Dr. Jayne’s Mensch als Industriepalast

In 1926 Fritz Kahn created his famous “Mensch als Industriepalast,” a fascinating, modernist depiction of the human being as a chemical factory, staffed with industrious little workers, replete with control centers, machines, conduits, communication wires (see the copy at the NLM).

Fritz Kahn’s Mensch als Industriepalast (1926)—see a larger version here.
Fritz Kahn’s Mensch als Industriepalast (1926)—see a larger version here.

In an impressive display plagiarism, Dr. Jayne’s almanac for 1939 included a strikingly similar image:

Dr. Jayne’s Mensch als Industriepalast (1939).
Dr. Jayne’s Mensch als Industriepalast (1939).

Although Dr. Jayne’s illustration was meant to explain “A few of the mysteries of the human body,” it adopted the same factory rhetoric and imagery that marked Kahn’s original poster: bile is manufactured; the bladder is a tank; nerves are like telegraph wires; the eye is like a camera, the ear like a microphone; the spinal cord is “the main cable of electric wires;” the heart is “a powerful pumping station.”

Workers and control centers are arranged and many of the details are labeled just as they are in Kahn’s original image.

Imitation is the purest form of flattery.

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