Ferro e cobre em Mumford (1934)

Re-enforcing the sense of cleanliness and this refinement of touch and taste, even in the kitchen, the first few rough iron pots gave way to copper pots and pans that were brought to a mirror-like polish by the industrious kitchen wench or housewife. But above all, during this period the eye was trained and refined: the delight of the eye even served other functions than pure vision by retarding them and giving the observer a chance to enter into them more fully. The wine- [150] drinker gazed thoughtfully at the color of the wine before he supped it, and the lover’s courtship became more intense, as well as more prolonged, as the visual pleasure of his beloved distracted him for a moment from the desire for possession. The wood-cut and the copper plate were popular arts during this period: even a great part of the vulgar work had affiliations to good form, and much of it had genuine distinction, while painting was one of the dominant expressions of the intellectual as well as the emotional life. Throughout life, alike for rich and poor, the spirit of play was understood and fostered. If the gospel of work took form during this period, it did not dominate it. (Mumford 1934:149-50)

Even from the standpoint of speed by itself, the solution does not rest solely with the automotive engineer. A car capable of fifty miles an hour on a well-planned road system is a faster car than [238] one that can do a hundred miles an hour, caught in the middle and congestion of an old-fashioned highway net, and so reduced to twenty miles per hour. The rating of a car at the factory, in terms of speed and horsepower, has very little to do with its actual efficiency: in short, the motor car is as inefficient without its appropriate utilities as the electric power plant would be if the conducting units were iron wire rather than copper. Developed by a society so preoccupied with purely mechanical problems and purely mechanical solutions-themselves determined largely by speed in achieving financial rewards to the investing classes-the motor car has never attained anything like its potential efficiency except here and there in the remoter rural regions. Cheapness and quantity production, combined with the extravagant re-building of old-fashioned highway systems-with here and there honorable exceptions, as in New Jersey, Michigan and Westchester County, New York-have only increased the inefficiency of motor cars in use. The losses from congestion, both in the crowded and hopelessly entangled metropolises, and along the roads by means of which people attempt to escape the cities on holidays, are incalculably large in countries which, like the United States and England, have taken over the motor car most heedlessly and complacently. (Mumford 1934:237-8)

MUMFORD, Lewis. 1934. Technique and civilization. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.