Thursday, July 31st, 2008

I only recently learned about the turboencabulator by way of this Rockwell Retro Encabulator promotional piece:

The turboencabulator has a long history:

In 1946 one of the earliest references to the turbo-encabulator appeared in Time Magazine on, April 15, 1946 by Bernard Salwen, a New York lawyer working in Washington, DC. Part of Salwen’s job was to review technical manuscripts. He was amused by the jargon and wrote the classic description of a non-existent turboencabulator.

In 1955 the turboencabulator was supposedly described by a “J.H. Quick” in “The Institution of Electrical Engineers, Students Quarterly Journal” 25 (London), p184 in 1955. (Other sources give vol 15 no. 58 p. 22, December 1944.)

In 1962 a turboencabulator datasheet was created by engineers at General Electric’s Instrument Dept, in West Lynn, Mass. quoting much of the above sources and inserted into the General Electric Handbook. Perhaps to make the hoax more believable, the turboencabulator data sheet had the same format as the other pages in the GE Handbook. And the engineers added “Shure Stat” in “Technical Features” (which was peculiar only to the Instrument Dept.) and included the first known graphic representation of a ‘manufactured’ turboencabulator using parts made at the instrument Dept.

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