THERE’S A GROVE of pine trees in west central Iowa surrounded by fields of corn and soybean. It’s located about five miles south of Carroll (population ten thousand). There used to be a house near the grove, and some farm buildings—a barn, a silo, a couple of sheds. They’re all gone now.

The place is called Pinehurst Farm. If we could magically transport ourselves in time and visit Pinehurst in the 1930s, we would find ourselves in the middle of a bustling farm—tractors, hogs, cows, chickens. The family that lived here was a pretty typical Midwest farming family, and in our context we’re mostly interested in how they learned about new stuff. We know that they subscribed to Popular Mechanics

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