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Old 01-28-2013   #41
summar
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I love fine mechanical tools that were made to last a lifetime.
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Old 01-28-2013   #42
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I was reminded of something `new` that i also prefer while riding to work today.The humble bicycle has come a long way from the iron wheeled, concrete framed versions of my youth.
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Old 01-28-2013   #43
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Sir,

Just as we have choices today, so we had choices 30+ years ago. Most of the measuring tapes of my youth were no better than what is available from the nastiest of sources today. Few survive..

And of course you know that $25.00 in 1975 is close to $100.00 or more now, through no fault of the merchandise.

Land Rovers, I love them..and keep my distance after many rebuilds and resurrections, especially after the day trip in the woods in company with a Suzuki Samurai opened my eyes-our current Jeep is much more competent, and unlike my favorite Land Rover, I have yet to crawl beneath to repair yet another thing that has decided to fail just as the temperature becomes unbearable!

Still love them...
No, I meant $25 today. It was two or three quid when I bought it (around $5). But the magic word in your phrase about 'no better' is 'most'. Sure, there was a lot of crap then as now. But the best of the best (or even just 'good quality') simply isn't available today in many realms.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-28-2013   #44
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...

As as another Land Rover user wrote, "With a Series, the other vehicle is your crumple zone."
...

R.
Thanks for the laugh. Reminds me of a Buick Le Sabre I used to have. That thing was a tank. But it rode well enough.
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Old 01-28-2013   #45
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Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
...
As as another Land Rover user wrote, "With a Series, the other vehicle is your crumple zone."

...

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Originally Posted by oftheherd View Post
Thanks for the laugh. Reminds me of a Buick Le Sabre I used to have. That thing was a tank. But it rode well enough.
Dependent on what you hit of course. Power poles, bridge ramparts and of course B-Trains [18 wheeler] dont have crumple zones as a design feature..its all relative.
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Old 01-28-2013   #46
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I was reminded of something `new` that i also prefer while riding to work today.The humble bicycle has come a long way from the iron wheeled, concrete framed versions of my youth.
I gave up motorcycles for bicycles a few years back, but have to admit that "riding" my old BSA 441 Victor Special was better exercise.

My bikes are mostly modern but built the old way, so pretty much the best of both worlds.
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Old 01-28-2013   #47
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Many things today just aren't built as well as they were. Some things are built better, but generally consumer pressure for inexpensive cheap items trumps the value of a quality item.
And out-of-control consumerism has led to products produced to be "good enough" for the product cycle as opposed to an item built to be as good as it can be. Of course this does not hold true for everything but as it relates to pour endeavors I think it's true. My M2 is going strong and my 35mm Summaron still produces great images. And these two items are over 50 years old. I have no such expectation that any of my digital gear will have a useful life anywhere near that.
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Old 01-28-2013   #48
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I gave up motorcycles for bicycles a few years back, but have to admit that "riding" my old BSA 441 Victor Special was better exercise.

My bikes are mostly modern but built the old way, so pretty much the best of both worlds.
I gave up motorcycles for wife and children
Not sure cycling is any safer but it sure is more reliable than the T500 i had and much more economical then any Ducati
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Old 01-28-2013   #49
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i think the only old thing that i currently own is an 80 year old (or thereabouts) railroad pocket watch.
i do still have a pair of shoes from my first wedding...actually, from all my weddings...it's a good pair of wingtips!
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Old 01-29-2013   #50
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Dear David,

Probably has, in most cases. I have quite a few 19th century tools that would be hard to replicate nowadays. Then again, some of them (blacksmiths' tools, for example) were made by the craftsmen themselves.

In fact, without wishing to be too aggressive, I'd challenge you to name (say) ten tools that hadn't actually changed much in even 500 years (1513), let alone 'thousands'. This is still more true if 'change' includes 'manufacturing technique'.

Even mattocks have improved.

Cheers,

R.
HI,

If I had the time I'd take you up on that; studied it for fun when at college years and years ago but there's too much hair splitting on forums and I've no wish to start a row about 2% carbon in steel being totally different to 1.9% etc, etc. I've known people argue about the tree's wood used for the handles of hammers to prove similar points, and row over Young's modulus as stage 3 of the row, etc.

