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JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post

This device looks a little suspect, but it isn’t. Well, on first sight of the patent drawing this device seemed dubious and quacky, and since the patent office issued some-number of patents for quackery, it was entirely plausible that this was one of those beasts. This is the kind of quackery beasty that would latch on to a new discovery or invention and somehow derive and twist the name or concept of the new thing into something fabulous or miraculous (as with the case of radium suppositories and x-ray massages for the bones).

The device is a vibrating element to help people with hearing loss hear conversations on the telephone. On reading the patent though it becomes pretty clear that this thing could work, or should work, depending upon the hearing loss of the receiver. Patented about four years after the Bell patent, there were nearly immediate reports on Mr. Fiske’s invention in Scientific American, The Electrical Journal, and Engineering (seen below).

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JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post [Part of the Tech-Quiz series.]

Generally with these questions I provide a detail of a patent drawing and from that the application is supposed to be derived. Here, though, is the full drawing, and is seems pretty straightforward, I think, though the ultimate use of the contraption might not be so obvious. Or perhaps it is? What was the intended purpose of this object?

Answer in the "extended reading" section, below:

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JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post

This was a major piece of early thinking on spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping–butter for the bread (or bread for the butter?) of wireless communication–with the piano roll tapes replaced by electronics. The idea didn't go anywhere in 1942–it did, however, go far, beginning in the late 1950's. The major name listed on the patent report is a major name, but not in this form, and not in this area–some might find it very surprising to know the more popular version of the inventor's identity, and the industry in which the inventor worked.

H.K. Markey and G. Anthiel produced this:

Hint: the "H." stood for

Answer, in continued reading, below:

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JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post

This forms the absolute end of something, the “tip” of it, one of two, at the either end of slender cord. Even for this there must be a patent–and there were, evidently, many of them. This is just one, from 1922

Answer in the continued reading section, below:

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JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post

The original patent for this tube-and-rod design was made at the Danish Patent and Trademark Office in Copenhagen on 28 Jaunary 1958 at 1:58 p.m. The design could be for an associated cooling system for a steam turbine; or for a high-pressure/reactive clutch of passes and cylinders for a water turbine hydroelectric facility; or perhaps it was for a modern prison system utilizing water-filled bars for prison cells that could indicate a possible jail break if any leaking water was discovered, making tampering with the bars an impossibility.

Patent lego detail

What's your best guess? (Answer below.)

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