Popular Mechanics is an icon of the DIY spirit. Continually published for over a century, it’s an emblem of the most praiseworthy parts of the mythic American character: self-reliant, egalitarian, innovative. Google Books, in fact, has complete scans of the magazine running between 1905 and 2005 if you feel like losing an afternoon to nostalgia for home-grown invention from the Industrial Revolution through to the internet age.
On the occasion of the Magazine’s 110th Anniversary, Popular Mechanics collated their best 110 tips. As it turns out, people were already doing the equivalent of putting iPhones in amplificatory glasses around February, 1961.
The gallery is also full of less-well-known ingeniousness. Make your eyewear float, lick stamps with a potato, silence a clanking chain. Sometimes there’s a reminder that problems remain across time. Like this solution for guiding a key into a lock in the dark which appeared in the September 1914 issue. Popular Mechanics coyly claim it’s for “people who are forced to stay out late at night” but we all know they weren’t forced and exactly what it is they were doing.