The Machine Age Project

Skip to "The Making of the Machine Age Project"

"Machine Age design emphasis on practicality and efficiency achieved through a reductive vocabulary of forms epitomized the ethos of the Machine Age: clean, lean, and devoid of ornamentation."

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"Serving as the foundation for Art Deco, the quintessential Machine Age style is defined by its combination of streamlined forms and use of industrial materials like chrome and plastic."

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"Function and form are united in a common dialogue. Beauty comes from within. Composition, rhythm, balance, symmetry are inherent properties of the functions served. It is the art of the machine age."


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"When the Machine Age has perfected its machinery, it will be the means of life, not its despotic master."

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"...a radically new reconsideration of spatial paradigms in a material world. And while there was dissent, there was also concensus: streamlined shapes, a rejection of ornament, an appeal to minimalism, to functionalism, to simplicity."

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"The functional beauty of machine-made articles will be stressed in opposition to the taste for extraneous decoration and superficial ornament which still persists among the devotees of the handicrafts."

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The Machine Age Project's inspiration came from a 1930's radio design.  I had just finished up with the editors at Popular Science magazine on the Humidor CL Server project.  The experience had jogged my memories about when I was a kid, looking through old Pop Sci issues and being entertained by all the crazy "in the future" stuff that mostly had gone wrong. 

I imagined myself as an editor or artist at Pop Sci magazine in the thirties tasked with the job of creating a futuristic view of a computational machine that was actually small enough to sit on a person�s desk.  What would it look like? 

I began researching existing period designs.  Where?  Ebay of course.  LOL. Radios and radio testing/repair devices were the most obvious choices.  I came across a radio called a Silvertone 6110 that was made by Sears and Roebuck.  I was going to buy it until its price soared over $1,000.  I was mesmerized by its simple elegant design and began researching everything about it.  I immersed myself in its history and its school of design called The Machine Age.

What you see here is my rendition of that imaginary computational device styled along the lines of a $12 Sears radio.

Specifications and other nastiness:

On to "The Making of The Machine Age Project"