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Mechanical calculators are the genealogical ancestors of today’s computers. They also occupy a special place in the cultural history of gadgets, since they form the essential component of the mythical Steampunk alternative reality.Even if these clockwork beasts were steam driven, however, their electro-magnetic counterparts would inevitably have eventually replaced them. Vote on your favorites.

17 mechanical marvel calculators

This year saw the appearance of New Years style countdown clocks for the iPhone, Vista, Halo 3, the end of the world and the end of Bushs presidency next year. Strangely, with the man behind 24s famous countdown clock doing 48 days jail time, its amazing that nobody has whipped up a 48 countdown in the style of 24. Yet. Vote for your faves.

10 2007 countdown clocks

Unlike today’s universal cigar shaped commercial airliners, early aircraft took lots of design forms as people experimented with different principals. This is a normal trend in design, however the image of multiplanes (those with many wings) collapsing as an icon of naive understanding of flight masks an ironic truth.The most ridiculous looking items in this list are the three flying ‘venetian blinds’, constructed by Horatio Phillips between 1883 and 1907, the last of which, with more than 50 wings, looks more like a wooden building frame than an aircraft. Phillips, however, was the first person to truly understand the science of flight and aerfoil shapes, so these mark one of the more rational developments in aviation history.

15 aircraft with lots of wings

The iPhoney award.There were enough iPhone and iPod rip offs, that we found when searching for general copies of Apple design, to warrant their own chart. To celebrate the announcement of the merging of the iPod and iPhone line up, here are the iPhoneys. Vote for the most blatant.

12 blatant ipod iphoneys

Giant centrifuges are used to test whether fighter pilots or astronauts can deal with extreme G forces, pilots having 3 chances to survive a 15 second 6G test to be able to qualify. Here are some videos of the results of the effects of these tests up to 10G and on a range of suspects from pilots to Iron Maiden’s lead singer.

12 centrifuge gforce test videos

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

Last night our very, very ,very bad cat had diarrhea, then stepped in it, walked all around the house and trampled all over the bed. Here is a list of the best gadgets to deal with cat and dog feces, including a $7000 device for cleaning out paddocks, which I think we might have to buy.

14 best pet poop gadgets

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WTF is That? Number 4

April 20th, 2009 #link

wtf

What is this ‘hellish’ machine? There’s the clue.

As usual, answers in the comments.



7 Responses to “WTF is That? Number 4”

  1. simon Says:

    Its the Phantom of the Opera’s Organ

  2. spliffer Says:

    An enigma coding machine on a submarine.

  3. Harry Says:

    Heavens to Mergenthaler, I reckon it’d cast a line of type for you, if you knew how to ask. The manufacturer has one “H. E. double hockey-sticks” of a moniker.

  4. admin Says:

    @Harry – Indeed its a particularly hellish version of a linotype machine, used to set type for the press in the days of hot metal.

    The original image is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/40145521@N00/1144158658/

    We have collected a list of 10 of our favorite linotypes here:

    http://www.oobject.com/linotypes-from-hell/

    I believe the origin of the term ‘hell’ now used for the font maker Linotype Hell was the bucket that was used to collect the molten lead, referred to as a hell bucket (this was certainly not like desktop publishing with a PC).

    David

  5. WTF is That? Number 4 | oobject - Daily User Ranked Gadget Lists Says:

    [...] Excerpt from: WTF is That? Number 4 | oobject – Daily User Ranked Gadget Lists [...]

  6. Kyle Says:

    I guessed it right!

  7. WTF is That? Number 4 | oobject - Daily User Ranked Gadget Lists | ClassyComp.Com Says:

    [...] Excerpt from:  WTF is That? Number 4 | oobject – Daily User Ranked Gadget Lists [...]