Regards, David
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Old 01-29-2013   #51
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HI,

If I had the time I'd take you up on that; studied it for fun when at college years and years ago but there's too much hair splitting on forums and I've no wish to start a row about 2% carbon in steel being totally different to 1.9% etc, etc. I've known people argue about the tree's wood used for the handles of hammers to prove similar points, and row over Young's modulus as stage 3 of the row, etc.

Regards, David
Dear David,

I wasn't planning on going that far. I was thinking more of the way that my 19th century axe-heads are often folded around the haft, with the blade hammer-welded from the two leaves, or the fact that 18th century pocket knives generally look entirely different from late 19th century or after; or the substantial disappearance of the wooden block plane in favour of all-metal designs; or the emergence of the full-width tang as the preferred design in swords.

The simple truth is that even 1000 years ago, there were surprisingly few tools, as compared with the present day, and that while chisels probably haven't changed much since Jesus was a lad, hand-saws certainly have. Of course we have far fewer hand tools today (because they've been replaced by mechanization and power tools, so highly specialized tools (different shapes of hammer, etc.) are less common than they were.

Above all, bear in mind that 'thousands of years' takes us back to the stone age. The only stone-age tool I regularly use is a long wooden tube with a handle, a precursor of the bellows for encouraging/reviving fires. "Hundreds of years" I might agree with, but bronze age tools (roughly 3000 to 5000 years ago) almost certainly differed from the vast majority of those from the iron age, and early iron age stuff was often pretty crude.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-29-2013   #52
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Remember that our current perceptions of "old stuff" is primarily based on products that have actually stood the test of time and survived. So my M3, Rolleiflex, Linhoff Tech IV, even my Hassleblad 500CM are still clicking away, my cousin's Omega Speedmaster is still ticking etc., in part because they were the ne plus ultra products of their time(s): designed to be used hard, repaired and returned to service. But there are loads of products from the same times that, in general, have not proved as durable. Just to keep it photography-related, there do exist Kodak Retinas, old Hexars, Agfa Isolettes etc. that are nursed along by loving owners, but I would be willing to bet that a much higher percentage of M3's are still in service than, say, Retina IIIC's.


I do think though that, in general, it's a different analysis once you introduce software and information management into the mix. Is there anyone here who would really like to be running Windows 3.2? Or the first version of Netscape? Does the group think that it is fair to compare immature technologies? Does software ever really mature in the current product cycle?

And there is a whole other "weakest link" argument to be had on so-called durable goods. For instance, my parents had one refrigerator, dishwasher and stove throughout my entire childhood, but have had three of each in the last 15 years. My grandmother had one gas stove, while I have had several and in each case the part that has broken has been a circuit board. Ditto clothes washers. But we demand capabilities of these devices that my grandmother wouldn't have dreamed of: time-delayed cycles, low-water usage, remote controls. . ..
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Old 01-29-2013   #53
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Yet another thought-disposable income is higher, so folk are more likely to replace rather than repair things, and buy that replacement on price, so the manufacturers respond.

Remember how old a 10 year old car seemed in the '60s? Remember when getting to 100,000 miles seemed like a big deal? Remember RUST?
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Old 01-29-2013   #54
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Good point about the perceived quality of old things being based on the survival/enduring of the best of their time.
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Old 01-29-2013   #55
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Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear David,

I wasn't planning on going that far. I was thinking more of the way that my 19th century axe-heads are often folded around the haft, with the blade hammer-welded from the two leaves, or the fact that 18th century pocket knives generally look entirely different from late 19th century or after; or the substantial disappearance of the wooden block plane in favour of all-metal designs; or the emergence of the full-width tang as the preferred design in swords.

The simple truth is that even 1000 years ago, there were surprisingly few tools, as compared with the present day, and that while chisels probably haven't changed much since Jesus was a lad, hand-saws certainly have. Of course we have far fewer hand tools today (because they've been replaced by mechanization and power tools, so highly specialized tools (different shapes of hammer, etc.) are less common than they were.

