Monday, March 27, 2017

Revolver & Camera

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 While modern gun cameras are not unusual, this 1943 version mounted on a Colt 38 is an oddity. This photograph, with an inset of six photos taken by the gun camera, was taken in New York, but nothing else is known about the gun. The picture was posted to Flikr by the National Archives of the Netherlands who hope they can get information about it.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Wintergatan - A Marble Driven Musical Instrument

Following my post about Pipe Organs, we have another complex musical instrument: the marble driven Wintergatan. While not as imposing as pipe organs, it is still quite impressive (albeit in a silly sort of a way). Above is a video of it in action, and the below two videos show how it works.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Pipe Organs

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Pipe organs are ancient instruments. The Greeks originally used water to force wind through pipes, but by the 6th Century AD bellows were being used to produce the wind flow for them.

In Christian churches, both visually and through their sound, they became part of the majesty and mystery of religion itself. Their installations were elaborate and quite beautiful.

Here, and after the fold, are some of those installations. Also, since we should hear as well as see the pipe organs, at the end is Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chicken Attack

Well, this one defies description. All I can say is... watch it to the end and you'll be treated to Japanese chicken yodeling.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Patented Pigeon Camera

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In the 19th Century, and early 20th Century, homing carrier pigeons were common. They were primarily used to deliver messages, however they they had other uses. In 1903 Dr Julius Neubronner, an apothecary in Germany, used them to deliver medicines to a sanatorium in a nearby city.

He eventually began to experiment with mounting small cameras on the pigeons with shutters on timers that could take pictures while the birds were in flight. He submitted a patent for his first Pigeon Camera in 1907. At first it was rejected. The patent office thought it impossible for the pigeons to carry the weight of the camera, but it was finally approved when he provided pictures they had taken.

His technique became popular when he exhibited his pigeon cameras at the 1909 International Photographic and the International Aviation exhibitions. He would send his pigeons aloft, develop the pictures when they returned and sell them as postcards.

Photography from aircraft soon eclipsed the popularity of Dr Neubronner's pigeon cameras. I wonder what he would think of today's drone mounted cameras?

Sources:  Pigeon photography, Now that's a bird’s eye view.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Spanish-American War Graphics

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 The Spanish-American War has largely faded from America's historical memory, but it was very consequential in the move of the U.S. from a purely continental power to a naval and a 19th century imperial power. The notions of imperial America vs America taking its place at the table of World Powers were batted about at the time. Those conversations still echo in our national dialog.

I started by looking for propaganda posters about the Spanish-American War, but there were very few of them. However, there was a wealth of graphics of battles and editorializing about its aftermath.Enjoy, and as always there are more after the jump.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Starting a 1909 Blackstone Oil Engine

The video is from rustymotor's YouTube channel. I quite like the style of filming and the soundtrack that is nothing but the engine's sound.

The comments that introduce it state, "[The] 1909 10HP Blackstone oil engine was used for pumping water from a river to a market garden. The engine was sabotaged in the 1920s by someone blowing up the cylinder with explosives. A new cylinder was installed and the engine was returned to service for a number of years when it eventually fell into disuse. A number of river floodings submerged the engine and it was eventually partially buried in silt. It was recovered in the 1990s and in 1997 it was dismantled, cleaned and started again after many years of neglect. The starting procedure requires heating of the hot bulb with a blow lamp in order to vaporise the fuel ( kerosene ) and to preheat the internal combustion chamber to allow fuel ignition."