Inventions that have come and gone

 
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
....and for that matter, pianolas.

I think I could be one of the few people here that actually knows what you're talking about; the pianola was virtually history before most of this lot were even born.
"wurx"

I remember them. There was one in the local church hall, would have been back in the mid 60's

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  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I remember pianolas as well . . . a neighbour had one and it failed.  He was told it needed to be stripped down and was quoted hundreds of dollars.  One quick look behind a sliding panel in the front revealed a brass gear which had stripped. A trip to McKinnon ( here in Melbourne ) to get a replica made, 10 minutes work to remove it in the first place, and 10 minutes to replace it. The neighbour said a few choice words about the quote, and I was impressed with his comments, particularly as was the local Vicar.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Agree that single sided carbon paper is still fairly common but I am talking about carbon paper with the ink stuff on BOTH sides.
YM-Mundrabilla

I don't doubt that this existed, but what was its purpose? Who would want a reverse imprint on the back of the page?
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
I don't doubt that this existed, but what was its purpose? Who would want a reverse imprint on the back of the page?
Graham4405

I was just thinking the same thing! Smile
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Who would want a reverse imprint on the back of the page?
Graham4405

The FBI ? Laughing
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
NSW with its double yellow lines in middle of road
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
NSW with its double yellow lines in middle of road
RTT_Rules


I'm not sure either NSW or yellow lines qualify as inventions... Wink
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Do schools still feature pens and nibs, and inkwells?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The FBI ? Laughing
Valvegear

Maybe, but closer to home, the Comptroller of Accounts and Audit (the Accounts Branch). It was a measure against the alteration of handwritten Special Service Orders (SSOs)and Excess fare Tickets etc. The carbon was filthy gooey stuff but it meant that any alteration was immediately obvious when the ticket was viewed in reverse. Few people would have had the carbon to enable an alteration to be made in the same colour and consistency. It was all a farce as SSOs and Excess Fare Tickets were supposed to be issued without alteration anyway.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Do schools still feature pens and nibs, and inkwells?
Valvegear

Probably not! Smile

  Melbournesparks Chief Commissioner

Location: City of Eltham
Do schools still feature pens and nibs, and inkwells?
Valvegear


I used a nibed pen and ink bottle in primary school in the late 1990's, but I doubt that would have been typical. It was a rather alternative school.

We also had a three week unit on how to write and address a formal letter, something I have never needed to do since. I'm sure if I ever did though some information on how it's done could be had from the internet in a matter of minutes. Of course the same school didn't see fit to teach anything about the effective use of the internet at all, right at the time it was starting to come into its own as a useful medium for information.
  wurx Lithgovian Ambassador-at-Large

Location: The mystical lost principality of Daptovia
Do schools still feature pens and nibs, and inkwells?
Valvegear

I commenced my schooling with kindy in 1969, through to year 12 in 1981. The desks we had in infants (1969-71) and primary school (1972-75) all had cylindrical holes routed into them for inkwells, but we never had them, nor the pens that would use them.
  wurx Lithgovian Ambassador-at-Large

Location: The mystical lost principality of Daptovia
I'm old enough to remember bells on fire trucks, police cars and ambulances.
They've gone, with sirens now in vogue.

Also, street-mounted fire alarms. Red painted, set on a pedestal and seemingly randomly distributed aroundn the streets. When I was a nipper, if we had ever wanted to use one, it was a 300 yard ( pre-metric!) dash down our street and around the corner for the nearest one. Then you hoped you had something which you could use to break the glass in order to press the button. The drill then was that you stayed at the alarm until the fire brigade arrived, to tell them exactly where the fire was.
Valvegear

I don't remember belled emergency vehicles, but I do remember a long-gone invention that most commercial trucks had, to do with hand signals.

Using the first Holden as a reference point, when the 48/215 (FX) was released, it had no electric turn indicator lights, nor did its successor, the FJ. For Holden, those didn't come until the FJ was superseded by the FE. For the 48/215 & the FJ, the indicator system could be bought as an accessory, though whether as an appproved Holden accessory I don't know. The most common brand was usually Foxton. And possibly not stop lights either, though the first Holdens certainly had one tail light.

Most other cars of the late 1940s and early 1950s didn't have indicators either, though some English cars had semaphory things that lit up but didn't flash, called trafficators, which popped up out of the B-pillar when the switch was flicked. Digressing massively from my original point, but there's a been-and-gone invention for you, trafficators.

Virtually all trucks of this era - which while reasonably powerful - were by today's standards, very slow. And usually they didn't have indicators or stop lights, as we now know them, either.

What sufficed were two simple hand signals - the ancestor of what cyclists still use to this day.

Extending your arm straight out the window horizontally meant you intended to turn right.

Doing the same but bending your elbow to 90 degrees meant you intended to stop - or at least were braking, or slowing down to stop.

Turning left - well this is a RHD country, and like I said, trucks of 50+yrs ago were typically slow....

So..........to my point, many trucks - and I remember seeing these thingummies right through the 1960s on trucks - had this crude device fixed to the truck's bonnet (or just on the front, if it was a cab-over-engine job) which was basically a mechanical arm with a yellow painted hand on the end. The driver operated it with a lever, and the hand would point horizontal for a right turn, and vertical for a stop.

To my puzzlement, as an adult, I have never seen a restored truck, of any size, from that era, that has one of these devices preserved Sad
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Wurx, when you're next in SA go to Melba's Chocolate Factory and you will see such a truck restored and occasionally driven around. Incidentally, the use of these arms (which in the case of the above truck, are shaped and painted to resemble hands) is still lawful for vehicles of the era.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
What sufficed were two simple hand signals - the ancestor of what cyclists still use to this day.

