IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 19

in Manhattan and its evolution from the late 19th
century until the middle of the last one. Isenstadt
has a knack for finding appropriate quotes and he
uses one here from William Brevda:
The two great machines of desire in the first half
of the 20th century were the movies and the electric
advertising sign, metonymized respectively
as Broadway and Hollywood.
Isenstadt is not the first to write on this subject,
and the reader whose appetite is whetted by reading
him will also want to explore an excellent earlier
book, American Illuminations by David Nye, a
well-known historian of electrification. And to further
your knowledge of the subject you might like
City Lights: Illuminating the American Night (Landscapes
of the Night) by John A. Jackle.
The Times Square phenomenon can be traced to
the lighted billboards that sprang up in London and
Paris in the 19th century. But what was to appear
at the corner of Broadway and Seventh Avenue
in New York, unlike the billboards in London and
Paris, concentrated the spectacle at one site.
Times Square is now famous for its neon lighting,
which dates from the 1930s, and one wishes that
Isenstadt had more to say about this invention. Prior
to the use of neon, lower Broadway, below Times
Square, was brightened with gas and arc lamps as
early as 1880. By the early 20th century Broadway
had become a mecca for incandescent outdoor
advertising. Key to its appeal was the use of flashing
signs which, starting around 1900, was facilitated by
the automatic bending of a heated bimetallic metal
strip. The real novelty of the Square, however, lay
in its use of signs with moving text. This " talking
sign " was based on a 1911 patent that employed a
perforated insulating ribbon that passed over a conducting
sheet. In this way, the hundreds of attached
bulbs could be switched on and off sequentially to
produce the spectacle of moving letters. This was
later improved to form bands of letters that moved
around the outer surface of a building and in 1928
may have reached its apotheosis with 15,000 bulbs
on the Times Square building's tower consisting of
5-foot tall letters which flashed out the news of the
world, obtained from a telegraph connection, " collapsing
time and geography, " as the author puts it.
In support of this thesis, " an electric light
changes the underlying nature of a space, " Isenstadt
concludes his book with a chapter on the experience
of occupying a space that once enjoyed electrical
illumination but is now dark. Blackouts, arising
from the fear of nighttime aerial bombing, became
commonplace in the United Kingdom, Europe, and
the United States in the years leading up to World
War II. A blackout was held pre-war in America in
May of 1938 in Farmingdale, Long Island, and the
New York World's Fair was also blacked out when
the nation was still at peace in October of 1940. Isenstadt
remarks that after decades of increasing illumination
in the United States, " the idea of a darkened
nation came as a shock. "
In a blackout, sirens would sound, triggering
an air raid drill. Homes could be illuminated but
the windows were covered with blackout curtains.
Table lamps with dark shades were used and ceiling
lamps were discouraged. An " air raid warden " -my
father was one-would ring the bell at a non-conforming
house and speak with the occupants. Electric
signs went dark, street lamps were switched off
and shop windows darkened and theater marquees
were turned off. Automobiles could be driven with
headlights partly covered.
A series of articles appeared in newspapers and
magazines during the war to explain how to use the
four nonvisual senses during a blackout in order
to safely go about one's business. People were
encouraged to use " audible cues " and to become
familiar with odors as so as to recognize the use of
poison gas. David Nye, mentioned earlier, has written
yet another book that will be of interest to readers
of Isenstadt: When the Lights Went Out, a History
of Blackouts in America. He treats not only wartime
blackouts but unintentional blackouts such as the
one that brought down the power grid in much of
the United States in 1965.
In clOsIng, I would like to compliment both the
publisher (MIT) and the author for the design of this
book. The choice of illustrations is inspired-running
from William Hogarth to Walker Evans to Saturday
Evening Post covers. The reproductions are
excellent, and reading this book is a treat.

A. David Wunsch is a Professor Emeritus of the
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, USA.
He is the book review editor for IEEE Technology and
Society Magazine Contact him at David_Wunsch@
uml.edu.
June 2021
19

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021

Contents
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Cover1
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Cover2
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 1
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Contents
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 3
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 4
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 5
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 6
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 7
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 8
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 9
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 10
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 11
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 12
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 13
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 14
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 15
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 16
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 17
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 18
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 19
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 20
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 21
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 22
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 23
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 24
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 25
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 26
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 27
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 28
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 29
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 30
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 31
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 32
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 33
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 34
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 35
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 36
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 37
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 38
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 39
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 40
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 41
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 42
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 43
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 44
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 45
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 46
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 47
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 48
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 49
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 50
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 51
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 52
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 53
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 54
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 55
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 56
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 57
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 58
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 59
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 60
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 61
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 62
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 63
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 64
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 65
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 66
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 67
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 68
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 69
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 70
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 71
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 72
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 73
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 74
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 75
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 76
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 77
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 78
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 79
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 80
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 81
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 82
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 83
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 84
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 85
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 86
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 87
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 88
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 89
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 90
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 91
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 92
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 93
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 94
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 95
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - 96
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Cover3
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_december2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_september2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_june2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_march2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_winter2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_fall2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_summer2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/technologysociety_spring2013
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com