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article number 694
article date 12-07-2017
copyright 2017 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Our Technology, 1922 - Part 2: Using Household Electricity
by Various Popular Science Magazine Writers

From issues of Popular Science Monthly, 1922.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Note light socket type plugs on appliances and some cords going toward the ceiling.

* * *

Electric Toothbrush for Home.

BRUSHES of the standard dental type mounted in a flexible shaft driven by a small electric motor operating on the lighting circuit, enable the teeth to be cleaned as thoroughly in the home every morning as they are at the end of the semi-annual visit to the dentist.

In principle the novelty illustrated is exactly the same as the electric toothbrushes used in the dentist’s chair. The improvements simply enable it to be operated by a child or person without mechanical knowledge.

Individual toothbrushes are inserted in a friction clutch, and the speed is controlled by the pressure of the thumb.

Electric toothbrush for home.

Electric Typewriter Rests the Fingers.

No more pounding the keys! No more tired wrists for the stenographer at five o’clock. A new electric typewriter uses magnetic solenoids to operate the keys, and the stenographer merely depresses the bars enough to make an electrical connection. There is practically no muscular work at all in typing.

The machine is connected with the lighting circuit by a wall plug, and prepared for operation by throwing the switch shown at the right. It is very light in weight.

The force of the impression can be regulated, and it is said that as many as fifty carbon copies can be made at once.

Electric typewriter. © Kadel & Herbert.

Electric Manicuring Machine.

WITH rotary files, buffers, and polishers which can be slipped into a whirling shaft, an electric manicuring-set will appeal to the efficient as well as to the fastidious. Under the dainty case of filigree is a little electric motor, and by slipping the various attachments into the chuck, the finger-nails are manicured by power in exactly the same way as it is done by hand, but with a great gain in speed and a vast improvement in the result.

Finger-tips can be manicured neatly and quickly by this motor-driven device.

Light Socket Holds Light Shade.

Three prongs, which form part of the socket fixture, engage the rim-flange of the diffusion bowl and hold it firmly by spring action.

Electric Water-heater.

Here is an electric water-heater. The heater is covered by an insulating jacket.
Health-Strength-Beauty Thru Renulife Violet Ray.

Treatments at Home. STIMULATE AND STRENGTHEN your vital organs, develop your body and steady your nerves by applying the powerfully corrective and upbuilding Renulife Violet Ray.

Spray thousands of volts of high-frequency electricity into any weak, sluggish or painful organ or muscle. Feel the flood of warm, rich blood it brings to the treated part, driving out aches and pains and enabling nature to build healthy new tissue.

THOUSANDS OF USERS have found in Renulife Violet Ray a quick and positive means of relieving pain and suffering, correcting nervous disorders and building the vital energy and strength that comes from perfect health.

GET “HEALTH” BOOK, sent on request. Tells of the wonderful benefits derived from Renulife treatments in a hundred diseases, weaknesses and chronic disorders.

Renulife Electric Company 1801 Newberry Bldg. Detroit, Mich.
In Canada. Netting Bldg. Windsor, Canada.

Sales Agents write for attractive plan.
Lighting Fixtures" Ready to hang. Direct from manufacturers. Completely wired including glassware. Send for Catalogue No. 20. ERIE FIXTURE SUPPLY Co., Desk A, Erie, Pa.

Electric Cleaner Scrubs Carpets with Soap and Water.

NOTHING but soap and water is used in a novel household carpet-cleaner, which washes the rugs while they are in place on the floor.

A solution of soap in hot water is placed in the can at the rear. The liquid runs through an electric superheating unit, and then passes through a regulating valve into the interior of two bath sponges, which oscillate at the rate of five hundred revolutions a minute. This scrubbing transforms the soap solution into suds, and scours all the dirt out of the carpet.

Behind the scrubber is a squeeze rod and a small vacuum cleaner. These press all the water out of the nap of the rug, at the same time sucking up all the moisture and dirt into a lower container at the back of the machine. The rug is left almost dry after the machine has passed over it, and it is said that the mechanical cleaning will not injure the fabric or coloring of any rug.

