Saturday, October 6, 2018

Speak n Spell and More Spelling Technology

Here's what we have in the Retro Collection:

There's the Speak N Spell from the 1970s which we remembered thanks to its role in the Toy Story Films.  I have a complete post on Speak n Spell and I have both the Speak N Spell and the Math cousin who was usppose to teach the math facts.

Speak and Spell
Speak and Spell

I also have a See and Spell. And I quote my See and Spell article: I haven't found a date on it but I'm guessing its post WWII, perhaps the 50s.

 You get to spin the wheel and in each of the three windows, you can see a little picture.   There are maybe ten rows, three each. The pictures are of baby, toy, dog, cat, boy, girl, bone etc

You look at the picture of the word, then you try to spell the word.

Finally you open the window to see how you did. Pretty exciting, huh?

See and Spell
See and Spell
I also have an array of old spelling textbooks and how tos that cover spelling. I'm never quite convinced that I should be amassing these old books since if I start, there is an infinite supply of them. Yick. Here's two.
Spelling texts

Should I add the original cover page of SpellingCity too? I guess I will. Here it is, circa
August 2009. (see the modern vocabularycity?)

And here's more info on the Speak N Spell and the Math N Spell
In terms of fun learning, here's more on The Phonics Game and other classics

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Mary Poppins: A Magic Lantern in the Nursery

I was watching Mary Poppins aboard a flight the other day and during the number starting with:

In every job to be done, there is an element of fun.
Find the fun and snap, the jobs a game....

And a"  spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down...

Which takes place in the children's nursery, I suddenly noticed a detail that had escaped me for so many years. There is clearly a small magic lantern on a shelf in the nursery.  Take a look:

Here's a close up:

Want to know about using a magic lantern or the history of magic lanterns?

And here's a picture of my magic lantern.

Magic Lantern Lit
Magic Lantern Lit

Want to see a Victorian Era style school desk from my collection?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Morse Code

The telegraph with Morse Code revolutionized long distance communications in 1800s.  Coupled with the railroad, it launched the modern network era which directly led to the Interstate Highway System, the telephone system, and today's Internet.

My Dad used and knew Morse. I know:

dot dot dot dash dash dash dot dot dot (SOS).  

For my birthday, I received my own Morse Code set (thanks Diane and Brian).

Morse Code Signaling Outfit
Morse Code Signaling Outfit

I'm sort of surprised that there's no more websites and apps dedicated to allowing us to experience the beauty of Morse Code. Well, there's a project!

Vintage Cameras

While today's youth might be unfamiliar with taking pictures with a dedicated camera, I can well remember black and white cameras, Polaroid cameras, Kodak Instamatics, bellows cameras, flash bulbs, and even developing and printing lack and white photos.  And my collection is full of these. In fact, it got enriched by two new cameras in the past week.

These are Polaroid cameras before the Polaroid became synonymous with instant photography.

Selfies weren't so practical with the old technology....
John Edelson selfie
John Edelson Selfie

The Polaroid Instant Camera.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Magic Lantern

Magic Lantern Lit
Magic Lantern Lit!
The magic of light!  The Magic Lantern. In our office, we have what is known as a Magic Lantern! We fired it up this week.

Photons travelling through the air creating an image of a place, a time, where in most cases, it would not have been possible to travel to or see without the help of a Magic Lantern.

No need to rub this lantern and make a wish to be transported to a new dimension.

We take a lot for granted in the 21st century. Roll back time just a couple of generations to the middle of the 18th century one would see teachers using a Magic Lantern to transport their student to a place outside their classroom. Today, it’s the Internet, along with cell phones, iPads, tablets but in those days a different but special set of tech tools were required.

In order to create photons with enough lumens to create an image one would have to burn fuel. (Certain fuels burned brighter than others but that is a whole different subject). 
The light from that fuel would be shine onto a convex mirror to concentrate the light and reflect it through a lens that would project the filtered image onto a screen (in most cases a wall). 

In the following pictures (each picture tells a thousand words) we show you the technology behind the Magic Lantern along with images of what is required to make that technology function correctly.

Enjoy and truly appreciate what we have today!

Please Note that some items were substituted i.e lighter, scissors, newer bottle of parafin fuel and such

Want more information our  Magic Lantern?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Cootie Game

 I can remember  that my cousin and I called it the ant game and in my version, the head and the body were the same color and the legs, antennas, and eyes were yellow
                                             one of my colleagues (Kim) when she saw my new purchase from Ebay.

The Cootie game was marketed as an 'Educational Game Suitable for All Ages."  It was pretty popular when I was a kid in the 60s. It seemed like every family had one.

The Cootie Game was a turn-based game that could be played with up to four players. The goal was to build assemble all the parts into a complete free standing  plastic bug - a cootie. Created by William Schaper, Cootie went on the market and was a huge hit 1949 (Was there a wood version originally or was it always made out of plastic?). In 1973, Cootie was acquired by Tyco Toys, and, in 1986, by Milton Bradley which was part of Hasbro.  It continues to be available in stores.

There were other cootie games sold by other manufacturers but only this one went big time.  Does anyone know anything about the origin of the word "Cootie"?

Wikipedia reports that: The earliest recorded use of the word "cootie" appears in Albert N. Depew's World War I memoir, Gunner Depew (1918): "Of course you know what the word 'cooties' means....When you get near the trenches you get a course in the natural history of bugs, lice, rats and every kind of pest that had ever been invented."[5] The word may be derived from Malaysian kutu, a head louse.[6] In North American English, children use the word to refer to a fictitious disease or condition, often infecting members of the opposite sex.[7] 

It continues...In 1948, Minneapolis, Minnesota postman William H. Schaper[8] whittled a bug-like fishing lure he believed had toy potential, and sold it (and others like it) in his store as a sideline to his homebound business of manufacturing small commercial popcorn machines.[9][10]Eventually, he created a game around his creation, and, in 1949, molded it in plastic and formed the W. H. Schaper Mfg. Co. Inc..[1][9]
Schaper offered Dayton's, a local department store, several Cootie sets[2] on consignment[9] and the game proved a hit,[2] selling 5,592 by the end of 1950.[10][11] By 1952, Schaper's company sold 1.2 million Cootie games,[9] and thereafter, a million games a year.[2]

Other Cootie Games (also from Wikipedia)...

Cootie Game, ca. 1915
Schaper's game was not the first based upon the insect known as the "cootie". The creature was the subject of several tabletop games, mostly pencil and paper games, in the decades of the twentieth century following World War I.[9] The Cootie Game fashioned by the Irvin-Smith Company about 1915 was a hand-held game that involved tilting capsules into a trap[9] over a background illustration depicting a WWI battlefield. In 1927, the J. H. Warder Company of Chicago released Tu-Tee, and the Charles Bowlby Company released Cootie; though based on a "build a bug" concept similar to Schaper's, both were paper and pencil games.[9] In 1937, Rork's released The Game of Cootie, and it too was a paper and pencil game.[9] A paper and pencil party game called Beetle is popular in Britain but its date of origin is unknown. In 1939, Transogram published Cootie, a game featuring a three-dimensional wooden bug assembled in a die-cut tray.[9] Schaper's game was the first to employ a fully three-dimensional, free-standing plastic cootie.[9]