Bel Geddes and the War Game

I’ve been sitting on a link to a fantastic essay about industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes and his fascination with miniature dioramas and games, including in the 1930s a vast one-of-a-kind war game. I’m posting without comment because I just haven’t had any luck coming up with something new to say about a story so interesting. It mixes high society, gambling, the heavy shadow of World War I, and a fascination with technology both full-scale and miniaturized:

As with the horse races, players took the proceedings seriously. Tensions tended to run high; faces would redden, lips tighten, fists clench. So much Prohibition liquor was consumed that Geddes was finally reduced to serving water. Many participants wore felt hats, headbands, or eyeshades to keep perspiration from running down their faces, and carried handkerchiefs to dry sweaty hands. Theater critic Bruce Bliven doubled as a referee and war correspondent, madly punching away at a typewriter set up between the opposing sides.

The essay is here, at The Believer.


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