Sinclair C5 Sales Brochure, 1985

Costing £399 plus a £29 delivery charge, the Sinclair C5 was a one-person electric transport launched in January 1985 by Sinclair Vehicles, a company formed two years previously by inventor and entrepreneur Clive Sinclair, the brain behind the ZX81 and ZX Spectrum home computers, which had driven the British home computer boom of the 1980s…

The Abominable Snowman Debuts at Disneyland, 1978

Walt Disney got the idea for the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction while on location in the Alps during the filming of Third Man on the Mountain (1959). He bought a postcard featuring the Matterhorn, one of the three highest north faces of the alps, and wrote a one line message to Disneyland engineer and art director Vic Greene: “Vic, build this! Walt.”

Argos Catalogue Kettle Pages, 1976/1985

Throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, retail catalogues were a familiar sight in savings-conscious lower-middle-class and working-class British homes. While companies like Kays, Littlewoods, and General Mills specialized in clothing and delivered customers’ purchases to their doors, Argos pioneered a new form of catalogue retail where customers made their order in one of the company’s high-street shops before waiting for their items to be brought out from the warehouse at the rear…

New England Whalers Victory March (‘Brass Bonanza’), 1976

In 1972, the World Hockey Association (WHA) was established to compete with the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHL, much like Major League Baseball in the early ’70s, was dealing with its labor market’s rebellion against the unjust reserve clause. The WHA offered players better salaries and an opportunity to sign contracts as free agents…

‘Spaceships of the Mind’ by Nigel Calder, 1978

Spaceships of the Mind was a book tie-in to a BBC series first broadcast in the summer of 1978 and hosted by pop science writer and television host Nigel Calder (1931 – 2014), who was part of the founding masthead of the influential pop science journal New Scientist (founded in 1956). The series consisted of three episodes, each focusing on a different aspect of space colonization, exploration, and survival as the field stood at the time…

‘Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials’, 1979

The work of what its creator called “a hungry youth with something to prove,” Wayne Barlowe’s 1979 Barlowe’s Guide To Extraterrestrials was published amidst a glut of grimoires of imaginary realities—Wil Huygen’s Gnomes had been released in 1976 and Stewart Cowley’s Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD in 1978, while 1979 saw the release of Cowley’s Aliens in Space: An Illustrated Guide to the Inhabited Galaxy (written under the pseudonym of Steven Caldwell), as well as David Day’s Tolkien Bestiary and Alan Frank’s Galactic Aliens

Revell ‘Space Age’ Model Kits, 1957 – 1959

Southern California-based Revell started as a plastics company in 1941, established by Lewis Glaser only weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor. After a series of British-made “Highway Pioneer” replicas (including the Ford Model T) sold well in 1950, Glaser decided to try his hand at plastic model kits—soon-to-be competitor Monogram had been doing the same since 1945—and Revell’s first mold was 1953’s USS Missouri, the battleship on which the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed…

‘Mysterious Monuments’ on the Moon, 1966

The first spacecraft to land on the Moon and transmit photographs back to Earth was Russia’s Luna 9, launched on January 31, 1966. It landed in the Ocean of Storms on February 3, and sent the first of nine images of the Moon’s surface seven hours later. One of these photos, according to an Argosy article by Ivan T. Sanderson from 1970, showed what appeared to be “two straight lines of equidistant stones that look like the markers along an airport runway…”

‘Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record’, 1978

Murmurs of Earth was published the year after the 1977 launch of the twin space probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. While the Voyager program’s primary mission was to survey, photograph, and analyze the planets of the outer solar system, the book focuses on our attempts to communicate with whatever intelligent entities might encounter the probes as they flew headlong into the interstellar night…