Since the mid 1800’s some type of the blueprint has been used to guide builders of all sorts to construct mechanisms and structures large and small. With its iconic white on blue or blue on white appearance, the blueprint has been an instrumental part of American history. From the monuments of Washington D.C. to the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s indisputable that these fetes of construction could not have been accomplished without the blueprint.
Having learned at an early age how to read them, and later on how to produce them, blueprints have been a ubiquitous part of my life. It is then with a little bit of sadness that I must accept the fact that the blueprint is going the way of the drafting board.
Improvements in printing and copying technology have led to the inevitable demise of the blueprinting process. Changes in governmental regulations regarding the transportation of ammonia, a necessary ingredient in production of blueprints, seems to be the final blow to this method of distributing construction documents.
I fully expect – much like we still refer to a newly released collection of songs by an artist as an album – we will continue to call the black and white construction documents blueprints. I envision that sometime in the future there will be a newly minted architect or builder that will wonder why construction drawings are referred to as blueprints.
I realize that it may seem foolish to lament the loss of this technology and it probably is a bit silly of me but there is something to be said for the comfort that one establishes with things that we use on a daily basis. I, for one, still prefer the old fashioned newspaper instead of reading the news on a computer screen and it’s that kind of tactile attachment I feel to the blueprint.
In a life full of change that seems to come unrelentingly at warp speed, this is but a very minor deal in the scope of things, I guess. As usual, I’ll adjust and eventually will not even give a thought to this change but whenever I come across an old blueprint it will be yet one more thing for which to feel nostalgic.