10 YEARS AGO — SEPTEMBER 23, 1999
Kid-sized keyboards: LittleFingers, from Datadesk Technologies, San Mateo, Calif., is a fully functional keyboard designed with small hands and fingers in mind. Smaller-sized keys and spacing let kids reach all the keys and learn the proper way to touch-type. A three-button trackball makes point-and-click functions easily accessible and replaces a mouse. Color-coded key caps highlight frequently used functions of Windows, DOS, or Mac systems. A dual-mode feature lets a second keyboard and mouse plug in so both keyboards work together, letting parents work side-by-side with their child.

30 YEARS AGO — SEPTEMBER 20, 1979
A Tribute: MACHINE DESIGN concludes its look at major industrial changes over the past 50 years by paying tribute to design engineers with a series of articles that focuses on them — “A Trouble World Looks to Technology,” “The Job Market: Planners Attack the Employment Cycle,” Engineering Education: Colleges Can’t Do It All,” Professional Organizations: New Focus for Loyalty,” “The Political Arena: Edging Toward Activism,” and Government Policy: Legislating the Way to Innovation.”

50 YEARS AGO — SEPTEMBER 17, 1959
Ford Falcon: The Ford Falcon is the first car to represent the industry’s small-car thinking. According to Ford’s top management, the Falcon is “an engineering solution to an economic problem.” The economic problem is the foreign import, which is built in low-cost countries. Market studies by Ford indicated what consumers want in an “economy” car: A well-styled, good-performing, six-passenger vehicle; one that undercuts all standard U.S. cars; and one that equals the imports in initial cost, fuel consumption, and potential maintenance costs. Designers believe the Falcon’s simplified design meets the criteria.