Posts from the ‘Technology’ Category

The Ideal Modern Kitchen [1945]

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While now it may look like the backup kitchen at a big city church built in the 1930s, this Ideal Modern Kitchen from The Lily Wallace New American Cook Book would have been the bee’s knees in its day.  Check out the mural; do you have a mural along the ceiling in your kitchen? How about the big hanging lights which are designed to take 200-watt bulbs that sweat blistering heat from 10 feet up? Rounded corners on the cabinets? I want those now. 

Truthfully I’d cook here; a perfect upgrade – aside from the electrical system – would be stainless steel appliances.  And I’d keep the mural 🙂

Remembering Fotomat on Our Nostalgic Memories Blog

fotomat

Courtesy of Our Nostalgic Memories

Came across this blog post today while checking in on Google+. It is a detailed history of Fotomat, which started in 1965 and only closed completely in 2009. To be honest I didn’t realize it lasted that long!

I used Fotomat services in the 1980s, dropping off at my local kiosk in Shoreline WA.  I still have a few packs of negatives in Fotomat containers today.  Even some Kodachrome slides which were sent out for develop and mount.  In my neck of the woods, many of the remaining kiosks were repurposed as espresso stands.

Check out the blog post HERE at Our Nostalgic Memories!

Seattle City Light: Radio Dispatched to Alki [1968]

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“Come in, Truck 82…”

A Seattle City Light service truck makes a visit to a view home in Seattle’s Alki neighborhood in 1968.  The serviceman is wearing his lab coat and white service hat.  Back in the days before cellphones, he would have been sent there by a gruff-sounding dispatcher barking over the dash-mounted Motorola radio in the vehicle.  The Range Service Truck: A mid-1960s Chevrolet van – like this one – done in Utility Yellow.  In the garage: A 1959 Ford Galaxie convertible.

Built in 1954, this “Mid-Century” home design is common in neighborhoods and suburbs surrounding Seattle:

hillcrest_house

The roof line and brown on the siding in the first picture are nearly identical to my suburban house – which was built in the late 1960s.  Today that Alki house still stands, now with garage doors on the car port, and frankly still possessing a tremendous view:

seattle_alki

And the radio-dispatched yellow van?  Most likely retired and scrapped.

Storin’ It Old School

Storin' it Old School

Remember these guys? With a whopping 720 kilobytes of storage, they would hold two or three DOS games or a thousand text documents. They were amazing for their time and surprisingly durable.

I found these at a computer recycling store in Bellevue WA – fresh, minty, and ready to use by those who can even locate a 5″ floppy drive to run them! Of course now, I can’t even fit one digital photo on a 720k disk 🙂

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_disk

NuTone Intercom

NuTone 1

A friend moved into new digs this year, and was confronted by the most comprehensive 1960s Com System she had ever seen.

It was wired throughout the two-story house, with speaker and microphones in many of the rooms.  There was even a speaker out on the porch that overlooks the city.  Most of it still works, and we have parties there under the glorious umbrella of AM Radio.

When I was a kid this would have generated hours and hours of playtime.  The mere fact of having two-maybe-three intercoms in a house could help children imagine all sorts of stuff.  original Star Trek episodes could be reenacted. Submarine adventures – Dive Dive Dive!  Even pretending to be a chef calling out orders in a really big kitchen.

The possibilities are endless.

Check out these detail shots:

NuTone 2

Hallway Intercom

NuTone 3

Room Intercom

NuTone 4

Space-Age Nutone logo

NuTone 5

Skyline of Bellevue WA under the roof-mounted Nuton deck intercom

NuTone 6

Intercom Command Center in the Dining Room

NuTone 7

“Remotes” – nothing wireless here; slide switches communicate with each room.

For the record, Nutone is still around – making intercoms, security systems, even bathroom fan assemblies. Sadly none of the products have that awesome space-age logo!

Cacharro! Well-used Cuban `59 Chevy

Photo courtesy of Kachoff (Flickr) http://flic.kr/p/bUVREG

Well known already for its outrageous fins, this 1959 Chev Impala is famous as one of the surviving American-built cars that still ply the streets of Havana Cuba – fifty years after a US Embargo on Cuba.

Mechanics in that country are legendary for their ability to whip up a batch of home-brew brake fluid, rebuild an engine in an alley, and even retrofit a carburetor off a Soviet truck to keep these old cars – known locally as Cacharros – functional and mostly roadworthy.

Additionally, roughly 300 Harley-Davidson owners in Cuba manage to keep their pre-Embargo Big Twins alive in the same way, and recently had their first National Rally in April.

NY Times – Old Cars in Cuba: Nurtured But Not Loved

Michael Landon and The Kodak Ektra – Sept 1980

Michael Landon LIFE Magazine Sept 1980

From the back cover of the September 1980 edition of LIFE Magazine come this awesome blend of history and pop culture.  Let’s take a look at each element:

Michael Landon – He was a big star, known in later life for his honesty and family values.  He died too young.

Kodak – 100 years old at the time of the ad, Kodak is hanging on by a thread and a sliver at the age of 132.

