Here we are at the start of the new year, which for the Internet Archive means a note about what has just entered the public domain. 1927’s finest previously copyrighted materials are now up for grabs in the public domain, which means there’s a treasure trove of films, books, and music to freely copy and remix.
Their article highlights a few notable pieces of 1927’s popular culture , of which we suggest you should definitely take note of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis if you have any interest in sci-fi, but for Hackaday readers there’s not much else in the article itself relating to technology. Delving into the archive for 1927 is still a fascinating pastime though, because beyond the interest of seeing what’s now free it led onto what was the state of technology in the 1920s. And here we find ourselves as much navigating the English language as we do the library itself, because so much of what we do uses vocabulary from the decades since.
Electronics in 1927 largely involved radio using vacuum tubes, so it’s relatively straightforward to find textbooks from that year such as The theory of thermionic vacuum tubes, and The propagation of radio waves, and a sheaf of radio periodicals to go with them. Computers as we know them simply didn’t exist, and some of the words we’d use to describe the machines used for automation tasks seemingly weren’t in use at the time. Words like “Electromechanical” or “Sequencer” return nothing of use, but there is a wealth of books on heavy electrical engineering. Engineering of power plants sets the scene, and we’d have to admit spending quite some time on Electric Trains. If we spent a while browsing the archive and found a lot of interest, we are guessing you will too.