past perfect

This Digital Mondrian Was Made In 1964

Piet Mondrian sits well in the world of science and technology, his clear geometric forms so neatly and rationally ordered. But perhaps the earliest example of technology and Mondrian intersecting is in these images, created digitally way back in 1964.


The Wild, NSFW World Of Old Teletext Porn

Back in the 70s and 80s, there was a little piece of technological magic known as Teletext. Basically, it allowed the broadcast of text, and crude text-art, over unused TV spectrum, so long as you had a special decoder. Very proto-internet. And so of course, it was used for pornography.


And Here's A Treasure Trove Of '90s Videos About The InternetĀ 

Remember the ’90s, when we had videos on VHS to teach us about this new thing called the internet? Lucky for us, Andy Baio (@waxpancake) has preserved those tapes for the YouTube generation.


The 110-Year-Old Light Bulb That Has Never Been Turned Off

The oldest lightbulb in continuous use was installed before the Wright Brothers took flight, is 110 years old, and is still as beautiful as the day she was born. In fact, it’s likely the oldest electrical device in continuous use period. Take a moment and consider just how much the world has changed around this one, singular device.


Even The 19th Century Had Needy Nigerian Prince Scams

We’ve all received that email at least once before. A kind prince/princess/spambot in Nigeria has millions of dollars, and better yet, they want to split it with you. Just hand over your social security code and wait for them to arrive on American soil. As the above newspaper clipping shows, these types of scams were going on even before email came around — in this case, as early as 1876.


Could We Have Built A Computer In The 18th Century?

So you want to build a computer in the 18th century. Is it even possible? Probably not. Most people don’t think about the actual amount of money and tools needed to produce exactly one transistor-based computer, power it and program it, to say nothing of the social challenges you’d face trying to build this high-tech machine centuries ago.


Being Fitted For Contacts In 1948 Was Totally Horrifying

Video: Want to know just how badass folks from the boomer generation were? Just watch this nice lady get jammed in the eyeballs with pieces of glass — all in the name of 20/20 vision. Fair warning: you’re going to want to keep a finger on the close tab button because ewwwwwwwwwww.


How This Vintage Lighter Works Without Creating A Single Spark

In the early 20th century, smokers ruining their lungs could do so with the help of a nifty little gadget called the catalytic lighter. It looked like a small double metal tube. Put one tube in the other and, voila, fire. No flint, no sparks. The secret to the catalytic lighter? Platinum.


A Brief History Of The Wine Corkscrew

The corkscrew, like so many other inventions, was borne out of necessity. For as long as we have sold wine in glass bottles sealed with cork stoppers, consumers have struggled to easily remove those corks. As soon as the earliest glass bottles arrived in late 17th-century England, inventors began dreaming up instruments to ease the removal of corks.


Hey, Internet Old Timers, What Was Life Like During The Web's Early Days?

Before fibre optic cables, before Wi-Fi, before you got bombarded with enough AOL free trial CDs to build your family a (very weak and ineffective) home, the internet was a vastly simpler thing. So, tell us, you internet pioneers, what was life like during the wild west days of the early internet?