A rig in the ocean with smoke and fire protruding from top

How Natural Gas Helped Make our Industrial World

Gas was in fact one of the first readily available fuels, and shaped spaces and politics in Regency-era London.
An illustration of John Harvey Kellogg and an early corn flakes advertisement

The Strange Story Behind Your Breakfast Cereal

Kellogg's Corn Flakes were originally created by a doctor who believed bland food would reduce people's urge to masturbate.
Kodak Brownie Starlet, 1957

How the Brownie Camera Made Everyone a Photographer

Eastman Kodak used folklore to sell a modern technology, and ended up creating new communities and forms of expressions along the way.
a Book of the Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices by al-Jazari

The Marvelous Automata of Antiquity

Centuries before the computer, whimsical automata pushed the uncanny boundary between human and machine.

Fixing the Grassroots of the American Lawn

A citizen scientist bred low-mow, slow-grow grass that needs little water and fertilizer.
Moscow subway

The Soaring Symbolism of Moscow’s Subways

Lofty ceilings, massive slabs of marble, and colorful mosaics celebrated Soviets in all their incarnations, from military leaders to collective farmers.
Treadmills atonement

Treadmills Were Meant to Be Atonement Machines

America’s favorite piece of workout equipment was developed as a device for forced labor in British prisons. It was banned as cruel and inhumane by 1900.
Woman using computer in the 1970s

Better Writing Begins with the Right Tools

Word processing software has not only changed the way we write; it's changed the way we read. It pays to think about what we want from our writing tools.
Jan van Der Heyden painting

Jan van der Heyden and the Dawn of Efficient Street Lights

17th-century Amsterdam was the first city in Europe to have an efficient system of street lighting—thanks to a Golden Age painter called Jan van der Heyden.
Concorde jet

The Rise and Fall of the Supersonic Concorde

Once a major advancement in aircraft technology, the Concorde jet was retired in 2003.