Pearls from the Past

CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
Thought I'd share a few tidbits extracted from recent reading of Popular Mechanics Illustrated Home Handyman Encyclopedia & Guide (1961).

Air Conditioning:

Interesting zone map indicating hours per year of A/C needed based on 80+F (Did not scan well so there's no point in including it.) Remember back then houses almost never had insulation, much less the standards we use today!
“Until recently, most air conditioners required a special outlet before they could even be plugged in, as the plug on the cord had three blades (one a ground).”
“Tests show that shading a unit can increase efficiency up to 40 percent.”

Batteries:

Cracked batteries can be repaired using plastic auto-body solder.
Specific Gravity: 100% “Regular” 1.280, “High-level” 1.260, “Tropical” 1.225
A battery that has an SG of 1.150 will freeze at 5F. SG of 1.210 at 19F. Fully charged is good to -65F.

As I continue reading through I'll pull out any other fine bits that may be relevant to the forum. :D

Comments

  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    Wish this form had a "Like" button :)
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past
    Wish this form had a "Like" button :)

    Actually, it does: just below the subject line is a shaded box, on the right are pull-down menus including "Rate This Thread". :D
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    "Tests show that shading a unit can increase efficiency up to 40 percent.”

    gee, didn't we just have a thread on shading a/c?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,061 admin
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    Got to love ye old "up to" rating.

    -Bill ;)
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    In 50 years the A/C efficiency has probably improved 40% even without shading.

    Here's some more:

    Battery Quick Charger:

    Interesting design featuring a 1/4 HP 115 VAC motor driving a car generator with regulator & Ammeter. With up to about 186 Watts going in, it could manage perhaps 13 Amps charging(?) But no transformer, rectifiers, or efficiency! :p

    Electric Wiring:

    Extensive article on wiring, which wouldn't meet code today! Lack of “that third wire” for one thing. But there is a good plan so you'll know if you are in danger of overloading your 115 Volt 60 Amp service. The resistance, current limits, and line loss for various sizes of wire haven't changed. :p

    How To Calculate Home Power Costs:

    Uses the somewhat inaccurate Watts according to the nameplate * hours formula. But at 2.5 to 5 cents per kW hour, who'd care?
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past
    In 50 years the A/C efficiency has probably improved 40% even without shading.
    True enough, but however efficient an A/C is, keeping the compressor and condenser coils cooler will make the unit cool better. Have you ever been in a building with big A/C units on the roof on a hot sunny day when a sudden rainstorm hits? The temperature drop in the air coming out of the air handlers will chill you to the bone.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    And on we go!

    Article from September 1961 issue of Science and Mechanics boldly states: "We're running out of coal and oil, and atomic power isn't lving up to its notices, but we can get 'Power A Plenty' from land, sea, and air."

    It then goes on to describe some interesting experiments underway, including 100 kW wind towers in the Orkney Islands and a lighthouse in Japan powered by solar energy. There is also mention of solar-thermal and geothermal plants.

    And you thought the technology was new! :D
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    Mechanix Illustrated, May 1955.
    Advertisement for "self-recharging Life-Long silver-nuclear-cell" battery with 10 year guarantee!
    "Reader's Digest says: The U.S. Finally Discovers The Lifetime Battery"
    "A completely discharged Lif-Long battery will recuperate in one minute!" <--- "I will pay you $1,000 if you can disprove this claim!" (Uh, "completely discharged" is subjective and so is "recuperate". :roll: )

    Other claims:
    Exceeds SAE requirements by 400% (what SAE requirements?)
    Spins your engine 20% faster (higher Voltage?)
    Operates efficiently at 70 degrees below zero

    This is the perfect battery! And it costs no more than a regular one! Wow!

