Journal Article

Ideologically Technical: Illustration, Automation and Spinning Cotton around the Middle of the Nineteenth Century

LOUISE PURBRICK

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 11, issue 4, pages 275-293
Published in print January 1998 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online January 1998 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/11.4.275
Ideologically Technical: Illustration, Automation and Spinning Cotton around the Middle of the Nineteenth Century

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Efficiency is understood as the purpose of machines, as an indisputable mechanical attribute instrinsic to them as objects, but this article suggests that it is articulated in their images. It is through their technical illustration rather than actual operation that automatic machines are established as efficient objects. It examines the application of technical illustration as a geometrical system of drawing to an automatic machine, the self-acting mule for spinning cotton, arguing that it obscured the machine and prevented, or at least limited, its understanding, offering a reinterpretation of an image intended to explain.

Keywords: automation; division of labour; geometry; ideology; self-acting mule; tehnical illustration

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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