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The condom may be the worlds oldest gadget, but it continues to evolve. The recent development of the snap-on Pronto condom in South Africa has saved countless lives, after it was found that easy to open packaging had a huge effect on usage by not destroying the moment. We have chosen a dozen different commercials from a dozen different countries, many of which show different cultural attitudes and fantastically oblique humor. Contrary to the headlines on YouTube and blogs, these commercials are not banned, however most could not be shown on national TV in the US, which has some of the world’s strictest, self-imposed, censorship. The fact that they could be shown on cable suggests that this is not necessarily a cultural issue, but rather a result of a vocal, prudish minority. McCann Erickson’s Million Sperm film, for example, is listed as banned but actually won several awards after being broadcast. Vote for your faves.

12 countries 12 condom commercials (videos)

Papercraft, knitting, gardening and weapons.

craftsy weapons

Historically, military rations, comprised, in significant part, of cigarettes and alcohol, while the quantity of food was far less than today. Current US army field rations are ready to eat and focus on high energy foods including caffeine-infused gum, they must cost less than $7.25 per meal, survive for 3 years at 27 degrees C and after a 100 foot drop.Civilian rations are often far less bountiful, such as WW2 food rations current Cuban rations or the tiny hunk of bread that Gulag prisoners were given. Vote for which items are most striking.

12 different food rations

In some sense these are steampunk iPods, a ridiculously old fashioned and quixotic category of technology, because there is nothing portable about a record, particularly the brittle shellac versions of the gramophone era. Overcoming this lack of portability is precisely what makes these devices so beautiful and intricate, however, from the later versions which were installed in cars and music systems to the fantastic Peter Pan picnic player, where everything folds out including the platter and the telescopic trumpet. The Peter Pan style came from Europe, when they were called Kamerphones since they looked like the box cameras of the time. They were imported by the Jehovah’s Witnesses to take on their rounds and play bible discourses outside people’s doors.

12 portable record players

In the mid 50s an small Japanese electronics company, Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo, created an American sounding brand name, Sony, for a series of portable all-transistor radios. The product design was similarly American influenced, with wide spaced serif lettering, like that used on Amtrak trains or even Raymond Loewy’s original Air Force One, but with a flair and attention to detail that was distinctively Japanese. Half a century later, Sony, is still a consumer brand which is associated with superior design. Here are 12 of our all time favorite classic Sony Designs.

12 classic sony designs

Spot the man made fakery from the bizarre but real. For April Fools Day Oobject becomes Zoobject and is all about animals rather than machines, with a cunning cryptozoology quiz. Vote for your faves and click to see which are real or fake.

zoobject cryptozoology quiz

oobject header image

WTF is That? Number 4

April 20th, 2009 #link

wtf

What is this ‘hellish’ machine? There’s the clue.

As usual, answers in the comments.



7 Responses to “WTF is That? Number 4”

  1. simon Says:

    Its the Phantom of the Opera’s Organ

  2. spliffer Says:

    An enigma coding machine on a submarine.

  3. Harry Says:

    Heavens to Mergenthaler, I reckon it’d cast a line of type for you, if you knew how to ask. The manufacturer has one “H. E. double hockey-sticks” of a moniker.

  4. admin Says:

    @Harry – Indeed its a particularly hellish version of a linotype machine, used to set type for the press in the days of hot metal.

    The original image is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/40145521@N00/1144158658/

    We have collected a list of 10 of our favorite linotypes here:

    http://www.oobject.com/linotypes-from-hell/

    I believe the origin of the term ‘hell’ now used for the font maker Linotype Hell was the bucket that was used to collect the molten lead, referred to as a hell bucket (this was certainly not like desktop publishing with a PC).

    David

  5. WTF is That? Number 4 | oobject - Daily User Ranked Gadget Lists Says:

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  6. Kyle Says:

    I guessed it right!

  7. WTF is That? Number 4 | oobject - Daily User Ranked Gadget Lists | ClassyComp.Com Says:

    [...] Excerpt from:  WTF is That? Number 4 | oobject – Daily User Ranked Gadget Lists [...]