Friday, January 20, 2012

Then and now

While not actually shopping for one as much as hoping to find one at a garage sale, but at least on my wish list of somedays, is an Eames Aluminum side chair, like the one shown above. I'm beginning to appreciate mid 20th century furniture and something about this chair calls to me, much like the list of cars I have in my fantasy garage. Cars I'd like to look at everyday, but don't want to own.

Wanting to know more about the Eames' chairs, I visited the library where I picked out The World of Charles and Ray Eames, a legacy of invention, published by Abrams. The book was a visual treat but not terribly useful until I came to a section devoted to how Eames' chairs were used in advertising.

The first ad, from Hughes Products, ran in US News and World Report in 1956. "How soon can you enjoy wall television?" How long did it take? 45 years?

Television was so new in 1956 it's a wonder the ad agency could imagine wall televisions. What they couldn't envision was a larger screen. The lounge chair worked in pre-remote days because the channel never changed during the evening. Sunday night-CBS, Monday night-ABC....

I was curious to find what else Hughes Products had in store for us in 1956 so I tap danced through Google. Next was "How far away is the pocket TV camera?" We had an RCA VCR/Camcorder in the mid 1980's which was only slightly smaller than the Hughes 1956 version.

I'm uncertain how useful such a gadget would be for the home market, but I'll give them a passing grade for this.

Finally, "How soon will you be able to see over the phone?" Note the rotary dial, a speakerphone would have been nice touch. A solution searching for a problem if ever there was one. AT&T executives used a product called "Picturephone" internally beginning in the late 50's. It worked poorly, but wasn't officially scrapped until the late 1980's.

The answer to all these pressing questions according to Hughes Products was just as soon as we invent the parts, while I keep searching for a chair.



Shelley said...

Amazing how much foresight they had. I wouldn't have dreamed of all those things back then. The pocket TV is great to have at home. That way everyone can sit in the same room and look at it and not have to speak to each other - just like with regular TV!

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

Fantastic pictures, Toad. I love the rotary dial in theast one.

David said...

I love Eames seating in general, and that chair a lot, but this one is my favorite:

Should you ever run across one of those at a yard sale please call.

NCJack said...

I remember the Walt Disney show on Sunday nights, when they'd do a "World of Tomorrow" section with things like that "by the year 2000 or before". I'm still waiting for the bubble cars that run automatically on the magnetic strips under the road, just program and sit back

preppyplayer said...

Always learn something here :)