Monday, August 31, 2015

The Age of Progress was inevitably also the Age of Big

Michael B Schiffer (The Portable Radio in America) is fighting an uphill battle and he knows it.

Schiffer is hoping to show the rich history of success by American engineers at making extremely small and portable radios (and hearing aids) before WWII and before the transistor and before the Japanese.

I think his book and all its documentation makes his case - in spades.

But Schiffer is frank is stating the postwar American customer generally wanted no part of anything small - not in cars and not in radios or TVs ----- or in hydro dams, bridges, aircraft, bombers or battleships.

In a an era of Progress and Manichean Modernity, the Bigger was very much the better.

Microbes were small and hopelessly primitive --- Man and his works were big and clever.

Ipso Facto.

The cult of the small and the miniature, seen most fully in our present world of electronics, only truly came to the fore when the phrase "this is the microbes' world and we humans are just visiting" became a commonplace.

It may be a coincidence but I don't think so.

Like the TV detective always says, "I don't believe in coincidences"....

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