Extending your arm straight out the window horizontally meant you intended to turn right.

Doing the same but bending your elbow to 90 degrees meant you intended to stop - or at least were braking, or slowing down to stop.
wurx

And in the UK, in addition to these, a left turn was signalled by extending your right arm and moving your hand anti-clockwise in a circular motion.
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
Ye Olde Brooklyn Lamp Co. makes a battery powered LED lantern that looks like an old fashioned kerosene lantern, complete with flexible handle at top, and a knob to adjust the brightness like the old dongle that adjusted the wick. Advertised on Foxtel.
awsgc24

Kero lamps are still made brand new - brands like Aladdin and Tilley are available from various suppliers as are the spare parts. Very useful during power outages.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
I commenced my schooling with kindy in 1969, through to year 12 in 1981. The desks we had in infants (1969-71) and primary school (1972-75) all had cylindrical holes routed into them for inkwells, but we never had them, nor the pens that would use them.
wurx

I am old enough to have used these - at least in Primary School.

There were two types of pens - those that held ink within an internal reservoir (and are still available, mostly with ink cartridges now, expensive though) and the one which required an inkwell. The inkwells were refilled every so often from a big bottle, which had been mixed up (powder plus water I think).

Many a teacher would have found ink spots on the back of his (the female teachers seemed to escape this game!) shirt when he got home, for it was a game to flick the pen and thus throw ink - a teachers back was a favorite target. Low and behold if you got sprung though, that earned a quick rap of his 3ft ruler over ones knuckles if you were not quick enough to get hands off the top of the desk, else a few 'cuts' from the leather strap (belt minus the buckle) that was always in his pocket.
  GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
NSW with its double yellow lines in middle of road
RTT_Rules

In my 5 decades in the state they have been yellow and white and yellow and white.....

Talking of roads are there any 'silent cops' left on duty? There are some T intersections near my home which could use them.
  GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
I am old enough to have used these - at least in Primary School.

There were two types of pens - those that held ink within an internal reservoir (and are still available, mostly with ink cartridges now, expensive though) and the one which required an inkwell. The inkwells were refilled every so often from a big bottle, which had been mixed up (powder plus water I think).

mikesyd

I used ink from inkwells through primary school in the early 60s. Pupils had the task of mixing the ink from a dark powder and water, then pouring a little into each inkwell. Sometimes the inkwells were drained and the ink sediment washed out. The pens were a simple tapered cylindrical piece of plastic with one end formed to take a nib. One dipped the nib in the ink and the little blob of ink in the cutout of the nib allowed one to write a few words. Nibs needed replacing from time to time as they were easily damaged by enthusiastic use, dropping on the floor and the pens being used as darts. In 6th grade an improved design nib which held more ink and was more rugged came available in the shops so many students had these instead of the Govt issue ones.

In high school I used fountain pens (had to carry a bottle of ink) and cartridge pens for two years until ballpoints were permitted.

I am glad I don't need to write with a dip pen, a fountain pen or a cartridge pen any more.
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
What about paddle wheels on boats?
  wurx Lithgovian Ambassador-at-Large

Location: The mystical lost principality of Daptovia
In my 5 decades in the state they have been yellow and white and yellow and white.....

Talking of roads are there any 'silent cops' left on duty? There are some T intersections near my home which could use them.
GrahamH

I think most of the silent cops morphed into roundabouts.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
What about paddle wheels on boats?
GeoffreyHansen

Still a lot of paddle steamers in Europe particularly Switzerland
  wurx Lithgovian Ambassador-at-Large

Location: The mystical lost principality of Daptovia
Still a lot of paddle steamers in Europe particularly Switzerland
YM-Mundrabilla

Of course there is, just like there is on the Murray & the Mississippi - but as a means of propulsion, the paddle (side & stern) has long since been surpassed by the propeller or screw. Even the traditional screw has been overtaken by the cycloidal version in some instances.

So paddle steamers, and paddle boats with diesel engines are just nostalgic really - like steam locos.

Maybe not gone, but gone-ish in relevance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycloidal_propeller


Something else that's been & gone is the rotary aero engine. Before I expand on that, we'll have to be pedantic for a moment: a rotary engine isn't what you find under the bonnet of some Mazdas; rather that's a Wankel or pistonless engine (the fact that what does the pistony thing is referred to as a rotor is neither here nor there).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wankel_engine


A rotary aero engine looks much like a radial engine, except unlike a radial, where the crankshaft spins, the whole engine spins with the crankshaft stationary - meaning that the propeller was bolted to the engine rather than the crankshaft. These were all the rage about a century ago and powered such machines as the Sopwith Camel and the Fokker Triplane. The link explains in detail why they became obsolete.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotary_engine
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Something else that's been & gone is the rotary aero engine. Before I expand on that, we'll have to be pedantic for a moment: a rotary engine isn't what you find under the bonnet of some Mazdas; rather that's a Wankel or pistonless engine (the fact that what does the pistony thing is referred to as a rotor is neither here nor there).
wurx

Already been mentioned, it is number 18 on the list.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
In my 5 decades in the state they have been yellow and white and yellow and white.....

Talking of roads are there any 'silent cops' left on duty? There are some T intersections near my home which could use them.
GrahamH

As a kid I used to use the colour of solid line in the middle of the road to know if we had crossed into Qld. Not sure when NSW converted as the lines were repainted but it started in the mid 80's me thinks.

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