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MetalCasting Design & Purchasing

Knowing Technology When You See It

Brian Eno is one kooky musician. (He's well known for his frequent collaborations with the equally kooky David Byrne of the Talking Heads.) But even Eno knows the value of a metal casting.

In a recent interview about the role of technology in music, Eno talked about how the metal casting used to make a grand piano was instrumental in advancing the art form.

“The concert grand piano as we know it today really depended on the state of iron-casting technology,” he told U.K.-based periodical The Telegraphy. “Prior to the pianos of the mid-19th century, frames were wooden, so the pianos could only be put under a certain amount of tension and therefore could never really be that loud. The first iron-framed pianos were called pianofortes…the pianoforte could be used against a full orchestra and still be heard.”

That’s a pretty cool feather in metalcasting’s cap (and one we’ve reviewed before in our magazine), but it’s Eno’s discussion of the nature of technology that really kept us interested in the interview.

“As my friend Danny Hillis the inventor said, technology is the name we give to things that don’t work yet,” he said. “When it works, we don’t call it technology anymore.”

Metalcasting is one of the world’s oldest technologies. But it works so well and is so integral in modern society that many people don’t even think of it as technology anymore. It’s a good thing the world has kooky musicians to remind us of these things.

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