Astonishingly Primitive

That’s the 68-70 Front Street as seen during a HABS survey in 1960-61. The building had already been abandoned by then, the victim of the post-World-War-II transition of the lower Manhattan waterfront from industrial to office use. It was demolished shortly afterwards and by 1970 a small high-rise, 77 Water Street, covered the entire block. …

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Thinking In Someone Else’s Box

That tweet by MClare got me to read CAD’s Boring Future and Why it’s Exciting by Daniel Davis, which got me thinking about the topics. There are at least three, and probably more. There’s his graph of commonality versus uniqueness, there’s his discussion of how changes in CAD reflect and change that graph, and there’s …

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Technology At Home

I highly recommend “By Design” by Meg Conley, particiularly if you haven’t read much on the history of technology. When I was in elementary school, the history of technology was presented to me as classic hagiography: changes were the result of heroic inventors being inspired and working hard. The reality is far more complicated, including …

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Seems To Be A Trend

The machine shop pictures I posted yesterday were not a fluke. That pattern – modern machinery in an older and old-fashioned building – was common at the beginning of the 1900s. The old factory buildings were functioning just fine, so there was no rush to replace them, but the machines were being modernized with greater …

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Not All In Sync

That pleasant ivy-covered campus above is the machine shop of the  Merchants Despatch Transportation Company circa 1906, in East Rochester, New York. Merchants Despatch was founded as a rail freight service and later moved into providing refrigerated rail delivery of perishables. In the 1880s when it began the new service, “refrigerated” meant an insulated boxcar …

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