We are especially nostalgic for the mechanical. We miss the weight of objects, the sounds of gears and levers, the clicks and thumps, the ringing bells and clacking keys—and so we have a whole range of modern skeuomorphs, or derivative objects that retain ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original. Noisy Typer adds the sound of typewriter keys to a computer keyboard, and USB Typewriter (“A groundbreaking advancement in the field of obsolescence!”) allows any manual typewriter to be converted to a keyboard for an iPad or PC. Several iPhone covers are available that mimic the look of a vintage Leica or Hasselblad film camera. Instagram filters turn digital photographs into imitation Polaroids. None of this adds functionality. Nearly every one of the iPhone/iPad’s built-in apps uses an icon that refers to an outdated, much earlier version of itself: the Frank Sinatra stand mike, the vintage tube television, the spiral-bound address book, the envelope. Yet many smartphone users are too young to have used most of these objects in real life (consider the inconvenience of carrying them around); the nostalgic design of the interface feeds upon a set of reconstructed memories divorced from the experiences that generated them, creating a culturally-shared yearning for lost golden moments. The latest iteration of Apple’s iCal looks like a desk blotter—an item that’s been obsolete since we stopped writing with fountain pens. Ask ten people under the age of 30 if they know what a desk blotter is or what it was used for, and see how many have a clue what you’re talking about. Nostalgic design serves as a kind of safekeeping, preserving images of beloved objects so they don’t completely disappear from the collective unconscious.