Gives a whole new meaning to the term “ephemera”.
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I believe the Vandercook shown is part of the graphic arts program at Carnegie Mellon located in room 110 of the Margaret Morrison Carnegie building shown at the start of the video. Joe Dicey headed up that program and it’s the remnant of the long gone school of printing managment at the college that ceased in 1963. A replacement program never achieved the success of the old PM school that had been heavily supported by the printing industry. It is rewarding to see letterpress being used in a support position for what looks like a very interesting technological solution for making clean water—but maybe the packaging is lost on the end user?
I really hope they’re able to do something useful with the filtration method, but I also hope they realize the design they currently have is fairly useless. The majority of the world’s poorest people, those who are the most desperately in need to things like this have quite possibly never even heard English spoken and are almost certainly illiterate in it. Perhaps a set of iconographic instructions, instead; something language independent? And the box could stand to be deeper to hold water more effectively. Filtration is great but not if you spill the water before you can use it. And get rid of the book binding. It’s cute, but wasteful. A simple stack of filter papers in a deeper, waterproof box would be cheaper to produce and more useful. Excellent idea and brilliant technology, overly flashy presentation.
Actually Mephits, one side is printed in Swahili with graphic instructions (you can see it at 1:08 in the video as the page is torn out). I doubt anyone involved with a project of this magnitude (anything letterpress takes prep and planning) would forget that people in Africa don’t frequently speak English. I wonder if the bookbinding protects the pages from sun damage or debris? I might agree with you on the box, but the size keeps the book snug, which keeps it from getting banged around and damaged.
Just when I think I’ve heard (or seen) it all, something like this appears to disprove it!
This started out sounding like some of that spam we’ve been subjected to recently…but I guess it’s for real.
Another example of our tax dollar at work, taking care of everyone on this earth except our own.
I think the bookbinding idea is brilliant — it keeps the sheets together until they are needed, which is not often as they can work for quite a long while, It makes a portable unit, whereas loose sheets would get scattered long before they were used.
And taking care of our own is what we’ve been doing for centuries at the expense of much of the poorer people of the world, robbing, stealing them and their resources, destroying their economies. It’s about time to give back to some of the victims, and a technology that can conserve precious water for areas where it’s scarce is a good choice. Better than just sending a printing press to them!
I greatly consider this as doing something for our own, as we are all equal human beings living on this earth. I also agree that it’s a great idea with an over flashy presentation, though I know “marketing is everything” is usually a correct statement.
Thanks for sharing!
The last comment is simply a warning to all: Stay away from the more volatile cleaning fluids. The vapours tend to distort reality.
Panthera, thanks for pointing out the other languages in the book. That’s a bit better. I still think the binding is rather pointless. You’ve got wasted filter paper along the spine, you’ve got a cover that will simply become waste someday and for what? The box itself should be designed to protect the filter paper. And really, what’s worse, losing the entire book in one go, or losing a few sheets over time? And if you lose the entire package, it’s the same either way.
Why not simply put cut squares of filter paper with pictorial instructions in a deeper, square box that holds the same number of filters as this one, and that’s otherwise similar to what’s shown here? Simpler to manufacture (none of this ridiculously over-complex and energy-inefficient laser cutting of perfs and screw-stud holes just to prove how cool we are), less wasteful, and almost surely less expensive (no cover to manufacture, no laser cutting costs, only one or two print runs and simple cutting).
Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea, and I’m all for helping to improve the lives of the millions of people who haven’t been as fortunate as I. I just think it could be done more effectively if the team was less interested in marketing a cute design and more interested in producing the best product they can to solve the very real problem at hand.