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Vehicles that are actually driven by screws were developed as all terrain vehicles for places like snow driven Siberia. In the US there were several experimental vehicles including the Fordson snow devil, built on top of a tractor. Included here are as many videos of them in action, as I could find.

9 screw drivers

Our sister site, Cribcandy, has a roundup of prefabs, currently on the market.

Post war prefabs from Nissan huts to Trailer parks, were the epitome of substandard dwelling, however today they represent the high end with a build quality that is far superior to in-situ construction.This change is more than mere fashion, it represents the commoditization of buildings as products as computerized manufacture allows for mass customization, which is a pre-requisite for large scale prefab delivery.Here are our favorite pre fab brands currently available.

Over on Cribcandy: 15 Fab Prefabs

There is something fantastically hellish about fiery steel manufacture, nothing seems more gigantic or obviously dangerous looking. The instruments used to transfer molten iron, steel and slag are massive solid items made of the same thing they contain in liquid form and are objects of wonder.Particularly interesting are the torpedo ladle railroad cars, which transfer hot metal from blast to oxygen furnaces. They are dramatic and interesting enough that despite their obscurity they are available in several forms for model railroads. Vote for your faves.

giant molten steel handling equipment

Up to the 19th Century mentally ill people were sometimes chained naked in squalid conditions in places like London’s Bethlehem hospital which became synonymous with chaos (its name being contracted to bedlam) and where tourists would pay to see the freak show. Then came the extreme rationalism of the Kirkbride plan which created a very unusual form of architecture for asylums throughout the Anglosphere that was used until the 20th Century. As a result of their demise, most are abandoned ruins today, giant, rotting testimonies to a bygone era of clinical Victorian discipline combined with neo-Gothic extravagance.The Kirkbride plan consists of an enormous a symmetrical staggered wing, like a bird made out of lego. Men are on the left and women on the right in wings that radiate from the main entrance for increasingly violent or incurable patients. Early mental institutions where patients had to pay for their own incarceration would also vary in class (rich to poor) on the y axis. The staggering of the wings ensured the flow of air through each, purging them of diseased vapors perhaps, such was the Victorian obsession with fresh air, from outdoor Tuberculosis wards to seaside promenades and piers.

insane asylum plans

Want to see some more impressive glass stairs than those at the Apple Stores? Despite the fact that Apple actually has a patent on the glass stairs at some of its stores, their glass staircases are actually not all that innovative. The glass stair at the Carre D art in Nimes is more adventurous and was designed 20 years ago, and Ove Arup have engineered a purely glass stair with no steel fixings.

Transparent Glass Stairs

Aircraft factories are gargantuan, complicated and interesting.The Boeing Everett factory, where the Jumbo Jet was built and the Dreamliner is being built is the largest volume building in the world. It has a floor plan of 100 acres, enough to fit more than a thousand family houses inside, with doors that are the size of football pitches.Included alongside Everett are a variety of factory shots of famous planes from Concorde to the Virgin Galactic space craft, the Blackbird and the B2.The shots of wartime assembly lines, which churned out aircraft at a rate associated with car assembly in environments that look like computer rendering from video games lines, include the famous secret factory at Burbank which was hidden under a fake hillside.

aircraft factories

Microphones are a classic gadget because, even today, their design is often based upon Art Deco or Machine Age styling. Here is a chart of vintage and vintage style microphones designed to show how that style evolved and how it is still copied today. Vote for your faves.

24 classic microphones

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wtf is that? #16

October 22nd, 2009 #link


There is a whole history behind these things – what’s it all about?

16 Responses to “wtf is that? #16”

  1. admin Says:

    BTW, this is difficult. If nobody gets close, I’ll post a clue later.

  2. Bradley Says:

    I’m going to guess it’s some kind of signal generator like a Wein Bridge Oscillator. I’d have a better guess if I could read the dials, but then that would be too easy.

  3. thomas Says:

    it’s some kind of radiation detector. Or maybe it measures it?

  4. Todd Says:

    It’s a Dr. Pepper can. Geez, that one was easy.

  5. admin Says:

    OK, the clue is that this machine could in theory work as well if it were made of paper.

  6. olaf Says:

    Ok, I think this device is some kind of medical-placebo. Connected to the machine it is easy for me to imagine a “energy” floating through my body if the doctor plays very serious with the buttons.

  7. tony d Says:

    Is this an early Scientology E-meter?

  8. admin Says:

    @tonyd – that’s getting warm, although these devices could look be anything, not just an E-meter. This is just one example.

  9. supermarketsong Says:

    A vintage fake ikea decoration item? :p

  10. supermarketsong Says:

    A vintage ikea fake decoration item? :p

  11. ยต_d Says:

    looks like a real life reproduction of an item from the game bioshock…

  12. Albedo Says:

    Quack medicine… A violet ray machine minus its wands?

  13. Albedo Says:

    OK, maybe not a violet ray machine.. An ECT machine? A control panel from a Ring-King Junior?

  14. biziclop Says:

    Is it a movie prop?

  15. xoxoxoBruce Says:

    That’s the meter L Ron Hubbard used to prove plants feel pain.

  16. admin Says:

    OK – like I say this one is extremely tricky.

    Its one of the few images around of a Hieronymous machine, a hypothetical device which works by ‘analogy’. In other words, the idea is that you build something that looks like a working machine and it can behave like the real thing through the power of the mind. It s a sort of sci-fi equivalent of cargo cult objects.

    The reason this WTF is so tricky is that because this is insane and because the devices don’t have to work in the conventional sense, they can look like anything. A Hieronymous machine could look like the device above, which is a genuine attempt, or a paper cutout.

    Nonetheless, its a fun and weird concept.

  17. biziclop Says:

    It’s not just insane, it’s patented!