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Home Forecaster Dials Weather from Known Conditions
April 1943 Popular Mechanics

April 1943 Popular Mechanics
April 1943 Popular Mechanics - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early mechanics and electronics. See articles from Popular Mechanics, published continuously since 1902. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

"Home Forecaster Dials Weather from Known Conditions" is the title of this news blurb from a 1943 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine. Back when I was a kid in the 1960s and 1970s, dialing the weather meant inserting my index finger into the holes on the rotary phone and dialing WE6-1212 (the time was gotten by dialing TI6-1212), and then listening to the recorded current conditions and forecast for the next 24 hours. I called often (my father referred to the recording lady as my girlfriend) due to both a keen interest in weather phenomena and wanting to know whether the conditions would be good for flying a model airplane or launching a model rocket. This cardboard dial calculator required the user to input current observed conditions for wind direction, barometric pressure and whether it was rising or falling, and your opinion on whether the weather (see what I did there?) was "fair," "overcast" or "raining." I assume "snow" could be substituted for "rain" if appropriate. The device would then provide a forecast for the next 12-24 hours, within a radius of about 30-50 miles. When taking private pilot lessons in the late 1970s, I was taught to estimate conditions in somewhat the same manner, except cloud type is a good visual indicator of things to come. Winds aloft, distant high and low pressure systems, and temperature trending are also important. It would be interesting to know how good the weather wheel is. Supercomputers and PhD meteorologists are lucky to hit the 50% accuracy mark. As far as precipitation goes, modern weather radar animations show how localized rain and snow can be, where less than a mile often separates a deluge from a sunny sky.

Home Forecaster Dials Weather from Known Conditions

Home Forecaster Dials Weather from Known Conditions, April 1943 Popular Mechanics - RF Cafe

After disks are set (left) answer is found in table. 

Guest Weathercaster - RF Cafe

An Internet search turns up a few different makers of Weathercasters. It must not have been a trademarked name. I can't make out the name on the one in this article, but a model by Guest is posted on the AnalogWeather.com website.

George Igel Weathercaster - RF Cafe

They also have a linear slide rule model by George Igel.

Sager Weathercaster - RF Cafe

Various Weathercasters can be found on eBay if you want to own one.

You can be your own weatherman with a dial forecaster that requires the operator to make four simple observations of the weather existing at the time and to set four rotating disks accordingly. The observations, each represented by a separate dial, include the present wind direction, barometric pressure, which way the barometer is changing, and a choice between "fair," "overcast" and "rain." The wind-direction dial includes an indication as to whether the wind is backing or veering, that is, whether the last change swung counter-clockwise or clockwise. When the four disks have been arranged so the indicated weather conditions point toward the red arrow at the top of the dial, they line up three digits and a letter of the alphabet. The user then locates this reference in a table, which gives a definite weather prediction covering an area within a radius of 30 to 50 miles and a period from 12 to 24 hours. Accompanying the forecaster is a complete set of instructions.

Machine "Irons Out" Nails at Rate of 31,000 a Day - RF Cafe

Straightener removes kinks to reclaim bent nails.

Also on the same page was this. During World War II, great effort was expended to preserve and conserve materials. "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without" was not just a clever saying, it was a rule lived by.

Machine "Irons Out" Nails at Rate of 31,000 a Day 

Crooked nails, made valuable by the diversion of new production to war industries, can be given a new lease on life by straightening them in a machine that "irons out" 31,000 nails in a single day. Invented by George D. Hulburt at 20th Century-Fox film studio, the reclaiming apparatus removes the kinks by stamping the nails into a straight groove.

 

 

Posted December 28, 2023

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