Studying the life of Hellé Nice, the Bugatti Queen, is like reading a novel. A quite unrealistic novel that is. Such are the twists and turns, the steep rise and deep fall, that hardly any writer could dream it up.
Hellé Nice in an undated photograph (Jean-Pierre Poiter, Chelles, France/Random House)
Hellé Nice was born as Helene Delangle near Chartres as daughter of a postmaster, moved to Paris as teenager, posed for naughty photographs sold to…Continue
Introduced in 1922, it was a true Futurist automobile:
The Lambda was one of the most innovative cars of the twenties with its chassis, independent suspension and compact engine. It was the first to feature a load-bearing monocoque body which adopted by almost every manufacturer thirty years later. Vincenzo Lancia personally envisioned the Lambda after considering ship design and the strength that a hull needs to battle the great seas.…
"The changing perspectives of flight constitute an absolutely new reality that has nothing in common with the reality traditionally constituted by a terrestrial perspective.
These were two quotes from a 1929 Futurist manifesto,…Continue
Steam tractors, steam wagons, steam omnibuses, steam rollers... An endless source of inspiration.
Here's a collection of these glorious machines, alive and kicking, attending Steam Weeks, rallies and other events, brought to us by Damian Sharples aka day 192 @ Flickr:…Continue
Possibly the most successful British tank of World War I, the Whippet was responsible for more German casualties than any other British tank of the war.
Its big brothers, Mark I-VI tanks, are far more famous - and deadly slow. Of course, they were initially thought of as weapons of breakthrough only, but some experts started talking about using tanks for exploitation as well, working together with the cavalry*. This, however, required a faster tank. The result was…Continue
What's it - someone created computer icons with Dieselpunk flavor?
No, the pictures are 80 years old. They are very much alike modern pictograms, the ones we see everywhere. Office buildings and shopping malls, schools and stadiums, bus terminals and airports are full of these pictures, and there are millions of them on the Web.
Just recently I discovered the genesis of the pictogram and learned about the main proponent of the genre - Gerd Arntz (1900…Continue
It could be another Pulp Monday but I opted for Pin-Up Monday.
Seems more appropriate for this particular morning. Besides, Marcus finds the concept intriguing. And the artist whose works were enormously popular in 1940s hasn't been featured here yet. Here's his biography as told by BPIB:
This modest civil plane is surrounded by great names. Designed for routine flights, it lived an illustrious life full of adventure and heroism.Continue
Of all 1920s buildings this is the most surprising:
It was designed by Peter Behrens (1868 - 1940) - an influential, multi-faceted and controversial figure often called "the father of modern design". He worked in different styles, from sheer Neo-Classicism to laconic Modernism. One of the Werkbund founders, Behrens took part in collective projects as diverse as the…Continue
To boost this column's take-off, I needed a very special aircraft with spectacular history. Here it is:
This plane, first introduced on the 7th Paris Air Show in November 1921, was designed as a successor to a highly successful World War I light bomber, the Breguet XIV. A "trademark" of Breguet was the wide usage of duralumin as a construction material, instead of steel or wood. At that time, the aircraft was faster than other bombers, and even some fighter aircraft.…Continue
Added by lord_k on June 11, 2011 at 6:30am — No Comments
To stay neutral, a nation needs strong defense. Especially if we talk of a former great sea power.
Sweden, a country that did not enter any war since 1814, was not immune from the naval arms race in the early 20th century. After the dissolving of the union with Norway in 1905, the situation was tense with the Russian Empire in the east, Germany south of the Baltic Sea, and Norway,…Continue
Added by lord_k on June 8, 2011 at 6:30am — No Comments
This Saturday we honor a small aeroplane which started its life as a light bomber and ended as a "flying schooldesk", the first mount of countless pilots all over the world.
The Avro 504 was a World War I biplane aircraft made by the Avro aircraft company and under licence by others. Production during the War totalled 8,970 and continued for almost 20 years, making it the…Continue
Added by lord_k on June 4, 2011 at 7:30am — No Comments
For starters, another Lenin quote: "Revolution is worthy only when it can defend itself".
The instrument of defense (and not only defense) was Red Army, created in January 1918. Above is a 1930s poster, the slogan over French-style steel helmets says: "Red Army is a faithful guardian of October [Revolution] gains". Below, a kind of fairy tale printed to celebrate the second anniversary of the Army in 1920:…
Herman Sörgel’s Atlantropa is the craziest, most megalomaniacal scheme from the 20th century you never heard of.*
Sörgel (1885-1952) was a renowned German architect of the Bauhaus school, and a philosopher reflecting on culture, space and geopolitics. On the future’s horizon, he saw the emergence of three global superpowers, one uniting the American continent, another a Pan-Asian block, and Europe – possibly the weakest of the three.…Continue
The great Ken Burns will be back soon with a documentary that I bet all of us here will want to see:
World's first purpose-built airliner was much more comfortable for the crew and passengers than any of its contemporaries.
Junkers F.13, developed in 1919, is a true milestone in the history of aviation. As Johan Visschedijk writes, it "was designed from the beginning with two goals: to be the first all-metal airliner and the first series-produced airliner. "…Continue
Want an airship? Pay for it!
This poster urges the public to join OSOAVIAKHIM, Union of Societies of Assistance to Defence and Aviation-Chemical Construction, which prepared Red Army reserves and used its members' fees to fund new aircraft squadrons and airship flotillas. The poster above (1930) is far less convincing than "Have you enlisted?", a real masterpiece created by D. Moor ten years earlier, during the Civil War:…Continue
What makes these sailors so happy?
They are having fun. The Film Fun with cover art by Enoch Bolles, a great American illustrator who perfected the pin-up genre. Inner pages, so funny at the moment, will soon be forgotten and lost. The cover, almost for sure, will live on, glued to the sailor's suitcase lid or to the bulkhead above the other sailor's berth, if the Captain won't mind.…Continue
Remember Fritz von Opel? The one with a rocket motorcycle?Continue
Content is nothing. Looks are everything. We've seen great works of art created to advertise cheap soap or mediocre movies.
With books, looks are often inferior to content, but sometimes the opposite is true. Even a statistics handbook can become a work of art, provided with appropriate cover. That's what Lyubov Popova has done for the Russian Postage & Telegraph Statistics, 1921 (above):…Continue
Added by lord_k on May 19, 2011 at 6:30am — No Comments