Machines of the 20th Century – Muslin

In this post, we will see the book Machines of the 20th Century by E. Muslin.


About the book

This book is a review of the 20th-century machines, hundreds of thousands of various machines and mechanisms for moving tremendous masses of earth, for weaving fabrics, for “baking” diamonds and for many other jobs. It tells you about machines which hop around like grasshoppers, about machines which can work for weeks without conventional motors and batteries, and about: lose that can repair themselves.
The book also introduces the reader to unusual materials possessing amazing properties, new components of machines, ingenious methods of flaw detection and control.
The reader will find that the history of machine tools, rolling mills, forging presses, excavators and other mechanisms, which at first glance seem so routine, is full of dramatic clashes of ideas, fascinating adventures, great discoveries and bitter disillusions.
The book is written in a popular form and will be interesting for those who are keen on engineering, and also, for specialists.
And although written in a popular scientific style, the present work is neither concerned with spectacular spaceships heading for far-away planets, nor with “nautili” exploring the depths of the ocean; it mainly
deals with such modest unassuming hard workers as rolling mills, excavators, lathes, presses and turbines which make up the machinery backbone of the present day industry.
The book was translated from the Russian by V. Vopyan and was published by Mir in 1974.


Preface 7

1. Materials – Flesh and Blood of Modern Machines 9

2000 Times Stronger Than Steel 11
Steel as Soft as Wax 17
A Plastic Matryoshka as a Reduction Gear 19
1000 Times the Heat Conduction of Silver 27
Chromoplastic and Chromoplasticity 35
Wing Made of Balls 36
Friction Without Wear 38
Uncrowning the Involute 45

2. Meaningful Noises: Flaw Detection and Control 49

Foucault Currents in the Role of Sherlock Holmes 49
Pigeons as Assembly Line Inspectors 55
The Smell of Drill: a Sign Not to Be Overlooked 63
Gauge from a Rainbow 67
Pressurized Airscrew 71

3. Giants of Modern Machine Construction 72

Mechanical Titans 75
Agrobridge, a Giant Agricultural Machine 94
Midget Machines with Huge Productivity 99
The Needs of “Gulliver” 111

4. Electric “Sphynxes” Break Tradition 120

Magnetohydrodynamic AC Generator 120
Electricity and Fertilizers from a Gas Stream 125
Multimillion-Volt Generator 132
Piston-Operated Generator 139
Mirror Switch 140
Electromotor from Ball Bearings 141

5. Jet Engine Down from Heaven 142

By Rocket from the Depth of the Earth 142
Jet Mill 149
Jet Engine Drills Earth 151
Jet Engine in Reverse 152
Jet Engine in a Fire Helmet 162
Jet Engines Clean Railroad Tracks 164

6. Machines Dig Earth 165

Beam-Control Device 165
Pick-Hammer Made of Plastic 172
Leaping Wheel 182
Excavator Drills Dams 184
Fire-Spitting Excavator 187

7. Machine-Making Machines 191

Light-Controlled Machine-Tool 192
Wriggling Machine-Tool 197
Heating and Cooling Mirror 201
Machine-Tool with a Float 205
Laser and Electric Shaver 209
Magnetic Field Assembles Machines 213
Continuous Casting of Round Hollow Steel Pipes 216
Walking Thermopress 222

8. Machines of Tomorrow 226

Beams Make Patterns 226
Machines with Ultrahigh Efficiency 231
Light Beam Serves as a Working Member 241
Walking Machines 249
Forward to “Iron Make” 261

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