Education, History

Look into History: Popular Mechanics


When they didn’t know that’s what it was. Thanks to a tip from Bustedknuckles, in a post about something else, I discovered that the entire back catalog of Popular Mechanics, back to January 1905, were available online. 

This is… I have no idea what I’ll use it for. But it’s entertaining just to read articles predicting that molasses were the hot new building material of the future!

Or perhaps the hottest new aeroplanes in 1911

I can see this being a rabbit hole I could happily fall into for hours. Must set a timer and not succumb to temptation! 

This is a great trove of living history, as it was not intended to be a historical document. But the ads alone tell you so much about the world that came before us. Historians don’t track the little things, like the ads encouraging boys to consider Electricity! the career of the Future! or some of the more absurd (to modern eyes) schemes advertised in these pages. 

September, 1907: the precursor to the much later advent of predictive typing.




3 thoughts on “Look into History: Popular Mechanics

  1. I jumped down the rabbit hole for a few moments of skimming and stopped to look at an article on a ’51 Chrysler.
    One photo showed the car on a dyno and I looked at the dyno instrument panel and furrowed my brow.
    The panel looked familiar because I worked for Clayton after I got out of the Navy in ’81 and they must have been using the same pattern of instruments for a long time.

    Pretty cool.

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