Thursday, February 23, 2012

100 Years Ago, a Match was an iPhone

Today, the magical device in your hand that illuminates the world and makes knowledge accessible is an iPhone: tapping on a piece of glass is all it takes to make or get words, movies, photos and music.

100 years ago, when you had to light a candle to read a newspaper, draw or play an instrument, a match to kindle the flame was the special tool that let you get and create information.

When fire was the only way to bring light to darkness, matches were precious objects -- the technological equivalent of an ISP.

People carried match safes in their pockets in those days, made of gold, from Faberge; silver and enamel, or brass -- with a matching pocket inkwell, for 19th century texting. The  small boxes were so well made that collectors buy them now, at auction houses and on eBay and etsy.

100 years from now, what will people carry in their pockets? What will the updated version of a Vespa case look like? What will bring knowledge, words, pictures, music and light out of darkness then?