Standing next to a stack of pallets Monika Dommann will speak about … pallets. They were brought to Europe by the U. S. Navy during the Second World War. There the railroad companies adapted them to a standard unit that during the Cold War crossed back and forth across the Iron Curtain, establishing a European cooperative space between the opposing blocks. One hardly notices them when they are stacked in front of supermarkets, on ramps, at train stations or in elevators. And when used to make doghouses, bed frames, footpaths or parking space savers they also serve the purpose quite well. Why did pallets become standard in the logistics industry? And what makes them the ideal construction material for wild infrastructures?
Monika Dommann is Professor of Modern History at the University of Zurich. In autumn 2019 her new book will be released by Fischer: Materialfluss. Eine Geschichte der Logistik an den Orten ihres Stillstandes [Material Flow: A History of Logistics in the Places Where It Comes to a Standstill].