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Magazine Art

Magazines shaped our lives, and the rest is history.

The great illustrators of the period 1850-1950 had a tremendous influence on us and the rest of the world. One of the most popular ways they presented their work was as the cover art for the mass and specialist magazines that were published under thousands of titles and in millions and millions of copies. We know today of Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish, but there were hundreds and thousands of other artists whose work is now forgotten except by collectors and specialists. Some have been honored by art books about their work, but most are now simply unknown to the general public.

One reason for this undeserved obscurity is that their work is quite difficult to find. Bound volumes of these magazines, both in libraries and in the hands of private collectors, usually do not include the covers, for reasons we today find hard to imagine. You must look for individual copies of these magazines, sold as collector's items and available in variable condition. Old magazines turn up regularly on eBay and in shops, but they are expensive, and it is difficult to find, analyze, and store them in one's home. Hence MagazineArt.org.

We scan and photograph magazine covers from this era: as many as we can find, of whatever subject matter. The only requirement is that the issue must -have- a cover design. We prefer the ones that change from issue to issue, but we'll record them even if they simply list the contents of the magazine. We've had images donated, and we've picked them up where we can. At this time we have thousands of them, many of them suitable for display but all requiring some processing in Photoshop before they are presentable.

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eye 92
Pulps dedicated to crime and mysteries were among the first specialized pulps to be published. DETECTIVE STORY had its first issue in October 1915, and MYSTERY MAGAZINE by 1917. By the 1930's, crime pulps (if you include super-detective and crime-fighting hero pulps) were almost synonymous with "pulp" in the American mind.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Assorted Adventure Pulps
collection
4
ITEMS
263
VIEWS
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collection
eye 263
An assortment, a variety, a gathering of adventures.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Western Pulps
collection
0
ITEMS
140
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 140
Western pulps were among the earliest, and among the last to give up in the 1950's. Who hasn't dreamed of the Old West of the American frontier?
Topic: magazine
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collection
eye 366
Among the most popular of the pulp magazines were those specializing in science fiction and fantasy stories. Most of cover art for these is well covered in existing websites. On MagazineArt.org we concentrate on rare and uncommon titles, those you are unlikely to see elsewhere.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Education and Training
collection
12
ITEMS
159
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 159
Always a mainstay of the magazine advertising pages, companies that promise to train you for a new job or educate you for a new role in life or society have given us images that have become part of our popular culture.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Specialized Magazines
collection
0
ITEMS
120
VIEWS
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eye 120
There are magazines that are far outside the normal distribution. Here is the Category for the odd and unusual in magazine publishing; if it doesn't fit anywhere else, you'll find it here.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Travel and Transportation
collection
230
ITEMS
3,511
VIEWS
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collection
eye 3,511
Build a transportation system, and people and things will travel. Here are ads for all things related.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: House and Garden Magazines
collection
0
ITEMS
82
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 82
Almost everybody lives somewhere, so there's a ready market for magazines which supply ideas about how to improve your home, your garden, and your community life. A lot of these ideas involve art (design, photographs, pictures, drawings, sketches) and the magazines are still fun to read. They're full of things that clearly illustrate our past ways and show how we got to where we are today (for good or ill).
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Automobiles, Trucks, and Wagons
collection
361
ITEMS
9,522
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 9,522
Automobile ads kept magazines going through good times and hard. High-ticket items, they could afford to pay for color reproduction when that was too expensive for most other products. Everybody knows something about cars! Some of these ads were created by the best artists in the business. And some of them are just fun to look at as nostalgia; or, if you prefer, ancient history. Trucks here, too. Also wagons and carriages.    If you like these, check out this great website of scans of...
Topic: magazine
collection
eye 132
Money. Ads for those people who have grabbed onto your money, and will only reluctantly give it back to you.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Personal and Human Aspects
collection
218
ITEMS
4,143
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 4,143
Mainstays of the advertising pages were personal items such as toiletries, beauty aids, perfumes, bath and facial soaps, and the like. Human interactions are important: Flowers, cards, notes.
