Monday, January 7, 2013

The 12 Maddest Vintage Snowsports of Modern Mechanix Magazine

It's amazing humanity survived the early part of the last century  When they weren't busy filling their time with intermittent bouts of genocide, all-encompassing global conflicts and inventing weapons that could kill the planet, here's how people relaxed...

1929 - Max Valier & His Rocket Sledge
With a name like Max Valier you only have one destiny in life; to become the World's foremost rocket-powered badass.
Just to emphasise how cool the snow glider was they made sure to photograph it next to the campest ice skater  in all of  France.

As well as this rocket-powered sledge Max Valier also created an array of awesome rocket-powered cars and gliders as well as two rocket powered trains, one of which flew off the tracks and disintegrated, the other just exploded on the start line. Perhaps unsurprisingly he went on to fulfil his destiny when he suffered a bad case of death due to rocket-tinkering just one year later. 

1931 - Harry W Bull & His Even Faster Rocket Sled
Max Valier's premature demise didn't discourage this US student from building his very own rocket sledge a year later.
For safety I'll make the sled out of fabric

What the hell kind of course was this lad studying? I was suddenly tempted to go back to university, but apparently Syracuse University have since dropped their rocket-powered suicide course due to legal concerns.

1932 - Terraplaning
Snowboarding was influenced by surfing, so was this sport... 
Terraplaning, or Terrorplaning as we like to call it, is best performed graveyards to make cleaning up the corpses more convieniant for the survivors.

Unlike snowboarding terraplaning did not grow into a major sport. Either these six guys sobered up the next day and moved on with their lives or their sport died with them that afternoon.

1932 - Build Your Own Ice Zipper
By this point your probably sitting there wanting to know how to start building your own killer ice vehicle. Modern Machanix is here to help by providing the construction plans for you very own self-propelled skater-mincer.
That edition of the Modern Machanix How-to-Build-It magazine also provided handy instructions on how to construct a  blow torch from a vacuum cleaner.

For those of you who haven't decided to construct your own Ice Zipper and are therefore not dead, let's move on...

1933 - Motorcycle Ice Racing
The Mario Brothers furnish Modern Mechanix with yet another novel way of killing ice skaters.

1933 - The Invention of The Red Bull Crushed Ice Series
Continuing Modern Machanix apparent quest to kill all ice skaters, in 1933 they decided to turn their wrath towards children. In one part of a four page spread detailing numerous incredible ways to cut swathes through the child population of America they accidentally invented downhill skating.

1934 - Titanicberg
Apparently when the Titanic hit on that iceberg, the brief relationship spawned this...
As nuts as this plan was it was infinitely more sensible than the plan for global domination that they eventually decided to concentrate on.

1936 -Worm Screw Skidoo 
A machine so manly that you can actually get away with wearing red lacy stockings

This things works on the principle of Archimedes' Screw, named after the legendary Greek ladies man.

1938 - Motorcycle Tank
Going one better a Frenchman invented a similar machine, but upped the anti by planning to mount a machine gun on the front of his.
Le Juge Dredd

WWII could have had quite a different outcome if the French military was equipped with these things. Unfortunately the French focused their industrial might on the production of surrender scooters instead and we all know what happened next.

1938 - Midget Skis
In 1938 Modern Mechanix introduced this vicious combination of snow blades and roller skates. This kid is pure bully bait.
He's one happy midget

1940 - Bat Cape
"(it) is said to give the user the same sensation as a flight through space" according to the massive bullshitter Modern Mechanix employed as a staff-writer. 

The same technique was later employed by Batman himself 

1948 - The Jet Iceboat
And we finish, after coming full circle, with another rocket-powered sled. Some bad ideas never go out of fashion.
Reaction Motors Inc are the same guys who built the rockets that allowed Chuck Yeager to break the sound barrier. He used four rockets in his X-1 plane so this contraption with one of those puppies strapped to it would be a potent death machine

And there's were things go quiet on the Modern Mechanix front. The most probable reason for the sudden drop in crazy was that by 1949 every nutter on the planet had managed to kill themselves off thanks to their insane hobbies.

Most of these images come from the excellent site Modern Mechanix, a great blog that doesn't need any commentary because every single thing is insane.

Before we go let's head back to Europe with one final insane machine that somehow didn't feature in the skater/children hating pages of Modern Mechanix magazine...

1922 - The Chainsaw Skate For Child-Mangling

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This article was the last in a three part series looking at these weird old science magazines. Here's Part 1 - Popular Mechanics, and here's Part 2- Popular Science

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