1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Media Technology and Obsolescence

Edited By Mark Wolf Copyright 2019
    420 Pages
    by Routledge

    420 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    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).