seltsam Nägel

drawing pins

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, Popular Lectures and Addresses: A Future History of Time Machines:

In 1903, improving upon the guidelines laid out by Alfred Jarry, the first functioning time machine is produced by clockmaker Johann Kirsten in Lychen, Germany. Due to the simplicity of its design, its scale and the cheapness of the materials required for its manufacture, the device was soon being mass produced and quickly became commonplace in homes and workplaces around the world.

However, a fire at the Lychen printing press days before launch, meant the first Zeitmaschine were sold without instructions or explanatory packaging. The resultant incidents of misuse — running into the millions — have disrupted time beyond all recognition, unbeknownst to users who began adopting the tiny devices for other purposes, namely as a means to temporarily fix paper to surfaces such as walls and drawing boards. In Germany they come to be known as seltsam Nägel. The obvious potential for profit of such a device was recognised by local businessmen Otto and Paul Lindstedt who, in 1904, acquire the rights to the invention, patenting it as a Reißzwecke.

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Jamie Atherton

Jamie Atherton is an artist living and working in London.

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