A Tiny Mapping Journey

Categories dgst, Modules

Let’s map this device out!

After some fumbling about, the ‘Wes Anderson Does‘ team committed to the dissection of a Comdial desk phone unit that we believe to be from 1997, based on manuals and other documentation.

Here is an adorable Comdial phone family photo:


I was MIA for a significant portion of this project, so I missed a lot of the deconstruction. However, I ended up researching this piece circled in red:

deconstruction comdial

My teammate Danielle Howard got first dibs on the colorful pieces circled in blue. While I was originally envious of this, I know that she was the right one for the job.

Using AllDataSheetsI found what I could about my little piece. I searched for it in Google originally, but only received about 5 irrelevant results.

All Data Sheets gave me a bit of trouble as well, until I realized I should include the term ‘Phillips’ in my search (Phillips items are marked by a small oval shape, as can be seen above). While I was unable to find anything exact, I did find a document for a ‘semiconductor/voltage regulator’ that I thought would logically be a necessary part of the grid above.

Here is a snip of the ‘Phillips Discrete Semiconductor’ found on the document:

phillips discrete semi conductor

The second part of the two page document was simply a few sentences describing the voltage and dates (revised from October 1991 to Jun 10 1996).

Since the document was revised in 1996, our team took it as further confirmation that the Comdial device was likely made in 1997. The other pieces of the device have been logged into a timeline, along with the semiconductor I researched.

While this assignment did come across to me as largely tedious, this write-up of it has actually helped me realize why it is useful:

Further than dissecting this device, we also archived the pieces that went into it. Had we not done this, that information would simply gone unorganized and inaccessible.

While knowledge for the sake of knowledge is important in its own right, the deconstruction and logging of a device helps one remember that it had to actually be built in the first place.

The process sheds light on the importance of not taking our progress as society for granted: perhaps a cliché lesson, but a useful reminder to remain mindful of the micro aspect to our surroundings.


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