This Woman Was a Bored Button-Pusher Before Jane Jetson Was Even Born

Illustration for article titled This Woman Was a Bored Button-Pusher Before Jane Jetson Was Even Born

Today Cory Doctorow tweeted out a fascinating image showing an RCA computer room in 1959. I can’t stop staring at it.

Advertisement

There’s a peculiar artifice to the clearly-staged promotional photo that’s so striking—not only for its incredibly rich colors, but for the expressions on the computer operators’ faces. Especially the woman pushing a button with the mindless boredom you’d expect of George Jetson. Or perhaps a robot.

Illustration for article titled This Woman Was a Bored Button-Pusher Before Jane Jetson Was Even Born
Advertisement

After a bit of digging I discovered the photo comes from a 1959 RCA Annual Report. Flickr user James Prochnick has some scans from the report and they’re absolutely captivating. Again, part of my captivation with the image is the deep saturation of the colors. But also the clearly meticulous nature with which everything is framed.

I guess you’d expect nothing less of an electronics company dealing with high-tech computers in the late 1950s. I can’t help but wonder what that woman must be thinking. She reminds me of Jane Jetson and her “buttonitis” affliction.

Illustration for article titled This Woman Was a Bored Button-Pusher Before Jane Jetson Was Even Born

The cover to the annual report appears below.

Illustration for article titled This Woman Was a Bored Button-Pusher Before Jane Jetson Was Even Born
Advertisement

[Flickr via Cory Doctorow]

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

mattnovak
Matt Novak

And here’s David Sarnoff from that same report, just for good measure:

RCA Chairman David Sarnoff (left) and President John L. Burns inspect a new tube which provides large-screen radar display even in a brightly-lighted room. Other Products shown include a model of the RCA 501 Electronic Data Processing System, a new precision image orthicon tube for both color and black-and-white TV cameras, the “Pockette” Personal radio, a developmental thermionic generator for converting rocket exhaust directly into electric power, and three types of RCA’s Nuvistor electronic tubes. Chart in background shows trend of RCA’s sales during the decade of the Fifties.