Noted: Network of Tubes. Literally.

pin.pngFrom, 15 pneumatic message networks:

Ted Stevens was right, the Victorian Internet consisted, quite literally, of a ‘Network of Tubes’. Paris, London, Prague and Vienna had extensive networks of pneumatic tubes which delivered messages in capsules. In New York 5 million mail messages passed every day through an underground pneumatic system, and a network in Berlin delivered hot meals directly to people’s homes suggesting that kitchens would no longer be needed in the future. Today these systems can still be purchased where they are used in places like hospitals where samples are passed between departments.

USS Midway aircraft carrier pneumatic message system


New York Public Library Messaging System


Lamson pneumatic tube system


Main Control Panel for the Prague Pneumatic Post


If you have ever used one of these, as I have at an educational institution many years ago, you’ll never forget the immensely satisfying pneumatic plump sound when your payload is sucked up the tubes.

Noted: Reinventing the plastic bottle

pin.pngFrom Advertising Age:

Because he was frustrated that plastic beverage bottles could not easily be stacked in a refrigerator, Finnish industrial designer Stephan Linfoss created the donut-shaped bottle…


The branded Plup Lähdevesi spring water is currently marketed only in Finland, with every bottle sold €0.10 going towards cleaning the Baltic sea.

AdAge also includes a short video interview with Linfoss:


Facebook. Over 250 years old.



If you go by Bibliodyssey‘s account of Stammbücher [Friend’s Book] from the 1750s, Mark Zuckerberg may have not seen the last of the folks in line to sue Facebook for appropriation of the ‘original’ idea:

Stammbücher appear for the first time in the 16th and 17th centuries in the German- and Dutch-speaking areas of Europe, where it had become fashionable among graduating university students to have one’s personal bible signed by classmates and instructors. Soon inscriptions went beyond simple signatures to include reminiscences of common experiences, good wishes for the future, or a favorite passage from literature or poetry. Publishers foreseeing a lucrative market printed bibles with empty pages and soon also turned out small decorated books with only empty pages.

Eventually these albums were not only passed around at graduation but accompanied a student throughout his life, gathering entries from relatives, friends, and important acquaintances. Others also took up the custom, especially those who traveled as part of their training or social upbringing, such as aristocrats, tradesmen, military officers, poets, or musicians…

Noted: “Sweet little animal patterns” for HP

HP Introduces Bright Colors for Somber Times, says FastCompany:

Every year, color and material consultant Laura Guido-Clark helps HP update its memory-keeping products — customizable photo albums, posters, and greeting cards sold in its retail photo centers. She aims to tailor materials and finishes to the cultural climate, and for 2009-2010, she is thinking, “People need optimism.” HP’s new products will feature vibrant colors such as “corals and brighter blues,” and materials such as linen and embossed leather, which suggest a “back-to-nature” sentiment among consumers. There’s also a touch of escapism: “We have some sweet little animal patterns,” says Guido-Clark, “which lighten the load a little bit.”

Besides “memory-keeping” products, Laura Guido-Clark’s design work includes home furnishing and decoration items like:


When it comes to “sweet little animal patterns” in decidedly unoptimistic times, we have this as a reminder to HP (world’s largest computer company) for what happens when a computer company loses focus: