If you remember Futurama’s Central Bureaucracy, you’ll be interested to know that it has foundation in Czech retrofuturism! The Central Social Institution of Prague is a retrofuturism paradise – Czech out (ha-ha!) this video (requires English CC translation”) for more information:
According to RareHistoricalPhotos, “These are the offices of the Central Social Institution of Prague (Czechoslovakia back then) in 1937 and it contained the largest vertical letter file cabinets in the world. The office consists of cabinets arranged from floor to ceiling tiers covering over 4,000 square feet containing over 3000 drawers 10 feet high (3 meters).” With this installation it is now possible for 20 workers to do what formerly required the services of 400.
Why would you want such a weird, automated filing system? Other than the labor savings, it’s a wild retrotech answer to the question: “What if there was a human relational database?” Interestingly, Czech republic in interwar period was one of the worlds most developed countries (e.g: Baťa elevator office in Zlín, Prague’s tube post or Villa Tugendhat in Brno). Long before we had high tech, we had low tech, and the Central Social Institution of Prague is an example of the stepping stones humanity took toward a future where everything could be catalogued, spindled, or preserved.
I hope you enjoyed this moment of scifi nerdery! Please feel welcomed to dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend! 🙂