The Curta is a small mechanical calculator developed by Curt Herzstark in 1930 in Vienna (Austria). The Curta's design is a descendant of Gottfried Leibniz's Stepped Reckoner and Charles Thomas's Arithmometer, accumulating values on cogs, which are added or complemented by a stepped drum mechanism. Curtas were considered the best portable calculators available until they were displaced by electronic calculators in the 1970s.
The Type I Curta has eight digits for data entry and it weighs 230 g. The larger Type II Curta, introduced in 1954, has eleven digits for data entry and 373 g weigh. An estimated 140,000 Curta calculators were made, the last one produced in 1972. Credits
Luciano Di Lello was born in 1876 in Villa Santa Maria (Chieti, Italy). He emigrated abroad, finding job as a "bottier" (shoemaker) at the Opéra de Paris. After meeting Alessandro Anzani (the inventor of the three-cylinder engine) and the tragic death of his son for hitting his head on the ground (hit by a horse-drawn tram), he came up with the idea of an helmet made with leather and rigid visor: it was his “Breveté SGDG” (the patent), as attested by the Gold Medal certificate (with the Frenchization in Lucien De Lello). Among the first ones using it, there were the French Albert Clément and the Belgian Camille Jenatzy, legends of car racing. Credits
The first engine-powered double-decker bus appeared in London in 1923. At this time, there were a shortage of buses in London and various companies competed against each other for bus dominance. By 1924 there were over 200 independent buses operating in the city, running along popular routes. Per police regulation, employees of the London General Omnibus Company put their 60-person bus to a “tilt test”. The test was considered passed if the double-decker buses would tilt 28 degrees without tipping. There are sand bags in the upper deck to simulate 60 passengers. Credits
Before smartwatches, there was the Seiko UC-2000 wrist computer. This wearable computer may look advanced, but it was only capable of storing 2K of data, telling the time, and performing calculator functions. The gadget made its debut in 1984, and retailed for $300 ($689.04 in today’s dollars). Credits
The interlocking toy system was the brainchild of Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, son of a Danish toymaker. His father Ole started the company in 1932 and named it Lego—a twist of the Danish words leg godt, meaning “play well”.
Christiansen first received the US patent No. 3,005,282 for a “toy building brick” in 1961. That original design of a rectangular plastic piece with eight “primary projections” (studs) on the top and three “secondary projections” (tubes) underneath is virtually unchanged in nearly six decades.
In the early 80s, XCOMP released the S100 Hard Disk which cost $3398. It had a storage capacity of 10 MB (not GB) and was considered one of the best hard drives of its time. At $3398 for 10 megabytes of storage it cost $347,955 per gigabyte of storage. A typical hard drive today only costs around 0.03 cents per gigabyte. Credits
IBM’s Deep Blue made history in 1997 when it became the first machine to beat a reigning world chess champion. A research team led by IEEE Senior Member Murray Campbell and Feng-hsiung Hsu developed the machine.
The final version of the machine consisted of two 2-meter-tall towers, more than 500 processors, and 216 accelerator chips designed for computer chess, according to a paper Campbell and Hsu wrote about Deep Blue for the Artificial Intelligence journal.
In 1944, near the end of the Second World War, entrepreneur Marcel Bich bought a factory in Clichy, a suburb north of Paris, and with business partner Edouard Buffard founded Société PPA (later Société Bic) in 1945. "PPA" stood for Porte-plume, Porte-mines et Accessoires – pens, mechanical pencils and accessories. During the war Bich had seen a ballpoint pen manufactured in Argentina by László Bíró. Bich invested in Swiss technology capable of shaping metal down to 0.01 millimetres, which could produce a stainless steel one-millimetre sphere which allowed ink to flow freely. Bich developed a viscosity of ink which neither leaked nor clogged and, under a ballpoint pen patent licensed from Bíró, launched the Cristal in December 1950.
This is one of the most famous images in photographic history. The first ever X-ray image was taken in 1895 by Wilhelm Röntgen, awarded the first Nobel Prize in Physics, 1901.
The image of his wife Bertha's hand (wedding ring clearly visible) propelled Röntgen into an international celebrity. The medical implications were immediately realised. Röntgen named the discovery X-radiation, or X-rays, after the mathematical term 'X' which denotes something unknown. Read the story 'A Helping Hand from the Media'
This Oldsmobile advertisement suggested prophetically that the horseless carriage would replace the horse and buggy, a rather presumptuous claim when Oldsmobile production was only 425 in 1901. A January 1900 article in Scientific American reported an analysis showing it was cheaper to operate a motorcar than a horse and carriage. Olds production reached 2500 in 1903.
"General Motors: A Photographic History"
The Hertella Coffee Machine mounted on a Volkswagen dashboard (1959): the most european car accessory ever made.
The Piaggio Ciao is a family of vélo bike produced from 1967 through 2006. It has a rigid rear, and a leading-link front suspension. Some models include a sprung seat-post. The engine and drive-train are cleanly enclosed. The Ciao uses a belt drive, unlike most other mopeds which are chain driven. Some models have an automatic continuously variable transmission. Braking is by front and rear drums. On newer models, the plastic fuel cap also serves as a measuring cup for the 2% oil-fuel mixture. This is the original 1967 drawing of the legendary Ciao logo.
The Moka pot it was invented by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. Bialetti Industries continues to produce the same model under the name "Moka Express". The Moka pot is today most commonly used in Europe and in Latin America. It has become an iconic design, displayed in modern industrial art and design museums including the Wolfsonian-FIU, Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum, the Design Museum, and the London Science Museum. Moka pots come in different sizes, making from one to eighteen 50 ml (2 imp fl oz; 2 US fl oz) servings. The original design and many current models are made from aluminium with Bakelite handles. Credits