Friday, March 30, 2007

The Comet Book

"Necessarium est autem veteres ortus cometarum habere collectos. Deprehendi enim propter raritatem eorum cursus adhuc non potest, nec explorari an vices servent et illos ad suum diem certus ordo producat"

[It is essential that we have a record of all the appearances of comets in former times. For, on account of their infrequency, their orbit cannot yet be discovered or examined in detail, to see they observe a periodical interval and whether their reappearance on a fixed day could be the result of certain cause] {Seneca, 60AD}

comet engravings from the Theater of Comets

1664 comet path illustrations - Lubieniecki

Systema astronomicum cometae - Salsburg

1664 comet paths on star map

Uranoscopica Henricus 1665

Comet view from Holland on celestial map 1665

Comet trajectory on focal star sign map

Caspar Schott comet path on star map

historic comet trajectories on engraved star map

Ingolstadt 1664 - comet path in illustrated star field

Star map with comet paths seen from Vienna 1660s

Hamburg city sky - comet path 1665

1664 comet path on astrology star map

comet on star map

Cetus astronomical focus with comet

astronomical system with comet

fish mouth star field close-up

comparison of star field engraving styles with comets

Comet views on celestial map

Autorum Scriptis - large field astrological star map

comet seen from Britain on star map

hydra star system with comet paths seen by Caspar Schott

comet path overlaid on star map

Stanislaus Lubienietzki (1623-1675) was a Polish historian and astronomer. [variations on his name include Lubieniecki and Lubienietski] Apart from the present work, he is remembered for the posthumous publication of The History of the Polish Reformation ('Historia Reformationis Polonicae'). He is said to have been persecuted by Lutheran ministers who ultimately murdered him and his 2 daughters with poison {source}.

The vast 'Theatrum Cometicum' (The Theatre of Comets) was published in Amsterdam in 1668 and includes about 80 lavish engravings (a great many of them are double-page fold out illustrations). It provides accounts of over 400 comet sightings throughout history and in discussing their meaning, Lubienietzki essentially helps usher in a more astronomical rather than astrological approach to the study of comets.

Much of the book is devoted to recording the observations across Europe of comets that occurred in 1664/1665 by eminent scholars such as Athanasius Kircher, Caspar Schott, Otto von Guericke, Christian Huygens and Johannes Hevelius, among others. They each supplied constellation charts with their accounts so the engraved plates made for this book reflect the variety of cartographic traditions popular during the 17th century (the styles of Willem Janszoon Blaeu and Jodocus Hondius dominate). The contribution by Hevelius (also from Poland) is interesting because his own treatise, 'Cometographia', was also published in 1668.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Century 21 Exposition

architectural elevation Seattle Space Needle

Century 21 Exposition (Seattle, Wash.), design for the Space Needle, elevation

Seattle observation deck architectural design

Century 21 Exposition (Seattle, Wash.), proposed
design for the Space Needle and grounds, site plan

Seattle space needle summit cutaway

Space Needle summit cutaway

Seattle space needle elevator plans

Seattle space needle elevator design

Space Needle elevator plans

Seattle Century 21 exposition - Ford pavilion geodesic dome

Ford pavilion geodesic dome

"In 1957 Paul Thiry, one of Seattle's earliest practitioners of European Modernism, was appointed principal architect of Century 21, the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. The Ford pavillion, part of the Triangle of the Future, was located near the south gate on Boulevard 21. Under its geodesic dome, visitors were entertained by a simulated flight to outer space in a model rocket ship. An auto show was also part of the attraction at the pavillion, where the Ford Motor Company displayed some of the consumer products it had in development."

Century 21 exposition - ground plan

"This drawing shows a preliminary design of an observation tower and restaurant for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair Exhibition. Set on the only section of the fair grounds that was not owned by the city, the site did not have the height restrictions of other exhibits/pavillions at the fair. The lot, 37-by-37 m, was purchased by private investors for $75,000 and is still privately owned. Although there is much contention surrounding who came up with the final design of the Space Needle, John Graham is widely acknowledged as its architect."

Seattle exposition - Nalley's fine food pavillion

Nalley's Fine Food Pavillion - Seattle 1962

"The Nalley's Fine Food pavilion was a plastic form shell pneumatically applied on a frame of reinforcing rods and metal lathe. The exterior of the pavilion was constructed without a straight line or sharp angle. The unique oval contained a theater which showed movies of the great Pacific Northwest. In the lobby of the building were displays of the food products from Nalley's Tacoma-based company."

Century 21 Seattle First National Bank design plan

Century 21 exposition - Seattle first national bank architectural design
"The site for the Century 21 Branch of the Seattle First National Bank was located at the northwest corner of the Friendship Mall. [design proposals]

Seattle First National Bank - design plan of canvas awning

"The Century 21 Branch of the Seattle First National Bank was located at the north-west corner of the Friendship Mall. It featured a canvas awning stretched over a steel frame decorated with the flags of the participating nations."

design for the Space Needle, west elevation and floor plans

Preliminary sketch for Space Needle and floor plans by Victor Steinbreuk

Century 21 exposition - proposed design for the Space Needle and grounds, rendering

Design render of Seattle space needle and exposition grounds
Rendered proposals for exposition grounds

[click images for larger versions]

I've been toying around with Google alerts (a regular automatic search in news/blogs/websites) the last couple of months with varying outcomes. I nearly stopped the weekly emails in February when a 1997 website was included with 'new digitial collection' search results. But they do add a certain lazy randomness to my trawling habits.

In this case I was directed to the Century 21 Exposition design plans for the 1962 Seattle Worlds Fair that belong to the Architecture of the Pacific NorthWest Database at the University of Washington. I was nearly sure I could see Kurt Russell among those uniquely architectural 2-D figures in the Ford Pavillion sketch plans.

The descriptions included above are copied from the site but seem not always to be totally accurate for each of the illustrations. 'Observation deck' and 'site plans' are favoured terms. I had to play around with the image URLs to get complete large illustrations.
I was a little disappointed that there don't appear to be many decent futuristic diagrams and brochures from Seattle 1962 Century 21 online. Links anyone?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fashion Plates from Hungary

Budapest hats - 1870s

szállítók - 1870s

Woman at Piano - fashion plate

Hungarian fashion plate

Magyar Bazar Divatkepe

Magyar Bazár Divatképe  - 1874

Magyar fashion 19th century

Hungarian bonnets - 1870s

Budapest fashion - 2 women

Coloured engravings of 2 women - 1870s

Divatkep - szállítók

Fashion plate Hungary

2 women 2 children - 1870s Budapest fashion

2 women - Hungarian Fashion Plate

2 women and child - fashion 1870s

Baby + 2 women - Budapest fashions 1870s

Budapest fashion 1870s

Fashion plates from the 1870s from the Hungarian Electronic Library. [via]

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