K as in Knife

Unknown quantities, resonant frequencies, moving parts, and everything in between. Chosen and obsessively annotated by C. Mason Wells.

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c.mason.wells [at] gmail.com
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technology:
An acoustic listening device developed by the Dutch army between WWI and WWII.An acoustic listening device developed by the Dutch army between WWI and WWII.

An acoustic listening device developed by the Dutch army between WWI and WWII.

David Hockney, “Untitled” (2009)
Famed painter David Hockey has been making hundreds of pieces of digital artwork with the iPhone’s Brushes application. He emails each to a dozen or so friends, and lets them distribute from there.David Hockney, “Untitled” (2009)
Famed painter David Hockey has been making hundreds of pieces of digital artwork with the iPhone’s Brushes application. He emails each to a dozen or so friends, and lets them distribute from there.

David Hockney, “Untitled” (2009)

Famed painter David Hockey has been making hundreds of pieces of digital artwork with the iPhone’s Brushes application. He emails each to a dozen or so friends, and lets them distribute from there.

I love people who take a job that’s typically unknown to the general public and make it famous through their craft or eccentricity — think Chip Kidd for designing book covers, or Will Shortz for editing crossword puzzles. UK citizen William Towns was like this, too — for his oddball automobile designs. Above is his Microdot from 1972, which besides its striking look, was also forward-thinking in its technology: Towns and his fellow engineers dreamed of achieving a 100 MPG fuel consumption ratio. Also, it featured an 8-track-stereo with tape recordings by celebrities, so the car could literally talk to the driver. But Towns is probably best remembered for his cars’ look, that completely unique boxy aesthetic. For someone who wanted to design cars as a child, I’m happy to see designs from 30-plus years ago that still look entirely new.I love people who take a job that’s typically unknown to the general public and make it famous through their craft or eccentricity — think Chip Kidd for designing book covers, or Will Shortz for editing crossword puzzles. UK citizen William Towns was like this, too — for his oddball automobile designs. Above is his Microdot from 1972, which besides its striking look, was also forward-thinking in its technology: Towns and his fellow engineers dreamed of achieving a 100 MPG fuel consumption ratio. Also, it featured an 8-track-stereo with tape recordings by celebrities, so the car could literally talk to the driver. But Towns is probably best remembered for his cars’ look, that completely unique boxy aesthetic. For someone who wanted to design cars as a child, I’m happy to see designs from 30-plus years ago that still look entirely new.

I love people who take a job that’s typically unknown to the general public and make it famous through their craft or eccentricity — think Chip Kidd for designing book covers, or Will Shortz for editing crossword puzzles. UK citizen William Towns was like this, too — for his oddball automobile designs. Above is his Microdot from 1972, which besides its striking look, was also forward-thinking in its technology: Towns and his fellow engineers dreamed of achieving a 100 MPG fuel consumption ratio. Also, it featured an 8-track-stereo with tape recordings by celebrities, so the car could literally talk to the driver. But Towns is probably best remembered for his cars’ look, that completely unique boxy aesthetic. For someone who wanted to design cars as a child, I’m happy to see designs from 30-plus years ago that still look entirely new.

Science classroom neon fans, Lambertville, NJ
These beautifully designed, highly functional fans both circulate and illuminate. Courtesy of the Reference Library blog, whose recurring feature “Items I Didn’t Win on eBay” makes me wish I had more time (and money) to do some online bidding.Science classroom neon fans, Lambertville, NJ
These beautifully designed, highly functional fans both circulate and illuminate. Courtesy of the Reference Library blog, whose recurring feature “Items I Didn’t Win on eBay” makes me wish I had more time (and money) to do some online bidding.

Science classroom neon fans, Lambertville, NJ

These beautifully designed, highly functional fans both circulate and illuminate. Courtesy of the Reference Library blog, whose recurring feature “Items I Didn’t Win on eBay” makes me wish I had more time (and money) to do some online bidding.

Dieter Rams, “P1 Pocket Record Player” (1959) with “T41 Pocket Radio” (1956), designed for Braun
Rams — a clear influence on Apple’s current look — offered these ten tenets of good design:
Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful. 
Good design is aesthetic. 
Good design makes a product understandable. 
Good design is unobtrusive. 
Good design is honest. 
Good design has longevity. 
Good design is consequent down to the last detail. 
Good design is environmentally friendly. 
Good design is as little design as possible.Dieter Rams, “P1 Pocket Record Player” (1959) with “T41 Pocket Radio” (1956), designed for Braun
Rams — a clear influence on Apple’s current look — offered these ten tenets of good design:
Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful. 
Good design is aesthetic. 
Good design makes a product understandable. 
Good design is unobtrusive. 
Good design is honest. 
Good design has longevity. 
Good design is consequent down to the last detail. 
Good design is environmentally friendly. 
Good design is as little design as possible.

Dieter Rams, “P1 Pocket Record Player” (1959) with “T41 Pocket Radio” (1956), designed for Braun

Rams — a clear influence on Apple’s current look — offered these ten tenets of good design:

  • Good design is innovative.
  • Good design makes a product useful.
  • Good design is aesthetic.
  • Good design makes a product understandable.
  • Good design is unobtrusive.
  • Good design is honest.
  • Good design has longevity.
  • Good design is consequent down to the last detail.
  • Good design is environmentally friendly.
  • Good design is as little design as possible.