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"Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will."
Helen Hunt Jackson, A Calendar of Sonnet's: February
Learn English in February

Monday Night Owls - 10 April 2017 - Some of the best designed products of all time

NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,132 Teacher
We read about some products that five design professors say are among the best designed products of all time.


The products were:

- the PH lamp
- the paperclip
- the tandem sling seating system (airport chairs)
- the AT&T Model 500 phone
- the Microsoft HoloLens

Vocabulary Top 10:

dismal - very bad or poor

attenuate - to make (something) weaker or less in amount, effect, or force

pop in/from - to put/take (something) in/out, into/out of, or onto/off a place suddenly or briefly

offshoot - something (such as a business) that develops from something larger

sleek - straight and smooth in design or shape

flawless - without any faults, weaknesses or defects

clasp - a device for holding together objects or parts of something (such as a purse, necklace, belt, etc.)

sturdy - strongly made

tamper-proof - designed so that no one can change or touch (something) in a way that causes damage or harm

hamstring - (verb) to damage or ruin the force or effectiveness of (something or someone)

Which of these 5 designs do you think is the best? What other products do you think should be included in this list?


  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,310 mod
    edited April 2017
    I love the look of Microsoft's Holo Lens, but they will need to make it much cheaper before I give it a go.

    I think Charles Babbage's designs for the Difference and Analytical Engines were stunning:-

  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I wish someone had designed a method to read and comprehend quickly an article written in a language that it's not your native one.
    Maybe someone did, nevertheless, since I've no notice of that, so far I've just read the first two paragraphs dealing with the PH lamp and the paper clip.
    I was fascinated while reading how the process of developing the paper clip to its final version proceeded, getting along stage by stage.
    I think that now we take a banal routinary tool such as the plastic clip for granted, but it must not have been so banal to come up with a clip wholly made of steel which, however, still was capable to hold enough spring, not to allow the bunch of bound things to snap off grasp.
    Even more amazing, if I think of the two loops' rims being rather smooth, and, of the emptiness in between the loop itself: shortly it seems to me that friction might not play any role at all here, to stop sliding: therefore just a miraculous effect to me.

    To answer the question, I think one of the greatest invention of all time might be the bicycle: I think that the process by which gear, chain and wheels, by interacting with each other, allows a human being to move forward at a relatively high speed, without any other propulsive force than themselves', has, still today, something bordering on divine.
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,132 Teacher
    @filauzio I´m thinking of doing a follow up reading session just on the history and design of the paperclip - for something that seems to simple and everyday, it´s amazing the design changes it went through before it turned into what it is today, and all the different things they needed to take into consideration!

    I think many people in the session were just as fascinated with it!

    The bicycle is definitely a great design invention - I wonder how they worked out that all those elements together would produce a mode of transport? Maybe I need to find an article about this, too!
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 11,072 mod
    For me, the paper clip is the best.

    We take it for granted that it exists, but you need really to be creative to invent something like that.
    Simple, useful and cheap. :)
    I admire people who invented little useful things like this.
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yes, I agree with your point @NatashaT; it seems to me too that a follow up session on the history and design of paper clip, as well as of the other kind of apparently simple objects we now too superficially take for granted, would be appreciated and edifying, in a way, as well.

    Then, the narrative of the process by which the inventor of bicycle first came up with the idea, second assembled this mechanical prodigy to definitely make it to rid humans of the slavery of motion by feet, be them their owns or the horses' hoofed ones: that's a kind of reading, which I suppose is likely to keep the readers on the edge of the seat, quite breathless with excitement.

    You should find an article about it, it would turn out very striking a reading.

    I agree with you @april: simple, useful and cheap; after reading the article I wondered at thinking that some times the simplest creations and inventions, at the proof of fact, turn out being the most revolutionary.
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 11,072 mod
    I went shopping yesterday and I found this:


    They are no more than 10cm long and I couldn't resist buying them. :D
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