The "Golden Age" of Popular Science Magazine

Starting about 1920, Popular Science turned into a glorious magazine with all kinds of fantastical cover illustrations, and articles which breathlessly told us about the wonders soon to arrive (many of which have failed to ever show up). This all ended sometime in the late 1960s, with only occassional flashes of the old brilliance showing up. Those of us fascinated by the old issues have hunted them in second hand shops and eBay. Now, it turns out, Google’s put all the back issues online. Sadly, you can’t download any of the old issues, and searching through them is a bit hit or miss, but there’s still plenty of fascinating stuff to keep you occupied for hours, clicking through the old issues.

Oh, how incredibly sweeeeeet. I love these! Grew up with a big stock of them. Grandpa threw em out eventually, though.

The motorboat horse polo players has to be one of my favorite covers of all time.

Thanks for the link, Tuckerfan.

Very nifty. I jumped to the March, 1951 cover myself looking for anything that would tell us how atomic energy would be a marvel. I just love the family calmly boarding up the basement windows as their city is incinerated above them.

This is really great. There’s five things we must do to land a man on the moon by 2000 AD. Note that step two is nuking it.

Would it really help them to be running around panicking? :confused:

Which would make step three PROFIT!

On pg 56 of that issue is an ad for a new pet animal from Syria, the hamster, directly below an offer for a free book on treating rectal blockages.

I found the article on “How good are Russian guns?” to be really interesting; the writer is clearly disdainful of them and mentions in one paragraph that “Many Russian guns… at first glance look like practice work in a school for lady welders”, but then goes on to stress that despite that, Russian firearms are still very effective.

So the article is 90% “Boo Communism! Yay American guns!” with a 10% “But the Commie Guns can still kill you, m’kay?”

Also, most of the sentiments about the quality of Russian firearms are simply incorrect- every Russian gun I’ve seen has been just as well made as an equivalent American or British or European firearm. But actually saying that in an American magazine in 1951 might be seen as supporting Communism, and we can’t have that now, can we? :dubious:

Also, what happened to the cool stuff that the magazine reported as having actually been invented and ready for production- things like Flywheel powered buses and so on? I’m not talking about Flying Cars and Mr. Handy robots or Laser Death Rays and so on- these are things for which functioning prototypes exist(ed) and just didn’t go anywhere.

Fascinating stuff, and thanks for the link!

Not really but it would be a more reasonable reaction to all your neighbors dying in a fiery holocaust twenty feet away from you than “Hold the ladder for me, son.”

Look, I agree that the cover is basically silly propaganda but your argument is even sillier.

If the blast is just reaching them now, then they went downstairs at the first announcement of Conelrad or whatever, they’ve been in the shelter for some time doing final preparations, and there wouldn’t have been even a second’s worth of time to react to anything that was happening to their neighbors. Logically, the picture is correct.

Melodramatic, sure. But the point is that they went downstairs at the first hint of trouble *rather *than panic. And the picture conveys this point exactly.

I have to give a look see I love the art work in those old covers, I wonder how many “return of the airship” covers there are?

You obviously have not met my neighbors.

Some mental stresses are evident - Mom is ironing with a squirrel.

It ain’t exactly strees free for the squirrel.

Upon closer examination, why is there a window with an underground view? Why is the guy boarding it up?
This is going to turn into “Find All Six”.

I don’t think Mom’s ironing - I think Mom is making up a cot!

Jebus! Why am I not surprised that the guy proposing this was from the Rand Corporation?

Making up a cot with a squirrel is not funny. Ironing with a squirrel on the other hand, is.
Get with the program.

Like the mushroom cloud that’s risen up through the atmosphere of the airless Moon.