The Great Equalizer

For decades, starting in 1933, Guyatone was a moderately successful Japanese manufacturer of electric guitars and various guitar paraphernalia. Their biggest seller was the Volume Box: an effects pedal that allowed electric-guitar players to change the volume of their instrument on stage -since the sound man never got it right. The Volume Box was an oblong metal box with a …

Pigtails, Duckbills and Roasted Guinea Pigs

The invention of the duckbill speculum in 1845 revolutionized gynaecology. Up until then, doctors had been using the bills of actual ducks (usually dead ones). American doctor and animal rights activist J. Marion Sims felt there had to be a better way and set out to find it. After numerous experiments on volunteers (South Carolina slaves volunteered by their owners, …

The INTIEs of Project Alpha

After the First Consumerism Crisis and the utter failure of the HK 4250G Multi Blower in the early Seventies, Philips was getting desperate. Their engineers had run out of ideas and so had management. Out of good ideas, anyway. But sometimes bad ideas are better than none, so when one of the suits in the upper echelons of Philips proposed …