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85 Years Ago: Machine Design's First Year: Part 2

Dec. 3, 2014
Here are some headlines and images from 1929-30, the inaugural year of Machine Design.

December 1929: Swiss aviation pioneer Walter Mittelholzer becomes the first person to fly over Mt. Kilimanjaro, and Bingo is invented.

Putting style into industrial machines

Managing Editor L.E. Jeremy’s article, “You Cannot Afford to Ignore Style in Design,” talks about the importance of appearances and style in machinery, and not just cars and household appliances. “Industrial machinery, of course, is purchased more for performance than for appearance, but it is a serious error to assume that the influence of style is negligible. There are established standards of fashion in locomotives, cranes, machine tools, tractors, agricultural equipment, conveyors, etc., just as in the case of household mechanical appliances. The style, however, lies more in mechanical details than in beauty and appearance.”

Both of these machines mix sand, but one was made in 1904 and the more modern-looking one was made in 25 years later in 1929.

What British designers are up to

A Department titled “The New Requirements of Industry,” takes a look at modern designs and machinery from all over the world. This issue featured a new British locomotive that is claimed to the largest and most powerful in that country. Its watertube boiler contains steam at 450 psi. The chimney is embedded within the outer casing.

January 1930: Clyde Tombaugh photographs Pluto, and Marguerite Perey discovers Francium, the last naturally occurring element to be found.

Ergonomics in the factory

“The Time is Ripe for Engineers to Consider the Human Factor,” is an article that discusses the need for engineers to design machines that are more comfortable to use and service. Those machines should also be quieter and vibrate less, another nod to operator comfort. It notes that “Some of the choicest profanity of the craft is uttered by machinists in the act of removing taper pins, nuts, bolts, or keys from almost inaccessible recesses in carelessly designed machines. Engineers responsible for the creation of complicated machinery can well afford to spend a few hours occasionally watching workmen tearing down and rebuilding mechanical equipment.”

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