An Uncertain Energy Transition a Century Ago
When it came to the transport of goods within local areas, it took decades for the competition among horses, electric vehicles, and gas trucks to shake out.
Victorians Mourned with Vulcanized Rubber Jewelry
Nineteenth-century Anglo-American mourning rituals called for a period of sentimental sadness, but they also demanded an investment in clothing and jewelry.
Dressmaking Liberated American Women—Then Came the Men
The creation of bespoke clothing offered women a way to escape traditional middle-class expectations and gain unprecedented power, until men took over.
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.
The Boomin’ Systems: The Evolution of Car Audio
Sound systems, as much as the automobiles themselves, symbolized upward mobility, social affiliation, and cultural identities.
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 Brief History of Snowmobiling
Snowmobiles were invented around the same time as wheeled transportation was becoming a robust industry.
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.
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.
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.