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Design  Architecture and other plans
T. Buckingham Thomas physics Oberlin WOBC Richwood Tom Thomas Chyron Infinit Pittsburgh
Since high school, for my own amusement I've drawn pencil sketches of plans, playing with the challenge of working out the geometry. Here are some examples, plus related articles.

To search for specific names or events that might be listed elsewhere, click the icon to bring up a Google search box.  Replace ql in the search box with the word or words you seek.


Main Line

The Pennsylvania Canal paralleled Pennsylvania rivers nearly two centuries ago.

Everybody Down!

A nearby "Bridge Street" must mark the location of a long-lost low bridge over the Pennsylvania Canal.


From my present domicile it would have required 8½ hours by canal boat to reach this town on the Kiskiminetas.

Ban Horseless Carriages

Steam-powered stagecoaches cruised English roads in 1831 until opponents legislated against them.

Homes of the 1870s

Plain Italianate Victorian houses abound near my old Ohio home.

The Scharf

Local inventor drives newfangled car to Columbus looking for investors, finds none, gives up.  I get one of his stock certificates.



The Very Wide Screen

The Thomas family visits a Cinerama movie theater.

Construction Toys

I build models of buildings with bricks, logs, girders, etc.


Playing fields for football, track, etc., plus a downhill racer.



Broadcast Stuff

Fitting a TV studio into a low-ceilinged room.

The Arctangential Error Meter

When is an analog display like a fence?


Auditoriums that will never be built.




More ideas, including spirals, mirror effects, and movable walls and floors that quickly convert bedrooms into extra living space.


Street plans for imaginary cities.

All News All the Time

If WOBC were all-news, how would I organize it?

The PC-8 Computer

Using BASIC to make a tiny computer useful for baseball and boxing telecasts.


The 1988 design for a one-handed computer keyboard.



Powers of 10 Museum

An imagined visit to a museum of models on widely different scales, from atoms to galaxies.

Colorblind Glasses

Could tinted lenses help colorblind people?  And what about the dogs?


How I Watch Television, 2004

On my high-definition set, I can choose to display the picture from any of three smaller monitors.

Preferred Parking

Why must we dash across a busy "street" between mall stores and their parking spaces?


A proposal for a standard studio layout for teleconferences.

How I Switch TV

Hooking up two simple audio/video switches to make a multipurpose routing switcher.

Silent Hybrids and Latent Reporters

How to fix cars and correspondents that don't sound off when we expect them to.


Don't flip a coin; use this spreadsheet to perform quantitative analysis of the alternatives.

So Obvious

Why can't we use computers to shift gears and print out prescriptions?

Folded Planes

The architecture of a church in my neighborhood reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright.


Courteous Circling

Traffic circles, or roundabouts, include an oval "racetrack" in downtown Rochester, PA.

Frankfurter Slide Show

Seeking a more practical hot dog bun.

Reconstructing Wright

In Buffalo, I visit Frank Lloyd Wright's late lamented Larkin Building and the Darwin Martin House.  Many pictures.


Abbreviation OTD means what, Optical Transient Detector?

Accelerating gradually:  jets on runways, my car on entrance ramps

Arial font puts clains on the menu

Beeps and lights on devices:  why not words?

Blue Moon is an extra full moon in a season

Bridge at Pittsburgh's "front door" is challenge to drivers

Bridges now bear peoples' names, but I prefer the old numbers

Bullets of silver, lead, or depleted uranium

Calendar cube puzzle

Can opener, electric, requires an assist from can opener, manual

Car colors have lost their diversity

Car door unlocking:  hold the key fob to your chin?

Casement windows in 1962 and 2016

Changing into a lane that someone else is also changing into

Church tower, from this angle, looks puzzled

Clock dial has 120 divisions instead of 60

Coffeemakers in hotel rooms are now more efficient

Computers should be more like cars, not vice versa

Currency need not be kept rightside-up

Currency:  in summer, I need more small bills

Daylight saving time: government mandates necessary

Deciphering a word on my to-do list

Dictionaries describe words but don't prescribe their use

Dirigible goes up to film eclipse; another dirigible crashes

Dishes last forever

Detour's jammed; here's a 50-mile alternate, only takes an hour

Double spaces after periods are still my typing preference

DVR facilitates my TV-watching

Electric car clip-clops along

Eliza, an early computer program, poses as a psychologist

Falling hillsides near the 80th meridian

Fire hydrant next to parking space

Fireplace in my apartment is a TV screen

"Frail" is a basket, or a girl

Garum: sauce for fish, or sauce from fish?

Googling a certain phrase leads to this website and no others

Gutenberg and movable type:  did he ever run out of Qs?

Hill-climbing lanes for trucks should continue past the crest of the hill

Home page of this website, April 2002

Hotel suites could become mini-theatres

Internet replaces clerks, home libraries

Katselas house design draws comments

Lanterns no longer need kerosene

Las Vegas development squeezes 170 look-alike houses into 40 acres

Left turns into a choice of possible lanes result in confusion

Merging into traffic sometimes requires special swerves

Navigating by advance research requires no GPS

Niagara Falls?  Exit now!!!  (For information, that is.)

Noodle-bowl preparation time is longer than advertised

Opening containers with a "church key"

Opening glass jars can be a struggle

Page jumps can be annoying in newspapers and magazines

Pennies have been redesigned, but let's round to the nearest 10¢ instead

Pneumatic tube crosses the creek

Point and call, then do, to reduce errors.

Port/starboard, left/right, red/green: which is which?

Postage stamps that are good forever; trapezoidal envelopes

Power!  That's the American way, not "electricity" or "feed"

Right-turn and no-right-turn signs disagree

Roads are sometimes named for their destination cities

Robot from 1893 turns out to be a fake

Searching online for obscure facts about John Ingersoll

Sharing city streets without lines or signs or signals

Signs:  No trucks!  Kids eschew the sidewalks here!

Spreadsheet tracks timing of TV program segments

Spreadsheet trick: temporarily misspell a repeated word

Stop signs get ignored


Temperature graph for weather forecasts

Touring car from about 1906 encountered on the street

Trunks in cars can be impractically large

Updating a document without forgetting any items

Warning on a flash-drive package

Weekly appointment books should have eight days