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What Is It? - A Question Bee in Photographs
June 1941 Popular Science

June 1941 Popular Science

June 1941 Science Popular Science - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Popular Science, published 1872-2021. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

Everybody likes a "What Is It?" type picture quiz - especially if the results are not being graded. These eleven photos were published in a 1941 issue of Popular Science magazine, along with suggestions for what they might be. All except two are commonplace items which should cause no difficulty for most RF Cafe visitors. My experience is that the kinds of people who read magazines like Popular Science, Mechanix Illustrated, and Popular Mechanics are both self-educators and "doers" who regularly indulge in science (astronomy, weather, propulsion), mechanics (cars and trucks, mowers, washing machines, motors), chemistry (solvents, lubricants, coatings), and all the tools and gadgetry that go along with them. A couple items here are somewhat antiquated, but anyone older than about forty to fifty years old have likely seen and/or own them. Bon chance.

What is It?

What is It? - A Question Bee in Photographs, June 1941 Popular Science - RF Cafe - RF CafeA Question Bee in Photographs

Usually we tell you what's what in our pictures; this time you tell us. Try to identify the objects in the photographs, from the hints given. Turn to page 222 for the answers and see how you fared.

Popular Science Mystery Picture #2 - RF Cafe

2 - The weather man distinguishes between different kinds of clouds, such as cumulus, nimbus, and cirrus. Can you tell which of these kinds is illustrated above?

Popular Science Mystery Picture #4 - RF Cafe

4 - For boring holes in wood, this tool often comes in handy. Maybe it's a gimlet bit, - but then again, it might be on expansive bit, or, perhaps an auger bit.

Popular Science Mystery Picture #6 - RF Cafe

6 - Who hasn't seen this handsome butterfly, shown above in reduced size? It's a Tiger Swallowtail - no, it's a Monarch - or would it be called a Cabbage Butterfly?

Popular Science Mystery Picture #8 - RF Cafe

8 - Possibly you may imagine that these objects are drum sanders, or roller bearings, or lathe face plates, or improved hockey pucks. In one case you'll be right.

Popular Science Mystery Picture #10 - RF Cafe

10 - Lap joints sometimes are used to fasten things together. So are mortise and tenon joints, universal joints, and dovetail joints. Which kind is pictured?

Popular Science Mystery Picture #1 - RF Cafe

1 - A queer-looking thing, isn't it? Possibly it's a radio transmitter, or a cyclotron. But on the other hand, are you sure that it isn't a seismograph or a dynamometer?

Popular Science Mystery Picture #3 - RF Cafe

3 - Airplane motors have to be kept from overheating. Here is a mighty radial engine of 2,000 horsepower. Is it cooled by air? Water? Gasoline? Chemicals?

Popular Science Mystery Picture #5 - RF Cafe

5 - Here's a handy man busily at work with his spokeshave. Wait a minute - perhaps that's wrong and it's really his saw set, or milling cutter, or miter box.

Popular Science Mystery Picture #7 - RF Cafe

7 - From this pilot's-eye view, would you conclude that the U. S. naval vessel in the picture is a mine layer? A cruiser? An aircraft carrier? Or a river gunboat?

Popular Science Mystery Picture #9 - RF Cafe

9 - Figure out this picture puzzle, if you can. Is it a photograph of Mars? The sun? The moon? Or a European battlefield, devastated by heavy artillery fire?

Popular Science Mystery Picture #11 - RF Cafe

11 - If you peer into a microscope and see things like this, are you looking at snowflakes? Diatoms? Bacteria? Algae? Or a sample of dust collected from city air?


See answers below

Quizzes from vintage electronics magazines such as Popular Electronics, Electronics-World, QST, and Radio News were published over the years - some really simple and others not so simple. Robert P. Balin created most of the quizzes for Popular Electronics. This is a listing of all I have posted thus far.

RF Cafe Quizzes

Vintage Electronics Magazine Quizzes

Vintage Electronics Magazine Quizzes

Question Bee Answers

Here are the correct answers to the "What Is It?" quiz appearing on pages 120 and 121.

1. Cyclotron

2. Cirrus

3. Air

4. Expansive bit

5. Miter box

6. Monarch

7 Aircraft carrier

8. Lathe face plates

9. The moon

10 Dovetail joints

11. Diatoms



Posted October 17, 2023

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