The Enduring Object

We’d like to see a directory of supposedly high technology products that are still built but haven’t been updated in years. These are the objects that do exactly what they were originally designed to do and can’t really be improved by new tech, smaller footprint, enhanced speed, etc. They’re also somewhat outside of fashion and/or branding, so that the design values they originally espoused aren’t in any way retro or ironic or subject to fashion cycles. Some initial thoughts: the Alesis SR-16 drum machine, first introduced in 1991 and still built and sold today even though sampling technology and miniaturization have moved on a hundred-fold. Or the Hewlett-Packard HP50G Graphing Calculator, introduced in 2006 and still on the market and still slowly evolving despite its functionality being replicated in your pocket for a fraction of the price. The Casio F91W (also introduced in 1991), an ultra functional digital watch that also has the virtue of being incredibly cheap to buy yet not quite disposable (despite its alleged dubious associations). Are there any others?

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Many thanks to The Observer for flagging up The Pelican Project at the week / a few other sets and collections that caught our eye: Sandiv999 has a flickr stream full of bold mid-century modernism (they’ve also caught the Observer’s eye recently). We especially like this and this / Neither Here Nor There, a photography project by Toby Lloyd-Jones: ‘In crematorium waiting rooms, we are faced with spaces which express both an absolute rupture in time and a strange permanence through various forms of commemoration and social rules that are to be observed. This selection is taken from visits to 75 crematoria in England and Wales’.

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2 Responses to The Enduring Object

  1. Glenn Mercer says:

    Well as far as HP calculators go, how about the 12c? Introduced in 1981 (no typo) and still on sale. See here: http://www.hpmuseum.org/hp12c.htm

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