She’s so sweet, so cold, so fair,i
She checked the chain, painted the lines,
Artistic impulse subsumed to craft,
She’ll never go bankrupt in pursuit,ii
Her creations executed, without evolution,
Like Kenny G.iii
Let her go, let her go, oh bless her,
She’s not Corbu, Mies, or LL,
Closer to Bulpitt by hand, if not by heart,
She’s stretched out on a long, white table,
Wondering where she begins and Autoglyphs end,
Let a chorus girl sing her a song,
Titanium Age as fragile,iv as painted walls in our Studio,
It’s not the artist that creates objects, but create by way of objects,
So put a twenty-dollar gold piece on her watch chain,
You can let all the boys know she died standing pat.
- Crazy to think that this is what “black music” meant 100 years ago:
- Unlike J. Koons! ↩
- But don’t take my word for it, just ask Russ and Penny:
- If you thought the Bronze Age collapse was historically spectacular (and perhaps a bit inexplicable), just wait until you see the Titanium Age collapse. The metallurgy involved in commercialising titanium took nothing less than the might and motivation of the wealthiest empire in history, so figure on at least a few millennia gap before the Kroll processes is (re)discovered:
A commercially viable process for producing titanium wasn’t developed until the 1930s. In 1930 William Kroll, a scientist from Luxembourg, began experimenting with titanium in his home lab, and developed a process to produce titanium by reacting titanium chloride (TiCl4) with magnesium under a vacuum. By 1938, he had successfully produced 50 pounds of titanium metal, and successfully formed it into wires, rods, sheets, and plating. Kroll came to the US in 1938 to attempt to sell his process, but was unsuccessful.That same year, the US Bureau of Mines began to investigate titanium, in response to promising studies of its properties performed by the Philips Corporation (which had developed its own process for producing titanium). The Bureau of Mines concluded the Kroll process had the most potential as a commercial process and began to develop it. Its work was delayed by the war, but as early as 1944 the Bureau of Mines was making 15-pound batches of titanium in a plant that could make 100 pounds of titanium a week.
After the war, the Bureau’s work on titanium accelerated. By 1947 it had successfully scaled up Kroll’s process, and had produced two tons of titanium “sponge,” a porous, spongy metal created by the process, which is melted down to produce bars, sheets, wires, etc. A 1948 report on titanium’s properties commissioned by the Bureau concluded that titanium and its alloys had great potential engineering applications. Titanium was nearly as strong as stainless steel, but weighed 40% less. It was also incredibly corrosion-resistant, and maintained much more strength at elevated temperatures compared to aluminum. This made it potentially very useful for aerospace applications, where weight was at a premium and materials were often exposed to high temperatures.
via the excellent Brian Potter. “But Pete,” I hear you stammer, “government should stay out of business and industry!” Hurr durr if only it was so simple, Timmy, if only it were so simple…
Relatedly, there’s never been and never could be an eternal empire, just as there’s never been and never could be an eternal man. Act accordingly.