Great retro renovation ideas from vintage Popular Science magazines

popular science magazine 50spopular science magazine 1950spopular science magazine

Here’s another one of those stories that I thought twice about posting for fear that you’d leave RetroRenovation.com and never come back. The wonderful folks at Popular Science magazine have partnered with Google Books and made every issue of Popular Science way back to the early 1900s available online. I am just starting to make my way through these, and already, I can see plenty of original source materials for period-appropriate renovation ideas. I’ll start featuring them over time…Faithful readers, if you spot great stories that should be shared with others, please feel free to send me an email. Oh my goodness, what a treasure trove! Here’s the link. Do come back to me!

  1. sumac sue says:

    These are great magazines. When we cleaned out my husband’s parents’ basement, there were dozens of these — but mice had made them their home. So, tips on the best way to store old magazines would be good!

  2. Palm Springs Stephan says:

    The issue from March 1951 really caught my eye: “Russian Guns: How Good? Save This Issue: How to Build a “Family Foxhole” … a down-to-earth guide to family A-bomb survival.”
    Nowadays, we are advised to buy duct tape and plastic sheeting! Some things just never change.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Yes, Palm Springs Stephan and Eucritta, those family foxholes are something. In the recent 1964 time capsule I featured (the one with the fabulous blue bathroom), there was a bomb shelter. I must get photos up…12″ of concrete patio slab for a ceiling…about 12′ x 15′ overall…the owner’s daughter told me she remembered telling her dad, “why would we WANT to live together for years in that place?”

  3. Eucritta says:

    In my experience, the best thing for old magazines etc. is to keep them in the house — in the living quarters — laid flat in boxes that will hold just one small stack apiece. Not higgledy-piggledy in moving boxes, that is. Preferably acid-free archival boxes, but those need to special ordered and cost a mint, so until I feel more flush I’m making do with sturdy metal-reinforced cardboard ones from Ikea. Storing them in file cabinets can work too, though I don’t like it for very fragile old paper. The main thing is to keep them where they’re not subjected to extremes of temperature, are kept clean and dry, and where you’d notice if pests moved in.

  4. Glamorlux Nancy says:

    Thanks, Pam! This is so cool! The Internet is an amazing resource, isn’t it? This post reminded me that we have a Popular Science from 1955, featuring “25 Pages of Surburban Home Ideas.” I’m gonna go look at it now!

  5. jenni says:

    since i myself consider myself a although passionate and avid lover of all things retro or vintageous–im a novice still, having only just discovered my tastes in home decor ((furnishing my first apt.)) its quite an understatement to say this style piqued my interests and have since dedicated my time to researching, collecting and talking with fellow retro addicts–thus my arrival upon ur site. I LOVE IT! keep it up girl!! <33

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