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  • We've Come A Long Way!

    I get a monthly newsletter from Rock Auto and there is always a trivia question included.

    What is the array of electronics in this car's trunk?

    A. The first car phone built by Bell System and Motorola in 1946.
    B. A Geiger counter data recorder intended to measure radiation levels at a nuclear test site (Ranger) in Nevada in 1951.
    C. Equipment to generate variable noise frequencies and decibel levels used during development of Preston Tucker's prototype rear engine powered (589 cid!) Tucker 48 car.

    Click image for larger version

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    If you get the newsletter and have the answer don't give it away.
    Don, aka Pappy,

    Wise men talk because they have something to say,
    Fools because they have to say something.
    Plato

  • #2
    By your title, "We've come a long way", I'd say it was the first car phone. It looks similar in form to some of the radio equipment I've seen in heavy bomber aircraft of the time, consisting of a transmitter, receiver, and perhaps an antenna tuning or control device. I don't see an antenna aerial though, so I may well be wrong. I presume some of that cable is going to a control head up by the driver.

    One thing I took notice of was this guy's spare tire, guess they didn't have minimum tread laws back then.

    CWS
    Think it Through Before You Do!

    Comment


    • #3
      Mobile Phone, is my guess.

      I remember movies of the early '50's that had Geiger counters and even then they had hand held ones. It still could be a special type of Geiger counter but if so, it would probably not have been in a car.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

      Comment


      • #4
        Judging by the Motorola label its radio equipment for some early mobile phone.
        THe bald tire someone is commenting about is probably an inner tube, as most tires had inner tubes back then. See how the tube is strapped to the car floor; I think that is probably some engineer attempting to shock mount the delicate electronics with tubes so survive riding around in a car.
        Loring in Katy, TX USA
        If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
        BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

        Comment


        • cwsmith
          cwsmith commented
          Editing a comment
          I think if you look closer Loring, you can almost see side-wall, and the remnants of threads on that tire. I still remember "inner tubes" and they were much rounder with no shoulder. I recall the occasions when I'd help change the tire on my Dad's pick-up and changing a tire, removing it from the wheel, and patching a tube was one of my first lesson's in "manly things" my Dad taught me. We used to use the old tubes at the local swimming hole too. So, sure looks like a tire to me Also, if used as a shock mount, I wouldn't run the mounting strap between the the tire or tube and the bottom of shelf, but who knows. Take note too of that strap, it looks pretty shiny, could also be a copper strap grounding the cabinets to the chassis.

          A few things to speculate about. What's the answer Pappy?

      • #5
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        • #6
          It's really interesting when you look back at the stuff that occurred, especially if it was within our life span. I was born in 1944 and started Kindergarten in September1949. It was probably in 1950 when they started teaching us to write and I remember they gave us dip-pens for use with the ink bottle located in the well at the top of the desk. I broke the nib on mine when pushing down on it too hard... I noticed that I could get two lines by doing that! (Yeah, I was that kind of a kid.) I later had a fountain pin with that little lever on the side, that you used to siphon ink with. I don't recall getting an actual ball-point until about sixth or seventh grade. **** am I old or what!

          I've got a pretty decent memory, probably above average, especially for long ago things.

          I'm sort of an inactive Ham Radio operator, living here in the city with no immediate trees, I can't really string up an antenna. But I've always been interested in "communications" especially radio and of course that would include wireless phones. My high school principle was a Ham, and he knew I was interested. One afternoon he came into my study hall and asked me to come outside with him to meet a friend of his. That guy had a big old Ford station wagon and the back had trunk area was filled with equipment similar to what the first picture above illustrated. The man was talking to someone in Saudi Arabia he told us. I think I was a Freshman at the time, that would have been in 1958. I had an old shortwave, but couldn't really afford "Ham" equipment. As such I never ventured too far toward the hobby and didn't get my license until after our son graduated from Cornell. Back then, I did build a little one-tube radio in my General Shop class, it used head phones and was only AM, but it WAS something I built. The following year I built a Heathkit Twoer, a lunch-box 2-meter transceiver that even had a handle on top like a lunch box. The Ham who did the alignment for me, told me it was the cutest little arc-welder he ever saw... He fixed all the cold-solder joints and taught me how to properly solder... "throw that Weller gun out and get a cheap soldering iron". The advancement in electronic in my lifetime has been astounding and it was nice to have a few things over the decades.

          Now we walk around with these little flat pieces of wonderment in our pockets. It's really quite amazing!

          CWS
          Think it Through Before You Do!

          Comment


          • #7
            CWS you are 8 years older than me. I graduated Cornell with a masters degree in EE in 1975.
            Loring in Katy, TX USA
            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
            BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

            Comment


            • #8
              CWS, Your description sounds a lot like mine. I'm 3 years younger and remember my 1st grade experiences well. No kindergarten back then in the rural area where I grew up. We only had pencils and did not get to fountain pens until the 6th grade. But by then the ink cartridges had come on the scene.

              I "almost" got into Ham. I built several Allied Radio and Heath kit radios and electronic tube kits. My next step up was to get a osciliiscope (SP?) but other things got in the way. What kept me from Ham was visiting a Ham operator and listening intently (at age 12 or 13) and then asking "I hate all the static on my AM radio. IS there a good AM radio schematic that you know of, that I could build?" His emphatic & chastising response was: "I AM A HAM OPERATOR, NOT AN AM STATION!" I decided then that I didn't need to get into HAM. Then spent my next 15 - 20 years building short waves, amplifiers, stereos etc. BTW, my first venture into electronic building was a simple "diode" radio with an Aligator clip to clip onto something metallic - around '57 - '58, and then moving into other electronics. Loved making tube electronics and wiring them. Then got my first printed circuit board shortwave and shortly after that - transistors. I stopped making electronics about the time ICs came along - as I moved into RC airplanes.
              Hank Lee

              Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

              Comment


              • #9
                I'm also an inactive ham, sort of interested, but not as much as I'm into other things. Also because I work indoors all day, for hobbies I like to get out of the house. I have VHF in the Jeep and some portables, but they are more utilitarian than hobby. I'm 55 and got an early start in technology and electronics since my dad owned a TV repair shop. I started my first business in fifth grade, fixing radios and tape players. I got in trouble for hacking the district's VAX at 15, and started really working in computers on System/36 and Tandem Nonstop. It's interesting to look back at things that have gone from fantasy to reality to totally useless, like fax. And the cabling and signaling tech that has come and gone, like thick ethernet, token ring, and various odd multi-wire schemes.

                Today I mostly work in VoIP services, with exposure to general networking and systems, and do some consulting.

                Oh, another tech that to me has come and gone--Windows. When I saw how bad it was getting in the early 2000s, I abandoned it overnight, ordered a MacBook, got to learning Linux, and haven't been back. Which is good, since all the VoIP systems run on Linux and it's far easier to deal with them from another *nix box.

                My first computer build was a Heathkit H8 processing unit with the H9 terminal. A couple thousand parts I think.

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