This Week in 1935: 20-26 October

20-26 October:


INVENTION: A Hungarian inventor claimed that he had managed to create an apparatus which emitted rays making objects on which they focused invisible. The Times wrote, ‘the idea of being able to make oneself invisible is, in the present troubled times, most attractive.’ Scientists pooh-poohed the invention stating that, ‘“invisibility rays” are a physical impossibility’, but a private demonstration of the contraption held in the Central Hotel wowed its audience. The inventor placed a chair with a dummy policeman on it, focused the rays of the machine on the objects and his viewers watched as the chair and dummy vanished from sight. What do you reckon – a fantastical magic trick or a fantastic scientific invention?

INSTALLATION: the next time you are walking down Fleet Street take a moment to glance at the clock on St. Dunstan’s. The church had stood in the same spot for hundreds of years and the clock of St. Dunstan’s played an important role in the horrific tale of Sweeney Todd (Todd send his apprentice Tobias to watch the clock strike every time he gave one of his customers a close shave). This week in 1935 the original clock, with its mechanical figurine chime, was re-installed at St. Dunstan’s.

HELLO, IT’S THE FUTURE CALLING: An article that appeared in The Times this week in 1935 reported that there was a growing use of telephones throughout the country. It predicted that this was the result of frequent reductions in call charges – the number of night calls made had trebled since 1934!



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