Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Think You're Smart, Go Fly A Kite - A Dragon 'Combined Kite' Would Be Way Cool

Is it a lost art? The May 1915 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine has a neat how-to article that provides the details for making a 'combined kite.' If you're a handy-crafty-mechanically-inclined sort, it looks like a cool project that could really impress family, friends, and neighbors. The article can be found here.

I found the Dragon Kite description and illustration of the the kite-head kind of cool:

The dragon's head and face look more like a kooky-type space traveler than something fiercely hideous, but that's just fine. According to the instructions the eyes are designed to revolve in their sockets - woohoo!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

19th Century Firefighters Were Darth Vader and C3PO Before Darth Vader and C3PO Were Cool

Early rescue masks c. mid-1800s to WWI (Photo via Steve Erenberg)

This pair of early rescue masks, shown above, dates from between the mid-1800s and World War I. They look a bit familiar, right? Almost 100 years before Darth Vader and C-3PO hit the big screen in “Star Wars” in 1977, these two smoke helmets were worn by firefighters carrying out rescues in smoke-logged buildings. The buzz among collectors is that George Lucas’s designers must have found inspiration in these smoke helmets and others like them. In fact, one well-known 19th-century manufacturer was named Vajen-Bader—you could easily get the name Vader from that.

The black leather helmet on the left is labeled “Respirations Apparat” by “G.B.Konic Altona,” was made in Hamburg, Germany, and has the look of an African Dan mask. The brass, three-quarter face mask to its right was made in Paris by J. Mandet. This type of breathing mask had a very simple apparatus, allowing only a short range of operation. When used, air would be forced into the helmet through no more than 13 meters of flexible tubing by means of a bellows operated remotely from the outside. Both of these masks have mica lenses to help protect the eyes from heat.

- Steve Erenberg guest blogging at Collector's Weekly

Okay, the inspiration is obvious. But think about it - imagine crawling on the floor of a smoke-filled apartment or house, trying to feel your way out to safety and then, your eyes trace a figure standing in front of you reaching out. You look up and see...

Way cool!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

This Is How Kitsch Can Be Way Cool

Siren Dark Enchantment in the Valley of Perilous Song by

Brilliant composition of kitsch cool by John Purlia.

Imagining Floating Rocket Trains

Future Rocket Train, H. W. McCauley - Amazing Stories, January 1939 (Back Cover)

A floating rocket train - excited about the magnetic properties of cobalt steel, the folks at Amazing Stories envisioned the possibility of this futuristic mode of transportation. Note the streamlined auto designs and the Art Deco style of the building on the lower left - all part of the fascinating design culture of the 1930s.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

and everything else too: Iron-On Movie Monsters

Cool or what? A Creature iron-on from 1965. Check out Karswell's post at and everything else too to see all six classic movie monster iron-ons offered in an advert from Victor Specialties back in 1966. Wolf Man's a star.  Click here.