Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/120

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Electric Newspapers in the Sky

They flash information in flickering tidbits — a fresh, dazzling morsel every ten seconds

��ANY evening now in Chicago you L can look sky- ward and read, one after another, flaming messages to the gen- eral public. Up on top of some tall skyscraper is the contrivance that delivers these mes- sages. It is a form of electric sign, at a dis- tance differing but lit- tle from the ordinary kind, except that the messages it blazons forth change with far greater rapidity. In the darkness the frame- work of the sign is in- visible ; the separate letters seem to stand out like so many stars against the inky sky behind. Inside a little coop behind the sign young men are punch- ing small keys in an immense keyboard — setting up in electric type messages that come from various parts of the city ; from the war zones; in fact from all over the world. For this is the newest form of newspaper — a newspaper in the sky! It prints all that the ordinary paper does, excepting cartoons — news, advertisements, catchy sayings, sporting comment, anything that is the life of the ordinary penny sheet. And its public is even as big! Where old bulletin boards could dole out limited bits of information to a few within range of thirty or forty feet this new sign- board flashes its intelligence to thousands anywhere up and down the long ranges of

���two intersecting streets.

To change the word- ing of the sign men do not shift the letters bodily as in an ordi- nary theater bulletin board. The separate letters forming a given message simply go out, and others, expressing a new idea, light up in their places. This is possible because the sign is divided off into squares, called "letter- blocks," each the size of an ordinary letter, and each having fifty- three lamps scattered over its surface in such a way that by picking out the right lamps in a given instance any let- ter in the alphabet may be made to appear in that space at will. When the operators punch keys in the keyboard

One of the newspaper electric signs overlook- ing Longacre Square, in New York city


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���Remaining lead

��Wiring diagram of one of the letter- blocks into which the sign is divided


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