Mixsonian Morrs and Barbara Larry

Popular Science

On one of my trips to the 7-11 across the street I discovered they had a magazine stand with all sorts of magazines arranged by subject or type such as news, sports, fashion but my favorite was the science magazine section of which I would look though. The store clerk didn’t mind if you spent ten or fifteen minutes looking but would soon tell you that you had to buy one or leave although I found if I bought a small Slurpee first he would let me look a bit longer before buying the latest issue of Popular Science for 35¢.  I loved the magazine, it covered space, rockets, underseas, cars, gadgets, both real and projections of the future, I was entrapped by it all.  Not only was there cover story and other articles on science, technology, automobiles, but there were regular monthly sections on things like Short Cuts and Tips, Auto Repairs, Electronics and Home and Shop.  I would read each issue thoroughly cover to cover several times, even all the advertisements which sold all sorts of interesting things. 

There were articles and aviation, “The incredible X-15”, articles about ocean technology, “Two-man underwater Cubmarine”, “How divers live beneath the Sea”, "How to get started in Scuba Diving”, early computers, “Tell it to Seceptron, New electronic brain recognizes spoken words, and will carry out your verbal command”.  Articles about new inventions,  “Alarm makes you fasten your seat belt”, ah, that was one we all learned to hate. In was from Popular Science I first heard about the M-2 Glider known as the flying bathtub that would later develop into the space shuttle. . Articles about real inventions, articles of inventions to come like the flying car, I read every word of it.

The May issue had the latest cars for 1963, Falcon Sprint (cheapest), Oldsmobile Jetfire (most expensive), Tempest Lemans (quickest, 0-60 8.1), Studebaker Super Lark (fastest 132 Mph) and the Corvair Turbocharged Spyder (best gas milage @ 30.9), new at Ford - retractable seat belts, at Studebaker – engine, at Pontiac – the Tempest, Buick -  two-ply-tires, at Oldsmobile – bigger V-8, at Lincoln-Mercury – Bigger Continental.  In April a whole section about campers,  Tent Trailers, camping vans VW camper or build your own out of a Ford Econoline van, car top, station wagon and so on.  In July, What do You Think of Pay TV?  Who would want to pay for TV?  In later years we learned the answer to that, everyone. A whole issue on power tools, table saw, radial-arm saw, drill press, jig saw, band saw, wood lathe, jointer-planer, electric drill, saber saw, router, I dreamed about the things I could make if I had all those tools.

Dr. Wernher von Braun 1963 Popular ScienceMany of the issues in 1963 had articles by Dr. Wernher von Braun, the famous rocket scientist that the United States got from Germany at the end of World War II.  In the articles Dr. Wernher von Braun explained all sorts of things not only about rockets but space: the difference between nuclear blowdown vs. nuclear ion rockets, the Van Allen radiation belt, explained what space is really like, proposed a design for moon (he called it lunar) base, how to rendezvous in orbit, Dr. Wernher von Braun looks at Mars, Dr. Wernher von Braun explains orbiting and so on.  Space, the final frontier, he explained how to get there, I was ready to go.

Popular Science 2022Popular Science on my iPad
Summer 2022 Issue

I got Popular Science for many years, when I lived at home with Mom and Dad I had them all lined up on my book case from the first issue I bought at the 7-11.  When I moved out on my own in 1970 I took some of the more recent ones with me but I slowly got rid of older issues as I got newer ones.  Interesting enough in 2000 I worked for AOL which bought Time Warner which owned Popular Science at the time but sold it in 2007 when I was still working for AOL.  The magazine started to go down hill shortly thereafter when in 2016 it went to bi-monthly with much less content in spite of the editor claims that you got the same amount of content but just not as often and then degraded further when in 2018 it went quarterly and then finally to an only digital edition.  I still read it, almost sixty years later, but it is not the same as the magazine I held in my hands as a kid.

Updated: 08-06-2022

Science Fiction