Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Popular Science Coverage

I found these issues of "Popular Science" at a sale yesterday. There was a complete run from the late 40's to the mid 50's.  I thought about buying them all, but that way lay madness.  Instead, I picked up those that had interesting covers (yes, I am one to judge a book by it).  I'll eventually post each issue and provide some of the content and ads (always the best part) later, but for now, the covers deserve their own post.  I never read "Popular Science" because it intimidated me a little; I thought it was for "smart" people.

January 1956.  

"Inside the New Midget Moon".  Sputnik would be launched almost 2 years later in October 1957.

March 1949
Oops.  Looks like I let a "Popular Mechanics" issue slip in.  They were pretty interchangeable with "Popular Science", right?  The cover artist is Roswell Brown, but I couldn't find much information on him.

April 1949
The artist on this cover is Reynold Brown (brother to Roswell???) You might remember Reynold Brown from such B-movie posters as "Attack of the 50-Foot Woman", "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and "Teenage Caveman"!  Okay, maybe not that last one.

November 1951
The car on the cover is by Midget Motors who are still in business despite having a website that screams 1995.

December 1951
I can't quite make the cover artist out on this one.  Looks like "Runfor" or "Runtor".  "Runtor" would be a good caveman name.

October 1952
"Making the Most of Your Basement".  Where it all began.  The basement is always the first place I go at estate sales (it's where I found these issues!)  I love all the custom work homeowners did on their basements back then, from the linoleum tile to the wood paneling to the homemade bars.  Hey kids, there's an open window in the laundry room if you want to sneak in for a closer look.

December 1952
The cars, the Christmas gifts, the giant Santa peering out the window.  It's all almost too much for me.

October 1953
 Dad probably shouldn't have set up home right below the monorail.  Awful for property value.  Especially with no roof.

July 1954
"He Rides a Kite!"  So do a lot of tourists in Destin.  Man, he thought much of himself, didn't he?

November 1954
That jet is way cooler than the Concorde which made it's first passenger flight in 1976 and average 3.5 hours to cross the Atlantic.  Not quite the 2 hours boasted by the article in this issue.

October 1955
His and hers.  And, um, hers?

May 1956 
This cover accurately predicts the rear-view camera now found on a lot of passenger vehicles.  But we're still not quite ready to turn the controls completely over.  Best speed 85 indeed!


  1. Ha - look at those urchins spying on the people renovating their basement. I guess LA never got around to putting in that monorail.

    1. >look at those urchins spying on the people renovating their basement.
      I think they're wagering when Dad will lose a finger with that new power saw.
      >I guess LA never got around to putting in that monorail.
      No, but it gave Walt Disney an idea.

  2. man, i used to LOVE reading Pop Sci and Pop Mech. my grandmother had a big stack of them, and i'd read them over and over. there's a regular feature cartoon in one of them (maybe both?) that i'm sure you'll get to that, sans words, shows some person cleverly figuring out a way around some problem. LOVED THOSE.

    also, as far as that monorail cover goes, it looks to be san francisco, judging by the bridge in teh distance, not LA... and it's also interesting that "outdoor living rooms" are now the hot new thing in western living, so they weren't far off if that's what they were aiming for:

    also, there is talk now about increasing the speed limit in some places to 85, a thought which terrifies me, haha

    1. I'm not sure why these magazines intimidated me as a child. I thought they were full of things I wouldn't understand, but looking through them now, they're chock-full of all kinds of experimental and jerry-rigged things the common man can build. Build your own lawn mower? Sure, all you need are used razor blades and an old washing machine motor (p.s. I'm not kidding).


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