Thursday, June 30, 2011

Archaic Technologies

My college had architectural drawings for some of its oldest buildings - drawn in ink with a ruling pen on linen.  When I started in architecture, construction drawings were hand drafted using lead on a 100% rag paper called vellum.  Shortly after - briefly - it was ink on Mylar, a frosted clear plastic.  Now computer drafting is back to ink, but on bond paper.

Reproducing drawings was, in olden days, a matter of tracing by hand onto translucent paper.  (In the late 1960s a school kid had to trace illustrations for a report - no copiers yet.)  Blueprints came, then blue-lines, then sepias and black-line prints... all Diazo prints made with chemically treated papers rolled through a printer that fumigated them with ammonia.  (Boy! did it smell and did a papercut ever sting!)  In the Mylar days, some drawings were made on multiple layers and assembled with pin-bars (to hold them registered with each other), then printed on a flat-bed printer.  The intern who printed these got to throw their body on the flat-bed to try to keep it flat and keep air bubbles out.  Now the computer's ink-jet plotter makes as many copies as you like.  

What comes next?
public domain image of an architect at his drafting board

No comments:

Post a Comment