Wednesday, 8 September 2021

proclamation 4311

Issued on this day in 1974 by American president Gerald Ford, the directive granted a full and unconditional pardon to his immediate predecessor for any crimes he may have committed against the United States as its leader. In response to public outcry Ford defended his decision to exercise his prerogative in excusing Nixon, particularly over the Watergate Scandal (previously), saying it was for the good of the country to close this tragic chapter. Privately, after leaving office, Ford justified his actions by keeping on his person—in his wallet—a copy of a 1915 US Supreme Court decision that affirmed the notion that accepting a pardon implies a confession of guilt. I’m sure that assuaged his conscience.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

zagato zele

Courtesy of the always interesting Things Magazine, we discover this delightful electric microcar (see also)—sold in US markets as the Elcar with Wagonette models available—from 1974 to 1976. Manufactured in Milan with a run totalling about five hundred, the cubic vehicles came in seven bold, harvest colours.

Monday, 21 June 2021

stonehenge free festival

Though possible precursors began a couple of years prior—and down through ancient times too of course, the first well-documented modern music fair to be held at the prehistoric monolith (previously) was held on this day, the Summer Solstice, in 1974—after disbanding the Winsor Free Fest and itself suppressed after a decade’s run of gathering at the stones, a victim of its own popularity. Participating bands included Thompson Twins, Dexys Midnight Runners, The Raincoats, Killing Joke and several counter-culture representatives like Circus Normal, the Peace Convoy and New Age Travellers. A wealth of pictures, first-person accounts and ephemera from those years through 1984 and related events are at the resource at the link up top.

Friday, 26 June 2020

point-of-sale

On this day in 1974 after nearly a decade in development and first conceived as a method for tracking railcars and shipping containers, the first bar coded, marked with a universal product code (redundantly, UPC code) instead of a price tag item (see previously) was sold at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio.
Cashier Sharon Buchanan scanned (we are dismissive of such acts now as routine but Ms. Buchanan was very much from that moment on an engineer wielding the beam of a powerful helium-neon laser that bounced off a rotating mirror and onto the glass-plated register surface so a central computer could match the label against the shop’s programmed inventory—no mean feat that) a value pack of Juicy Fruit chewing gum for customer Clyde Dawson (not his only purchase during that visit—just the first one rang up).  Deconstructed, the encoding tables do look a bit like the I Ching, and afterwards the artefact, the (presumably a stand-in unless the purchaser indulged the museum this memento) was acquired by the Smithsonian. I wonder if this first barcode is some sort of talisman, a charm imbued with power over all the scanning to follow.