When we last meet our bemused narrator he was checking out of Westgate Books with a handful or two of paperbacks. While at the counter he noticed a collection of Popular Mechanics in a glass display case. On determining that the average price of $7.50 CDN would not impoverish him, much more, he dug in. As I mentioned earlier I love the pulp era and have always been intrigued by the, some might say brightly coloured, some might say garish, covers of early Popular Mechanics. They really remind me of the wonderful Frank R. Paul covers for Gernsback's magazines Air Wonder Stories, Science and Invention etc. These magazines all dated from 1941 and 1942, the magazine itself started in 1902. These dates obviously gave the magazine a more martial flavour than the covers I prefer which have a more SF focus with rockets and flying cars and such, but these were still neat and in great condition and since I did not own any Popular Mechanics I could not resist.
Looking at the articles I was surprised at the wide range of topics covered and the sheer number of snippets per page amid the longer articles. Of course, especially in articles concerning resource extraction at home and abroad you get the imperialism, colonialism, and lack of environmental awareness one might expect from this period. Publications like these are time capsules and should of course be thought of as such. But they are also a great window on the technological focus of the first half of the century that engendered a lot of the early science fiction, when every problem had a solution and the solution was always the application of science and technology.
I have not located information on the cover artists, any hints would be appreciated.
Yeah!!!! Science that somewhat beleagured pastime.
My favourite cover features neat welding masks, I think.