Japanese double folio clock (Wadokei)

A Tale of Two Times: Edo Japan Encounters the European Clock

In country that followed a time-keeping system with variable hours, the fixed-hour clock of the Europeans had only symbolic value.
An old car radio

The Boomin’ Systems: The Evolution of Car Audio

Sound systems, as much as the automobiles themselves, symbolized upward mobility, social affiliation, and cultural identities.
Chlorella algae under a microscope

Algae: The Food of the Future of the Past

In the years following World War II, American and European food scientists hoped to feed the world with common pond scum supplemented with plastics.
A person snowmobiling in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, WA, 1987

A Brief History of Snowmobiling

Snowmobiles were invented around the same time as wheeled transportation was becoming a robust industry.
Kelp Harvester at Work

Burning Kelp for War

World War I saw the availability of potash plummet, while its price doubled. The US found this critical component for multiple industries in Pacific kelp.
A man with a ham radio

Ham Radio and Gender Politics

During its heyday in the 1950s, ham radio was predominantly a hobby for middle-class men, based in suburban homes.
from the cover of Radio-Electronics, June 1949, Volume 20, Number 9

Can Radio Really Educate?

In the 1920s, radio was an exciting new mass medium. It was known for providing entertainment, but educators wondered if it could also be used for education.
A British soldier training in 1941

The Bayonet: What’s the Point?

According to one scholar, the military sees training in this obsolete weapon as helpful on the modern battlefield.
The House of Tomorrow, artist rendering exterior view

Solar Housing Is Actually Kind of Retro!

The domestic fuel scarcity of World War II led to innovation in home heating—especially passive solar technology.
A finger pressing a doorbell, circa 1950.

When the Push Button Was New, People Were Freaked

The mundane interface between human and machine caused social anxiety in the late nineteenth century.