1930’s Hydroponics

Click on images to view full pages. Scroll down for text. 

Much has been told of the marvelous results obtained by tank farming, but little about exactly how it is done. This article is intended to remove the mystery and show amateur gardeners the latest methods used in this new science of plant culture, often known as soilless farming, hydroponics, or water culture.

Groups are springing up everywhere in California to try their luck at this fascinating type of gardening. This interest is largely due to the efforts of Prof. William F. Gericke of the University of California.

In tank farming the solution is held in a tank, and the vegetable or flower plants are grown in trays resting on top. Elements required by the plants are added to the water in the form of soluble salts.

For best growth, the solution must be kept at a uniform temperature and also circulated, unless some method of air blowing is devised for aeration. The tank illustrated has provision for both heating and circulating the solution automatically.

Tweet about this article… 

Fasten the sides, ends, bottom, and three bottom ties with screws in preference to nails. See list of materials for sizes. Use casein glue on all the joints. Put in the center baffle, but notch out a piece 11/2” by 6″ on the bottom at the sump end. Add the sump wall pieces, corner pieces, center braces, and sump tiller pieces. Drill 1″ holes for the 3/4” pipes and the return hole to the sump, and a 1 5/8” hole for the sink drain.

Install all pipes and fittings. Take care that the 3/4” by 11″ nipple is mounted so that the 3/4” slot, which should be cut in it as shown, is 1/2” below the water line. The water line is 2” below the top of the tank and runs through the middle of the return hole. Add the bottom battens and apply the water-proofing.

A wire helix is fastened to the long motor-driven mixing rod as shown (the regular mixing disk being discarded) and the motor itself mounted by the method indicated. Note that the helix must be wound in a direction opposite to the rotation of the motor. The tank then holds 50 gal. Adjust the float to cut off the water at this point. A galvanized cover can be made for the float section, and wooden covers 3/4″ thick to accommodate the thermostat on one side and the 3/4″ pipe and heater on the other side. The heater should be mounted as close to the 3/4” pipe as possible.

For more modern info on Hydroponic Gardening, check out this best selling book on Amazon! (click the image).

For more modern info on Hydroponic Gardening, check out this best selling book on Amazon! (click the image).

Fill the tank with water again to within 1/4” of the top and connect up the electrical apparatus. One side of the line goes directly to the motor and heater, and the other passes through the thermostat before it reaches the other two.

The trays may now be set on the tank and pieces of galvanized iron screwed in place to prevent them from slipping. Excelsior is placed on the wire tray bottoms, and a number of wicks are formed by poking bunches of excelsior about 3” down into the water. Put in about 2 1/2″ of excelsior and fill to the top of the trays with rice hulls, chaff, or pine or oak shavings (avoid redwood shavings).

If enough excelsior wicks have been made, the tank will be ready for planting in an hour. Wash all dirt from the roots of the plantlets and set them in holes made in the moist top tiller and excelsior right down to the wire.
Plants can be very close together. Seeds may also be started directly in the trays, but the average experimenter doesn’t want to wait that long for results.

The current is now turned on. It will take about six hours to raise the temperature of the water from 60 to 85 deg. F. Keep an accurate thermometer in the water until this temperature has been reached; then turn the adjusting knob on the thermostat to cut off the current.

Chemicals do not need to be added for a few days after transplanting, or until the roots begin to grow into the water. I suggest tomatoes for the first experiments. The following solution, from the Ohio Experimental Station, is especially recommended for tomatoes: Potassium nitrate, 3 oz.; calcium nitrate, 3 oz.; magnesium sulphate, 1 1/4 oz.; mono calcium phosphate, 3/8 oz.; ammonium sulphate, 3 1/2% oz. Dissolve each in about 1/2 gal. of water separately and pour them into the tank in the order given.

In addition, 2 12 oz. boric acid must be dissolved in 1/2 gal. of water, and 1 fluid oz. placed in the tank once each week. Also dissolve 8 3/4 oz. ferrous sulphate in 1 gal. of water and add to it 1/2 fluid oz. of sulphuric acid solution (1 oz. concentrated acid in 31 1/2 oz. water). Put 1 fluid oz. of the iron solution into the tank once a day.

The degree of acidity or alkalinity (the pH) is most important. For tomatoes pH 5.5. has been found satisfactory. A test set can be  obtained that consists of papers impregnated with a dye and an accompanying color chart, each color bearing a pH number ranging from pH 4 to pH 10. One of the strips is dipped into the tank and the resulting color reaction compared with the chart. As the solutions tend to become alkaline, it is necessary occasionally to add a small amount of the dilute sulphuric acid. If the solution should go over too far on the acid side, use a small amount of potassium or sodium hydroxide solution (a pellet dissolved in a quart of water). When one becomes familiar with the routine, the correct pH is easily maintained.

This solution, although recommended for tomatoes, will also work satisfactory with cucumbers, squash, and most flowers.

The circulator, when operating, forces the solution down the 3/4″ pipe from the sump up into the bottom of the tank, where it moves gradually around the center baiiie and returns through the hole in the sump. There it picks up additional heat before going through the same cycle again. When the temperature of the water reaches the established high point, the thermostat cuts OE both the circulator and the heater.