Topic: magazine
collection
eye 38
Lots of magazines offer intellectual and political content and philosphy (as differentiated from news and current events magazines). Here we offer them to you.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Adventure Trails 2
collection
0
ITEMS
32
VIEWS
-
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eye 32
This Red Circle pulp is not to be confused with ADVENTURE TRAILS 1, of a decade earlier, which was published by Clayton as a continuation of DANGER TRAIL 1. Three issues 1938-9. Source: AHGTTP.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Fiction Magazines
collection
0
ITEMS
110
VIEWS
-
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Most general magazines carried fiction, along with articles, editorials, short filler pieces, commentary, and what-all. But a few magazines explicitly concentrated on fiction.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Women's Magazines
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0
ITEMS
392
VIEWS
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collection
eye 392
Women's magazines covered some or all aspects of what was thought of as womans' life of the time, especially current fashions, housekeeping, children, decoration, and the management of home economics. For relaxation there were lots of fiction, puzzles and games, many serious and informative articles, and some excellent cover artwork. And ads, lots of advertisements, for travel, cosmetics, clothing and fashions, jewelry, foods, domestic and kitchen appliances.
Topic: magazine
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collection
eye 94
People have been reading about distant places and imagining what it would be like to travel there since long before the advent of magazines. The happy combination of inexpensive printing and good photo or engraving reproduction resulted in increasing interest in travel as a subject for magazine articles, culminating in specialized magazines about travel itself. Regional magazines are those centered about some locality, usually with a big dose of boosterism and articles about why the reader...
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Bicycles & Motorcycles
collection
46
ITEMS
1,123
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 1,123
Bicycles became vastly popular in the late 19th century and paved the way (sorry!) for automobiles by creating a population that wanted good, smooth, hard-surfaced roads and plenty of them. Motorcycles were an adaption that combined the best and worst of the two. And then there were motorbikes, and scooters, and any motorized conveyance that could spring full-blown from the head of the American backyard inventor.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Action Novels
collection
10
ITEMS
308
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 308
More action and adventure! Fiction House's ACTION NOVELS published 25 issues in the period 1928-33. It was revived as a quarterly as ALL-ADVENTURE ACTION NOVELS in 1937, but only actually published one issue each in 1937, 1938 and 1939, before disappearing for good. Source: AHGTTP.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Magic Carpet
collection
5
ITEMS
387
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 387
Adventure in the Orient! A continuation of ORIENTAL STORIES, there were five issues published quarterly 1933-4. A rare and valued pulp.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Romance Pulps
collection
0
ITEMS
87
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 87
One of the basic categories of pulps, and the one category aimed at women, was the Romance or Love Pulp. They are just about what you might expect, but sometimes the stories and the covers transcend the genre. Some believe that RANCH ROMANCES had the honor to be the last pulp magazine published in the US, with issues containing new stories still coming out in the late 1960's.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Food and Beverages
collection
579
ITEMS
11,221
VIEWS
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collection
eye 11,221
Advertisements for meat, corn flakes, candy bars, flour, beer, wine, spirits, broccoli, peanut butter: Here they are.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Cameras and Photography
collection
27
ITEMS
874
VIEWS
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collection
eye 874
Without cameras the magazineart.org would be a lot smaller and less interesting. Hail photography!
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Household Items
collection
264
ITEMS
4,506
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 4,506
Here are the ads for the common everyday household things you need to have around to keep the place clean and running. And also the objects of beauty that make life worthwhile. A little bit of decoration, a little bit of dirt removal.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Jobs and Businesses
collection
6
ITEMS
40
VIEWS
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collection
eye 40
Get to work! We don't pay you to sit around moping in front of the computer! Maybe you should try this small business at home? Or, if you want to learn a new trade, there are plenty of ways to do that.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Hobbies
collection
0
ITEMS
64
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 64
Hobbies, avocations, things you do for fun even if they involve a lot of work. See also Trade Journals, for the day the hobby takes over your life and you start trying to make money at it.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Adventure Pulps
collection
350
ITEMS
9,310
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 9,310
Here we find pulps devoted to the adventurous thrills that all their readers hoped might be theirs some day, or else just lived vicariously in the thrilling dreams of others. Danger! Warfare! Frontiers! Mysterious messages and treacherous missions against hopeless odds!
