Apple and Victorian engineers

· mumblings ·

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A thought struck me yesterday about the similarities between Apple and Victorian engineers. Unlikely, you might be thinking, but bear with me. The Business Design Centre used to be an agricultural hall - basically, a glorified barn for markets and shows, and was built in the 19th Century. But if you look at the roof from the inside, you can see that the engineers thought that there was nothing incongruous about a practical, functional building with humble origins also being beautiful. As you can see from the photo, the structural steel roof beams are studded with iron flowers, and some of the supporting brackets are very ornate.

It seems to me that Apple does something similar. Its products are very functional, and designed with ease-of-use in mind, but they realised with the original iMac that functional things can also be beautiful, and even have personality. I've always loved the attention to detail, like the coloured apple symbol on the back of the keyboard. You hardly ever see it, but the back of the keyboard is as pretty as the front - that's a very Victorian sensibility.