Above all, bear in mind that 'thousands of years' takes us back to the stone age. The only stone-age tool I regularly use is a long wooden tube with a handle, a precursor of the bellows for encouraging/reviving fires. "Hundreds of years" I might agree with, but bronze age tools (roughly 3000 to 5000 years ago) almost certainly differed from the vast majority of those from the iron age, and early iron age stuff was often pretty crude.

Cheers,

R.
What's a few hundred years between friends?

BTW, my comment about hair splitting was based on a discussion that rumbled on for weeks about what wood should be used for making a bread board! The answers sycamore, btw. At one point thick reference books were being consulted about Young's Modulus of Elasticity for various woods but I don't think they got the calculators out to do all the sums. I benefited from it by discovering the figures for Ramin but it was short lived as it went on the protected list soon after. I still search it out as avidly as I search for old camera and accessories in flea markets.

Regards, David

PS As for old versions of Windows, at least you had some say in what the things did then. Ad my current spreadsheets and word processers were acquired with Wndows 3...
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Old 01-29-2013   #56
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Originally Posted by back alley View Post
i think the only old thing that i currently own is an 80 year old (or thereabouts) railroad pocket watch.
i do still have a pair of shoes from my first wedding...actually, from all my weddings...it's a good pair of wingtips!
THAT is funny!
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Old 01-29-2013   #57
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Every generation and age produces things (machinery, thinkers, art, etc....) that are great enough to stand the test of time and become "classics". What's left - the mediocre and the shoddy is soon consigned to the dustbin of history.

I listen to music from medieval and baroque to heavy metal and pop, I love some art from the renaissance period as much as I like some of the contemporary stuff. Why wouldn't I want to own the best film cameras that have been made as well as some of the modern crop of innovative digital ones.

I can't help but believe that those who treat old as bad / obsolete (per se) and new as exciting and relevant are missing outon so much in life.
Yes, I agree, and what goes around comes around. We all get old just like the things we are discussing. There will come a day when the employer replaces the older worker with the younger one. And retirement, when there is more time for reflection, if not just surviving. Friends and family pass on. And then... life becomes real.

There is an old saying that I am just now understanding..."May you live long enough to know hard times."

As I mentioned before, there is comfort in things of the past...as long as we do not try to live there, that is good.
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Old 01-29-2013   #58
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haha im probably one of the few younger people who will say i wish i would've grown up in the or 60's...
I'm sorry, kid... if you remember the '60s... you weren't really there.

I value things that work, and work for a long time. My first "car" was a 1950 half-ton Ford F-1 pickup. It was old when I got it in 1972. It was a great old pickup, it was fun, and I remember it fondly. It was a beautiful art-deco design. It also rode like a lumber wagon, was hot when it was hot out and freezing when it was cold. The clutch hydraulic reservoir was under the floorboard, and leaked. The small drum brakes would stop the truck... eventually. I had a towel on the seat for a windshield de-fogger since the heater, while it did work, was abysmal. The front end had a horrible shimmy that was built-in at the factory from new as an "undocumented feature."

Right out of high school, I bought a Canon IIf system with several lenses and an external turret finder. It was heavy, and beautifully made. It was a joy to look at and a joy to hold. It made very nice images. It was a pain in the *ss to use. It had a "slow speed dial" and the viewfinder was small and dim. It was slow, clumsy and heavy in use.

I fondly remember C/PM, TRSDOS, and MS-DOS 2.1, and the machines on which they ran. In high school, I wrote programs in FORTRAN on punch cards. It was great fun. I have no desire to do that again.

As a youngster on my uncle's small family farm, I remember "walking beans," milking the cows, first by hand and then with milking machines, and I recall how pleased I was when they finally installed an indoor flushing toilet.

