Our Interface exhibition unpacks some strategies employed by designers to simplify the way we use information technology (IT) tools. But surprisingly, the earliest objects in the exhibition are not IT artefacts at all but come from our decorative arts collection.
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Were you one of the many Australian children who played on old steamrollers set up in municipal parks after they were no longer required by local councils? Steamrollers, more correctly called road-rollers, were the last type of steam vehicles used on roads.
In the early decades of the twentieth century steam-powered vehicles including traction engines, steam wagons, road locomotives, road rollers and steam fire engines were a common sight on Australian roads.
One of the most visually impressive objects in the Museum's collection is this fabulous steam ploughing engine. It's an example of the world's first successful method of powered cultivation, developed by John Fowler of Leeds, England, in 1863 and was part of the mechanisation and industrialisation of agriculture during the nineteenth century.
Steam has been used to power engines used in industry, agriculture, mining and even for fighting fires. The Museum has a horse-drawn steam fire engine built by the English firm of Merryweather and Sons of Greenwich, in 1895.
If you could nominate just one technology that's changed your life, what would it be? There are plenty that we wouldn't want to live without, but some technologies have affected us so profoundly that they've changed the way we think.