Electric carpet cleaner. © Keystone.

Cleansing Is Safer when Lamps Are Lowered.

PLACING factory lights on cords so that they may be lowered to the floor when it is necessary to clean them has already saved the lives of many washers, and enabled a larger number of lights to be cleaned in a day.

The old practice was for the worker to climb on a ladder and balance precariously over moving machinery, continually running the risk of serious accidents. It frequently happened that the product being manufactured was damaged when falling glass from a broken shade or globe dropped into the machinery. Twenty feet of cord arranged as in the illustration has done away with these perils.

Factory lights on cords so that they may be lowered.

Electric Motor Is a Bootblack.

AN electric motor transformed into a bootblack can polish shoes in less than a minute. The operator takes the polish from boxes on top of the machine and smears it on the shoes, then gives the preliminary polishing with a motor—driven brush.

To finish the job, an attachment consisting of four pieces of heavy felt is placed in an operating handle. As the felt pieces pass over the shoe, they produce a slapping, rubbing action similar to that of a polishing cloth in the hands of an expert bootblack.

The motor operates on any electric-lighting circuit. In the outfit is a box that holds all attachments for rubbing and brushing. An advantage, in addition to speed, is that only one application of paste is needed.

Electric motor is a bootblack. © Keystone.

Using Electricity to Put the Baby to Sleep.

By R. A. Squires
(Second Prize in “New Uses for Electricity” Contest)

WHEN our baby arrived, he started life with a severe case of colic, which kept us up at all hours endeavoring to quiet him. We shortly discovered that gently shaking him up and down in his crib would induce him to be perfectly quiet—as long as we kept it up. This became mighty tiresome, even when my wife and I took turns, and after a few nights we were both worn out.

So I proceeded to contrive a mechanical means to shake the baby by mounting a discarded fan motor on a base secured in the lower part of the crib. I ran a belt from the small pulley on the motor to a 6-in, pulley mounted on a short piece of shaft, which was provided with two bearings and a base for attaching.

On the other end of shaft I mounted a collar and drilled it for a crankpin about 3/8 in. off center. I then made a short connecting rod, one end with a bearing to snugly fit the crankpin, the other end attached to the center of the springs in the crib. The connecting-rod was later provided with an adjustment to compensate for the baby’s weight as he grew older.

This device moves springs, mattress, baby, and all up and down about 3/4 in. in a smooth and regular manner. A means of regulating the speed was provided by the use of a small self-contained rheostat sold for dimming a lamp. The motor as usually operated consumes about 20 watts an hour.

Does it work? Well, the baby is now over a year old. He has never missed a day going to sleep with the aid of the shaker, and we have never had to stay up at night to rock him or shake his crib since we put the electric shaker to work. The outfit is self-contained with the crib and can be placed in any room. It has a cord connection for attaching to any convenient socket.

I might add that the crib is also equipped with electric milk-warmer and night-lamp.

The crib springs are gently joggled.

Monster Searchlight Forecasts Dazzling Night Skies.

SHIPS at sea off New York, a short time ago, began an exchange of radio comment on a glaring light pointing into the clouds.

Some observers guessed it was the aurora borealis; others thought it was lightning. It was neither. It was the beam from the most powerful searchlight in the world—the 1,400,000,000 candlepower torch perfected by Elmer Sperry, noted inventor, and installed in a lighthouse in New York harbor.

This light, tested for possible use as a beacon for airplanes, throws its beam vertically in the air. It will penetrate thick banks of moisture, and is visible above the clouds. It has lighted up clouds 10 miles above the earth.

As the result of its spectacular effects, advertising concerns already are considering the possibility of blocking out part of the light to type words and draw pictures on the sky.

The Sperry light is operated on the comparatively small current of 150 amperes and 110 volts.

The intensity of illumination is due to an improved type of carbon used in the arc, which has a core of refractory mineral salts. A long arc is used, and this produces a small ball of incandescent gases in the heart of the carbon electrode.

