Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

The Queen Mary 3

July 13, 2015

I have no idea why dials appeal to me so much. I’m not even comparing them in my mind to digital displays. I just love them for themselves. These are more in the Queen Mary’s engine rooms. I also like the muddled look here. Not that I’m not a fan of clean graphical interfaces in my own practical world. But look what I found on the Internet: “[T]here is something to be said for mechanical dial indicators. I have seen QC inspectors make consistently accurate go/no-go readings with dial indicators before the pointer has stopped moving. At a glance, they can tell approximately where the pointer will stop. This accuracy is close enough for many applications. Digital displays don’t give users the option of approximating.” The article from which I took these sentences goes on to pretty much favor digital readouts, but I’m glad to know there is still some advantage somewhere to lovely dials. Of course the article says nothing about the value to the machine operator of seeing pipes and wheels and wires in the foreground and background. Maybe that joy is reserved for some of us photographers.

07202013 Queen Mary-39-Edit


07202013 Queen Mary-43

4 responses

  1. Digital readouts will never be as photogenic as these. And the busy background only adds to the beauty.


    July 13, 2015 at 7:56 AM

  2. Thanks, Ken. Glad you agree.


    July 13, 2015 at 12:16 PM

  3. Robert Sims

    There’s the immediate comprehension of a trained dial-reader. But our connection with the dials goes much, much deeper: We have many dial-like “read-outs” in our bodies: the degrees of pain in our various parts, ditto temperature, stress, pleasure, hunger, sleepiness/alertness, mood, bowel status, and on and on, all of which we can and mostly do comprehend immediately, to be read any time we want, and brought to our attention automatically when an alarm condition arises.

    Also, the designers of the dials and the dial collections clearly had us – the dial viewers and users – in mind, and were relating to us. They grouped dials with common function; they used different kinds of symmetry whenever possible, they made it all look “nice” for our pleasure (and theirs), and we instantly and then contemplatively appreciate those feelings expressed in their handiwork. All that extra engineering attention just to connect their pleasure with ours. No wonder we’re immediately drawn to a “cool” dial job.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 20, 2015 at 1:07 PM

    • So that’s why I like dials. Thank you, Bob, for your insightful response. It makes me appreciate these dials all the more.


      July 21, 2015 at 3:28 PM

It's a pleasure to read your comments.

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