Barbed wire served as telephone line for early homesteaders

Usually barbed wire (aka the Devil’s Rope) is decried as what divided up the West and brought an end to the vast open prairies.  In at least one case, we can see how it brought people together.

Early telephone companies found connecting rural homesteads too expensive so the farmers took matters into their own hands and used barbed wire to connect telephone services into their houses.  This resulted in Party Line style connection where everyone could hear whoever was on the line.  This was bad when you needed to have a private conversation, but useful to spread news, weather reports or the price of crops.  Sometimes it just helped people be less lonely.

The details are in this fascinating article.


First video posted

Where does precision come from? I dig into the history and a bit of how-to for where the dimensions that are everywhere around us come from.  I also introduce my first project – a recreation of the James Watt Micrometer which is possibly the first device used for measuring material at high precision.

Machine Thinking

“In 1828 … [t]he Faust legend obsessed artists and writers; in dozens of works they told the story of the modern predicament: in gaining the power of industry, the world was sacrificing its soul. It was not the new machines themselves they feared – there were not yet many – it was machine thinking.”
 – Jonathan Hale, The Old Way of Seeing
Through my projects and other media I will highlight here I hope to capture some of those moments where our thinking changed because what we have changed.  Or, like in the quote, our response to what we can imagine but it yet to come.
One lens to look at us through is that we are the sum of our tools.  Put a computer in your pocket, or have your power go out, and you’re a different person.
Those intersections and moments are what fascinate me – as do the machines themselves. I’m not a machinist or scholar so much of this is new to me, too, but I hope you’ll join with me on my journey.