Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

April 2011 Articles (56)

Killer Serials - Bela Lugosi in Whispering Shadow (1933)

Welcome to Killer Serials on Dieselpunks.

Killer Serials is our chance to spotlight the pre-television days of cliffhanger entertainment.  Whether it's secret agents, pulp heroes, or master magicians, you can guarantee there will be action, suspense, and plenty of cheesy props.

This week, we have the scene chewing star of Dracula, Bela Lugosi in Whispering Shadow, a 12 Chapter Serial made in 1933 by Nat Levine for Mascot Pictures Corporation. It's a take on the popular…


Added by Tome Wilson on April 30, 2011 at 3:30pm — No Comments

French Flying Gunships

Back to the story of aircraft-mounted cannons:

Voisin airplanes were only a beginning. The cannons were mounted on a number of other flying machines. An extract from The Cannon Pioneers by Anthony G Williams:

"The Breguet 5Ca2 (see above) was also originally fitted with a 37 mm cannon for bomber escort purposes, as was the Caudron…


Added by lord_k on April 30, 2011 at 7:00am — No Comments

Lord K's Garage - #86. Opel Rocket Motorcycle

When it comes to rocket propulsion, a bike is seldom mentioned. But why?

Let me introduce a 1920s rocket two-wheeler - and a brilliant article by Paul d'Orleans / The Vintagent (sure many of you are familiar with his blog).

"It's summertime, and a young man's fancy turns to... attaching rockets to his motorcycle! Except, in each of these cases, a middle-aged man is actually…


Added by lord_k on April 29, 2011 at 6:30am — 5 Comments

Soviet Tobacco Art

This poster is an interesting mix of old and new:

A Russian proletarian dressed after a pre-Revolution fashion (visor cap + silk blouse + striped trousers + high boots) is riding a cigarette made by state-owned factory, with state-owned Mosselprom grocery store in the background. The brand name awarded with such a bombastic presentation is not too impressive - just Pachka ("Pack"). 1920s at their best.

This working-class guy is advertising a…


Added by lord_k on April 28, 2011 at 6:30am — No Comments

Bren Gun: Icon of War and Pin Up Propaganda Pt. I

During the year of these weekly weapons features, the small arms designers of Czechoslovakia have time and again risen to the top as innovators in the field. And this week, the Bren Gun will be profiled, but this British weapon has its roots in Eastern Europe.


Like the FN MAG, the Bren gun is an automatic weapon considered one of the best in the small arms…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on April 27, 2011 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

Finnish "Lighthouse Battleships"

Väinämöinen and Ilmarinen were the largest ships of Finnish Navy.

During the early inter-war period, the Finnish Navy consisted of some 30 ex-Russian vessels. Most of these were old and in bad shape, and the types were not ideal for requirements of the navy as they mostly had been taken as war-trophies following the civil war. In 1925, a tragic incident highlighted the sorry state of the navy. An old torpedo boat was lost in a fierce storm,…


Added by lord_k on April 27, 2011 at 6:30am — 2 Comments

Two Fisted Tuesdays with Philip Marlowe - The Dark Tunnel

Welcome to Two Fisted Tuesdays, Dieselpunks' weekly beat on the mean streets.

Starring Gerald Mohr and starting with the famous lines, "Get this and get it straight! Crime is a sucker's road and those who travel it wind up in the gutter, the prison or the grave." The Adventures of Philip Marlowe runs about 25 minutes without commercials. You can listen to this blast from the past in MP3 format for free at the link below.…


Added by Tome Wilson on April 26, 2011 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Porsche shows off a gas-electric hybrid design from 1900

The name Porsche has been associated with pioneering automotive engineering innovations since the beginning of the last century. In 1900 Prof. Ferdinand Porsche unveiled his Lohner Porsche, an electric car with wheel-hub motors driving the front wheels. Soon after, this car featured all-wheel drive and four-wheel brakes, another world first. A highlight of his early years as…


Added by Tome Wilson on April 26, 2011 at 11:00am — 2 Comments

Horizontal Skyscrapers

Moscow, 1920s. Strange structure above a tram stop. Haven't you seen it before?

Try to remember... No? OK, I'm not playing games any more. It's a photocollage. Such structures exist but not in Moscow, built much later. But they stem out of 1920s proposal made by El (Lazar) Lissitzky (1890-1941), a giant of Russian and international Avant-garde. In a week or two we'll have a good chance to talk about Lissitzky multi-faceted personality, his influence and…


Added by lord_k on April 26, 2011 at 6:30am — 4 Comments

Happy Birthday to The Batman

72 years ago today, “The Batman” made his debut in Detective Comics #27 and the world would never ever be the same.

