I once wrote a story about Consumer Reports that involved a field trip to the timeless, servicey magazine's headquarters and labs. They're an amazing sight, and certainly the most fun place to visit in Yonkers. They take their work very seriously. Testing washing machines, for example, involves counting individual strands of frayed string off test items that have been washed hundreds of times. Their audio testing lab is a free-floating, echo-proof room that looks like a Star Trek set. This is my anecdotal way of introducing the fact that Consumer Reports has posted a selection of its classic testing photos, and after the jump you can find the five most amusing—one for each decade from the 1930s to the 1970s. Back to the future!
1938: Permanents. "Getting a permanent wave is "almost a national pastime" and the price has dropped to a dollar. But beware of shops that cut corners: "The felt pads between the curlers and her head . . . can be excellent carriers of scalp disease."
1945: Pudding and gelatin desserts. "These packaged desserts do enable the busy housewife to whip together a more-or-less tasty dessert in a very few minutes," we say. But that taste doesn't vary much. Anything colored red is equally likely to be called cherry, raspberry, or strawberry. And in a blind(folded) taste test, even some lemons and limes are mistaken for strawberry."
1952: Sunglasses. "We test 38 brands — and find 23 of them Not Acceptable."
1961: Car record players. "The needle of the Norelco Auto Mignon stays in the groove of our 45s, even when we drive over rough roads. But since there's no record changer, we must insert each record we want to play, then remove it when the song is over."
1973: Instant glue. "One drop of this instant glue formed a bond between man and hammer in five seconds. We called it an instant hazard—and rated it Not Acceptable."