March 1955 Popular Electronics
of Contents]People old and young enjoy waxing nostalgic about and learning some of the history of early electronics.
Popular Electronics was published from October 1954 through April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged. See all articles from
This is really clever.
Appearing in a 1955 edition of Popular Electronics, "The Electronic Husband" is one wife's attempt to quantify
her husband's interest in all things electronic by adapting forms of Ohm's Law to fit observed behavior. In the
process of writing the parody, Mrs. Jeanne DeGood demonstrates a good basic knowledge of Mr. DeGood's second
passion. I think after all the articles that Melanie has proof read for me that she probably knows a lot of these
equations as well.
The Electronic Husband
By Jeanne DeGood
a man becomes interested in electronics, he becomes so tied down to his work that his wife can't pull him away from
his workbench. Such wives could use the lessons learned in electronics to good advantage.
The simplest form of electric circuit is a man with work to be done, and resistance connected to his terminals
(see Fig. 1).
This circuit is broken or opened when a connection is removed at any point. The connection to be broken is usually
at a point between the husband and his workbench, and the wife who desires her husband to work needs only to break
A switch is a device that may be used to break such a connection. Its use is restricted largely to little boys,
however, and it is seldom advisable in the case of husbands. It is therefore necessary to find a substitute for
a switch, and in finding this substitute, wives may use Ohm's Law to good advantage:
This can be stated as follows: The work that I (me) want done is directly proportional to what E (he) wants to
do, and inversely proportional to his R (resistance) to the work.
At this point, it is necessary to find units of measurement. Thus:
1 = go to the grocery for me?
E = no!
R = ?
In order to find the value of the "no!" as it applies to the resistance, the equation may be transposed:
E (no!) =1 (go?) R (resistance)
The simplest method of completing the equation at this point would be to remove the R (resistance). This may
be done easily when the resistance happens to be a soldering gun, a tube tester, or a voltmeter. However, since
the resistance in this case happens to be a workbench, removing the resistance might be a bit difficult for a 110-pound
It is obvious, therefore, that power and energy are the needed elements, and that another equation is now needed:
P = EI
This can be stated: P (power) - the rate of doing work - is equal to E (amount of energy required for the job)
multiplied by I (the amount of interest in the job).
In this equation, power is measured in muscles, energy in vitamins, and interest in facial expressions. And since
facial expressions indicate no interest in going to the grocery store, the equation may now read:
P (power) = E (energy) I (interest)
= E (energy) x 0
It is now necessary to find the efficiency of the husband's E (energy):
where: Eff. = amount of husband's useful energy
P0 = power outside
Pi = power inside
A quick glance shows us that P0 (power outside) may also be measured in muscles. Pi (power
inside) must be measured in vitamins.
A quick glance shows that more Pi (power inside) must be supplied, so it is advisable at this point
to add a piece of apple pie and a cup of coffee to the Pi. Thus:
We have now arrived at the final equation:
W (work - getting it done) = P(patience) x T (time), for the husband has now finished the work he was doing and
is now ready to go to the grocery willingly.
Posted January 30, 2014