Today is World Smile Day, a day devoted to smiles and kind acts throughout the world.
Taking place annually on the first Friday in October, World Smile Day is the creation of Harvey Ball. Harvey Ball is also the recognised creator of ‘the smiley’ face, the bright yellow circle with some simple eyes and wide grin.
To celebrate World Smile Day, I decided to take a quick walk around the new Science and Technology galleries looking for some smiles in our museum objects. Have you ever seen a face in an object? It starts perhaps by noticing a couple of eyes, perhaps a nose and if you are lucky a big wide mouth.
Not every object was smiling for me today, but I have selected ten technical museum objects that have some good expressions on them, if you look hard enough.
1. Bulging happy eyes on this telephone
The first thing I see when I look at this wall-mounted telephone is a a wonderful open-mouthed and open-eared face. It’s hard to define it specifically as a smile, but it definitely seems to have bulging happy eyes and seems to me to mimic a face, which considering the function makes sense. You can find this welcoming object in Communicate, on Level 3 of our new Science and Technology galleries.
2. A toothy grin on this Electric Typewriter
You can find this ‘Executive’ typewriter peering out at you from Level 5 of the brilliant Window on the World display at the National Museum of Scotland. It’s not alone, there are three other typewriters alongside it, each with a unique expression. However, I thought this ‘bold-face’ was the most cheerful. I see some eyes in the upper switches, then the keyboard looks like a big toothy grin.
3. An inquisitive smirk on this model
I guess the facial resemblance here is intentional, as this model is supposed to highlight some of the movements of the eyes in response to muscles. The curve in the base gives this object a brilliant expression. It’s so cheerful that just looking at it makes my eyes widen and the corners of my mouth start to expand to smile back at it. See it in Enquire, on Level 5 of our Science and Technology galleries
4. A beaming set of measures
I had to look a couple of times at this box of measures to be certain that I see a face in it. But the subtle spacers in the lid of the box certainly could pass for a set of eyes, with the measures making a wide set of shiny teeth. See this in Making It, on Level 1 of our Science and Technology galleries.
5. A friendly open-mouthed Edison
In this Edison I see two small eyes, a large honking nose and and open mouth. It even has a hint of a body, with the arm waving on the right and one leg dropped down. What a delightful fellow. Again as this is a form of early telephone, which was connected by the operator, it seems appropriate that there are human elements in the design. Say hello in Communicate, on Level 3 of our Science And Technology galleries.
6. A sweet electric switch
It may say it is currently switched off, but I think the face in this switch from the Scotsman offices looks decidedly ON. With a little open mouth and two sweet brass eyes, it’s one of the favourites that I found on my walk. See it in Energise, Level 5 of our new Science and Technology galleries.
7. Sneering Speaker
The components of a smile seem to be present, but I see something more like a grimace upon this object’s face, as if we’ve surprised it by opening up the rectangular wooden box that conceals the two speakers. You can cheer this speaker up in Communicate, on Level 3 of our Science and Technology galleries.