Technology and Life – Cover Illustration
The steam train and the crane are emblematic of the modernist themes: speed, strength and progress. It is a masculine, impersonal vision of the emotionless, automated, efficient, industrial future. It is a perfect reflection of the contents of the magazine and the obsessions of the time. This cover is an excellent compliment to that of issue 23, available here.
‘Technology and Life’ was an official publication of the People’s Commissariat of the Means of Communication – i.e. the Ministry of Transport – of the USSR. This issue contains a varied and interesting choice of articles and ends with a puzzle page. It is cosmopolitan in its outlook, reporting at length on the achievements of foreign technologists.
A digest of technical subjects
This issue of Tekhnika i Zhizn includes articles about: Standardisation, boiler installations, the role of the tractor in transportation, female motorists, the rationalisation of railway work, a new system for the unloading of wagons, sea accidents, news of USSR transport technology, news of foreign technology, and more. The subtitle to the magazine is ‘A Popular Technical Journal on Transport’.
The Ace of Spades
The magazine is not only concerned with complicated technology such as the latest conveyor systems and electric trams. It is also interested in everyday items such as hand-tools. Here is a translated excerpt:
It should be said that a new type of spade has been developed in the local workshops using the primitive method of hammering it over a spike in the cold state. Its manufacture using factory methods would increase the price by 5% in comparison to the normal market price.
The photograph shows two spades: On the left, a normal spade, and on the right, the improved spade, made from a normal one. In normal conditions, both being made at the same time and new, the left spade was broken and unfit for use in 3 weeks, whereas the right spade worked for four months without showing any signs at all of bending or wearing out.
These pages feature several ‘hot’ items from other countries such as an 11-metre long car from France that is an airship gondola on wheels, which they refer to as a ‘Dacha on wheels’.
Other points of interest are the first billion candle-power lighthouse and an American system for the electrical testing of locomotive boiler rivets.