In 1959, exciting technology of the future included tape recorders and self-opening doors, at least according to archival footage shared this week by the BBC.
The black-and-white video (below) shows the then-scientific correspondent of the CL Boltz Corporation, who researched the Science Museum in London, UK, more than 60 years ago.
“Gallery after gallery contains devices and machines of incalculable value because there are so many originals and they only exist here,” says Boltz in a spectator costume with a cropped British accent.
The science correspondent then asked Mr. Wilson, described as the “responsible person,” which gadget children were most excited about.
Wilson is quick to point to a nearby tape recorder, a large, clumsy invention with a microphone larger than the face of some of the children who speak into it.
The BBC footage shows a young boy approaching then-modern recording equipment and shouting, “Hello, my dear. Then wait. And wait a little longer. Finally, the machine’s speaker calls out a recording of what you just said, and that’s all.
Then we see a long queue of children waiting patiently to use the aforementioned self-opening door, something we could now call an “automatic door” or simply a “door.”
To be clear, the special door of the Science Museum does not act as an entrance to another exhibition hall or even as an exit to the streets of London. Unfortunately, it is not a portal in the 21st century, where visitors could look at everything in bewilderment – from round smartphones and headphones to purify the air to light bulbs to monitor heart rate and robotic bite Amagami Ham Ham. Instead, the self-opening door simply acts as a demonstration of the then new and exciting technology.
The BBC video includes other attractions at the Museum of Science at the time, including ship propulsion technology, the 1905 Rolls-Royce, the first jet-powered motor vehicle, and an exhibition of atomic physics.
The footage ends with Boltz staring at a rough model of a camel running on a water wheel, a sight that may make you want to reach for the video in some way to tell the science correspondent that technology will definitely become more impressive in the decades to come.
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