DVT 192, 53
Příběh designu Babetty
The story of Babetta’s design.
The article deals with the development of the design of the motorcycle Babetta, which was produced in Považské strojárne in Považská Bystrica (Czechoslovakia) in two types from 1971 onwards. The outstanding design by Jindřich Šafařík was awarded the Gute Form, a prestigious German design prize, in 1974. The article focuses on the position of designers in the system of planned economy. Although the design was formally supported by the Communist Party policy, the quality design solutions had to be reconsidered rather against than with their support.
Keywords: design ● design process ● engineering ● technology ● planned economy
After the rather successful launch of industrial design in interwar Czechoslovakia, the Communist coup resulted in its marginalization at first , later becoming manifest in an insufficient actual support, contrary to the official party and government declarations. Nevertheless, even during the forty years of the duration of the Communist regime, remarkable products have emerged which, in terms of design quality, have been comensurable with those from the developed world. Babetta moped, whose design is addressed in this article, is an example of this. Babetta was manufactured in Považské strojárne in Považská Bystrica since 1971. Two types were gradually produced. Both were characterized by solid technical sophistication and excellent design by Jindřich Šafařík, a graduate of the most important design hatchery of postwar Czechoslovakia, the so-called “Kovář School”. Šafařík’s design was awarded, for example, by the prestigious German Gute Form Award in 1974. Jindřich Šafařík’s design showed excellent quality despite persisting limits in the choice of technologies and materials, and even used these limitations to distinguish Babetta mopeds from foreign production. It was a successful export article in many countries, including Western Europe and the USA.
The last pieces of Babetta were produced in 1997. Its successor, Korado moped, was produced until 2005, but with it, the production of motorcycles in Považská Bystrica ended. Several of the original buildings of the huge factory complex are in ruins today. New modern halls are being built in some places, but the production is limited to components for other manufacturers. Slovakia thus confirms the role of assembly line lagging behind in current development trends.
Katedra teórie a dejín umenia
Vysoká škola výtvarných umení v Bratislave
Hviezdoslavovo nám. 18
814 37 Bratislava
DVT 192, 66
Baltasar Conrad (1599–1660) a jeho výzva evropským učencům
Baltasar Conrad (1599–1660) and his appeal to European scientists.
The article is devoted to the forgotten Jesuit scholar, Baltasar Conrad. Special attention is paid to his appeal to European mathematicians and astronomers, which concerned several problems related to the construction of a telescope. It is shown that the letter was an interesting example of internationalisation of science in the 17th century.
Keywords: Baltasar Conrad ● 17th century ● Jesuit science ● history of mathematics ● history of physics
The contribution is devoted to the forgotten Jesuit scholar, Baltasar Conrad. Its first part describes the little that we know about his life: he was born in South Tyrol in the town called Neiss, which then belonged to the Kingdom of Bohemia. There, he was admitted to Jesuit order at the age of sixteen. Later, he taught mathematics in Olomouc, and then he moved to Prague. In 1639, he published a treatise about the origins of spectral colours and the rainbow. The treatise was attacked by Marcus Marci. Conrad, however, prepared a response: at the thesis defence in 1650, his student had the task of defending his professor’s thesis, namely whether the rainbow is always visible under the same angle (An Iris sub eodem semper angulo videatur). On this occasion, Conrad had flags and big posters with geometric drawings made and had the auditorium of Clementinum decorated with them. J. Caramuel Lobkowicz also took part in the event as the representative of the archbishop. Caramuel entered the discussion right at its beginning, in order to point out that all the submitted drawings have been constructed in an incorrect manner. Marci then brought a legal action and the poor Conrad had to leave Prague immediately.
