The Routledge Companion to Media Technology and Obsolescence  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Media Technology and Obsolescence

Edited By

Mark Wolf

ISBN 9781032094229
Published June 30, 2021 by Routledge
420 Pages

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USD $56.95

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Book Description

While so many books on technology look at new advances and digital technologies, The Routledge Companion to Media Technology and Obsolescence looks back at analog technologies that are disappearing, considering their demise and what it says about media history, pop culture, and the nature of nostalgia. From card catalogs and typewriters to stock tickers and cathode ray tubes, contributors examine the legacy of analog technologies, including those, like vinyl records, that may be experiencing a resurgency. Each essay includes a brief history of the technology leading up to its peak, an analysis of the reasons for its decline, and a discussion of its influence on newer technologies.

Table of Contents

About the Contributors


Mark J. P. Wolf


Paper Slips: The Long Reign of the Index Card and Card Catalog

Peter Krapp

From Hero to Zero: The Rise and Fall of the Slide Rule as the Calculating Tool of Choice

Peter M. Hopp

The History of Punched Cards – Using Paper to Store Information

Robert S. Wahl

A History of the Electrical Signal: From the Atlantic Telegraph Cable to the Quest for Artificial Intelligence

David Hochfelder

The Life, Death, and Rebirth of the Typewriter

Richard Polt

The Lure of the Ticker

Braxton Soderman

The Overhead Projector: Visuality and Materiality

Josh Zimmerman, Judd Ethan Ruggill, and Ken S. McAllister

Flammable Workhorse: A History of Nitrate Film from the Screen to the Vault

Amanda McQueen

Farewell to the Phosphorescent Glow: The Long Life of the Cathode-Ray Tube

Mark J. P. Wolf

The Moviola and Other Analog Film Editing Machines

Lori Landay

Analog Audio Synthesis: Oscillations, Traces, and Trajectories

Peer D. Bode

Armchair Harmonics: Radio Remote Controls and the Historical Persistence of Push-Buttons

Brent Strang

Standardized Film Leaders

Matt Soar

Vinyl, Vinyl Everywhere: The Analogue Record in the Digital World

Richard Osborne

Don’t Take My Kodachrome Away: The Rise, Fall, and Digital Rebirth of Kodachrome Film

M. M. Chandler

Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture: The Rise and Fall of an Analog Social Medium

Sheila C. Murphy

Hollywood in a Box: Time-shifting, Rental, and Videocassettes

Joshua Greenberg

Projecting Play: The Give-A-Show Projector and Children’s Audiovisual Media Toys of the Mid-20th Century

Meredith A. Bak

Parakeets, Morse Code, The Roar of the Crowd: The Fading Signal Of The Modem

Anne C. Deger

Illuminating Obsolescence: Eastman Kodak’s Carousel Slide Projector & The Work of Ending

Paige Sarlin

"Poor Black Squares": Afterimages of the Floppy Disk

Matthew Kirschenbaum

Video Game Cartridges: The History of Durable, Removable, and Portable Software

Michael Thomasson

Digital Data Demise — Obsolete Digital Data Formats

Gary Locklair

Laserdiscs — On the Way to a Digital Video Future

Stephen Mamber

Perfect Sound Forever? How the Compact Disc Sowed the Seeds of Its Own Demise

Jason Curtis

Hello Again: An Untimely Requiem for the Flip Phone

Paul Benzon

HD DVD Technologies

John Reid Perkins-Buzo

Appendix: Timeline of Technological Obsolescence

Mark J. P. Wolf

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Mark J. P. Wolf is Professor in the Communication Department at Concordia University Wisconsin. His books include Abstracting Reality: Art, Communication, and Cognition in the Digital Age (2000), The Medium of the Video Game (2001), Virtual Morality: Morals, Ethics, and New Media (2003), The Video Game Theory Reader (2003), The Video Game Explosion: A History from PONG to PlayStation and Beyond (2007), The Video Game Theory Reader 2 (2008), Myst & Riven: The World of the D’ni (2011), Before the Crash: An Anthology of Early Video Game History (2012), the two-volume Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming (2012), Building Imaginary Worlds: The Theory and History of Subcreation (2012), The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies (2014), LEGO Studies: Examining the Building Blocks of a Transmedial Phenomenon (2014), Video Games Around the World (2015), the four-volume Video Games and Gaming Culture (2016), Revisiting Imaginary Worlds: A Subcreation Studies Anthology (2016), Video Games FAQ (2017), The World of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (2017), and The Routledge Companion to Imaginary Worlds (2018).