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Lord_k's Article – May 2011 Archive (31)

The Atlantropa Project

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.…

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Added by lord_k on May 31, 2011 at 6:30am — 3 Comments

Strange Worlds of Hannes Bok

It's Monday - a good day to honor an artist who possessed a unique vision of future, a weird sense of humor and an ability to mix different influences like Art Nouveau and Surrealism into a powerful blend worthy of Jet Age.

Hannes Bok is the pseudonym of Wayne Francis Woodard. He was born July 2, 1914 in Kansas City, Missouri. His father was Irving Ingalls Woodard, an electrician lineman from Chicago, IL. His mother was Julia L. Parks, a…

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Added by lord_k on May 30, 2011 at 6:00am — No Comments

Sunday Streamline #34: Local Production

This streamliner is famous, against all odds.

It never set a speed record. Its elegant shape wasn't drawn by a great designer like Dreyfuss, Loewy or Kuhler. It wasn't built by any major locomotive works like ALCO, Baldwin or Lima. But it survived.

Norfolk and Western Railway's J class steam locomotives were a class of 4-8-4 locomotives built by the Norfolk and…

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Added by lord_k on May 29, 2011 at 6:30am — No Comments

S.A.M.#2: The Ubiquitous Junkers

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. "…

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Added by lord_k on May 28, 2011 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

Lord K's Garage - #90. The Incredible Tatra

A car too beautiful to be true, too advanced to be a mid-1930s model. And real. The Tatra is the first production aero-dynamic automobile. This luxury car features a unique design including a sloped 45-degree three-piece windshield - fenders, headlamps, door hinges and handles integrated into the body - the absence of running boards and a smooth underbody. The large tailfin decreases side wind effect and…

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Added by lord_k on May 27, 2011 at 6:30am — 3 Comments

Soviet Propaganda Posters

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:…

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Added by lord_k on May 26, 2011 at 8:00am — 3 Comments

Saint Chamond Tank

The second French WWI tank - no better than the first and even worse.

Originally the tank produced by Saint Chamond was meant to be identical to the Schneider CA. Early 1916, the proposed definitive prototype of this latter tank was prepared in an army workshop. The type used tracks from the American-made Holt caterpillar tractors that were already employed in France for…

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

Manchester Unity Building, Melbourne

Here's a fine example of Australian Art Deco - to commemorate Green Continent's entrance to Dieselpunk Top Ten:

No event, other than the two World Wars, has had a greater effect on the morale, economic and the social life of Australians than the Great Depression of the early 1930's. The Building of the IOOF Manchester Unity inspired and convinced Melbournians that the…

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Added by lord_k on May 24, 2011 at 6:30am — 3 Comments

Film Fun of Enoch Bolles

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.…

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Added by lord_k on May 23, 2011 at 6:30am — 2 Comments

Sunday Streamline #33: The Balkan Spirit

This dream machine is perfectly fit for any kind of Dieselpunk movie:

It was built for scheduled express service between Belgrade and Zagreb. The picture above is widely known but information on the streamline loco is scarce. A thorough search brought me to a number of Serbia- and Croatia-based forums, one of them providing useful info and additional images.…

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Added by lord_k on May 22, 2011 at 6:30am — No Comments

S.A.M.#1: U.S. Air Mail, 1918

There's no need to retell the story of "Inverted Jenny":

The stamp is the most famous error in American philately. The biplane is Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, also famous. But do you know that the first air mail bags were flown to the wrong direction? Yes, Army Lt. George L. Boyle who was selected to pilot aircraft #38262 on the first Northbound flight (from…

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Added by lord_k on May 21, 2011 at 6:30am — 2 Comments

Lord K's Garage - #89. Opel Rocket Cars & Craft

Remember Fritz von Opel? The one with a rocket motorcycle?

The motorcycle is only half of the story... no, less than half. Here's the story of other Opel rocket vehicles brought to us by David Traver Adolphus @ Hemmings…

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Added by lord_k on May 20, 2011 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

Soviet Book Design, 1920s

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):…

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Added by lord_k on May 19, 2011 at 6:30am — No Comments

Elegant Modernism: Robert Mallet-Stevens

Generally, I'm not a big fan of Modernism. But I can easily like it when it's not too declarative, brutal or vulgar. Hope you like this kind of Modernism too.

Robert (Rob) Mallet-Stevens (1886 - 1945) was a French architect and designer. Today he is regarded as one the most influential figures in French architecture in the period between the two World Wars.

He was born in Paris in a house called Maison-Laffitte (designed by Francois Mansart in…

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Added by lord_k on May 18, 2011 at 6:30am — 3 Comments

Curtiss SOC Seagull, a WWII Biplane

WWII was a monoplanes' war... Was it really?

OK, I'm repeating myself. But the biplane in question wasn't mentioned in that old article / album. And it served until the end of the war - as a scout and trainer, floatplane and deck plane, - modest, elegant and reliable.

The SOC was designed mainly as a catapult-launched floatplane, flying from battleships for gunfire…

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Added by lord_k on May 17, 2011 at 6:00am — No Comments

War and Peace of W. Heath Robinson

It's good to start a week with some pulp. But sometimes a classic cartoon is even better start.

I believe the artist whose name is associated with some weirdest inventions and technologies deserves a place in our Hall of Fame. Here's his biography told by…

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Added by lord_k on May 16, 2011 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

Sunday Streamline #32: Forgotten Chicagoans

This streamliner, photographed by Jack Delano in 1942, could be a Diesel Era icon like its famous brethren.

Alas, it never had a chance.

The locomotive belongs to Class E-4, Chicago & North Western Railway (C&NW). They were amongst the biggest Hudson type locomotives built; even larger than the New York Central's famous Hudsons.…

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Added by lord_k on May 15, 2011 at 6:30am — 3 Comments

Knights of the Air: Russian Uniforms & Insignia

Leather jacket and "tit cap" (in Russian called pilotka, i.e. "pilot cap"):

The Russian Imperial Air Force uniform has been designed during WWI. Before the war, pilots who previously served with infantry, cavalry or artillery retained their "old" regiment insignia, although the Air Force was a part of Engineer Corps.…

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Added by lord_k on May 14, 2011 at 6:30am — No Comments

Lord K's Garage - #88. Belgian Military Vehicles

Today we honor a small country with great automotive industries.

Yes, Belgium, the homeland of Philip Vandenberg, can be proud not only of its excellent breweries and chocolate factories but also of the automobile works (which in many cases were subsidiaries of arms and armament companies). Let's see some military vehicles from Diesel Era:

A Brussels company belonging to Brossel…

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Added by lord_k on May 13, 2011 at 6:30am — No Comments

Soviet Movie Posters, 1930-1949

Let's start from an educational film, Comrade Airship (1931):

This 1931 poster by Stenberg brothers (signed "2 Stenberg 2") looks like propaganda, and propaganda it is. No less eye-catching than a pure propaganda poster by GV Kibardin, also from 1931. Even the color palette is the same. Of course, there were much more "quiet" educationals telling about the porcelain manufacturing…

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Added by lord_k on May 12, 2011 at 6:30am — 2 Comments

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