Ektra – A camera model launched in 1941 as a rangefinder, and finishing its days as a 110 compact

The Perm – It was kind of a big deal.

Pink Knit Shirt – Chip and Muffy would be so proud

———————-

Eastern Airlines Commercial [1965]

Glimpses of Lockheed, Boeing 720, and 727 airliners – in glorious Black & White.  I love the screech of a 1960s jet engine.  Rest In Peace Eastern Airlines [1926 – 1991]

EAL 727 N8154G

Courtesy Michael Bludworth (Creative Commons Lic.)

Vintage Cameras

Falcon Minette

Picked up some vintage cameras last weekend at a photography swap meet in Kent WA.  Well, actually I picked up two and BelRedRoad Jr. got the other pair!  He’s 10-years old and part of a generation that was “born digital” but now discovering analog everything – from film cameras and muscle cars to record players and metal Tonka trucks. While he does carry a 4MP digital camera when he goes on field trips etc, he knows how much film I shoot and that analog cameras offer a lot of variety and visual candy.  And on Saturday there was plenty of candy to be had.  Aside from cameras, we also picked up about 20 rolls of film, lenses cases, and a couple issues of 1930s photography magazines.  Lots of great stuff came home in my backpack.

Check out what we found on our rounds (more about the awesome wood table at the bottom of this post):

The Falcon Minette above is tiny!  I originally bought the thing because it was cute and seemed like it might make a good display piece; then I discovered it was still usable.  The Minette is made of Bakelite and is just big enough to fit a roll of 127 film – a smaller version of medium-format film which is still available in color and black & white at good quantities.  The lens has a 50mm length.  There are no adjustable aperture settings, and it has one shutter speed: Slow.  This one is very clean inside, almost like it has never been used.  Bakelite has a ‘feel’ like nothing else, like plastic and glass mixed together.  The original Falcon Miniature was manufactured starting in 1939; this one is probably from the 1940s.  Price for this little piece of plastic history: One Dollar!

I’m going to run some black & white film through it to see what will happen 🙂

Petri 7S Rangefinder

Petri 7S Rangefinder

The Petri 7S is a Japanese 35mm rangefinder camera made by Kuribayashi in 1963.  It has a 45mm lens rated at f1.8;  that last number indicates that the lens is very sensitive to light, compared to its f2.8 sister that was also available at the time.  The clear tiles around the lens cover the camera’s light meter; it does not require batteries. Focusing is done with a dial on the side of the lens; when the adjustment is done, a small ghost image appears in the viewfinder.  Line up the image with the subject matter, and the camera is in focus.  Pretty slick.  Leica still makes cameras with digital image sensors that focus in the same way.

Price for the Petri?  Five bucks.  The threads on the lens end are bent, so it no longer can take screw-on filters.  But other than that it’s completely functional!

Reflekta II Twin Lens Reflex Camera

Reflekta II Twin Lens Reflex

The Reflekta II was made in East Germany between 1950 and 1954.  It is a medium-format camera, which uses readily-available 120 film.  Lens is a 75mm focal length.  The Twin Lens Reflex design allows the viewer to look down into the camera’s viewer on the top, and through the top lens.  The lower lens is the one that actually takes the picture.  While the outside condition shows wear, the inside is very clean.  Fully functional.  Fifteen dollars brought it home!

Spartus Folding Camera

Spartus No. 4 Folding Camera

The final surprise of our day at the swap meet was this “No. 4” folding camera made in 1949 by Spartus – which also made the Falcon Minette at the beginning of this post. The No. 4 takes 120 medium-format film, and takes eight shots per roll.  The camera looks more complicated than it actually is; user peers down into the viewer above and to the right of the lens in this picture.  There are only three aperture settings, and the camera has a “fixed focus” that is not adjustable (I told Jr. to shoot subjects from six feet away or more).  There is one shutter speed setting – about 1/100 of a second – but supposedly also has a timer setting.  On Saturday we shot a roll of 100-speed black & white, which will get developed this week.

Price: Fifteen dollars.

What I found most interesting was that the older TLRs and folding cameras were the cameras catching my son’s eye.  While I was looking for 1960s and 1970s rangefinder and SLR cameras and lenses, he was going totally old school.  I don’t mind, and I’ve already shown him how to shoot each one.  He’s having a blast!

About the Table – This magnificent table is smack dab in the middle of Cafe Cesura, a coffee shop in downtown Bellevue WA.  It appears to be one giant piece of wood, heavy and smooth.  This is where I sit to enjoy my Americano and Bacon muffin (Jr. has a bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola with real sugar).  Cafe Cesura also has salads and seasonal sandwiches.

So very tasty!

“Dad? What Does This Thing Do?”

The Texas Instruments TI-1025 calculator could add, subtract, multiply, and divide. It even could hold a number in memory, thanks to its 9-volt battery. I saved up and paid $9.99 for this at Pay n Save in 1977 in preparation for a math class.

For some reason I still have it.

The display is made of LED numbers. One recently sold on eBay for $15. If I ever find a 9-volt around my house I’m going to try it out.

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