Friday, April 3, 2020

When I was a boy I saw Cokes and ice cream cones

Drawings for Game Blind (US Patent 2,992,503), 1961
Byron P. Hovey, One Jump Ahead: Memories of a Yankee. New York: Exposition Press, 1982—

When four years old I moved with my parents into a large house owned by A.B. Taylor and I celebrated the change of houses and general surroundings by climbing into a two-wheeled ox cart and immediately falling from the stern to the ground, striking a stone and cutting my forehead very severely. I was said then and has been repeated by those who knew of the accident that this fall affected my brain—I yet carry a prominent scar as a result of it, but by parting my hair exactly in the middle I have managed to camouflage it.


Something new is always exciting, and it is fun to look back and recall when some things started. When I was a boy I saw Cokes begin. At first, many people were opposed to Cokes, believing them to be intoxicating. But they were not. At a World’s Fair I saw ice cream cones for the first time. During the First World War, the word “camouflage” came into use. This word was a wonder to me. Radios came into use while I was young, and I recall the first time a presidential campaign was put on the air. When I was in about the fifth grade airplanes were new. In school some of us children looked at Popular Mechanics magazine one day and decided that airplanes would never be developed, as they were not practical. How wrong we were!

I recall the first time I saw a French-style telephone. I tried to use one but put the wrong end of the receiver to my ear. I can remember when electric lights replaced gaslights. I even remember the old phonographs that played cylinder records. Helicopters, modern elevators, diesel locomotives, electric doorbells—these were firsts with me also. My, how things have changed over the years—always something new and better…


Dennis Gabor, Inventing the Future. UK: Penguin, 1964—

The most important and urgent problems of the technology of today are…the reparation of the evils and damages wrought by the technology of yesterday.