Hydrostatics, Pneumatics and Hydraulics, oh my!
January 18, 2005 6:41 PM   Subscribe

An Industrial Art Gallery Is it just me, or do you find hand-drawn mechanical diagrams capturing concepts of physics strangely soothing?
posted by cosmonik (23 comments total)
When I was a kid I would go to a nearby hydroelectric dam built in 1902 and look at the generators and feel the low hum that permeated everything. I just love Victorian/Edwardian era machinery. Thanks.
posted by arse_hat at 6:50 PM on January 18, 2005

It's not just you. I could stare at a drawing like this for hours.
posted by vacapinta at 6:56 PM on January 18, 2005

posted by phrontist at 7:16 PM on January 18, 2005

I love this link.
I loved it back in April, too.
Do people even search anymore before they hit post?
posted by joe lisboa at 7:25 PM on January 18, 2005

I think i must have been in the last years when doing my Mechanical engineering degree that the ability to do these was still needed. We still had technical drawing classes , and did mechanisms using Maxwell diagrams and dynamics using that last diagram that vacapintas links to. Computers were just starting to move in. I still remember starting to using FE programs on a VAX.
posted by stuartmm at 7:28 PM on January 18, 2005

Interesting, joe lisboa. I searched under 'Industrial Art Gallery', in both google and the MeFi search engine, and the URL. No results.

However, I just searched under 'Industrial Art', and found that April FPP.

So, in answer to your question: yes. Obviously not thoroughly enough. Maybe the new tags feature will help with this.
posted by cosmonik at 7:33 PM on January 18, 2005

Cosmonik: upon review, I sound snarkier than I intended.
It was more of an honest rhetorical question than a call-out.

And I honestly enjoy(ed) the link: then and now.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:35 PM on January 18, 2005

Ooh, technical diagrams are awesome.

I just spent about five minutes locating this little gem (I believe it was posted on MeFi before)--it's a collection of cut-away diagrams from one of the world's best at the craft. I've linked directly to his "student" section, where there's all kinds of fantastic info on getting started. Check it out if you're a fan of artistic beauty and precision.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:47 PM on January 18, 2005

posted by clockzero at 8:47 PM on January 18, 2005

This children's book features a lot of this sort of diagramatic work hidden in the backdrops behind the main illustrations. I spent hours just staring at all the extraneous detail in that book.
posted by JGreyNemo at 8:49 PM on January 18, 2005

You people are weird.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:07 PM on January 18, 2005

joe lisboa and cosmolink

I'm honestly impressed by the civility and restraint of both your comments. It shows maturity that MeFi needs more of at times. A big pat on the back for both of you. :)
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:08 PM on January 18, 2005

Sure, right, thedevildancedlightly who you lookin at???? hmmmmm?
posted by arse_hat at 9:19 PM on January 18, 2005

This is sexy.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:33 AM on January 19, 2005

Is it just me, or do you find hand-drawn mechanical diagrams capturing concepts of physics strangely soothing?

Nope not just you - in fact I've been known to draw them as well. Widgets and cogs and worm screws, oh my! Stop looking at me like that! I am not a freak!

Well ... maybe just a little freakish ;)
posted by squeak at 12:44 AM on January 19, 2005

Like the others, I liked it the first time... JGreyNemo's link reminds me of the artwork of Jeffrey Smart.

This post will self destruct in five seconds. Good luck Jim.
posted by bdave at 1:36 AM on January 19, 2005

Not a CAD or CATIA drawing to be seen - excellent.
posted by fullysic at 3:18 AM on January 19, 2005

Another artist that comes to mind is Charles Sheeler, a recent favorite of mine. He started off doing straight up paintings of industrial environments, but his work got really incredible when he started abstracting from them. That last painting is in SF Moma, and it's amazing what a difference it is seeing it in person. Anyone in the area should go check it out.
posted by TheRoach at 3:43 AM on January 19, 2005

Well, to those who find these soothing, I need to point out that if you were a machinist or other worker who had to extract all the information from mechanical drawings, the effect would be different. And you wouldn't have all day to do it, either. For such a worker, the closest thing to being soothed is when they can assure themselves that all the information is, in fact, there.

Also, most of these are instructional examples, not actual drawings of things, and the rest are segments without context.

I must have been in school at the same time as stuartmm.

Some mechanical drawings are beautiful, but that wasn't their primary purpose.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:46 AM on January 19, 2005

cosmonik: For what it's worth, one good way to check for previous posts is to just search for some unique-ish part of the URL itself, like "binginit" or "/iag/". Searching for the words in the link counts on the other guy using the same link as you, which isn't always that reliable. (That said, searching for "Industrial Art Gallery" gets me two hits.)

And yeah, this is fantastic stuff. Sean's an acquaintance of mine but I'd never seen this before, missed it last time through.
posted by mendel at 5:01 AM on January 19, 2005

Nice link.
posted by safetyfork at 7:05 AM on January 19, 2005

Nice stuff, but I feel it would be nicer if there was some context involved; at least a caption explaining what the diagrams represent, and ideally a description of their workings. Otherwise I have to agree with kirth Gerson - the illustrations lose a lot by being presented merely as an aesthetic form rather than an elegant presentation of technical information.
posted by Singular at 10:19 AM on January 19, 2005

I dunno, there seems to be an aesthetic connection between these sorts of drawings and the precision that went into old hand-drawn maps. The cartographer of something like this or this seems to have been trying to do the same thing as the drafter of those mechanical drawings. Both are trying to get your brain to hang a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional image.
posted by SeeAych4 at 10:44 PM on January 19, 2005

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