Kafka at the helm.

Franz Kafka had little use and no affection for that new-fangled invention – the telephone.

Kafka probably also wished he had never seen a typewriter, though he pecked away on it daily.

However,  no doubt to his chagrin, Kafka has been credited with devising the first ‘safety helmet’ or hard hat. He was also awarded a medal for this feat. Now, I knew Kafka had been awarded a medal by the Austro-Hungarian Empire for some services rendered. The beauty of this (something even Kafka appreciated) was that it never happened. By the time the bureaucracy  of the Empire had chewed its way through the procedure, the Empire no longer existed. Empire and Emperor were both gone as a result of the First World War. The Empire had disappeared before Kafka ever got his medal.

For a writer seemingly outside the ‘real’ world, Kafka was acutely aware of it and how it functioned.  He was  the first person to describe for popular consumption, through a newspaper article, the flight of that newfangled device, the aeroplane. He attended an air show in Italy where there were stunts and races. He wrote an account, “Die Aeroplane in Brescia,” which was published in the Prague newspaper Deutsche Zeitung Bohemia. I would say he was impressed, if not exactly pleased.

DE

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