Tuesday, February 23, 2016

'Los Alamos Rolodex': The Rediscovered Business Cards from America's Nuclear Program

Oh, this is a real treat for design and typography lovers! Matthew Coolidge, founder of The Center for Land Use Interpretation, bought a collection of vintage business cards that were used by the people responsible for building America's nuclear program in the 60's and 70's.

Hy-Test Safety Shoes. Brainpower USA. General Astrometals (a subsidiary of the Anaconda Company). Halliburton. The companies that helped build America's nuclear program range from the banal to the obscure to the ominous. Their business cards, collected by the thousands in Rolodexes by engineers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1960s and '70s, give us an unusual glimpse into what was arguably the most transformative technological project in modern history.

Those business cards would've been lost to history had Matthew Coolidge not come across them. Coolidge is the founder of the The Center for Land Use Interpretation and the force behind Los Alamos Rolodex: Doing Business With The National Lab, a project and book that examine the cards. He bought the collection a few years ago from the Los Alamos Black Hole, a kind of scrapyard where much of the lab's refuse ended up.

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