As the source of light is a point, a parabolic mirror five feet in diameter reflects all the light produced. The light is mounted on a special chassis so that it may be moved about when used as a landing light on airdromes.

Billion candlepower searchlights, playing on clouds far above the earth, may soon “plaster” billboards on the night skies above Manhattan and illuminate airplane thoroughfares leading from New York to Chicago, Boston, and southward along the Atlantic coast.
The Sperry searchlight. Its encased arc is held over the five-foot reflector by steel arms.

Selenium Cell Serves as Radio Detector.

THROUGH the invention of an improved selenium cell, smaller and more sensitive than anything available heretofore, experimenters can now develop selenium’s rare property of producing an electric current directly proportional to the amount of light falling upon it. The delicacy of the cell, perfected by Russell Hart, of Los Angeles, is demonstrated by its ability to serve as a wireless detector.

The cell consists of a thin sheet of platinum fused on glass, over which crystallized selenium is applied in a very thin layer. The width of the electrodes is carefully graduated by cutting away the platinum tip with an engraving tool. Over the whole cell is mounted a porcelain cup filled with desiccated calcium chloride as a protection to keep the cell bone dry.

For high-speed work, where the electrical response to fluctuations in the intensity of the light must be as rapid as possible, the cell is made with the thinnest possible film of selenium, and the platinum electrodes are engraved to within 1/3000 of an inch of their calculated size.

The full sunlight resistance of such a cell will be from 10,000 to 20,000 ohms, and its resistance in darkness from 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 ohms.

Selenium cell, tinfoil strip and porcelain cover.

Light Burns a Minute to Save Your Shins.

ELECTRIC lights that stay lit for a minute after they are turned off at the switch will be appreciated by any one who has ever stumbled over a chair on the way to bed or cracked his head on a half-open garage door. A thermostatic element keeps the current on for 60 seconds after the switch is opened.

The element does not act as a slow-moving contact to break the circuit, but forms a spring latch, which, when cold, holds two spring leaf contacts together, releasing them after it has been heated to a certain temperature.

Throwing a small resistance unit into the circuit by pulling the socket chain heats the thermostatic latch. This heating unit, together with the lamp, is cut out of the circuit by the action of the spring leaf switches, and remains off until the “on” chain lights the lamp.

Electric light stays lit for a minute after it is turned off.

Electric Motors Focus World’s Largest Map Copying Camera.

IMAGINE a camera that is as massive as a motor-truck, operated by electric motors, weighs 3 1/2 tons, takes a picture one yard square and uses a stationary plateholder located inside a darkroom that serves as a camera box—and you will have a general idea of the largest camera in the world. This huge apparatus, of the prismatic type, is used by the United States Geological Survey to copy maps and tracings. It was invented by A. H. Linsenmeyer, chief photographer of the bureau.

The camera proper consists of a rubber bellows extending through the wall from a darkroom where the plate is held. Heavy iron framework comprising the focusing apparatus is hung from the ceiling by large shock-absorbing springs that eliminate all vibration. This framework consists of two connected carriages, moved over special tracks by electric motors. One carrier moves the lens, prism, and camera bellows; the other supports the copyholder, which is placed at right angles to the lens.

The tracing or map to be photographed is placed between two large glass plates 48 by 72 inches in size, and is centered by a system of automatic regulators. After the map tracing is in place, the photographer turns a switch that moves the sliding lens of the camera forward on its track until it arrives at the point of proper focus. There is a special scale along the track of the copyholder that similarly governs its movement.

As soon as the lens is in focus, an electric lamp is flashed automatically to inform the operator that he may turn on another switch that lowers the plate curtain, opens the lens, and exposes the negative. This switch is so adjusted that it also regulates the time of exposure. After the picture is taken, it is a simple matter to remove the plate and develop it expeditiously.

HOW THE CAMERA WORKS. This diagram of the world’s largest camera shows the position and movements of the various units.
GETTING THE FOCUS (top). By turning switches the photographer moves the camera lens and the copyholder.

