Remote Control

Wednesday, September 28, AD 2016



From 1961, a commercial for the RCA “Wireless Wizard”.  Not the first wireless remote, that title goes to the Zenith Flash-matic in 1955.  Remote controls are an interesting example of fairly rapid transition of technology from experimental into mass production.  The above commercial seems rather over the top to modern sensibilities, but the development of a mass market for electronics gave a strong peace time impetus to technological development.  My father initially denounced remote controls as toys for lazy rich people.  When we got one after prices came down and the technology was perfected, it was practically impossible to pry it from his hands!  Various revolutions during my lifetime have seized public attention, but the continuous technological revolutions of the last six decades probably will prove the most long lasting.

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2 Responses to Remote Control

Of Encyclopedia Britannica and Buggywhips

Wednesday, March 14, AD 2012

6 Responses to Of Encyclopedia Britannica and Buggywhips

  • My parents bought a complete set of Brittanica around 1960 or so (before either of us kids were born) and then purchased the Book of the Year supplement faithfully every year from 1961 through about 1988 or 1989. The Books of the Year were actually among my favorites to read as a kid. I would imagine those have fallen by the wayside as well now that everything is available online.

  • Gone or disappearing like Pan Am, TWA, the Fuller Brush Man, pay and rotary phones, typewriters, stick ball, Oldsmobile and Pontiac, Plymouth, p-shooters, the nuclear family, free air at gas stations and Bonomo Turkish Taffy.

  • Not only the passing of encyclopedias and buggy whips– but local libraries!
    Our weekly trip to town to the county library is a wonderful memory for me– I took a big stack home each week as did my older sister and my mother– then I read mine and theirs; then we went back again and got some more… The library used to be like church in a way– we had to have different behavior when we went in there. No talking–very respectful of the place and the people. And the checkout experience — having the very kind but very official lady in charge — having my own card to be stamped and recorded, being responsible for these treasures for a week..

  • I can’t wait for the solar flare that wipes out the internet. If I survive the ensuing crash it will be fun watching folks trying to find printed books reference books with the “content” the desperately need, searching for slide rules, typewriter &c . . .


  • Helpdesk calling video – so funny – & the manual. Memories of Wordprocessing revolution and, um, filing … or today 3/14/12 with so much capability on my lap and I can’t find my toolbars that got lost in an update, not even with online ‘manual’.
    Joe Green: Carbon copies, IBM Selectric, TV antennas, no plastic, and perking pots of coffee, doctors making house calls, bank books.
    Our neighbors had the beautiful Encyclopedia Britannica. We had Funk & Wagnalls and Lincoln Library, still good reading, but Brittanica was deep with great illustrations. Sort of like A students v. B students. I worry about ‘what if’ this untouchable information highway gets closed down. Maybe I’ll finally get to find work as a scribe.