The March of Progress

I saw a very interesting exhibit on kitchens yesterday at MOMA that included this poster from a 1930 show in Basel of then-state of the art kitchen technology.

Among other things, it really had a way of putting the current era of technological progress in perspective. There was a time, in the not so distant past, when even in the richest countries on earth cooking food required the splitting of wood and the setting of fires. Between that and hand-washing clothes, the banal aspects of domestic life all entailed incredible quantities of manual labor that here in the developed world we’ve completely left behind. Something like the iPhone is a mighty cool gadget, but I think the digital technology that’s advancing rapidly these days just pales in comparison to some of the changes of a century ago in terms of really transforming people’s lives.