past perfect

That Time The US Postal Service Actually Used Gyrocopters To Deliver Mail

When a Florida mailman landed a gyrocopter with a USPS logo on the lawn of the Capitol today, I’m sure you were asking yourself the same question I was: Does the US postal service really deliver mail via gyrocopter? Not today. But it turns out they did, back in the 1930s.


This 3D-Printed Television Will Transport You To The 1950s

Once upon a time, long before Twitter or Xbox live, you could turn on a TV that looked a lot like this and watch spacemen valiantly defeat their enemies with rayguns and plutonium-powered rockets. We can’t travel back to that simpler age, but we can re-create the experience using 3D printing.


Satellites Looked So Futuristic In 1958

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a piece of modern sculpture. But in fact you’re looking one of NASA’s old Vanguard satellites, photographed at Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1958.


This Digital Mondrian Was Made In 1964

Piet Mondrian sits well in the world of science and technology, his clear geometric forms so neatly and rationally ordered. But perhaps the earliest example of technology and Mondrian intersecting is in these images, created digitally way back in 1964.


The Wild, NSFW World Of Old Teletext Porn

Back in the 70s and 80s, there was a little piece of technological magic known as Teletext. Basically, it allowed the broadcast of text, and crude text-art, over unused TV spectrum, so long as you had a special decoder. Very proto-internet. And so of course, it was used for pornography.


And Here's A Treasure Trove Of '90s Videos About The Internet 

Remember the ’90s, when we had videos on VHS to teach us about this new thing called the internet? Lucky for us, Andy Baio (@waxpancake) has preserved those tapes for the YouTube generation.


The 110-Year-Old Light Bulb That Has Never Been Turned Off

The oldest lightbulb in continuous use was installed before the Wright Brothers took flight, is 110 years old, and is still as beautiful as the day she was born. In fact, it’s likely the oldest electrical device in continuous use period. Take a moment and consider just how much the world has changed around this one, singular device.


Even The 19th Century Had Needy Nigerian Prince Scams

We’ve all received that email at least once before. A kind prince/princess/spambot in Nigeria has millions of dollars, and better yet, they want to split it with you. Just hand over your social security code and wait for them to arrive on American soil. As the above newspaper clipping shows, these types of scams were going on even before email came around — in this case, as early as 1876.


Could We Have Built A Computer In The 18th Century?

So you want to build a computer in the 18th century. Is it even possible? Probably not. Most people don’t think about the actual amount of money and tools needed to produce exactly one transistor-based computer, power it and program it, to say nothing of the social challenges you’d face trying to build this high-tech machine centuries ago.


Being Fitted For Contacts In 1948 Was Totally Horrifying

Video: Want to know just how badass folks from the boomer generation were? Just watch this nice lady get jammed in the eyeballs with pieces of glass — all in the name of 20/20 vision. Fair warning: you’re going to want to keep a finger on the close tab button because ewwwwwwwwwww.