Prior to going to law school, I worked as a legislative aide in the Norfolk, Virginia office of Congressman William G. Whitehurst. (previously mentioned in prior blogs and my website biography)
When I started working at the office, I was impressed with some of the new technology. For instance, the Washington main office would call us with a press release. I would run over to this “amazing contraption” that included a cradle to place a phone. There, the phone in the Washington D.C. office would send a signal that would ultimately be typed out on this “slippery-feeling” paper.
One of my jobs as a Congressional aide was to run these “paper communications” to each of the television and radio news stations. It fascinated me that words over a phone could produce a document from an office that was miles away.
That advancement in technology has been replaced by many things including the fax machine and ultimately email. Is that technology like these shoes that are “coming and going”?
Which brings me to more “technology” from the 1800’s. On June 21, 1834, a young Virginian named Cyrus McCormick (Wikipedia) was granted a patent for a reaper machine. His horse-drawn reaper enable farmers to harvest more than 10 acres a day, with less workers. (From This Day In History)
Before his invention, it was all field labor with farmers out using sharp scythes, harvesting a maximum of 2-3 acres of grain per day. By 1851, McCormick Harvesting Machine Company was the largest implement factory in the world. In 1902, the company merged with other companies to form International Harvester Company. (one of the partners was J.P. Morgan)
Today, we don’t think much of the technology of a reaper because so many advancements in the machine industry have replaced it. Once again, it’s a reminder that advancements in technology will be replaced by more technology.
In the practice of law, it’s the same way. If you don’t keep striving to do it better, you will become yesterday’s way of doing it. More advances… More technology. Today, it’s rare to see a typewriter in a law office. Will paper mail some day be totally replaced. There’s always a better way to do things, to be more efficient.
Before 1859, umpires were seated in padded chairs, as they called balls and strikes behind home plate. I’m thinking that on hot summer days, they miss that “technology” of those padded chairs!
And for pic o’ day… some office politics?