|at Amazon for a song|
It\’s like someone was reading my retrotech mind. Washing machines and dictaphones and typewriters, oh my! Never mind that this little ditty was published about seventeen years ago by The Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design, I never saw it so it\’s new to me.
Mechanical Brides covers all the gadgetry of cleaning, cooking, and rote office work. What I found most interesting is the chapter on office machines (of course) and the feminization of this technology. Turning a male clerk into a female secretary involved separating the act of writing into two distinct jobs: composition and typing. While male clerks had done both, female typists were relegated to writing as assembly line production. Interesting now is that we\’ve come full-techno-circle, because everyone with a laptop both composes and produces \”typed\” text.
Business invented a middle-woman and then obsoleted her. Not that it was a bad thing, really, but that\’s a rant for another post.
This book is as much about feminine identity as it is about the machines that defined it. Full of stunning/appalling advertising copy and art, it\’s a steal if you can find one either on Amazon or Ebay. In fact, I\’d like to have a copy just to cut up and frame.