Old Tech thread

1928 ice-cream stands.

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At least it's different. All these cookie-cutter, boxy, bland buildings are ugly and soul-destroying. They can at least put a grotesque or some other interesting (and recognizable) feature on the roof. This modern art that looks like a 2 year old slapped it together does NOT count!
 
In one of Bill Bryson's books he writes about the strange architecture of buildings and weird objects, such as a giant ball of string, that he would see as a boy when his dad took them on long journeys across the USA. Like those Ice Cream kiosks, they were all designed to give you a reason to stop at that particular place and spend money there, and they worked! In the UK, we didn't used to go on such long car journeys, nor were our roads as good,* but I agree with @Elentarri that some of our architecture is quite bland, and some is even ugly. As long as the building used traditional building methods - and not a giant fibreglass hamburger or milkshake. There was a spaceship on the A14 at Alconbury just before it joined the A1, but they've moved the road further south now, and you don't pass it anymore. I love Art Deco and Arts and Crafts style buildings, but all the mock-Georgian and mock-Tudor buildings look like the fakes they are to me.

*off-topic, but my Dad always told me about the two-lane expressway that the Americans had wanted to build after WW2 from the west to east coast of the UK, (over the Pennines and somewhere north of the present M62) to connect submarine bases with bomber airfields. The UK government turned them down. Long before work on our M1 was started, it would have been the best road in the UK. Just think if it had been built and was still there today. No problems every year with snow blocking people travelling in the North. Probably no need for an agenda today on 'levelling up' or arguments over the cost of new railways.
 
There's an amazing petrol station canopy near Retford in Nottinghamshire, dating from the '60s. The filling station has gone, but the canopy is listed, so they built a Starbucks under it.

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There's another one near Leicester, also listed. But these are the exceptions to bland canopy design.

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I've found this image of the Alconbury spaceship online. It wasn't always a McDonald's, and someone on reddit says it has been demolished now. Another person says that when it was still the "Megatron", it was an independent restaurant where waitresses dressed as spacemen on roller skates. This is certainly what we are missing out on today. I do miss passing it on my way North. (But it was off the A1(M) not the M1 as they say on reddit.)


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There's another one near Leicester, also listed. But these are the exceptions to bland canopy design.

In the village where I lived as a kid, there was a 2 "lillypad" version of this. About 30 years ago, there was a huge fight to get it listed when the petrol station closed. We lost and now it is a grey block of flats. I still miss it every time I drive past.
 
I don't think this was ever built, but it looks almost plausible.
Electrical energy from this “sleep eliminator” was supposed to be stimulating, mostly zapping the air around the worker. But the device Hugo Gernsback imagined also gave small shocks to that same person’s chair. March, 1923.

"The oxygen, as well as the ozone with which the air is charged in small quantities, helps to rejuvenate the system. A secondary electrical system gives the nerves certain rhythmic shocks, almost imperceptible to the subject. These are used to stimulate the nerve cells that have become sluggish. It is thought that by these means sleep can and will be eliminated entirely."

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Tandy was the UK brand for Radio Shack.
It was also the house brand for Radio Shack in the States. A few years after this (93?) my brother (a bit of a techy nerd) worked for Radio Shack and he said this: "Radio Shack is an excellent place to buy second rate electronics." o_O
 
To quote its Wikipedia page:
The barcode was invented by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver and patented in the US in 1952.[1] The invention was based on Morse code[2] that was extended to thin and thick bars. However, it took over twenty years before this invention became commercially successful. UK magazine Modern Railways December 1962 pages 387–389 record how British Railways had already perfected a barcode-reading system capable of correctly reading rolling stock travelling at 100 mph (160 km/h) with no mistakes. An early use of one type of barcode in an industrial context was sponsored by the Association of American Railroads in the late 1960s.
 

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