Answer to the Mystery Gizmo PizzaQ / a Vanished Treasure from the Wonderful Age of Freely Distributed Radium / Klikety-Klik-Klikky-Klik-Klikky-Klikety-Klikety / fuck the Nanny State
We hope the Top Image wiggles for you.
1st, the Bad News:
NOBODY wins the Large White Ranch Pizza with Shallots, Shitake Mushrooms & Pesto.
And here's why:
The Antique Gizmo is not any of the excellent-to-questionable guesses.
It's clearly an olde-fashionede avionics gauge -- but which gauge?
The tipoff/clue/hint was always faintly visible in the original image. Here, Vleeptron has goosed the clue to make it clearer: a silhouette symbol of an airplane pointing straight up. And some of the original numbers.
Only one kind of gauge has that airplane silhouette:
The avionics compass or gyrocompass.
The numbering scheme is the ordinary 0 to 360 degree circle in increments of 30 degrees -- but as long as every increment ends in 0, they erase all the rightmost 0s, and the pilot gets his/her bearings with a minimum of numerical information.
A description of how this Gizmo works follows, courtesy of our superfamous Special Guest Avionics Expert, Smilin' Jack, whom we queried via e-mail last night. He was rescuing American Special Forces, Jarheads and Navy SEALS from Evil non-Christian Asian Terrorists in the Hindu Kush, but he took time out to use his Iridium Satellite Phone (which works EVERYWHERE, as long as you're standing outside with an unobstructed shot at Orbital Space) and clarify the PizzaQ, for which Vleeptron is extremely grateful.
So Smilin' Jack and I will split the Large Pizza the next time he's in town.
The Gizmo is certainly from a military airplane, because immediately after December 1941, the USA stopped manufacturing civilian aircraft and exclusively ground out military aircraft for the duration of the war.
And now the Wonderful Little Invisible Secret of the Gizmo, the reason Anonymous Charlie, the Garage & Basement Scientist, sent it to everybody in
This sucker is LOADED with Radium! This Gizmo from the Vanished Past is HOT! HOT! HOT!
Maybe you're thinking: Ah crap, it WAS hot during the Battle of Midway, but it's surely cooled down to Safe Child-Licking radiation values by now, 67 years later.
Negatory on that. Radium 226 has a Half-Life of 1601 years. It's barely begun to cool down. And the Radium-painted numbers and symbols are as bright, seen in darkness, as they were the day the bomber or fighter or trainer rolled out of the factory.
This is a Vanished Treasure from the Wonderful Age of Freely & Cheaply Distributed Radium! Radium For Everybody! Radium For Kids! (My grandfather sent me off to summer camp with a nifty radium-dial wristwatch, which I would glue to my eyeball under the blankets for hours every night.) Radium for Mom! Radium for Dad! Radium for Junior & Sis! Medical Radium! Radium-Flavored Fizzie Beverages!
My buds at IonizingRadiationAficianados@Yahoogroups.com are drooling, because the Gizmo's for sale! I don't know how much Anonymous Charlie is asking for it, but it won't be cheap. There ain't many of these circulating in the Underground Marketplace of Verboten Prohibited Crap.
But if you buy it, and Clueless Todd the FedEx driver drops it off at your house, and then you point your Geiger-Muller Tube within 3 meters of it, that meter will go Klikety-Klik-Klikky-Klik-Klikky-Klikety-Klikety Krazy!
The Basement & Garage Science Community calls Gizmos like this: "sources."
The Department of Homelamp Security calls them: "something else."
The Department of Homelamp Security calls delightfully colorful Fiestaware (tm) plates, bowls and cups: "something else."
So much of the Fun of the Past has been bleached out of Modern Life. We don't get this Nanny State shit on Planets Vleeptron, Hoon, Yobbo, Mollyringwald and Björkguðmundsdóttir! My vacation getaway Solar System in the Dwingeloo-2 Galaxy still believes in Old-Fashioned Basement & Garage Fun!
Let's drink an Everclear (tm) toast to SCIENTIFIC FREEDOM!
The Vleeptron High Non-Junk Science Council now turns this post over to Smilin' Jack:
At 19:02 8/7/2010, you wrote:
>what the heck is this?
The compass rose is fairly obvious. I'm more than a bit disappointed that none of your contestants noticed this. Absent that observation, these folks deserve nothing more than Dominos
[Dominos Pizza is the giant chain fast-food USA Pizzeria that tastes like gooey red cardboard]
at best. Without a view of the rear, I'm guessing there are either vacuum or electrical (more likely vacuum) hookups for an internal gyroscope.
Note the way this thing works. It hasn't a clue about compass direction. The knob at the bottom resets a mechanical linkage between the compass rose and the internal gyro. Periodically, the flight crew uses that knob based on a magnetic compass. That can only be done while the plane is flying straight and level. My route to guessing vintage would be indirect.
I suspect it's circa WWII. What surprises me somewhat is that you're guessing. There should be some sort of placard with the manufacturer's information. I guess it was removed.
Last, I haven't a clue what the upper gauge / knobs are for.
e you later.