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Changing Designs Written by Catherine Veitch W

Contents What is design?


Early clocks


Clocks today


Keeping cool


Early telephones Phones today

10 12

Recording sound Making music

14 16

Cleaning made easier From cow to kitchen


Put the kettle on


Early television


Televisions today Designing the future

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What is design? Design is an important part of our lives. A designer starts with an idea and makes a plan, drawing a model to show how their idea will look and work. The design of things changes over time as fashions change, and designers learn more about how things work and discover new materials.


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A designer will ask lots of questions, such as ... “What will my design do?” “Who will use my design?” “What will my design look like?””

plan for a clock


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Early clocks We’ve used clocks since sundials were ere iinvented nvented ls w eren’t around 2,000 bc. However, sundials weren’t ial w e re very accurate as the marks on the d dial were were blurred, b l u r re d , often incorrect, the shadow edges were as ssunny. unny. and sundials only worked when it w was pointer



Sundials are clocks that use the position of the Sun to show the time. The Sun shines on the pointer, which casts a shadow on the dial.


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The first accurate clock was designed by Christiaan Huygens in 1656. Huygens’s clock was the first to be worked by a pendulum, which swung under it. However, only wealthy people could afford to keep these longcase clocks.

clock face



Did you know? Longcase clocks were later called grandfather clocks. This name came from a song about a longcase clock written by Henry Work in 1876 called “My Grandfather’s Clock”. 5

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Clocks today It wasn’t until scientists learnt about a new k material that vast improvements in clock design were made. In 1927, Warren Marrison had the idea of using a material called quartz crystal in a clock. When electricity from a battery is passed through quartz, the quartz starts changing shape and vibrating. These tiny movements power the clock and are more accurate than the big swings of a pendulum. Quartz crystals are still used in clocks and watches today.

a quartz clock from 1967


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Did you know? Many clocks today show the time in digits and are called digital clocks. Josef Pallweber designed

digital clock

the ďŹ rst digital clock in 1956. 7

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Keeping cool Before fridges were designed, d, people kept food outside or packed in ice and snow to make d the h ďŹ rst it last. In 1834, Jacob Perkins d designed ice-making machine, which used gases to cool food. However, these early fridges weren’t used for long, as the gases were poisonous and made people ill. Jacob Perkins’s ice-making machine


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Designers were keen to ďŹ nd safer gases, and in 1928, Thomas Midgley, Jr succeeded. The gases and liquids he discovered helped people feel that owning a fridge was safe. Following his design, more cheaper fridges were made.

Today, fridges have features such as ice makers and 1930s fridge

water dispensers.


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Changing Designs  
Changing Designs