Second part of the contribution deals with Conrad’s activity in the second half of 16th century, when he lived in central Silesia. Unfortunately, we also know very little about this period. As Conrad said in his letter (see below), he finished his great work Teledioptrice in 1658 (it is, unfortunately, lost, and hence we cannot judge it in any way). Nevertheless, the letter Conrad sent in 1658 to many European mathematicians and astronomers deserves to be noted here. In it, he introduced five problems related to the construction of a telescope to his contemporaries and he challenged them to solve them. The letter was published by K. Schott in his Technica curiosa. However, the response was not massive, only three less well-known scholars responded, and even those did not really touch the questions Conrad had posed. Although the whole thing ended without success, it is surely a notable step towards internationalisation of science.
The last part of the contribution is devoted to the question of the originality of Conrad’s deed. It surfaces that since the beginning of the 1640s, Conrad dealt with the problem of magnetic declination, apparently inspired by the appeal organised by Athanasius Kircher. Kircher’s appeal was successful – he received altogether 70 reactions. Conrad, probably with the aim to commemorate this appeal, attempted to take a similar action. However, his format and reputation did not reach Kircher’s, and he also died soon after having sent his letters – in 1660. It is nevertheless important to remind ourselves of his efforts.
Balthasar Conrad (1599–1660) und seine Aufforderung an die europäischen Ge- lehrten.
Der vorliegende Beitrag ist dem fast vergessenen Jesuiten Balthasar Conrad ge- widmet. Der erste Teil der Abhandlung berichtet das Wenige, das wir über sein Leben wissen: Er wurde im südschlesischen Städtchen Neiss geboren, das damals zum böhmischen Königreich gehörte. Hier wurde er im Alter von 16 Jahren in den Jesuitenorden aufgenommen. Später hat er in Olmütz Mathematik unterrichtet, dann ist er nach Prag gekommen. 1639 verfasste er eine Schrift über die Entste- hung der Spektralfarben und des Regenbogens. Diese wurde von J. Marcus Marci angegriffen, worauf hin Conrad eine Gegenmaßnahme vorbereitete: Bei einer Pro- motion im Jahre 1650 sollte sein Student eine These seines Professors verteidigen, nämlich An Iris semper sub eodem angulo videtur. Conrad liess dazu Fahnen und große Plakate mit geometrischen Zeichnungen anfertigen und damit die Aula im Klementinum ausschmücken. Als Vertreter des Erzbischofs hat J. Caramuel Lob- kowitz an der Promotionsveranstaltung teilgenommen. Schon bald nach deren Beginn hat er sich in die Debatte eingemischt und zeigte, dass alle vorgelegten Zeichnun- gen falsch konstruiert waren. Marci hat daraufhin eine Klage beim Jesuitengeneral eingereicht, der stattgegeben wurde und der arme Conrad musste Prag schnellstens verlassen.
Der zweite Teil des Beitrages beleuchtet die Tätigkeit Conrads in der zweiten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts, die er in Mittelschlesien verbrachte. Auch darüber wissen wir nur sehr wenig. Wie er in seinem Brief (s. unten) vermeldet, habe er 1658 ein großes Werk Teledioptrice vollendet (es ist leider verloren gegangen, sodass darü- ber kein Urteil möglich ist). Eindeutig belegt und erwähnenswert ist jedoch der Brief, den Conrad 1658 an viele Mathematiker und Astronomen in ganz Europa sandte. Darin legt er seinen Zeitgenossen fünf Probleme betreffend die Konstruk- tion des Fernrohrs vor und fordert sie zur Lösung auf. Den Brief hat K. Schott in seiner Technica curiosa veröffentlicht. Er stieß aller- dings nur auf sehr geringe Resonanz: nur drei wenig bedeutende Gelehrte habe reagiert, noch dazu ohne auf die von Conrad vorgelegten Fragen einzugehen. Auch wenn die Sache also mit einem Misserfolg endete, war sie ein sicher erwähnen- swerter Schritt auf dem Weg zur Internationalisierung der Wissenschaft.
