Work was very quiet this week. Nick at Work was off, gallivanting around the country somewhere and Emma not our Puppy was at the store at Blyth House. This meant there wasn’t the usual chit chat and Monty Python quotes.
Sophie, who replaced Lucy is quiet and Terri who replaced Leona, was too busy to give any of her strange thoughts (she once claimed that asbestos probably tastes really good and the fact that no-one is allowed to touch or breath it is a conspiracy so some people could keep it all to themselves). So, it was quiet. Howard tried to inject a little noise into the day by discussing a small wooden model of an engine mount with me but it was a small effort and didn’t last long.
My work wasn’t very exciting, given I had to research about ten of the wooden ‘forms’ which were almost as boring as baby feeding bottles and nipple shields. At least they all came from the same maker and each one mentioned different ships. So, basically, I did the same job ten times and added quite a few new ships to the database. I also discovered that Caird and Co were not on the database.
Caird and Co were, at one time, the greatest shipbuilders in the world. I was a bit surprised at their omission and quickly corrected the situation.
At lunchtime I popped upstairs to the Measuring Time exhibit and discovered a chap called Lewis Mumford. He claimed that it was clocks and time that heralded the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
He was a historian who specialised in urbanisation (given I studied this at uni, I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of him…mind you, urbanisation was a bit dull and I think I slept through a lot of it) and dabbled in other areas. He was also a prolific writer and once said that the human race would eventually use electricity and mass communication to build a better world. He also believed that humankind would begin to use technology in a more environmentally responsible manner as technological development progressed.
He knew a lot of contemporary thinkers, including Vannevar Bush who foresaw Wikipedia…or something very much like it.
Mumford lived to the ripe old age of 94, by which time he’d changed his mind somewhat. From his assertions that, in order to create more efficient benefits to civilisation, humans needed better resources, like fresh air and water and would strive towards a cleaner, more manageable environment, his later work was more despairing as we moved towards the 21st century.
Poor Lewis. It almost sounds like he went from Optimistic Oscar to Negative Nelly throughout his long life.