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Charles Sheelers iconic image of the Albert Kahns Ford River Rouge Plant, with its criss crossing conveyors and spire like chimneys, is probably the most iconic image of the American Car manufacturing industry whose future, like Kahns original buildings, hangs in the balanceEven among architects, Albert Kahn is less renowned than Louis. But Albert Kahn is far more important in terms of the influence of his buildings. He is sometimes referred to as the architect of Detroit. Kahn invented the American factory style, taking early European modernism to the place where assembly lines were invented and developing an architectural style that was supremely innovative both in terms of construction and design. The plants he built are in many places around America, but most famously in Detroit, where, lie the car industry itself, some of his most important building lie in ruins.We have two favorite images in this list. One if of the abandoned Detroit Public Schools Book depository, with its once minimalist, clean modernism in absolute and total decay, overflowing with rotting books strewn across its floor. The other image is, of course, Charles Sheelers

the architect of detroit

One of the most odd objects we’ve ever seen these items are sometimes confused with spy gadgetry, but the truth is stranger. Jailers’ keys were apparently filled with gun powder to create a primitive gun that could be detonated if there was any trouble when opening a cell door. We found several original versions that back up this claim, dating from the 17th century and of various complexity.

jailers key guns

To consider how lucky the Phoenix lander is, consider that a dozen Mars missions have failed on launch and a dozen (shown here) have failed after. Some say that Mars missions are cursed, by the reasons tend to be more mundane, such as the infamous Mars Climate orbiter failure which was due to a mistake using imperial rather than metric measures in software.

12 Mars Mission Failures

In this kind of space, no one can hear you scream. Anechoic chambers use spiked walls to eliminate echoes, the end result might literally sound dull but the visual effect can be stunning, such as at the enormous anechoic hangar. Vote for your faves.

Anechoic Chamber Architecture

The interesting thing about luxury trains is that they share a common and unintentionally ironic style – that of a stationary, fragile, cut glass and velvet, Victorian brothel interior moving at more than 60 miles and hour.

10 luxury trains

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WTF is that? #19

March 10th, 2010 #link

wtf

It might not look like much, but recent evidence suggests that this might be one of the most historically important man-made artifacts in the world. What might it be?



2 Responses to “WTF is that? #19”

  1. m windsor Says:

    Supposed to be Ark of the Covenant

  2. admin Says:

    Unbelievable – you got it in one. It is the Ngoma Lungundu or ‘Drum That Is the Voice of God’ that is said by the Zimbabwean Lemba tribe to be part of the ark. The Lemba story that they are a lost tribe of Israelites was deemed fanciful until it was recently backed up by DNA evidence.

    The whole story of this object is like a real-life Indiana Jones movie plot.