Im letzten Teil des Beitrages wird die Frage nach der Originalität von Conrads Brief Idee gestellt. Es wird gezeigt, dass er zu Anfang der 40er Jahre mit einer Vermessung der magnetischen Deklination beschäftigt war, offenbar angeregt durch einen Aufruf, den Athanasius Kircher organisiert hat. Mit 70 Reaktionen darauf war das ein grandioser Erfolg. Wahrscheinlich in Erinnerung daran hat Conrad sei- nen Versuch unternommen. Mit Kirchers Format und Reputation konnte Conrad allerdings nicht mithalten, überdies ist er bald nach der Versendung seiner Briefe, im Jahre 1660, verstorben. Trotzdem ist es wert, sich seines Versuches zu entsinnen.
100 00 Praha 10-Strašnice
DVT 192, 79
Sociální a kulturní dějiny techniky: Ke konceptualizaci techniky v anglosaské historické vědě I. (do 1970)
Social and cultural history of technology: Toward conceptualization of technology
in Anglo-Saxon history I. (up to 1970).
The purpose of this paper is to introduce the Czech readers to the theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of technology development in Anglo-Saxon historiography. The recently published volume, edited by Lucie Štorchová et al., Koncepty a dějiny: Proměny pojmů v současné historické vědě (Praha, 2014) provided Czech audience with an authoritative and up-to-date overview of contemporary historiography, but it does not include a chapter on technology. The paper, designed to fill this gap, has for practical reasons been divided into two parts – the first dealing with formation of professional history of technology as a research field before 1970, the second focusing on the most recent developments inspired by constructivism.
Keywords: history of technology ● technological change ● historiography ● social theory
The purpose of this paper is to introduce Czech readers to the theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of technology developed in the Anglo-Saxon historiography over the course of the twentieth century, with some attention given to the emergence, institutionalization and transformations of the scientific sub- discipline of the history of technology. Czech tradition of history of technology remains very much shaped by local traditions, faithful to the traditional methodological tools and instruments (perhaps partly in response to the experience with scientific Marxism). While STS discourse have successfully entered Czech social sciences, it remains rather marginal among historians. Designed as a general overview of the research field, the paper opens with the discussion of the notion of technology and the framing of technology as a subject of research in the social sciences and humanities. It introduces the analytical notion of „technological change“ as a tool to conceptualize the role which material artefacts, machines and systems played in the broad processes of „social change.“ However, historians of technology at the turn of the 19th and early 20th century had to cope with different articulation of the problem. The modernist vision of the Myth of Progress as driven by technological advances fuelled the emergence of the discipline, in close relation to the growing emancipation and aspirations of engineers as guardians and managers of the technological development. In response, historians tried to critically approach such a popular image. The crucial debates revolved around two major topics: the first aimed at understanding and a historically precise description of the relation between technology and science, showing that technology often developed independently and to a great extent represented a distinctive field of knowledge. This strand of discussion materialized around mid-20th century in large volumes covering the entire “history of technology” (i.e. technological artefacts), which served as a testament to the importance of engineering knowledge and technology to the modern world. The second debate, instead of looking into the innovation processes, was concerned with the “impact” of technological change on society. The implicit modernist theory of technological determinism, however, often left aside any real discussion of the technology itself. The two emerging concepts of history of technology corresponding to the two debates are usually described as internalist (looking at the origins of the inventions) and externalist (studying the social impact) perspectives. Since the 1950s these paradigms have been contested on the grounds of ignoring the social (the former) or the technological (the latter) dimension of the technological change. Professionalization of the field of history of technology at the time of the Sputnik shock played an instrumental part, as both the internalist and the externalist narratives were developed mostly by either historically minded engineers or social scientists with little interest in historical methods. The (then) newly established Society for the History of Technology (1958) proposed what has become known as contextualist approach to the history of technology, stressing the complexity of social, cultural and technological aspects in the processes of technological change. For practical reasons, the paper is divided into two parts: this first part ends with short description of SHOT (contextualists) achievements; the second will focus on the more recent developments inspired by constructivism.
Ústav světových dějin FF UK
Náměstí Jana Palacha 2, 116 38 Praha 1