Notes about vintage
From a 1950 issue of Popular Science, an ad featuring Bell Lab’s early multi-frequency signaling keyboard for connecting long distance phone calls, in the era just before DTMF dialtones were introduced to America’s households.
(Via the always-interesting History of Phone Phreaking blog, which links to a couple of other good vintage Bell Labs ads)
From the New York Times obituary for Louis Moyroud, co-inventor of the phototypesetting Lumitype machine that revolutionized the newspaper industry in the 1950s:
Then, in the early 1940s, Mr. Moyroud and Mr. Higonnet — electronics engineers and colleagues at a subsidiary of ITT (formerly International Telephone & Telegraph) in Lyon, France — visited a nearby printing plant and witnessed the Linotype [the older Victorian-era printing process that was still in use] operation.
“My dad always said they thought it was insane,” Patrick Moyroud (pronounced MOY-rood) said. “They saw the possibility of making the process electronic, replacing the metal with photography. So they started cobbling together typewriters, electronic relays, a photographic disc.”
The result, called a photo-composing machine — and in later variations the Lumitype and the Photon — used a strobe light and a series of lenses to project characters from a spinning disc onto photographic paper, which was pasted onto pages, then photoengraved on plates for printing.
If you’ve ever seen the older lead-alloy-fueled “hot metal” Linotype process you’d agree: it was crazy.
(Photo of the Lumitype/Photon wheel by Flickr user Jeronzinho)
The world’s only working (modern) Pallophotophone plays 80-year-old NBC radio broadcasts:
The pallophotophone was an early audio recorder created by GE researcher Charles Hoxie in 1922. Rather than using magnetic wire or lacquer disks, the device captured audio waveforms on sprocketless 35 mm film as a series of 12 parallel tracks reflected from a vibrating mirror. It was used to record some of the world’s oldest surviving radio broadcasts on Schenectady, New York radio station WGY between 1929 and 1931.
As a forgotten optical medium, I guess its more modern analog would be laserfilm discs. Sort of working along the right path, but just not practical compared to other media coming out at the time. There’s more about the rediscovered pallphotophone recordings on the GE Reports blog.
Breakdowns of 1936, Warner Bros’ annual in-house blooper reel (surprisingly uncensored). At least now I know what the most common swear was in 1936!
(Via Coudal Partners)
WOW, I’m about four years late on this one, but in case anyone else hasn’t come across this: a fan has collected and cataloged a huge chunk (nearly 7½ hours worth!) of the incidental music from Ren & Stimpy. You know the stuff: the delightfully surreal, atomic age lounge music that defined the series. Don’t miss the smallish image link to Volume 2! The direct download links went dark, but if you poke around towards the bottom of the comments you can probably figure it out…
(spotted via twomuch)
A beautiful photo set of Western Electric and Bell Labs test equipment from Flickr user Marc F. Vintage telephony pr0n.
(Via The History of Phone Phreaking)
(video no longer available)
A vintage 3D stop motion film of a car being assembled, produced by Chrysler Motors (despite YouTube title, I think this is from later than 1939, when it was re-filmed in Technicolor). The springs must have been a pain to animate. Fun stuff! (via BoingBoing)