Fan as hair dryer

The Modern Mechanix blog shows us that way back in 1924, the June issue of Popular Mechanics ran this article on using a fan attachment to make a hair dryer as an alternative to electric fans for keeping your lovely locks dry and full of life (to borrow the modern parlance).


Drying the hair with an electric drier is a quick and convenient method, but not every one cares to buy one for such occasional use. Where some other electrical appliances such as a fan is at hand, an attachment can easily be made for it, that will serve the purpose.

The attachment consists essentially of a cone-shaped piece of sheet metal such as brass, to which a rubber tube with a nozzle is attached, as shown. The cone is made by cutting a circular piece about one-third larger in diameter than the fan guard, making a radial cut from the center to the edge, putting the edges thus formed over each other and riveting them together. Three catches made of brass are riveted to the cone so that it can be securely fastened to the guard. The tip of the cone is cut open and flared out so that a brass sleeve, about 1-3/4 in. diameter, can be soldered to it. A 6-ft. length of rubber tubing of the same size is attached to this sleeve, and a 4-in. length of brass tubing, with the end rounded as shown, is pushed into the end of the hose to serve as a nozzle. In one case a 1-3/4 in. motorcycle inner tube was used for the hose, but it may be still handier to use the rubber tubing usually provided with a fully equipped vacuum cleaner. The drier should be placed on or near the top of a radiator so that it delivers hot air.

Any rumors you hear that suggest I know from experience that attaching this to the rear of the fan instead of the front creates insufficient suction for true enjoyment are pure fluffery. I assure you I never commented on how poorly this worked when I experimented with the idea.

[tags]Modern Mechanix, Last century hacks, Fan as hair dryer, Popular Mechanics[/tags]

House of the future, from 1954

Honestly, I’m a little surprised we don’t see more of the ideas from this house that was designed and built over 60 years ago. Designed with as much innovative use of technology as the builder could manage, the house had windows which would shut automagically in case of sustained strong winds or rain, lights that would turn on and off when people entered rooms, and an automagic doorbell that went off when someone stepped on the porch.


Guests never trip over the wires to a floor lamp in Fletcher’s living room. MM-lamp-of-the-future.jpgThe floor lamps in this “House of the 21st Century” have no electric cords. Their fluorescent tubes, in fact, could be burned out and still operate perfectly when placed over certain spots on the living-room floor.

. . .

To operate his cordless floor lamps, Fletcher [the primary designer and builder] buried induction coils at various points in his living-room floor. Contained in the base of each floor lamp is a secondary coil. The current flowing between the coilsprovides enough wattage to fluoresce the gases in the fluorescent tube at the top.

The walk-a-light switching system throughout the house operates on the capacity principle. The presence of a persons body changes the capacity of a plate connected to a vacuum-tube circuit. A relay then switches on the lights. The same capacity effect operates the doorbell when a person walks onto the porch. It is used outside the house to operate lights on a burglar-alarm system.

This is one of the coolest things to my humble little brain that I’ve seen on the Modern Mechanix web site since I started reading it last year. I can see how some of the technologies would need updated to modern needs. I’m likewise sure that people might not always want all the automated conveniences that this house provides, but that should be adjustable at some control center or via software on a home computer. I’d love to get some of the features from over 50 years ago into my home. Maybe not the vacuum-tube stuff, but that could easily be modernized.

[tags]Modern Mechanix, Home of the future from 1950s, Automated home conveniences, Automagic[/tags]