Monday, June 22, 2015

Charming Emsh-Bots - GALAXY Mag, 1963

Interior illustration by Ed Emshwiller for Comic Inferno - Galaxy magazine, February 1963

Interior illustration by Ed Emshwiller for Comic Inferno - Galaxy magazine, February 1963

Originally posted by Jeff Love at Ski-Ffy: Click for a couple more Emsh robots, a couple Virgil Finlay illustrations, and the fine Galaxy cover art by Jack Gaughan.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Beautiful Design And The Space Age Mystique Of The Pyrotomic Disintegrator Weapons

March 1953 U.S. Patent image for Grover C. Schaible's Toy Pistol - The design would become famous as the Pyrotomic Disintegrator pistol manufactured by Pyro Plastics, N.J. (image via Google Patents)

The Pyrotomic Disintegrator pistol is considered by most collectors as the Holy Grail of ray guns. Doc Atomic at Astounding Artifacts best describes its allure:
For many people, myself included, this is the very ideal of a vintage space gun. It's got rings. It's got vents. It's got a sweeping design that conveys the poetry of space flight. It's even got its name spelled out in a cool, 1950s font that's underlined by lightning bolts. That's right, lightning bolts! And did I mention it's called the Pyrotomic Disintegrator? If anyone tries to say that's not the best name for a ray gun ever, that person's looking for a fight.

The top Pyrotomic Disintegrator pistol is the first to be manufactured - it's known as the candy-colored Pyro. The bottom pistol is the copper version manufactured in the later part of the 1950s - a more authentic space cadet look. (images via Doc Atomic's Attic of Astounding Artifacts)

There was a Pyrotomic Disintegrator rifle manufactured by Pyro Plastics shortly after the pistol.
August 1953 U.S. Patent image for Grover C. Schaible's Toy Gun - The design would become famous as the Pyrotomic Disintegrator rifle manufactured by Pyro Plastics, N.J. (image via Google Patents)

Toy Rayguns lists the Pyrotomic Disintegrator rifle as one of the 'rarest (and most beautiful) toy ray guns in the world.'
...being perhaps the rarest of all space rifles, The Pyrotomic Disintegrator Rifle is also the most beautiful. Powerfully sculpted with a fluted barrel and an undulating stock, this wonderfully designed toy exudes a sense of delicacy and techno-scientific power.
The Pyrotomic rifle is 'fired' by turning the rotating crank on the side which causes the barrel to move back and forth. (image via Toy Tent)

Both the Pyrotomic pistol and rifle are very hard to find in good condition. Having been made with brittle plastic makes the guns fragile and susceptible to cracking and breaking if dropped. The shooting mechanism was cheaply made and is often not working in the surviving guns. So, not only are the Pyrotomic guns considered the most beautifully designed, they are also the most scarce. Perhaps sometime in the future someone enterprising might recreate the guns based on G. C. Schaible's 1953 patents - the question is, would the beauty of the designs carry without the 1950s sci-fi space age mystique?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Earth, Seas, Skies, and Space - Arthur Radebaugh Had Grand Ideas

Shims and Oil Seals - It's what National Motor Bearing Co. in Redwood City, CA. produced. NMB manufactured their products for transportation - trains, planes, automobiles, ships, subs - basically, anything that moved. It was a key player in the defense industry during WWII. NMB was a proud company and very forward looking. During the 1950s, the NMB plant in Redwood City was considered one of the most high tech operations around. There was one man who has been credited as the main inspiration for this futuristic image - creative genius and master artist Arthur Radebaugh. Radebaugh worked in the Marketing and Advertising department between 1951 and 1955. Below are some of the details from various adverts created by him. The man wasn't just a commercial artist - he was a futurist with a limitless imagination.


Infrastructure and Agriculture:

Collecting important natural materials - on this planet:

...and elsewhere:

Research - on this planet:

...and elsewhere:

And here's one last concept that is already in use in our time:

Arthur Radebaugh had a whole lot going on in his head. To read more about this brilliant man, and see more of his other works, click here.

(h/t to Atomic Samba for the images)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

This is important. This is very cool: Symphony of Science - the Quantum World!

A musical investigation into the nature of atoms and subatomic particles, the jiggly things that make up everything we see. Featuring Morgan Freeman, Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Brian Cox, Richard Feynman, and Frank Close.

The Quantum World is the eleventh installment in the ongoing Symphony of Science music video series.


[Morgan Freeman]
So, what are we really made of?
Dig deep inside the atom
and you'll find tiny particles
Held together by invisible forces

Everything is made up
Of tiny packets of energy
Born in cosmic furnaces

[Frank Close]
The atoms that we're made of have
Negatively charged electrons
Whirling around a big bulky nucleus

[Michio Kaku]
The Quantum Theory
Offers a very different explanation
Of our world

[Brian Cox]
The universe is made of
Twelve particles of matter
Four forces of nature

That's a wonderful and significant story

[Richard Feynman]
Suppose that little things
Behaved very differently
Than anything big

Nothing's really as it seems
It's so wonderfully different
Than anything big

The world is a dynamic mess
Of jiggling things
It's hard to believe

The quantum theory
Is so strange and bizarre
Even Einstein couldn't get his head around it

In the quantum world
The world of particles
Nothing is certain
It's a world of probabilities


It's very hard to imagine
All the crazy things
That things really are like

Electrons act like waves
No they don't exactly
They act like particles
No they don't exactly

[Stephen Hawking]
We need a theory of everything
Which is still just beyond our grasp
We need a theory of everything, perhaps
The ultimate triumph of science


I gotta stop somewhere
I'll leave you something to imagine

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Protective Wear For The Well-Dressed Interplanetary Traveler

Future Space Suits
Science Fiction Plus magazine, May 1953
Art by Frank R. Paul

Front Cover Artwork by Frank R. Paul

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


The Gagnon ectogenetic-electronic gestation apparatus. ('in vitro fertilization')
Science Fiction Plus magazine, May 1953

An Advisory From Beyond

Original interior art by Frank R. Paul for the story "Warning to all…",  Science Fiction Plus magazine, 1953