An x-ray of an early “silicon grown junction transistor”, made by Morton Jones at Texas Instruments in May of 1954. Via the Smithsonian’s Chip Collection.
Current obsession: vintage Autopen signing machines. Used for mass-producing signatures with real pens, the machine was invented in the 1950s and is decidedly non-computerized: the plastic templates used to drive the pen look like the one below.
These templates can still be ordered online for $200, and I am completely fighting the urge to buy one. The company is still in business and makes CNC versions that take an SD card instead of a physical template. Below is a room full of machines, signing junk mail letters.
This amazing book includes printed mylar signatures by JFK’s fleet of Autopen robots as an aid to identifying real and generated signatures. A deeper forensic analysis is available from this 1973 article in the Journal of Forensic Science.
Every since the Radiohead song of the same name popped up in my iTunes shuffle today, I’m feeling the telex love. Above is the Siemens T100 machine which, if anyone is wondering what to get my for my birthday, this would be it 😊
Another shot of the T100.
A Siemens and Halske “fast-acting type printing telegraph; average 2000 characters in a minute” from 1905.
And a German stamp from 1953 celebrating the telex.
I gave in and bought this amazing box set of solar forecasting maps. Contained in two cases with 18 portfolios in each, they include reproductions of hand-drawn maps from 1957. Amazing attention to detail, superb printing quality, and overall just a beautiful (albeit heavy) object.
An RCA model EMT3 desktop electron microscope, circa 1950. Via Wikipedia user Gregory Tobias.
The cover from the 1959 book “General Shop For Everyone”. Totally love the color and typography.
The Hush-A-Phone is hardware-hacking 1950s-style; a device for “safeguarding privacy, quieting the office, and improving hearing in noisy places”. The makers of Hush-A-Phone were sued by Bell Telephone, who leased telephones to customers (Hush-A-Phone won the case, with the court saying that Bell’s argument was not “just, fair, and reasonable”).