Before the invention of hair dryers, women would often attach hoses to the exhaust ends of vacuum cleaners to blow-dry their hair.
A stylist uses a freestanding dryer to blow dry a client’s hair with controlled precision at the Hairdressing Fair of Fashion in London, 1929. (Puttnam /Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
This peculiar device, in the collection of the Science Museum in South Kensington, London, looks like a tiny gas chamber a movie villain would use.
Throw in your enemy—in this case, a small innocent canary—close the hatch, turn open the valve to let in poisonous gas from the cylinder above, and then laugh manically as the bird suffocates and dies.
In reality, it’s the opposite. This device is used not to kill canaries, but to revive them. The cylinder attached to the top of the metal box contains life giving oxygen.
They are known as Canary Resuscitators. Coal miners used to go down to work carrying canaries with them in glass chambers such as these.
Underground mines can contain potentially deadly gases such as carbon monoxide that can form during an accident such as fire or an explosion.
The colorless gas is equally deadly to both humans and canaries alike, but canaries are much more susceptible to the gas, and react more quickly and visibly than humans do, thus alerting miners to the presence of the poisonous gas.
When a disaster strikes inside a mine, rescue workers would descend into the mine carrying a canary in a Resuscitator.
The glass and metal box has a circular open door in the front to let air in, but a grill prevents the canary from escaping.
If there is carbon monoxide in the air, the canary would show signs of distress. It would start swaying noticeably on its perch and eventually fall of it.
If the canary loses consciousness, the door to the box would be closed and the valve opened, allowing oxygen from the tank on top to be released and revive the canary.
The miners would then evacuate the danger area.
Full of gas: The world’s longest aircraft – part airship, plane and helicopter – has been unveiled in Cardington, Bedfordshire.
It will be used for surveillance and aid missions… and resembles something very familiar. The 300ft-long ‘airship’ unveiled in Britain is the world’s longest aircraft.
Known as the HAV304, aircraft is being displayed at a Hangar in Bedfordshire, United Kingdom.
It is 302ft (91m) long making it 60ft (18m) longer than the biggest airliners.
It can stay in the air for 3 weeks and will be vital to delivering humanitarian aid.
Its funders include Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson.
The aircraft is 70 per cent more environmentally friendly than a cargo plane and doesn’t need a runway to take off.
In April 1851, Alfred C. Hobbs boarded the steamship Washington bound for Southampton, England.
His official duty was to sell the New York City-based company Day and Newell’s newest product – the parautopic lock – at a trade show – London’s Great Exhibition.
But Hobbs had something a bit more nefarious up his sleeve, or rather in the small trunk that accompanied him on the ship. In it sat a large assortment of picks, wrenches, rakes, and other slender tools.
You see, Hobbs wasn’t just trying to sell his locks. He was trying to prove that his competitors’ locks were, quite simply, not good enough. He had the tools, skills, and charisma to do just that.
Alfred Hobbs was about to launch the Great Lock Controversy of 1851.
Of all the locks at the Great Exhibition in July of 1851, the “Detector” was thought of as top of the class.
Patented in 1818 by Jeremiah Chubb, it had become the most widely used and prestigious lock throughout England.
In fact, in 1823 Chubb was given the distinguished honor of being the sole supplier of locks for England’s post offices and “Her Majesty’s Prison Service.”
By 1851, Chubb & Son and their “Detector” lock was so highly respected that they were given the assignment of creating a special security display cage that housed the great Koh-i-Noor diamond, a 186 carat diamond that currently sits in the Crown of Queen Elizabeth which is locked in the Tower of London.
Numerous picklocks in London had made attempts at getting past the Detector with no success. In one instance, a picklock who had been imprisoned was offered his freedom if he could figure out a way to pick the Detector lock. He couldn’t do it.
What made the Detector so difficult was that the lock had a built in anti-lock picking mechanism which, if triggered, would render the lock inoperable, even if you had the key.
This trap worked such that if you lifted one of the pins beyond what the key would have done, it triggered the lockdown mechanism.
By this, you could also tell if someone had tried to pick the lock, if your key suddenly stopped working.
To get the lock to work again, a special regulating key was needed, which would reset the lock such that it could be opened once again with the normal key.
The “Detector” was thought to be in a lock class all to itself. That is, until Hobbs got to it.
According to a report filed by Benji Johnson, “an agent of the state of New York appointed to attend” the Great Exhibition, Hobbs wasted very little time in proving that Chubb’s locks were not impenetrable.
As the report read, “Soon after the exhibition opened, Mr. A.C. Hobbs, of New York, who had charge of Day and Newell’s locks, obtained one of Chubb’s locks and opened it in a space of 10 or 15 minutes, in the presence of several gentlemen.”
As one would imagine, this did not sit well with many an Englishmen who were using the Detector to lock away their homes and valuables; most of all, it did not sit well with Chubb & Son.
They challenged Hobbs to try something a tad more difficult, a Chubb’s lock attached to an iron door of a vault in Westminster that was a “depository of valuable papers.” Hobbs sent out an invitation for them to come watch him pick, “Gentlemen- An attempt will made to open a lock of your manufactured on the door of a strong room… You are respectfully invited to be present and witness the operation.”
At approximately 11:35 am, in front of the iron door in Westminster, Hobbs met his skeptical onlookers.
He took out from his “waistcoat two or three small and simple-looking tools – a description of which, for obvious reasons, we fear to give” and went to work.
Within twenty five minutes, he had the lock open with a “sharp click.”
He had once again successfully picked a supposedly impenetrable Chubb lock.
A term not labelled on this diagram is the kern, the part of the face which extends over the side of the type body and rests on the shoulder of the type next to it, or on a special, high piece of spacing material.
Kerns are often found on the letters f and j, among others.
The pin mark was an indentation originally made by a feature of the mold used on the earliest type casting machines.
With improved casters the indentation wasn’t functionally needed, but the mark was sometimes kept to identify the foundry that made the letters.
One point is about 1/72 of an inch. (.0138″)
A pica is 12 points. (.1660″)
Type high = .918”