Source: Popular Science, April 1939 – click HERE to purchase a copy from Amazon.

Now over to you….

Have you given hydroponics a shot?  How has it worked for you?  Care to share any tips with the rest of us?

Post below in the comments 🙂

Please note: Posts may contain affiliate links for products we have used or researched. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same and Vintage Info Network will automatically receive a small referral fee. Your support helps to fund this website. Thank you.

How To Make Tin Foil Animals

Another nifty craft from the 1930’s that uses an ordinary item  to make something creative.

Thirty years ago, as a child, Paul E. Tichon began collecting scraps of tin foil. He still does. In the meantime, every scrap he could lay his hands on he has converted into hundreds of delicately and-wrought pieces of “sculpture,” some of which are illustrated on these pages.

Zebras, strange birds, dogs, deer, gayly bedecked knights in shining armor astride well-modeled horses, and dozens of other creatures line shelves in his Akron, Ohio, home, while one of his most prized creations is a framed three-dimensional picture in tin-foil relief showing a wintry woodland scene with fawns grazing in the foreground.

A lifelong fondness for studying animals and a natural artistic aptitude combined to give Tichon his remarkable skill in modeling. Unlike sculptors who use tools, he forms his figures entirely by pressing the metal foil into desired shapes with his lingers. Metal foil has certain advantages other modeling mediums lack, according to Tichon. It is yielding enough to be pressed into shape, yet it does not spring out of shape when pressure is removed. And, as it crinkles under pressure, it becomes stronger just as corrugated metal is stronger than sheet metal.

A capable artist familiar with painting in oils, Tichon quite naturally tried combining his two talents. The result was more than satisfactory. Now he hand-paints his zebras, for example, in true-to-life colors and patterns which, as he jokingly puts it, enable people to distinguish his zebras from his jackasses. Paint solved another perplexing problem for him-the obtaining of lifelike faces. Details of eyes, nostrils, and other features applied with artists’ oil colors did the trick.

Tichon’s animals are usually made of only two or three pieces of foil which he first cuts to approximate sizes. They are pressed, modeled, bent, and folded to form the figures, then crimped together. So agile are his ‘fingers that he can model a deer in less than five minutes. He has trained himself so thoroughly that he can make from memory in a surprisingly short time a realistic tin-foil figure of almost any species of bird or beast you can mention to him.


Speed King 1930’s Ad

I must admit that when I first saw this ad I had visions of people accidentally electricuting themselves. Honestly, have you seen what old electrical cords look like? How in the world was this contraption safe?

Here it is! The new, amazing Speed King Electric Water Heater – that heats water so fast that one 60-Second Demonstration amazes the doubters – convinces the skeptical. No fuss! No muss! No Waiting! Drop the Speed King into water – plug in any AC or DC socket – and presto…Hot Water for shaving, dish washing, cleaning, washing hose, lingerie, and for emergency needs.


Caption This 1930’s Cartoon

Add your caption to this cartoon/drawing by writing a comment on this post.


Your Mind and How To Use It Ad


from the 1930’s…

WHICH of these “Mindl-Weaknesses” are keeping YOU from getting ahead? Does gnawing self-consciousness obstruct your every move? Does a “memory like a sieve” continually embarrass you? ls indecision the handicap that makes your superiors unwilling to trust you with anything but dull, routine work?


You know that MILLIONS of people let their minds condemn them to LIFETIMES of fear, worry, failure. Lives barren of culture, happiness, friendships. Lives burdened with boredom, debt, inferiority. Lives wholly devoid of LIFE!


But what of YOUR life? Is lack of initiative slowly forcing you to accept an existence like that? ls your failure to concentrate on your work resulting in a LACK of results? Do you fear that you will soon be joining the “9 out of 10” who never learned to MAKE the MOST of their MINDS?


Harley-Davidson Ad from 1939

The Sport of Thrills

Fun galore in the greatest of all outdoor sports – motorcycling! You’re due for the thrills of a lifetime when you own a Harley-Davidson, world’s champion motorcycle. Join a live-wire riders’ club. Make new friends and ride with them on club tours, reliability and endurance runs. Take in hill climbs, tourist trophy races, speed events, and other interesting affairs. See your Harley-Davidson dealer – take a free ride on one of these staunch mounts – learn the thrill of motorcycling – ask about his Easy Pay Plans. And send coupon NOW!

Harley-Davidson – World’s Champion Motorcycle

How to build a bicycle trailer from plywood

How to Build a Bicycle Trailer from Plywood

How to build a bicycle trailer from plywoodThis trim bicycle trailer combines lightness with strength, and a large number of packages may be carried within it. The body is constructed mainly of plywood, assembled with three-cornered cleats, screws, and glue. (Cleats of this type also make it easy to clean accumulated litter out of the corners.) Axle supports are braced with a cross member, and standard balloon wheels are used on the original model. The rubber collar inserted in the hitch makes for quiet running. Waterproof plywood is the best to use, but in any case give the wood two or three coats of shellac or paint it as desired.

bicycle trailer from plywood diagram

Plywood is used for the body, axle supports, and cross member. The wheels are of a commercial balloon type.

A rubber collar between the tongue of the trailer and the bicycle bracket, as shown below, makes a silent hitch.

bicycle trailer diagram 2

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...