    How come we can't buy these today? :roll:
  • chevensteinchevenstein Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    I have the same encyclopedia in the 1955 edition. My favorite section reads in the index as follows:

    "
    Welder, see Arc Welder, How to Build
    Welding, How to Do
    methods, comparison
    special shapes, treatment of
    ...
    "

    and so on. The welding techniques are mostly still valid for stick welding to make repairs around the farm and the instructions on building a welder have you start with plates of transformer steel and a big spool of heavy copper wire. You wind the transformer on a jig they have plans for, shellac the thing, then use it to weld itself together. Sure, the chapter on applying asbestos insulation to your coal fired furnace may not be terribly useful today, but there are some passages that are solid gold. Either way, it sure is entertaining!
  • chevensteinchevenstein Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    PS - I haven't made the welder they describe, but the section on air compressors has you use the belt driven compressor from a discarded standard home refrigerator to make an air compressor, which I did do, but with the compressor from a 1943 vintage walk in Navy yard freezer and it is the best air compressor I have ever owned. It took a 5hp Harbor freight motor to drive it and the air filter I rigged for it is a little red neck, but I suspect that the compressor head will outlast me as long as it has oil kept in it and I'm a fairly young man.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    Something that's been discussed here before:

    From Popular Mechanics, March 1966;

    "Another space-oriented patent proposes to utilize the energy of charged particles in the ionosphere to obtain electrical power. By placing one gold and one platinum electrode on opposite sides of the satellite, part of the payload would be powered by the DC electricity produced between the two electrodes. Patent 3,205,413 was awarded to Dr. Donald E. Anderson, University of Minnesota."

    Yeah, but what's he done with it lately? :p
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    Hey I live by that! Woo MN! ;)
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    A couple of choice items from October 1956 Science & Mechanics:

    "Maybe it really is getting warmer than it was when you were a boy. According to scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and UCLA, a gigantic mantle of carbon dioxide, the waste gas spewed out by modern industrial society, is covering much of the Earth, letting in the sun's heat and locking in reflected heat."

    Okay lets not start any flame wars over that one; just thought I'd point out that the issue had arisen more than 50 years ago!

    An interesting device:

    "When Slightmaster fuses blow, they glow as each fuse has its own tiny neon beacon. To restore service, first remove the cause of the overload, then turn the brightly colored knob on the fuse to the next click ... and the lights go on again. Each fuse may be used six times before replacement. Made in 15, 20, 25 and 30 Amps, and each a different colour, they sell three for $2.75 postpaid. They are made by A. Lawrence Karp, Greenwich, Connecticut."

    You may argue about the practicality, but not about the price! :D
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    From Science & Mechanics Nov. 1962 article "What Now Detroit?":

    Electric Cars: Two years ago there was a rash of experimental electric cars with tons of auto batteries under the hood or trunk lid. They faded to obscurity when it was realized that heavy batteries coupled to conventional motors failed to produce acceptable transport. Nevertheless, electric car research is still underway by almost every car manufacturer. As air pollution becomes more of a problem in major cities, the day could come when electric motor cars will be the only type allowed in metropolitan areas. Quiet, economical and, in their present stage of development good for 60 to 100 miles on a charge, they have much to recommend them.

    And only fifty years later manufacturers are selling electric cars! Fortunately as of yet they are not mandatory anywhere.
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past
    ...in their present stage of development good for 60 to 100 miles on a charge, they have much to recommend them.

    And only fifty years later manufacturers are selling electric cars! Fortunately as of yet they are not mandatory anywhere.

    Huh. And 50 years later, with better batteries and far more sophisticated control systems, most *still* only have 60-100 miles on a charge! Although I suspect at a much higher speed, with far more luxuries in the vehicle, et al... Also, what we now consider "discharged" may not be quite as "dead"?

    Would be interesting to see more specs on those old electrics - just how much of the vehicle was filled with batteries, how many passengers, top speed, so forth... Those may have been packed to the gills with lead-acid, now you could opt for a "packed to the gills" Tesla and it'd give you something like 300 miles per charge - for the low low price of $100k! 8)
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pearls from the Past

    i agree we need more progress in batteries. as far as back then goes, i seem to recall many looking much like golf carts and some even looked like a ups truck that was shrunk. speeds were basically low with very crude transmissions with one of the best i recall being proposed was to be a continuously variable type.
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