(Roughly) Daily

“Some assembly required”*…

Photographer Todd McLellan disassembles things. As the Smithsonian explains in the web intro to an exhibition of his work…

What makes a watch tick? How does a sewing machine stitch? Where does an iPod get its shuffle? For those who have ever asked questions like these, Things Come Apart is a revelation.

Through extraordinary photographs, disassembled objects and fascinating videos, Things Come Apart reveals the inner workings of common, everyday possessions. Images of dozens of objects explore how things are designed and made and how technology has evolved over time. For example, the individual components of a record player, a Walkman, and an iPod illustrate the technical changes in sound reproduction over the years, and images of the parts of a mechanical and digital watch demonstrate different approaches to timepiece engineering.

As a visual investigation of design and engineering, Things Come Apart also celebrates classic examples of industrial design like the sewing machine, the mechanical pencil, and the telescope. Additionally, the exhibition explores ideas about reuse, repair, and recycling….

More on the exhibit (with examples) at “Things Come Apart@smithsonian; Even more on McLellan’s website (and at @Todd_McLellan).

* the frequently-encountered qualification in advertising and product packaging


As we take it apart, we might recall that it was on this date in 1843 that Charles Thurber was issued the first patent for a typewriter that actually worked. The forerunners of typewriters had been around for some time; the first known patent was issued in England in 1714, but for a machine that never worked and was never manufactured. Thurber’s “printing machine” did work– but was so slow as to be impractical. He patented an improved (but still painfully sluggish) version a few years later… then moved on. Typewriter development continued in other hands, but slowly. It wasn’t until the late 19th century (and the introduction of a QWERTY keyboard design as a standard) that typewriting became a wide-spread practice.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

August 26, 2022 at 1:00 am

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