Postal Service by Projectile: Delivering Mail With Rockets
Long before email, it was predicted that traditional letters would be dropped off using the ever-advancing technology of the Space Age.
How to Conjure a Ghost to Get a Murderer to Confess
All you need is a projector and a willing prisoner.
Thinking Cap: A Helmet That Seals Out External Sounds and Sights
Never worry about distractions again.
Radios Had 'Like' Buttons Before the Internet Existed
This one was actually a real button, too.
Will California Build an Earthquake Warning System?
We're a long way from being able to predict temblors, but what if we had even a few moments of warning before the shaking started?
Visions of Futuristic Air Travel (And Plenty of Leg Room!) in 1946
The vision of post-war air travel isn't all that different from what well-heeled fliers can get today, but what a long, strange trip it's been.
How a Mine in South Africa Used X-Rays to Scan Workers for Diamonds
One mine in 1919 South Africa had a foolproof way to see whether its miners were smuggling out raw diamonds: it gave them a radiation-laden scan at the end of every shift.
Steam-Powered Cars: California's 1970s Smog Solution
Steam-powered cars may sound like a shout-out to the early 1900s, but in 1970s California the idea was building up a real head of, umm, steam.
Driving a Dead Horse: Making Cars Less Frightening in 1904
The traffic safety department is trying to get the nation used to today's silent cars. Something similar happened at the beginning of the 20th century.
Corn of Ill Repute: How Butterkist Helped Make Movie Popcorn Respectable
How a salt-of-the-Earth Midwest manufacturer learned to butter up customers and see its sales explode.
Pretty Much the Scariest Way to Give Kids Their Medicine
Bunny needles, puppy spoons, squirrel otoscopes. Here are some great, well-meaning ways to make children fear doctors AND cute fuzzy animals.
What Uber, Lyft and Sidecar Can Learn From the Jitney Cars of the 1910s
Ride-sharing took off in Los Angeles at the beginning of the 20th century, but it couldn't beat City Hall.
Dazzle Shoppe: Animated Window Advertising In The Pre-TV Age
Before viewing the retail experience became the province of TVs and tablets, if you wanted to see possible presents dancing around you had to head to the windows of downtown department stores.
The Sound Effects of Silence: SFX Before There Were Talkies
Before silent movies evolved into talkies, various efforts to create the aural ambiance depicted onscreen included this roomful of noise-making contraptions.
The Great Depression and the Rise of the Refrigerator
How the gleaming white fridge changed our relationship to food.
'Speeches Must Be Short': Radio and the Birth of the Modern Presidential Campaign
The origin of the soundbite can be traced to the 1924 U.S. presidential election, the first one ever covered heavily by a broadcast medium, radio.