Sustainable furniture inspired by the Victorians.
In fact, before X-Rays, the only way people knew if they had broken bones, was by letting a doctor take a wild guess. Some patients were even cut open to confirm if they had a severe bone injury. A simple fracture often snowballed into a fatal infection back in those pain filled days. And there were no laws to stop medics from working drunk either!
The years leading up to the 1900’s were a literal explosion of Industrial innovation. Many incredible changes took place. In transport alone engineers invented the first bicycle in 1839. Rubber tires and Tarmac to make roads smoother followed quickly in 1845. They even introduced the world’s first flushing toilet in London back in 1852. Oh and don’t forget Sewing machines came in 1850 and Cars in 1895.
In fact, all these advances predated our crucial invention of chocolate Easter eggs. Flushing toilets were obviously a bigger step forward. Like many early breakthroughs they are still, in principle, unchanged today. We’ve improved them though – by letting them into the house!
Why don’t modern products last like Victorian ones?
One thing has changed since those days though. Engineers back then, as a matter of course, made quality products which would last a very long time. Unlike say, a mobile phone today, they made products to be kept. The motto was to build something once and with replaceable and renewable parts. This was better than our modern way of discontinuing old products and issuing new models. A good example is the Kodak box camera of 1888 which was continually modified. Over time this improved capturing memories and people treasured them as prized possessions. This ongoing developmental process has over time led to Smartphones. amongst other goodies we treasure these days.
Does this mean there’s is conflict inherent in the way that we make and use products today? Are our lives improved by letting us take more photos of ourselves (during trips to our indoors flushing toilets?). Neil Armstrong only felt the need to take five photos during the entire moon landing!
Isambard Kingdom Brunel knew how to build things to last!
A famous engineer of the Victorian period who played a key role in Britain’s industrial revolution was Brunel. He designed and constructed railway lines, tunnels, ships and bridges. When only 20 years old and working for his father’s company, he created the Thames Tunnel at Rotherhithe.