(Roughly) Daily

“Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.”*…

Those of us in the U.S. are used to molded plastic seating on public transport. Not so in the U.K, where moquette, a velvet-like material, is favored by upholsterers for its durability. Artists like Paul Nash and Enid Marx were commissioned to create intricate designs that gave trains and buses a modish visual identity. And the tradition continues: new moquette can still be found on the seats that zoom beneath the city….

Moquette is the durable, woolen seating material that is used in upholstery on public transport all over the world.

Coming from the French word for carpet, moquette has been seen and sat upon by millions of commuters on buses, trains, trams and trolleybuses for over 100 years.

It is produced on looms using the Jacquard weaving technique, with a pile usually made up of 85% wool mixed with 15% nylon.

Moquette was chosen for public transport for two reasons. First, because it is hard wearing and durable. Second, because its colour and patterns disguise signs of dirt, wear and tear. On top of this moquette had the advantage of being easy and cheap to mass-produce.

Moquette was first applied to public transport seating in London in the 1920s when the patterns were designed by the manufacturers…

A history of moquette

Riding in style on the upholstery that gives London Transport its unique look and feel: “A history of Moquette,” from @ltmuseum and @TheBrowser.

Brian Reed


As we settle in, we might spare a thought for William “Willy” A. Higinbotham; he died on this date in 1994.  A physicist who was a member of the team that developed the first atomic bomb, he later became a leader in the nuclear non-proliferation movement.

But Higinbotham may be better remembered as the creator of Tennis for Two— the first interactive analog computer game, one of the first electronic games to use a graphical display, and the first to be created as entertainment (as opposed to as a demonstration of a computer’s capabilities).  He built it for the 1958 visitor day at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

It used a small analogue computer with ten direct-connected operational amplifiers and output a side view of the curved flight of the tennis ball on an oscilloscope only five inches in diameter. Each player had a control knob and a button.


The 1958 Tennis for Two exhibit


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