I learned a new word today, Phlogiston [theory]. I’ll save you a click. In its strictest definition, it refers to
an obsolete scientific theory that postulated the existence of a fire-like element called “phlogiston”, which was contained within combustible bodies and released during combustion. The theory was an attempt to explain processes such as combustion and the rusting of metals…
And Phlogistonists are “scientists” and “researchers” who expend incalculable hours on pet theories for which there is no rational explanation. Consider within the context of my narrow domain, that of “vanity sizing”. One can find myriad mentions of it; researchers wax eloquent as to its ineffectiveness and detrimental effect yet where amid this bewildering compendium is quantitative research proving its existence?
Let us assume the phlogistonists academics are correct, there exists an unidentifiable ether with behaviors we cannot define or measure, we can only note its effects. Where is the body of scholarship within the needle trades itself to support this claim? We document everything. We write about mind boggling minutiae -on my site alone there are thousands of entries on arcane and possibly subjective matters as to the preferred sort of pencil to use when tracing patterns, does one cut a line away or leave it, whether one should use waxed vs colored paper to separate plies of a spread or the proper psi setting to adhere substrates -yet nowhere is any material, symposium, documentation, instruction, seminars, curriculum et cetera on the pivotal matter as to how to go about effectively “vanity sizing” one’s products to elicit greatest efficacy. Were the practice to exist as it is commonly believed, there would be volumes, millions of words on the practice. Yet, there are none. Where are the bodies? It must leave some evidence of its passage through the mores of our institutional landscape. Are we to suppose in these heady days of transparency, the inculcation and instruction of methods of vanity sizing remains an arcane blood secret amongst practitioners? Where exists the trade literature, the consultants, the mercenary service providers to instruct the proper ways to do this? They do not exist. Continue reading The phlogistonists of vanity sizing