RUNS ALONG TRACKS (lower right). How the focusing apparatus is suspended from tracks by shock-absorbing springs.

Lights for the Bookshelf.

Each bookend holds an ornamental electric lamp with a conical shade. A wall plug supplies the current.

Ornamental electric bookend lamp.

Ornament is Light Socket.

The tassel is not merely a chandelier ornament. It contains a socket for connecting the plug of your lamp, toaster, or vacuum cleaner with a light fixture.

Chandelier ornament containing an electric socket.

Let a Motor Wash Friend Wife’s Dishes.

MOTOR-DRIVEN ARMS DO THE SCRUBBING. Here’s a new portable dishwashing machine for the small apartment. The machine is raised to sink height by a pedal. A motor revolves a central, vertical tube with radial arms that throw the water at the dishes by centrifugal force. After five minutes’ washing, the container is emptied and refilled with hot water for rinsing.

Portable dishwashing machine.

Electric Switch Protector.

ELECTRICTIANS occasionally receive severe burns when they open the field switch of a motor. The heavy current passing through the switch causes a momentary arc and generates intense heat. The asbestos protector illustrated will shield the hands from this excessive heat. Two pieces of heavy sheet asbestos are used. They are flexibly connected by two metal rings.—W. C. ROYER.

The flap forms a shield over a switch.
Guaranteed 1/4 H-P A.C. Motor. 13.50 F.O.B. Chicago.

THINK OF IT—a new, latest type 1/4 hp. single phase alternating current motor, guaranteed for one year, for $13.50. This is lower than the before-war price. Motor is 110 volt, 1740 rpm, 60 cycle, split-phase, fan-cooled induction type. Suitable for running washing machines, churns, cream separators, ventilating fans, blowers, lathes, drills, etc. Furnished in two styles—with cord and plug as illustrated; or with binding post terminal (reversible type).

Motor weighs 24 lbs. bare, 33 lbs. boxed. It is the latest type of a large, responsible manufacturer, who guarantees every motor shipped, for one year, and attaches to each a guarantee service tag, serially numbered which entitles owners to a new motor, by express prepaid, should defects develop within a year. Repair parts are always available at low cost; but motor is so sturdy and has so few parts that repair expense is negligible.

Price complete, boxed, f.o.b. Chicago.

Quantity Discounts. On 3 motors ordered in 1 shipment, price is $13.00; six motors, $12.50 each; 12 motors, $12.25; 25 motors, 12.00 each.

SEND CASH WITH ORDER or we will ship by express COD. if you prefer.

GRINDER and BUFF $25.00.

Above motor, equipped with 6 in. Norton No. 60 abrasive wheel; and 6 in. Hanson &Van Winkle Cotton Buff; complete with oil-and-on switch and cord and plug.

Machine weighs 38 lbs. bare, or 52 lbs. boxed. It is ideal for the home garage or workshop, for grinding tools and cutlery and for polishing silver and plated ware. Also adapted to the heavy work of hotels and restaurants for the same purposes, and for general machine shop service. Price f.o,b. Chicago . . $25.00. This price is less than half the usual charge for a tool of this size and capacity.

SEND CASH WITH ORDER or we will ship by express C.O.D. if you prefer. Descriptive circular on application.


Flexible Electric Welder Regulates Heat.

WITH welding points that can handle work at any angle, a new electric machine can perform spot welding of every kind without special adjustments. The operator can concentrate his attention on the spots he is welding, for the entire process is mechanical.

The machine is of the box type of construction, so that the workman is protected against accident. It can be operated either by hand or foot, or by both, without disconnecting either one of the operating levers.

A heat regulator provides eight temperatures for welding material, from No. 30 gage to pieces of 5/16-inch stock.

Points of this spot welder will handle work at any angle.

Self-Winding Reel Carries Electric Cable.

