Machine Design

Looking Back 08/12/2010

10 YEARS AGO — 2000
Students invent childproof safety lock for handguns: Undergraduate engineering students at The Johns Hopkins University have invented a device that keeps children from firing semiautomatic 9-mm handguns. A metal cover fastened atop the barrel forces the safety switch into the nonfiring position. Pushing two buttons lets the cover slide open, giving users access to the safety switch. The spring-loaded device automatically engages the safety when the weapon leaves an adult’s hand. Small children lack the dexterity, finger strength, and mental agility to open the sliding door, say its inventors.

30 YEARS AGO — 1980
New ejection-seat ideas tested: In an effort to better protect pilots and crewmen, Boeing Aircraft Co. has designed several devices to improve aircraft-ejection seats. The devices include a shield against wind blast immediately after ejection, a horizontal stabilizer attached to a two-position boom for greater stability throughout the ejection trajectory, and an airflow diverter to lessen the wind effects against the crewmen throughout the trajectory. The devices were wind-tunnel tested at the Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Center using a 50% scale-model mannikin and ejection seat. Test conditions included 456 to 1,216-mph airflow velocities and flight attitudes after bailout in –45 to 75° pitch and –5 to 30° in the yaw plane.

50 YEARS AGO — 1960
Ready-made CO boiler: Uruguay will receive the world’s first shop-assembled carbon-monoxide boiler. The boiler, by Babcock and Wilcox Co., will give smaller companies the chance at the heat-balance efficiencies of larger ones. The unit is designed for steam pressure to 600 psi at an operating temperature of 750°F. It will generate steam at a rate of 23,000 lb/hr from waste-regenerator gases, or 40,000 lb/from for oil.

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