Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Knob

Consider the 'knob'. Yes, the knob. You know, that graceful, circular dial that used to grace so much of our electronics. Where has it gone?

The knob used to be a staple of nearly every electrical or electronic device you owned. It was on your radios, your tape players, your stereo rack systems, even your oven. (Okay, they still are on your oven). I can think back when I was a little boy and had my first transistor radio. It had dials. It had knobs. Because it was small, they were really small. It was a device that had style and design buily into it. Where did that panache of design go?

It went the way of the button. I looked at the radio in my car the other day. It was filled with buttons. A button for mode, one for FM (1 or 2), AM, CD player, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Gone are the days when one would press their ear against a crackly speaker and slowly spin the knob to fine tune the frequency. And yes, it did help if you closed your eyes. (I think it's a scientific fact). Well, maybe.

The knob has a delicate symmetry. It is graceful, nearly no matter the size. And what can you do with big knobs? You can spin them really fast. Want to pump up the volume quickly? No more pushing an ^ up or down and wait for the electronics to catch up. Just grab the knob and give a spin. That'll get your ears burning in a hurry. So for the tuner as well. Spin that baby and you're at the other end of the dial in no time. It just doesn't have the same satisfaction pushing a button. Just like a telephone. Hanging up on someone when you're angry just doesn't have the same emotional satisfaction of pushing an off button. Most will never know the power of slamming a receiver down on the hook. But I digress...

The scientists of the early electronic era had it best. They had knobs. Knobs and dials galore to spin, tweak, turn and fine tune on their calculating, measuring and calibrating devices. And they had analog gauges with needles that measured things. Oh, don't get me started on analog over digital.

We will someday, pass the last knob into the history books when their functionality no longer suits our beeping, electronic world. Our great grandchildren one day will look on these wondrous protrusions and simply raise their eyebrows. Then, they will all run off an push some buttons. I for one will miss those days.




1 comment:

  1. Ah, I so agree with you! Those were the days.

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