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Giant projected images on buildings have been iconic examples of futurism since the movie Blade Runner. More recently they have become a lot more sophisticated via projection of animated 3d computer models onto quasi 2 dimensional surfaces such as building facades. Examples here range from the skyscraper projections for Nokia in London, to guerrilla activist projections of Al Weiwei on a Chinese Embassy and the Occupy Wall street ‘bat signal’ on the Verizon tower in Manhattan.

15 video projections on buildings

Around the same time Roy Lichtenstein copied comic books for the New York chattering classes, Papua New Guinean tribesmen did the same for their battle shields. These items are real, used in tribal warfare after prototypical lycra-clad American comic book hero The Phantom somehow struck a chord with traditional cultures in the Western Highlands. They are possibly one of the most bizarre items of popular culture’s infiltration of the far corners of the world.

15 Papua New Guinean superhero war shields

Thrones provide a history of self importance through design, from Ivan the Terrible’s ivory throne to some of the more absurd set pieces, complete with enormous backdrops.The throne and sculptural setting for Papal audiences is a fitting example of something that would have Jesus rolling in his proverbial grave, quite missing the entire message of the scriptures. Other favorites include the coronation throne in Britain which is covered in antique graffiti, as if it were a unimportant school chair, or Saddam Hussein’s scud missile set piece. My personal favorite is the throne which the lunatic singer, Michael Jackson had made for himself, which actually looks ordinary here.

thrones

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

As flat screen TVs become ubiquitous, vintage TVs look more and more interesting and unusual. From early mechanical TVs consisting of a spinning disk and lens (which look even better without an enclosure), to Sony’s original transistor TV and portable LCD sets from as early as the 80s. Here are some of our favorites from collector sites around the web.

28 fantastic vintage tvs

Architect of the Lego House built for Top Gear presenter James May, Barnaby Gunning, has sent us pictures of the construction progress so far. We’ll post more as we get them.

pictures of the lego house construction progress

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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:

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

  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 [...]