Software & Design

This Woman Was A Bored Button-Pusher Before Jane Jetson Was Even Born

This Woman Was a Bored Button-Pusher Before Jane Jetson Was Even Born

Today Cory Doctorow tweeted out a fascinating image showing an RCA computer room in 1959. I can’t stop staring at it.

There’s a peculiar artifice to the clearly-staged promotional photo that’s so striking — not only for its incredibly rich colours, but for the expressions on the computer operators’ faces. Especially the woman pushing a button with the mindless boredom you’d expect of George Jetson. Or perhaps a robot.

This Woman Was a Bored Button-Pusher Before Jane Jetson Was Even Born

After a bit of digging I discovered the photo comes from a 1959 RCA Annual Report. Flickr user James Prochnick has some scans from the report and they’re absolutely captivating. Again, part of my captivation with the image is the deep saturation of the colours. But also the clearly meticulous nature with which everything is framed.

I guess you’d expect nothing less of an electronics company dealing with high-tech computers in the late 1950s. I can’t help but wonder what that woman must be thinking. She reminds me of Jane Jetson and her “buttonitis” affliction.

This Woman Was a Bored Button-Pusher Before Jane Jetson Was Even Born

The cover to the annual report appears below.

This Woman Was a Bored Button-Pusher Before Jane Jetson Was Even Born

[Flickr via Cory Doctorow]


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