JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
I do enjoy infographic presentation that employ well-known and/or iconic bits from the environment as measuring implements. Like using the Eiffel Tower for gauging heights, as shown earlier in this blog (see The Eiffel Tower as a Unit of Measurement, here) and St. Peter's cathedral for showing the depths of oceans (here). This surprising images appears in a simple pamphlet called The Conquest of the Desert (and which starts with a quote from Herodotus), published in 1910, and written on the subject of the Shoshone Dam (the Buffalo Bill Dam), which was opened in that same year. It was a monster at 328' high, and one of the best ways for the author to show what 328' tall mean was to compare it to something very well known--and at thee time one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world was the Flat Iron Building in NYC, which stands three feet shorter. And I'm pretty sure I've not seen too many images of famous buildings out-of-context and out-of-place as this.
In 1910, in the heady just-getting-started days of skyscrapers coming into full view, and with structures like the Singer building topping out at over 600', it ws legislated in Washington D.C. that no building in the city would be taller than the Washington Monument, for fear of the thing strapped with teh shadow of something larger. That's about the only thing that came to mind seeing this alternative measurement of the Shoshone Project dam: