10 YEARS AGO — MAY 20, 1999 No more arguments over business, personal mileage: Developed by British inventor Richard Menage, the Miledger is a printed-circuit-board computer connected to an odometer and fitted to the vehicle sun visor. It’s purpose is to end mileage inaccuracies and disputes over travel expenses. The unit has a smart card, which identifies the driver. After starting the engine, Miledger asks the driver if the trip is for business or private. If no response is given, it automatically selects private. The computer stores information for approximately 1,000 trips, recording time, distance, duration, and type of trip. After removing the smart card, data can be downloaded to a company’s computer. A special feature of the software imports fuel expenses, letting employers manage business trips and fuel expenses. The equipment has a nonvolatile memory, ensuring it retains data even when the battery is disconnected.
30 YEARS AGO — MAY 24, 1979 Farm machinery: Tools of sustenance & survival: In our issue commemorating 50 years, MACHINE DESIGN took a look at the changes in agriculture. Over 20,000 agricultural engineers provide 2.5 million farmers the tools to grow enough food to nourish a nation, with enough left over to sustain millions in other countries.
50 YEARS AGO — MAY 28, 1959 Air car available in limited quantities: The ground-effect vehicle, developed by Curtiss-Wright Corp., will be available to “qualified” individuals, companies, and government agencies for evaluation. The vehicle travels over land or water on a cushion of lowpressure air. Propulsion details of the prototype, above, were not released, but officials say conventional piston engines ranging in size from 50 to 200 hp can be used in the system. The vehicle carries four passengers and travels in any direction at altitudes between 6 and 12 in.