Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Power drills - defining historical artefact

I distrust golden eras. The seventeenth century may have been great for poetry and playwriting but who cares if most of us only lived to thirty-seven. Or whatever.

The golden era of technology is today. In the 1960s we lived in an unheated flat in Stoke Newington and were so poor I had to save up to buy a power drill. A power drill! The basis of all home-based DIY. What’s more it was a lousy drill and through the louvres I could watch excessive arcing (the result of poor tolerance engineering) destroy the commutator ring.

Last week my brother had the almost unheard-of experience of having to replace his car battery. It was his own fault; his car had stood idle for 77 days while he walked from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Otherwise present-day batteries go on and on. Compare this with the 1960s when they needed intensive care if they were to start the car after a chilly weekend. Ominously, cars still came with a starter handle then.

Many talk mistily about corner-shop grocers. Forgetting that in those un-barcoded days, it took twenty minutes to buy some cheese and a few ounces of tea. And now my rant against a rosy-tinted past goes out into the world almost for free. Back then the prospect of a “long distance call” was terrifying.

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