A NEW self-winding reel to carry the electric cable for portable tools to various points in the shop or garage, prevents the short circuits caused by continually dragging the cable through water. In addition it keeps the cable flexible and handy for use.

The reel is attached to the ceiling on a swivel, so that the cord may be led out in any direction. Sliding contacts in the supporting head maintain constant electric connection as the reel is turned.

The self-winding device consists of a spiral spring operated by a gravity controlled pawl that acts on a ratchet.

When the reel is unwound slowly, the pawl falls into engagement with the ratchet teeth and will lock the cable at any point, but if the cable is pulled out rapidly and then released, the pawl is continually knocked out of engagement by the oncoming ratchet teeth. When this happens, the cable is rewound by the spring, thus adjusting itself.

Self-winding reel to carry the electric cable.

Long Pole with Jaws Replaces Lights.

REPLACING burned-out electric lights in signs high above the roofs of skyscrapers or in lamps at the top of tall poles has become a quicker and safer task since the perfection of a simple replacing device for lamps installed in push sockets. The invention consists of an aluminum clutch mechanism mounted on the end of a jointed wooden pole of any required length.

The jaws fit around the base of the bulb, and are opened by pulling a cord. By gradually releasing the tension cord, the jaws take a firm grip on the glass without any danger of breakage. With the push type of socket, the new bulb is thrust directly into place, but where the screw type is in use, the pole must be rotated.

Long pole with jaws to replace lights on pole showing details of jaws.

Electric Heater for Kitchenette.

This electric heater for kitchenette use is just large enough for two pots or pans.

Electric heater for kitchenette.

Electric Ice-cream Freezer.

Closing the lid starts this electric ice-cream freezer.

Electric ice-cream freezer.

Shaving Mirror Lamp.

An electric lamp behind an opalescent glass shade set in the top of this shaving mirror supplies a bright light for shaving, but does not dazzle the eyes of the shaver. It may be connected by a plug and cord with any light socket.

Shaving mirror with built-in lamp.

Electric Motor Drives New Maid-of-All-Work.

Versatile Machine Mixes Dough, Beats Eggs, Freezes Cream.

Here’s a whole kitchen in one machine that will grind coffee, chop meat or vegetables, beat eggs, slice fruits, mix dough, batter, sauces, or dressings, strain soups, or freeze ice-cream. It is driven by a small electric motor and works at three speeds.

A whole kitchen in one machine driven by a small electric motor.

Coil-spring Takes up the Wire Slack.

The coil-spring takes up the slack of the wire, preventing the dragging cord from touching the iron.

Coil-spring Takes up the Wire Slack.

New Light Bulbs Have No Tips to Be Broken.

By the old method of manufacture, the globe was fused over the assembled stem and a glass tube inserted in the top of the bulb. Through this tube the air was pumped out. After the globe was exhausted, the tube was heated and pinched off, sealing the bulb, but leaving a fragile tip.

In the manufacture of the newest electric-light bulbs, the fragile tip is placed in a position at the base of the lamp, where it is no longer in constant danger of being knocked off.

When the filaments, bracket, and supporting wires are assembled, a jet of air blows a hole through the stem through which the lamp can be exhausted.

In the new method, the globe is made without a tip and fused onto the stem. The tube leading to the air pump is then fused into the hole blown in the stem while it was being assembled.

New Light Bulbs Have Blown Tip on Bottom.

Electric Cup Heater.

This cup, useful in the sickroom for heating liquids, contains an electric heating element the temperature of which is controlled by a switch.

Electric Cup Heater.

Electric Hair Press.

For this electrically heated producer of marcelled waves, the heating member is a rod with spiral corrugations against which the hair is pressed.

Electric Hair Press.

Fold Your Apartment Kitchenette into a Table.

A COMPLETE kitchenette, folded compactly into an attractive table, as shown below, saves pantry space in the ever dwindling apartment. The table top swings back on hinges and rests on brackets. One side is swung down also, to give convenient access to electric grill, toaster, and cooker, dishes and cooking utensils.

Apartment Kitchenette with access to electric appliances.
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