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Religion and Mysticism
collection
0
ITEMS
111
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 111
Religion, the Occult, Mystic matters, all these things beyond the physical plane; the history of art is full of great works based on these themes, and sometimes the magazines in this field have great art as well.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Sports Pulps
collection
0
ITEMS
65
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 65
Stories about sports and sports figures have always been popular, especially among young boys and men. Here are covers from Sports Pulps of the twentieth century. If you like these, you should also look at the Sports Magazines (mostly aimed at adults, and primarily non-fiction in nature) and the General Fiction Pulps, many of which regularly ran sports fiction. The Adventure Pulps also ran many stories about sports, sports events, and sports heroes.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Rare Pulps
collection
0
ITEMS
160
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 160
This is a highly delectable cornucopia of covers of some of the rarest and least-seen pulp magazines of the twentieth century. We've gathered these from collectors, libraries, and little-known shops just off the avenues in cities that no longer exist. Enjoy them! [The rare ARGOSY issues now have their own section, in the General Fiction Pulps.]
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Short Stories
collection
4
ITEMS
200
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 200
In the beginning, SHORT STORIES was a small magazine that published literary short stories, often translated from other languages. By the 1914 it had become a pulp magazine, generally featuring an action scene on its cover. A SHORT STORIES cover from its glory days is immediately recognizable from the iconic red sun that from 1917 was always found in the background. For many years it published two issues a month, but went to monthly publication with the April, 1949 issue. In the 1950's it...
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Advertising Art in Magazines
collection
2,851
ITEMS
63,903
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 63,903
Famous artists, when they weren't painting the covers for the magazines, paid their bills by doing art for advertisers. Some of the things they did can stand up with the best of their covers, and much of it is fascinating today for what it tells us about life and popular culture of the past. This is a small door that opens up into a very large cathedral of art.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Music and Musical Instruments
collection
16
ITEMS
329
VIEWS
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collection
eye 329
Find here ads for instruments, sheet music, musical books, accessories, concerts; anything music-related. However, note that phonographs and record players and gramophones have their own section, with radios, televisions and the like.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Clothing and Fashions
collection
133
ITEMS
4,525
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 4,525
Clothing and fashions pay the bills at our department stores and shopping malls. We pay the bills for our clothing and fashions. And advertisements in magazines told us what we were going to buy (or make), and why.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Toys and Games
collection
24
ITEMS
676
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 676
Toys. Games. Let's play.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Art & Design
collection
20
ITEMS
1,816
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 1,816
This archive is about art in vintage magazines, but there weren't actually that many vintage magazines about art and design. Even if you throw Antiques into the pot, the number is small. Don't worry; it may be small, but what's here will be of great interest.
Topics: magazine art, design, art
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collection
eye 1,050
Pens and pencils and paper and office supplies. Now we have major national chains providing these materials to the end consumer. Back in the day we needed to see ads like these to decide what to buy. Hey, we still do.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Sports Magazines
collection
0
ITEMS
74
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 74
Sports and sporting events are immensely popular in America, and there have been specialized magazines devoted to them since the middle of the 19th century.
Topic: magazine
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collection
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Not famous, but with active covers; from Chesterfield Publications. Originally titled SMASHING NOVELS MAGAZINE (4 issues in 1936), became ADVENTURE NOVELS, then ADVENTURE NOVELS AND SHORT STORIES (6, MAYBE 7 ISSUES 1937-9). Two more 1938 issues were purportedly titled ADVENTURE YARNS. Hurts one's head. Source: AHGTTP.
Topic: magazine
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collection
eye 72
Trade Magazines, or Trade Journals, are magazines devoted to a business, profession, or trade—the everyday tools and information sources of people doing their work. Many of these regularly provided interesting art, and some (especially those aimed at the graphic arts) published stunning artworks that changed our perceptions of what art is.
