Monday, 30 April 2012

Космическая мода

The 1920s: When Russia went through a major space craze.

Well, if I lived under Lenin, I'd want to go to Mars really bad, too.

Helicopter bus

If they didn't bring Gerry Anderson in on this thing, then they really weren't doing their job.


The Future: When women will wear special helmets to protect their hairspray-laden coifs from strange men in armour wielding ray guns for some reason I can't figure out.

My brain hurts.

Man and the Moon

Friday, 27 April 2012

The car that flies

That's "car" in the most broadly defined terms

1929: The year of prosperity

Paleofuture looks at astrological predictions for 1929 and explains why the stars may not be the best way to manage your portfolio.

Space: 1968

Voyager concept 1967
The year when NASA had to shift gears away from the grand dreams of manned Mars missions in favour of robots.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


Forty bhp of pure... something.

Moon wars

A look at U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Homer A. Boushey and his plans for the military exploitation of the Moon.


One of the most ambitious space station ideas in Future Past was a 1956 plan to build not stations, but space cities.  How?  By sending up fleets of little shuttles that would be turned into structural materials for the behemoth.

Sort of like rebuilding Honolulu out of old 747s.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Radio Newspaper

Over in our Hugo Gernsback section, we have a page on the Radio Newspaper; another classic example of merging two incompatible technologies into an unworkable third.

Now, over at Paleofuture, you can find out more about this technological dead end.

Bathrooms... of the FUTURE!

One of Disney's less inspired ideas

Who needs Jodrell Bank?

The good old days when radio astronomy could be conducted with gear set up on the front porch.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

“Fair of the Fair"

Couldn't make it to the 1939 New York World's Fair?  Then here is some pavilion concept art to show you what you missed.

Lockheed STAR Clipper

Maybe it's just me, but I've always found the STAR Clipper space shuttle configuration with its wrap-around drop tanks just slightly scary.

Something to do with being more comfortable with all the highly explosive fuel sitting behind me at liftoff.

Deficit trials

Unfortunately, just as relevant today as it was in the '80s.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Captain Marvel soldiers

Ah, the optimism of American publishing a month before Pearl Harbor.  Faced to going to war with the Axis menace?  No problem; the answer is vitamins and jai alai.  A shot of thiamine and a cresta bat and GIs will be tossing around Nazis like rag dolls.

Mind you, all the talking up the vitamin angle might mean that this is actually part of the disinformation campaign that the British were running to divert attention away from their new radar and code breaking abilities.

Man in Space

Friday, 20 April 2012

Flying ambulance

I love this 1927 idea.  How to make the best use of an aeroplane to transport accident victims?  How about a plane that ambulances can just roll into.

The combination of foresight and inability to make the conceptual leap is charming.

Mission to Mars

Beyond Apollo looks at the remarkable Avco/RAD study of 1966 that actually takes the time to ask the question nobody else before or since bothered with; what the heck will the astronauts do on Mars once they get there?


McDonnell Douglas's Mach 25 orbital spacecraft

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Elektro redux

Elektro, one of our favourite robots of the 1930s, has not only found a permanent home at the Mansfield Museum in Mansfield, OH, but Mr Scott Schaut, curator of the museum has hand-built a replica of the Motoman to hire out to museums for exhibition.

If Mr Schaut ever offers one for sale, I'd like nothing better in my front hall.

Future GI: 1959

Automatic Soldier

Here are some new images from The Electrical Experimenter that we'll be adding to our Automatic Soldier page.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


Modern Mechanix points out that sometimes predicting the future can be a wee bit too revealing.

Moving the future

Dark Roasted Blend has a superb collection of Future Past images on the topic of transportation.

Nuke New York

Paleofuture asks why Colliers hated New York City so much.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Anti-motorcycle death ray

Ah, death rays!  We can't get enough of them.

Roller house

How to improve on living in a ball?  By constructing the ball so that it can be rolled to the building site in one piece.

Note:  Please furnish AFTER moving.

Fairey Rotodyne

I've always had a fondness for the Fairey Rotodyne.  Part helicopter, part airliner; what's not to love?

Friday, 13 April 2012

Skylab teleoperator

A remote control robot designed for the Skylab project, but never used.

Not as friendly looking as the one on the ISS, but I've always felt that robots should resemble something not to be trusted.

Milkman's helper

The milkman's robot helper; a classic example of fiddling with the details when a basic rethink is required.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Colliers's space programme

Dreams of Space looks at the press releases that heralded the publications of Colliers's famous space series.

Part 2

Part 3

Why not?

Why?  Because making your case by comparing moving people about a shopping centre to shifting coal out of a mine on conveyor belts might not make slidewalks as attractive as you think.

Mars Rover 1979

A look at NASA's plans to put a Rover on the red planet in 1980.

I can't decide whether this meant we'd be twenty years ahead or have another footnote about an additional pile of scrap on a Martian sand dune.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


So, Eric has a heart for a pump, a furnace for a stomach and a pachinko machine for a spleen.

Why? I have no idea.


Wired looks at the chequered history of the space station Columbia, which eventually became the International Space Station.


Synthetic fibres got off to a shaky start, such as Lanital, a fabric made from milk.

Next up, milk made from fabric.

Sunday, 1 April 2012