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There has probably been nothing like the sight of dazzle ships, before or since. So impressive were they that their patterns were used into WWII, after their efficacy was questionable, because they were thought to boost morale. Dazzle patterns were designed by modernist painters, in the modernist style, bringing about a very strange meeting of bohemian painters and military types.With no all weather camouflage for ships in WWI, these extraordinary designs were painted on ships to confuse rather than obscure. The sliced geometry meant that it was difficult to align split screen range finders, and fake bows made it difficult to gauge speed and heading.We are breaking our usual rule of showing actual objects rather than paintings or models, for two reasons: dazzle ships were very brightly colored, yet there are no color images of their WWI versions; many of the dazzle designs were by modern artists, and the famous painting of a dazzle ship was by one of the people who designed the camouflage itself, Edward Wadsworth.

dazzle ships

Nail houses have become emblematic of the accelerated rate of development in China. They are buildings whose owners have resisted selling to developers and which remain standing in the middle of new construction all around, like stubborn nails which can’t be beaten down with a hammer. Here are 9 examples including ones in the US and Europe.

9 nail houses

The design history of snowmobiles starts with propeller driven sleds, including the amazing Russian combat version and migrates to half track vehicles with rear engines. Today’s front engine vehicles were pioneered by Polaris, and are represented here by the Arctic Cat F6 600, which is driven by Sarah Palin’s husband. This list of personal snowmobiles also contains two state of the art concept single track motorcycle style vehicles by Keller and Schlootz.

snowmobiles through history

When Craig Breedlove built the first of the modern jet-propelled record breaking cars in his garage, he named it the Spirit of America, this could have just as well pertained to the place of creation as the object itself. The garage is a symbol of creative entrepreneurialism, people making anything from cars to music to robots and, of course, the Apple computer.

things made in suburban garages

Included here are notable landings based upon being spectacularly close to high rises (the old Hong Kong airport), very short runways (Saba, aircraft carriers), specific vehicles (the Space Shuttle and Concorde) or a reconstruction of the Amazing US Airways flight 1549 which ditched safely in the Hudson after all engines failed.

videos of plane landings from the cockpit

The Enigma is one of the most well known devices in the history of gadgets, being responsible for the birth of the computing industry, in attempts to crack it. This has largely overshadowed the plethora of other cryptographic devices, which are often overlooked. Here is a gallery of 20 secret message machines.

20 cipher devices

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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 [...]