Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Future is Now - The Golden Age of Popular Mechanics

The Original Air Pirates - Popular Mechanics, January 1936

The wife and I were at one of the local antique stores today and along with the normal pile of old clothes, toys, records etc, I came across a small pile of Popular Mechanics dating from the 1920's through the late 50's, all for only a couple of bucks each, so of course I dived on them.

Portable Air Force Base - Popular Mechanics, July 1925

The books are in decent condition and have some great articles and ads inside that I'll get around to sharing at some point, but right now I just wanted to share these amazing covers with all of you.

The Theory of RADAR - Popular Mechanics, December 1930

I really got a kick out of the above article on the development of a device that can track aircraft in flight using sound. Actual RADAR was still almost a decade away and this early article on the subject was surprisingly accurate in describing just how RADAR would actually work.

The 300 Miler Per Hour Motorcycle - Popular Mechanics, June 1935

The thing that I liked the best about the idea of the 300 mile per hour motorbike was that the driver has this tiny leather helmet on. Frankly cool picture and all, but this idea just was not likely to end well.

Warship of the Future - Popular Mechanics, September 1940

A little more then a year before America entered WWII, and Popular Mechanics was one of the leaders in the call for rearmament, as both the drawing and the article by Eddie Rickenbacker can demonstrate.

Ejector Seats - Popular Mechanics, June 1957

While the inside of these magazines were mostly made up of cheap newsprint, the covers on these classics are just remarkable, not just for the quality of the art itself, but also because of the image of the future that never was, that they project for us.

Simply put, these were a hell of a nice find.


  1. Neat photos and I look forward to seeing some of the article and sharing them with you!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing I remember looking forward to my Dad's Popular Mechanics and Popular Science Magazines every month. Dreaming of the possibilities for the future. Sometimes my Dad would share this fascinating information with me. He was a millwright and could build anything from the ground up.
    Interestingly I discovered your site just as the Today Show is promoting Universal Studios' opening of Transformers with it's special effects and mega robots. My father would have loved it

    In California