A Look Back


Magnavision LaserDisc Player Leonard Nimoy
Leonard Nimoy may be best known for his portrayal of Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan character on “Star Trek” starting from the very first TV episode, in 1966, to the film Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013, but those around in 1981 may have seen him showcasing the latest technology at the time. The actor demonstrated the gigantic Magnavision VH-8000 LaserDisc Player, which employed gas helium–neon laser tubes to read discs and had a red-orange light with a wavelength of 628 nm. Read more for the video and additional information.

Nintendo 64DD Development Unit
Photo credit: Shane Luis via The Verge
Many gamers, even those who own(ed) an N64, may not remember the 64DD, which is basically a magnetic disk drive peripheral released in 1999 that allowed the console to use proprietary 64MB magnetic disks. It could even connect to the internet through a dedicated online service, called Randnet, for e-commerce, online gaming, and media sharing. Unfortunately, there was only ten software titles released until its discontinuation in February 2001. Read more for a video and images of a development unit that Shane Luis came across from a collector.

Disneyland Monsanto
The Monsanto House of the Future was an attraction at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland between 1957-1967, and it offered a walkthrough experience for visitors, mainly to demonstrate the versatility of modern plastics. There were many household appliances on the cutting edge of technology at that time, including microwave ovens, which eventually became commonplace. Within the first 6-weeks of it opening (June 12, 1957), the house saw over 435,000 visitors, and ultimately, over 20-million people before closing. Read more for a video and additional information.

Special Effects Movies Before CGI
Ever wonder how some of those silent films from the early 1900s achieved some of their special effects? If so, then look no further than this segment by movie blogger Pedro Cinemaxunga, who has compiled numerous of these segments and broke them down. First up, we have “Safety Last! (1923)”, in which the image of Harold Lloyd clutching the hands of a large clock as he dangles from the outside of a skyscraper above moving traffic is the most well known. Read more for the video and additional information.

Chrysler Turbine Car Ultimate
Photo credit: Hemmings
Here’s a fascinating look back at the ultra rare Chrysler Turbine Car that was produced between 1963 and 1964. One of two privately owned examples (chassis 991231) recently sold for an undisclosed amount, but a total of 55 cars were built: five prototypes and a limited run of 50 cars for a public user program. Its A-831 engines could operate on many different fuels, required less maintenance, and were more durable than conventional piston engines, although much more expensive to manufacture. Read more for two videos, additional pictures and information.

AI Upscale Elektro the Robot 1939 New York World's Fair
The Westinghouse Electric Corporation built Elektro at its Mansfield, Ohio facility between 1937 and 1938. Standing 7-feet-tall and weighing 265 pounds, this humanoid robot could walk by voice command, speak around 700 words via a 78-rpm record player, blow up balloons, move his head / arms, and even smoke cigarettes. His body consisted of a steel gear, cam and motor skeleton covered by an aluminum skin. Read more to travel back in time to an AI-enhanced 1939 New York World’s Fair where it was showcased.

North Korea History of Camera
H/T: Peta Pixel
It’s not everyday that the public gets to see a video produced by the North Korean government, much less have it uploaded to the internet. However, professor Tomohiko Kawaguchi from the College of International Relations at Nihon University covers North Korean news, and managed to dig up this segment, titled “History of Inventions Seen in Manga, Camera.” You’ll see everything from the camera obscura to 35mm film photos and the digital camera revolution. Read more for the video and additional information.

During the 1920s, Paris was the capital of the arts, a time period known as les années folles (the crazy years), with writers Ernest Hemingway, W.B. Yeats, and Ezra Pound moving to the city of lights. It was also the home and studio of Pablo Picasso, Hans Arp, Max Ernst, Amedeo Modigliani, Marcel Duchamp, Maurice Utrillo, Alexander Calder, Kees Van Dongen, and Alberto Giacometti. For those who’ve wondered what daily life was like, AI-powered neural networks has upscaled and colorized a short film from this time period for your enjoyment. Read more for the video and additional information.

Mercedes-Benz F100 Concept
H/T: Car Scoops
The Mercedes-Benz F100 concept made its debut at the 1991 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and it was far ahead of its time to say the least. This front-wheel drive, hydrogen-powered vehicle has five seats, complete with central driver’s seat, roof-mounted solar cells, and even rotating-swiveling front doors. Other features include electric seats, satellite navigation, an electrically adjustable steering wheel, tire pressure monitoring system, and a key card. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.

Toys 'R' Us 1990s
Ever wish you could relive the Toys ‘R’ Us experience from the 1990s? If so, this recently uncovered video from From the day before Thanksgiving in 1991, shot at a New York City Toys ‘R’ Us store, should do the trick. This particular Herald Square location, located at 34th Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan, was shuttered in the late 90s in response to the Times Square flagship store opening a few years later. Whether it be customers browsing the video game section for brand new Nintendo Game Boy consoles or classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures, you’ll see it here. Read more for the video and additional pictures.