Category:
Technology

The Man Can

Its formal name was the “man-carried auto-navigation device,” but it went by the nickname “Man Can.” The Martin-Marietta Corporation received patent no. 3,355,942 for it in 1967.

It was a device designed to help soldiers avoid getting lost. The patent offered this description:

a lightweight, completely mechanical, low energy device by which small units of men may locate themselves accurately with respect to some reference point when operating in the jungle, darkness or bad weather without dependence upon visual landmarks.



It combined a compass and a pedometer. A GI would record his initial location on a map, and then the device would track his footsteps and the directions in which he turned. When he was done walking, the device would tell him his new coordinates.

A key feature of the device was that it didn't use any battery power. So the GIs would never need to worry about it running out of juice. It operated via a bellows located in the heel of the GI's shoe.

I can't find any follow-up reports about how well this gadget worked. Apparently not well enough to warrant its adoption by the army. But it was an interesting concept.

Allentown Morning Call - Dec 11, 1967

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 05, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Geography and Maps, Inventions, Military, Technology, 1960s

Mystery Illustration 90

Still from a sci-fi flick, or real outfit?

The answer is here.

Or after the jump.





More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Mon Dec 30, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Movies, Technology, 1940s

Shaving with X-rays

It wasn't long after the discovery of x-rays, that people realized they could be used to remove body hair. In 1899, the American X-Ray Journal noted the "epilating properties of the X-Rays," and suggested that hair removal might be a profitable side-business for x-ray technicians.

However, as far as I can tell, it wasn't until 1945 that anyone got around to patenting the idea of x-ray hair removal. The patent was granted to Violet Arnold of Detroit. Columnist Frederick Othman wrote about it in a Dec 1945 column:

Her boyfriend was the inspiration, with his whiskery chin. Now he has no whiskers, thanks to U.S. Patent Number 2,389,403, the X-ray razor...
Miss Arnold's shave consists of two X-ray treatments of five to ten minutes each with the rays going through an aluminum plate before they hit the whiskers. That makes 'em curl up. Then she attacks the wilted whiskers nine more times in five weeks with rays going through aluminum and a bottle of water, too.

Amarillo Globe Times - Dec 3, 1945



The X-ray razor never caught on, probably because of the risk of serious, disfiguring burns. However, the idea lingered on in popular culture for a few years and was featured in several ad campaigns.

Crowley Post-Signal - Dec 12, 1952



Washington Court House Record-Herals - Jan 6, 1953

Posted By: Alex - Sun Dec 29, 2019 - Comments (6)
Category: Inventions, Technology, 1940s

Mystery Gadget 82

What's this box do?

The answer is here.

Or after the jump.





More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Fri Nov 29, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Technology, 1950s

A Queer Ferry



I would call this an aerial tramway for cars. Seems it would have been much easier just to build a bridge!

Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 27, 2019 - Comments (8)
Category: Engineering and Construction, Motor Vehicles, Technology, 1930s

The Philco Safari



More info.

More pics.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 19, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Technology, Television, 1950s

Skin On

Making trackpads feel more like human skin...

More info: marcteyssier.com



Posted By: Alex - Wed Oct 30, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions, Technology, Skin and Skin Conditions

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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