The non-toxic, non-staining, reusable modeling compound that came to be known as "Play-Doh" was originally a pliable, putty-like substance concocted by Noah McVicker of Cincinnati-based soap manufacturer Kutol Products; it was devised at the request of Krogers Grocery, which wanted a product that could clean coal residue from wallpaper. Following World War II, with the transition from coal-based home heating to natural gas and the resulting decrease in internal soot, and the introduction of washable vinyl-based wallpaper, the market for wallpaper cleaning putty decreased substantially. McVicker's nephew, Joe McVicker, joined Kutol with the remit to save the company from bankruptcy; he subsequently discovered that the wallpaper cleaner was being used by nursery school children to make Christmas ornaments. Continue reading for more accidental inventions that you might not have known about.
Most techies know that Barack Obama has been using a BlackBerry for years, but it may finally be about to call time on his relationship with his beloved BlackBerry for an Android smartphone. The special military unit responsible for handling White House communications is testing a batch of new handsets for use by government staff, possibly a Samsung Galaxy with beefed-up security to better cater for the U.S. president's phone and web-browsing needs. However, one Chinese company wants to lure the president back to the BlackBerry side with a clever knockoff named BlockBerry. Continue reading for more.
Disposable, also known as single-use cameras, were pretty big back in the 80s and 90s, but the kids of today are probably more accustomed to snapping shots with their smartphone to post on social networks. On a similar note, did you know that a company called Photo-Pac produced a cardboard camera beginning in 1949 which shot 8 exposures and which was mailed-in for processing? That's right, cameras were expensive, and would often have been left safely at home when lovely scenes presented themselves. Frustrated with missing photo opportunities, H. M. Stiles had invented a way to enclose 35mm film in an inexpensive enclosure without the expensive precision film transport mechanism. It cost $1.29. Though incredibly similar to the familiar single-use cameras today, Photo-Pac failed to make a permanent impression on the market. Continue reading for more.
Millard Fillmore is best known as the 13th President of the United States (1850-1853), the last Whig president, and the last president not to be affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties. However, Fillmore boasts a striking resemblance to actor, film producer and comedian Alec Baldwin, and the side-by-side image above shows why. Continue reading for more celebrity doppelgangers.
The Commodore SX-64, also known as the Executive 64, or VIP-64 in Europe, is a portable, briefcase/suitcase-size "luggable" version of the popular Commodore 64 home computer and holds the distinction of being the first full-color portable computer. The SX-64 features a built-in five-inch composite monitor and a built-in 1541 floppy drive. It weighs 10.5 kg (23lb). The machine is carried by its sturdy handle, which doubles as an adjustable stand. It was announced in January 1983 and released a year later, at US$ 995 (about $2,250 in 2014). Continue reading for more.
As the 1980s began, HDDs were a rare and very expensive additional feature on PCs; however by the late 1980s, their cost had been reduced to the point where they were standard on all but the cheapest PC. Most HDDs in the early 1980s were sold to PC end users as an external, add-on subsystem. Unfortunately, a mere 10-Megabytes would still set you back $3,695. Continue reading for more random, yet fascinating, photographs.
Believe it or not, the image above shows a 5MB IBM hard drive being loaded up onto a Pan Am plane in 1956. It supposedly weighed over a ton, and for comparison, you would need over 1,000 of these units to store the information held in a modern thumb drive. That is just one of the many fascinating historical photos we have rounded up for you today. Continue reading to see them all.
Award-winning Chinese photographer Fan Ho spent the 1950s in old Hong Kong, and his photographs of the exotic land, can be published in his new book "Fan Ho: A Hong Kong Memoir". Since moving to Hong Kong from Shanghai in 1949, he's documenting these special everyday moments. There were some superstitious people along the way too, as Fan recalls: "With a knife in his hand, a pig butcher said he would chop me. He wanted his spirit back." Continue reading for more.
It's time again for some more fascinating historical photos you might not have seen before, including a rare look at Times Square when it was still being built in 1903. As more profitable commerce and industrialization of lower Manhattan pushed homes, theaters, and prostitution northward from the Tenderloin District, Long Acre Square became nicknamed the Thieves Lair for its rollicking reputation as a low entertainment district. By the early 1890s this once sparsely settled stretch of Broadway was ablaze with electric light and thronged by crowds of middle and upper-class theatre, restaurant and cafe patrons. In 1904, New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs moved the newspaper's operations to a new skyscraper on 42nd Street at Longacre Square. Ochs persuaded Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr. to construct a subway station there, and the area was renamed "Times Square" on April 8, 1904. Click here to view the first image in this week's funny work pictures gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of an awesome homemade hovercraft a geeky dad made for his kids.
The Apple Bandai Pippin is a multimedia technology console, designed by Apple Computer. The console was based on the Apple Pippin platform - a derivative of the Apple Macintosh platform. Bandai produced the ATMARK and @WORLD consoles between 1995 and 1997. Bandai manufactured fewer than 100,000 Pippins, but reportedly sold 42,000 systems before discontinuing the line. Production of the system was so limited, there were more keyboard and modem accessories produced than actual systems.