Topic: magazine
collection
eye 3,433
Audio, and early video, and records, and entertainment. The beginnings of an industry that is still with us, slowly engulfing (or being engulfed by) the computer industry.
Topic: magazine
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collection
eye 4,512
Art prints have been around as long as printing has been around. Film, movies, cinema, as an art that moves, only a short time, but fully the memory of living humans. Books and magazines have been the subject of ads as long as the memory of humankind. Or so it would seem. Not only did magazines run ads for themselves and for other titles from the same publisher, they often ran ads for totally unconnected magazine titles. Sometimes they sold the space to the other publisher, and sometimes they...
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: General Fiction Pulps
collection
0
ITEMS
28
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 28
When the pulps started, they carried all kinds of fiction and attempted to appeal to the broadest possible market. It wasn't long before specialized pulps, dedicated to one kind of story or to stories about a single class of subjects, came out; but the general fiction pulps survived for many decades.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Adventure magazine
collection
293
ITEMS
6,422
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 6,422
Begun in 1910 as a way for publisher Ridgway to tap into a new market, it specialized in stories of danger and thrills. At this time other pulp and popular magazines contained a wide variety of stories ranging from danger to romance (even when these are not the same thing). Its creation was a logical response to the success of pulps like ARGOSY, which by 1910 were selling hundreds of thousands of copies of each issue; but the focus on adventure was something new. It survived, in one form or...
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Monthly Magazines
collection
0
ITEMS
57
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 57
One hundred years ago Americans read SCRIBNER'S and THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY and CENTURY MAGAZINE to find out about the world, and to be entertained. Today the magazine market has split into thousands of specialized titles, and no magazine has the breadth and majesty of these grand masters.
Topic: magazine
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collection
eye 19
Buy land; they ain't making any more of it. Well, they are; but not so's it matters. Ads for it. Leave where you are and come to somewhere else!
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Bicycle Parts & Accessories
collection
8
ITEMS
181
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 181
Buy and bicycle or build it; repair it; add on it; or dress for the occasion.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Health and Medicine
collection
152
ITEMS
2,078
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 2,078
Health and medicine ads have supported numberless magazines over the years. Some publishers refused patent medicine ads, and some got rich on them. Ditto for equipment, which can range from something as straightforward as crutches to something as questionable and as "Violet Rays". Techniques can be as simple as yoga and as complex as sequestration in a private hospital.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Tech
collection
3
ITEMS
220
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 220
Our magazines, especially those aimed at men, have always been full of ads for neat technology stuff (to use the technical term). Here's the category for all those ads (except for Radio/Audio/TV, which has its own category).
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Specialized Pulps
collection
0
ITEMS
68
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 68
Plenty of pulps were very specialized in their interest and appeal. In this category we might put GHOST STORIES, RAILROAD MAGAZINE, MOVIE ACTION, COLLEGE STORIES, and so on.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Sports and Guns
collection
47
ITEMS
1,169
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 1,169
Advertisements for outdoor and indoor sports and equipment for them. Guns, rods, racquets, balls; the list is endless.
Topic: magazine
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collection
eye 177
One of the popular genres of pulp fiction was war stories, of all kinds and for all the services.
Topic: magazine
-
collection
eye 165
During the 1930's the paranoid streak of American culture had its day in the, well, sun. Month after month a few dedicated pulp titles fed the desire for stories that made you feel horrified at the world and terrified by little tiny things like men in monks' habits and strange people by the side of the road. Their covers were like nothing else! See a few here.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Weekly Magazines
collection
0
ITEMS
124
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 124
The first weekly magazines in English were news and propaganda journals issued by all the sides in the English Civil War of the 1640's. They are recognizably the ancestors of our weekly news magazines of today. By the middle of the nineteenth century America had several weekly "newspapers" that carried news, pictures of current events, opinion, advice, and fiction. As they continued to grow and change, some became more like magazines than newspapers, and so another category came...
Topic: magazine
collection
eye 54
You all know what this is all about, so there's not much to say. Magazines about music, and stage, opera, musicals, drama, comedy, ballet, and the singers and players and musicians who fill our lives with joy, sorrow, and entertainment.
