Spotlight: The Launch of Sputnik 1

Sixty years ago today, October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union sent into orbit the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1. The beach ball sized satellite, weighing 183.9 pounds, took 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. Sputnik's launch captured the world's attention and caught the American public off-guard. They feared the Soviets' ability … Continue reading Spotlight: The Launch of Sputnik 1

Hidden Women Update: WWI Camouflage in Action

You may remember our July 2016 post about the Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps, made up of women artists who developed camouflage for use by American troops in Europe during World War I. The website Atlas Obscura also featured the story and photos in October 2016. The Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps photos held by the National … Continue reading Hidden Women Update: WWI Camouflage in Action

Holiday Mail Call! A Package’s Path to You

It’s the time of year when fireplace mantles are filling up with holiday cards and brown-wrapped parcels are delivered to doorsteps. The packages, letters, and cards we drop into mail-slots across the country contribute to an annual crescendo in the activities of the United States Postal Service (USPS). In the 2015 holiday season, the USPS … Continue reading Holiday Mail Call! A Package’s Path to You

Mechanical Computers and Sound Collectors: World War I Anti-Aircraft Technology

This post was written by Harry Snodgrass. Harry is working on a project to preserve and digitize World War I and World War II films and photographs. As we remember and applaud our veterans for their service on Veterans Day, I wanted to bring attention to a lesser-known film in the collection at the National … Continue reading Mechanical Computers and Sound Collectors: World War I Anti-Aircraft Technology

This Week in Universal News: The First Parking Meter, 1935

The world's first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City on July 16th, 1935. Today, advanced parking meters allow a driver to pay by mobile phone, but the first parking meters required a nickel to operate. This story from Universal News demonstrates the novelty of the new invention. http://youtu.be/gJiMa0aKNgU From the release sheet: Town Clocks … Continue reading This Week in Universal News: The First Parking Meter, 1935

Stepping Stones to the Moon

Today is the anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the fifth manned mission in NASA’s Apollo program, and the first to land humans on the surface of the Moon. Apollo 11 was the culmination of a decade of work to develop the technology necessary to meet President Kennedy’s goal of “landing a man on … Continue reading Stepping Stones to the Moon

Alternative Aviation: Rocket Men and Flying Platforms

You may recall our blog post from the beginning of April about the Avrocar, the U.S. Air Force’s flying saucer. The Avrocar wasn’t the only futuristic mode of air transport developed by the military, and it certainly isn’t the only captured on film. At the National Archives and Records Administration, we also hold films depicting … Continue reading Alternative Aviation: Rocket Men and Flying Platforms