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Industrial Chicago in Postcards

Forgotten Chicago 30 May 2009 One Comment

The postcard view is the idealized view, and the view of material production as an American cultural ideal is a thing of the past. When made, postcards were perfect versions of the present, and with age, they acquire a rose-colored patina and become perfect versions of the past. But nostalgia for a past we never knew ought to be avoided. Rather, the postcards are more useful as references for making subtle comparisons between what was, and what now is. In the context of a global economy and a greatly decentralized manufacturing base at home, these humble promotional cards serve as a reminder that not long ago, a greater percentage of widgets and doo-hickeys were made in our backyard. But also that contrary to popular wisdom, many widgets still are.

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One Comment »

  • Dan Kelley said:

    Fascinating postcards and stories.

    Chicago would be fortunate, indeed, if it could foster an environment conducive to such manufacturing jobs today.

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