Topic: magazine
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collection
eye 111
Television? Not much TV before 1950; but some. Worth noting that RADIO MIRROR added "AND TELEVISION" to its title in the early 1940's. In Britain, of course, there were TV broadcasts beginning in the early 1930's. Radio? Yes, although there are fewer magazines about Radio than you might think. We cover the technical aspects of Radio, including a lot of its early history as a geek phenomenon, in a separate Category album. Movies? Yes! Dozens and dozens of magazines published thousands...
Topic: magazine
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collection
eye 50
The first magazines in English were news letters about the events of the English Civil War. Since that time there have always been magazines that carried the stories of the interesting events of the locality and the world.
Topic: magazine
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collection
eye 102
The throb of a heart, broken or otherwise; and confession is good for the soul and even better for the cash register. These are true stories, and not to be confused with the fiction published in the Romance Pulps. Well, not too confused.
Topic: magazine
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collection
eye 287
Magazines aimed at children and young people have a long and generally positive history. Many writers and artists who grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries trace their fascination with the arts to the magazines they read as children.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Hero Pulps
collection
0
ITEMS
60
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 60
For many people, heroes like Doc Savage and the Shadow, which ran in long series and featured a primary character with better-than-human capabilities, was what pulps were all about.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Farm Ads
collection
4
ITEMS
110
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 110
If it goes on a farm, it goes here.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Spicy Pulps
collection
0
ITEMS
277
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 277
There were plenty of pulp and pulp-like magazines that used sex as a marketing tool, whether explicit (and sold under the counter) or just as a theme. A lot of them ran only one or a few issues and were published by fly-by-night operators, but others lasted for years and anchored large publishing companies.A good short history of SNAPPY STORIES (to be added) can be found at the eNewsstand project.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Humor Magazines
collection
0
ITEMS
254
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 254
Magazines about humor. Humorous magazines. Magazines full of jokes and funny stories and cartoons and parodies and humorous pictures.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Tobacco Products
collection
250
ITEMS
5,184
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 5,184
A noxious weed, and an important part of the American economy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, tobacco advertising paid for many an editorial lunch and kept lots of artists employed.
Topic: magazine
-
collection
eye 73
Magazines about your health and physical fitness have been popular since the last years of the nineteenth century. Here are a few to start with: YOUR BODY, a 1920's Hugo Gernsback magazine which popularized health research and presaged his barrier-breaking title SEXOLOGY. Or PHYSICAL CULTURE, probably the original model for both these other titles.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Men's Magazines
collection
0
ITEMS
2,273
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 2,273
Magazines aimed at men. A lot of cheesecake and spicy stuff, with a lot of adventure and sweat. You know what you're looking for here.
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Romance, the Adventure pulp
collection
26
ITEMS
488
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 488
ROMANCE specialized in romance and love stories set among exotic and distant lands, in historical settings, and in the face of danger and adventure. This was the second pulp magazine published by Ridgway, a company which had been successful first with EVERYBODY'S MAGAZINE, a mass-market title printed on quality paper and aimed at both men and women, and secondly with ADVENTURE, a purely pulp magazine aimed primarily at men. It debuted in November 1919, and at first published mostly fiction in...
Topic: magazine
Magazine Art: Farm Magazines
collection
0
ITEMS
48
VIEWS
-
collection
eye 48
Many American magazines in the 19th and 20th centuries were aimed at farmers and ranchers, and rural people in general. At the time the rural population was a majority, and their work and cultural life was sufficiently different from that of the city dwellers that it made sense to publish magazines focused on these things. It made money, too; some of the magazines with the longest publishing history were Farm magazines.
Topic: magazine
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collection
eye 17
Business and finance magazines sometimes had great covers! Here are some of them. Not exactly Trade Journals, not exactly News and Current Events magazines, somewhere in their own world.
Topic: magazine
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collection
eye 89
Technology enthusiasts of a century ago were just as enthusiastic as the computer developers of today. But they worked on different technologies, such as radio, aircraft, chemistry, mechanics, and transportation.
Topic: magazine