They're all great memories, and I remember them with great fondness; I won't ever choose to do or own any of those things again. There is a point, though, in the design life of some products where they're "perfect." The Leica M4, IMHO is such a product. Further "refinement" frequently means cheaper manufacturing for greater profit, or the addition of unnecessary "features" for marketing that add to the complexity of the product thereby lessening its desireability. That makes the last "good" production design desireable. And so it is with cameras. I had hoped that the Olympus E1's successor would follow the path of the OM series; innovation without ruining the basic camera. Alas it was not to be. Olympus got caught up in "keeping up with the market" and added such useful features as a pop-up peanut flash and a rotating LCD screen that has auto-destruct hinges.

I have to give Leica credit for entering the digital world on their terms. The M8 is an excellent product. The M9P, IMHO, is the M4 of the digital line. We shall see where that goes.

I appreciate quality. I appreciate products that stand the test of time, and I look for those qualities when I buy... I don't buy, however, for nostalgia.
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Old 01-29-2013   #59
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What's a few hundred years between friends?

BTW, my comment about hair splitting was based on a discussion that rumbled on for weeks about what wood should be used for making a bread board! The answers sycamore, btw. At one point thick reference books were being consulted about Young's Modulus of Elasticity for various woods but I don't think they got the calculators out to do all the sums. I benefited from it by discovering the figures for Ramin but it was short lived as it went on the protected list soon after. I still search it out as avidly as I search for old camera and accessories in flea markets.

Regards, David

PS As for old versions of Windows, at least you had some say in what the things did then. Ad my current spreadsheets and word processers were acquired with Wndows 3...
Dear David,

Or even a couple of thousand. This is certainly more rational than worrying about the perfect wood for bread-boards -- though I'd have thought that antibacterial properties are at least as important as Young's modulus. What little research I've seen suggests that wood is a better antibacterial than plastic.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-29-2013   #60
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Yet another thought-disposable income is higher, so folk are more likely to replace rather than repair things, and buy that replacement on price, so the manufacturers respond.

Remember how old a 10 year old car seemed in the '60s? Remember when getting to 100,000 miles seemed like a big deal? Remember RUST?
Oh, I dunno. My TR2 was around 20 years old (early 70s); my Rover 3 litre, 10 years old (late 60s)... Neither seemed that old. Nor the 1936 MG TA I nearly bought. Nor a school friend's XK120.

But, oh, yes, rust...

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-29-2013   #61
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Hi,

I think the rot set in when the engineers stopped designing things that the repairers had a say in and the sales people took over the design spec.

And as for those so and sos who decided that the thing had to be connected to a special computer costing several thousands for even a minor repair, well, um, I think I'd better go and lie down quietly somewhere.

Regards, David
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Old 01-29-2013   #62
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Considering the ME is a cheaper, stripped down version of the M9, and that the M9-P is the most highly refined commonly available M9, this is an interesting insight.

The M (model 240?) with its electric illuminated VF mask system, live view and video, is a radical departure from the original concept and the M9-P, could well be the digital M4.
Great observation, IMO.
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Old 01-29-2013   #63
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I'm an occupational technologist, but avocational Luddite. By that I mean I work with a lot of high technology; aerospace and communication systems training, so I enjoy hobbies that take me back to a simpler age.

While cars are much better than those 60s machines I drove in high school, a lot of modern appliances are not. Case in point, refrigerators. My mom still has one she bought 25 years ago, and before that another lasted her 30 years. I have had 3 crash and burn in 18 years. I just had to replace the one I bought brand new a few years ago. The compressor froze, and it would cost about the same amount to fix as buying another. I agree, getting a new fridge for $400 in 2013 is like getting one for $75 in 1970! But still, they just don't last like they did back then.

There are old things that would not be affordable if manufactured today. Railroad grade pocketwatches (about 1 man-year went into making a pocket watch in 1890), Non-electronic cameras, some tools (I just bought a 1915 geared hand drill for 20 bucks), guns, and other things built in the golden age of industrialization are incredible values today. An 1800s large format lens for 8x10 cost a year's salary and was only bought by an entrepreneur ready to start a studio photography business. They were hand ground, tested, and sold to studios that sometimes used them for several generations. I have several from prior to the Civil War, and I can tell you nothing is made today that can do what these old lenses can.

So enjoy using the old stuff, there is often no substitute!
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