Thursday, October 4, 2007


by the Sandwichman

Welcome to the future:

Hurtling unseen, hundreds of miles from the earth, a polished metal sphere the size of a beach ball passed over the world's continents and oceans one day last week. -- Time, October 14, 1957

The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at an instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again. -- Walter Benjamin

Meanwhile, technology is speeding up communication's stepchild, the mails. Guided missles loaded with letters instead of war heads are being planned for the distant future. After their successful launching and arrival, new sorting systems now in use will still be indispensible. -- Life, November 11, 1957

But as for rocket mail, remember what they said in London about the V-2: if you heard it coming, you were safe (because the rocket traveled faster than its propaganda). -- Brad McCormick, September 14, 1996

The word 'automation' so new to the English vocabulary that it can't be found in last year's dictionary, is causing a stir in the business world. A shorter workweek is union labor's answer to the new machines. The big trend to automation in factories has leaders talking in terms of 30 to 32 hours -- four days of work instead of five. US News and World Report, October 28, 1955

Do you really want a four-day week? The whole question may be decided not by workers but by their wives. "Do you think," one psychiatrist asked Parade, "that American women can stand to have their husbands underfoot three days in a row?" -- Parade, October 13, 1957

2 comments: said...

I happen to know that the Space Vehicle committee of the US, or its predecessor, was about to try to convince Eisenhower that the Soviets were on the verge of sending up a satellite. That meeting took place on Oct. 4, 1957, and when they emerged out of the meeting, there were the papers with the headlines about Sputnik.

Anonymous said...

I recall that it was visible on clear evenings but from what I've since learned, that may have been the booster not Sputnik itself.... Nevertheless, was pretty amazing while at same time fitting into the actual technological revolution with all its liberating promises. Other than a few 'odd balls', who considered that liberation via tech might have limits, produce its opposite? Not still-too-young me.