The “push – button” age…how everything old is new again
Are we in 1957 or 2013?
In this column we’ve regularly discussed how the 1950’s was a period of incredible progress, optimism and forward-thinking. It was a time that created the promise of the “push-button” age – from cars to fridges to dishwashers – everything was “Cruise-o-matic” or “Hydra-drive” or “Quadra-traction”, or many more futuristic, made up terms used to describe the product features of the day!
Recently I came across an advertisement for the new 2013 Lincoln – a car made by Ford in the US. The ad explains how placing the gear selector on the dash as a series of buttons, rather than the normal column or floor shift, creates space in the cabin, and is easy to use. You can see it here on the left of the centre console.
Here’s a short video from Lincoln explaining the feature.
But a similar concept was used over 50 years ago – based on the same principle.
Is it possible that the ideas of the 50’s, inspired by a hunger for new ideas and innovation, boundless optimism and a fascination for the future – are becoming reality again today, just in a slightly different form?
The ill-fated Ford Edsel had “Teletouch drive” – the shift buttons on the hub of the steering wheel, but even more familiar to older Australians would be the 1957 De Soto (a Chrysler product) which featured Chrysler’s “Push-Button” dash mounted automatic transmission selector. A similar system was used in early Chrysler Valiants here in Australia in the early 1960’s.
Check out the similarities to the 2013 Lincoln video in this De Soto ad from 1957.
Now, I’m not sure that the 1957 De Soto was really “the most exciting car in the world” at the time, but it’s interesting to see the old concepts return.
Another example is the use of old-style telephone handsets for mobile phones, which are lighter and easier to hold – and also provide a measure of distance from the mobile phone handset.
What other “old” concepts are returning today? Write in the comments if you can think of one…or more….