... the 1970s "Ball Polisher" machine:
(image credit: Josh DiMauro)
NEW! Memoric Pneumatics!
Bruce Zick from PigDog Productions shares with us this marvel of Cold War technology:
This marvelous souped-up typewriter (equipped with the Computator Engine and Memoric Pneumatics) was a welcome addition to the 1950s office:
(images credit: Bruce Zick, PigDog Productions)
OK, let's see, not the one on the left... not the one on the right...
(images via 1, 2)
This one! Must be something related to protective garment, or decontamination...
image credit: Wellcome Library, London
UPDATE: World War One, France: a radiographer wearing protective clothing and headpiece. Photograph by H. J. Hickman, ca. 1918.
CONTINUE TO NEXT PART! ->
Check out the whole "STEAMPUNK / VINTAGE" series! ->
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