Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Mad scientists

“The Book of Fantastic Machines” is a small gem from my childhood. I already reviewed it once, but since it has two product pages, why not do it again? The book and its companion volumes (I'm familiar with 12 in total) are obviously intended for kids and deal with frequently fanciful cars, airplanes, weapons, birds, bugs and so on. In other words, anything that might interest a 7 year old boy! Or girl, if you're into pistols or spiders…

This volume covers all kinds of crazy machines, including Puckle's machine gun (1718), Tuxford Boydell's caterpillar (1858), the flying bedstead (1954) and some piece of junk named the Saturn V rocket (apparently 1969, but who can tell). More useful, perhaps, is the Moog Synthesiser a.k.a. Mini-Moog (1964). Some gadgets which were actually used and even seemed to work were later taken off line, including a French printing press powered by the sun and a German-Jewish miniature sewing machine! Interestingly, two of the constructions showed in this book are Soviet: the Sputnik and the Lunokhod.

Front operation?

Today, this fantastic series seems to be almost forgotten, only a few volumes being on sale here on Amazon, but I'd say its underrated! But no, I never became an engineer. I'm more interested in, ahem, theology…

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