The Sound of Intoxication

The microfauna was an instrument to collect microorganisms from the air, invented by Nikola Tesla in 1879. It worked much like a mass spectrometer. When connected to a microfauna data recorder, it enabled scientists to determine the exact composition of the air. Unlike the mass spectrometer, it did so in terms of microorganisms, rather than molecules. The microfauna was, and …

The Sun beneath the Clouds

In 1962, Berlin astronomer Johann Dunkeldorf, a 15-year-old Wunderkind and Nobel laureate, made a shocking discovery: our sun will expire one day and then Earth will be shrouded in eternal darkness. Dunkeldorf was a unique product of the Cold War, as he had been conceived and later born in the no-man’s land between the American and Soviet zones of Berlin. …

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 …

Like a Lion in Zion

When iron was first discovered, back in the Bronze Age, it didn’t seem much of an improvement over the then-traditional copper-tin alloy. Iron was twice as hard, but this benefit quickly vanished once it started to corrode -which it did a lot faster than bronze. Iron has a not-so-secret boner for oxygen, and that feeling is mutual, so the two …

The Multi Blower that Multi Sucked

The Philips HK 4250 Multi Blower was invented in the late 1960s, when consumerism had hit its first ceiling: every household in the First World had bought every variety of appliance they could ever possibly need. With World War II and its hardships still fresh in people’s minds, nobody was willing to replace things before they broke down. Sure, the …

Mercury Mania

When the US entered the space race in 1958 and started Project Mercury, many companies in the West were quick to jump on the bandwagon and use the public’s enthusiasm for all things space-related for marketing purposes. Philips, being a Dutch company, went for maximum effect with minimal effort and decided to re-market one of their existing products. Their 752x …