For next week – choose one piece of ‘technology’ (broadly defined) that is in your life. A clock, a toothbrush – Take a picture. Analyse it historically, experientially, archeologically, socially… Write up to 250 (~50 words for each analysis?) on your blog.
My piece of “technology” is the lightbulb.
There is quite a lot of debate over who initially ‘invented’ the lightbulb. It is always assumed to be Thomas Edison, but historians list twenty-two inventors of incandescent lamps prior to both Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison. It is concluded that Edison be hailed as the inventor of today’s lightbulb as his version outstripped the others due to to three factors: the most effective incandescent material, a higher vacuum than the others achieved and a high resistance value, meaning that power distribution from a central source could become economically and logistically viable.
Experientially, the lightbulb didn’t objectively provide people with anything new, as light was already produceable in other forms. However, it made everyone’s life brighter, easier and safer. The experience of light could be argued to be a human right, and the lightbulb allows this in situations where it would be otherwise impossible. The brightness and “tone” of a lightbulb can also change the mood and feeling of situations – light is a very powerful parameter to be able to control.
Archeologically, does the lightbulb have history? I’m not sure. The word “archeologically” makes me feel like it should be dug out of the ground so we can discuss its origins, but sadly it’s not that old. This section makes me feel like I should have picked the wheel, or something, that dates back thousands of years. Although not entirely relevant, it has made me think about how it probably paved the way for technologies such as LEDs and light therapy. I have to say though, I do love filament lightbulbs and I’m sad that future generations won’t get to see the beauty of the basic lightbulb now that
Socially, the lightbulb is an incredible thing. As I mentioned above, being able to control light gives us vast control over things such as social situations. It can set a subtle, moody tone for romancing. It can be colourful and bright for parties and special occasions, it can be mellow and soothing to calm us down. Without the lightbulb, socialising after sunset would be an entirely different experience.
How many flies does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Two, but I don’t know how they got in there.