Starting as a relatively generic pulp-hero, Batman had his utility belt and his pal Jim Gordon, but his iconic rogues gallery (including the Joker) didn’t really appear on the scene until Batman #1 in…


Added by Tome Wilson on April 25, 2011 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

Frederick Blakeslee's Air Pulp

Today we honor a brilliant Diesel Era artist who was considered among the best of his peers.

Frederick Manley Blakeslee was born December 4, 1898 in Buffalo, NY. He studied mechanical drafting and basic art training at the Albright Art School in Buffalo. He worked from 1915 to 1920 in the drafting department of the Curtiss Aeroplane Factory, which was only three blocks from his family home. He was transferred to a Brooklyn factory in 1921, and afterwards…


Added by lord_k on April 25, 2011 at 6:30am — 2 Comments

Miskatonic Monday - The Investigators (Episode 01)

Lights out, everybody.

On Miskatonic Mondays, we celebrate the "weird" fiction of HP Lovecraft and the genre of otherworldly horror that it spawned.  This week, we're highlighting The Investigators, a short Lovecraft-inspired animation.  It doesn't take itself too seriously, and I suspect fans of the Call of Cthulhu RPGs will get a good laugh.…


Added by Tome Wilson on April 25, 2011 at 12:00am — No Comments

Sunday Streamline #29: Dreyfuss Rockets

These steam locomotives, hauling the most famous American express train, are the ultimate Diesel Era icons.

No other "steam-stream" design is so eye-catching. No other can be called a synonym of streamlining. Yes, among its contemporaries are true masterpieces like the Milwaukee Hiawatha…


Added by lord_k on April 24, 2011 at 8:00am — 3 Comments

Saturday Matinee - The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)

Welcome to the Saturday Matinee on Dieselpunks.

In this early Hitchcock classic, a serial killer known as "The Avenger" is on the loose in London killing blondes. When a mysterious man moves in with the Buntings looking for a room to rent, all hell breaks loose.

It certainly has echoes of the Jack the Ripper murders, but Hitchcock's storytelling introduces enough twists and original story elements to make this its own mystery…


Added by Tome Wilson on April 23, 2011 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Knights of the Air: Made in Hungary

Has it ever occurred to you that the most bizarre aircraft of the Great War were designed in Austro-Hungarian Empire?

Actually, these aircraft were designed in the Transleithanian part of the realm, by the Magyar Lloyd Repülőgép és motorgyár Részvény-Társaság (Hungarian Lloyd Aircraft and Motor Works, Inc.). Its main product, the C-Series observer/recce planes, were quite conventional.…


Added by lord_k on April 23, 2011 at 6:30am — 7 Comments

Lord K's Garage - #85. Avions Voisin

A lady and a car:

“Kiki de Montparnasse languishing in the passenger seat of Man Ray's Voisin 10 CV C7, 1928 (ca.) Kiki was Man Ray’s lover during the 20’s of the last century, and it is her back we see in Man Ray’s famous work ‘Le Violon d’Ingres’, 1924, (Getty Museum)." Well, Man Ray (who took this photo) surely deserves a special article, as well as his muse Alice Prin aka Kiki.…


Added by lord_k on April 22, 2011 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

Fáa di Bruno, a Quarter-Dreadnought

Have you ever heard of an Italian monitor?

Here's one, called by Rt. Hon. Sir Percival Poppycock, KCIE, Vice Commodore of the Royal Tasmanian Yacht Squadron "one of the ugliest warships ever" (I'm sure many of us would subscribe to this point of view). The monitor is the subject of enlightening article published @ cityofart.net, reproduced here with some minor additions from…


Added by lord_k on April 21, 2011 at 6:30am — 4 Comments

Caudron C.460 Rafale

The Caudron C.460 Rafale ("Squall") was a French racing aircraft built to participate in the Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe race of 1934.

A C.460 piloted by Michel Detroyat also won the Thompson Trophy at the 1936 National Air Races in the United States.

This piece was created in Illustrator CS and is entirely vector.



Added by Lejon Astray on April 20, 2011 at 2:10pm — 3 Comments

Deadly Soviet Phonograph: Degtyarev

I was watching the news from Libya last month and amid the cruise missiles and precision guided weapons, the rebel forces on the ground wielded any number of small arms, from pistol to large caliber. And amid the crowd, one rebel hoisted a weapon that immediately caught my eye, the Degtyarev machine gun. A weapon first assembled in 1927 and soldiering on in…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on April 20, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Soviet Advertising, 1930s

Let us begin with sturgeon, a gracious fish that brings caviar to the people of means.

This poster was printed in 1932, promoting Russian delicacies worldwide. In the Land of Soviets there was no need for commercial ads. Since 1920s (reviewed last week) the situation has…


Added by lord_k on April 20, 2011 at 6:30am — 2 Comments

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