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SATURDAY, APRIL 30,
≈ Printer Project
There’s less than
a day left to reserve a large-format print for $50 before
the regular price structure kicks in May 1. It’s also
time for charter subscribers to tell us what size they’d
like their large-format prints to be, and which images
they want if they haven’t already. Available images
here (with four
recent additions, at the bottom of the page), size details
SUNDAY, APRIL 24,
≈ Texas Tea, 1942
How’s every little
thing down in Texas, Bill?
Ted. But it’s mighty good to be here in the Big Town
again. What’s first on the program?
Well, to start things
off, I’m going to have the barman here introduce you
to what we New Yorkers consider the world’s finest whiskey-and-soda.
Down deep in
the heart of Texas, when a man says what you just said,
he’s talking about just one thing: Four Roses!
But . . .
Four Roses! There’s
a whiskey a man can tie to! That rich and velvety smoothness
. . . mellow as a Texas moon!
Wait a minute, old
man, you don’t understand. I was just going to
. . .
It sure beats
me how anybody could pass up the glorious flavor of
today’s Four Roses! Man! That bouquet . . .
soft and fragrant as purple sage on a sun-soaked prairie!
Hold on, now, you
ham-fisted cow-puncher! You can try to sell me Texas,
but I don’t need a Texan to tell me that today’s Four
Roses is the grandest whiskey ever bottled. In fact,
it was Four-Roses-and-soda that I was about to order
when you stampeded me! Waiter . . .
Above and below, a double shot
of John Falter from November 1942 in artwork done
for Young & Rubicam, the New York ad agency. The
dialogue here, for the now- defunct Frankfort Distilleries,
might not be that far-fetched for a mid-century
Madison Avenue watering hole (and if anyone recognizes
the bar, let us know). Illustrator Falter, familiar
to anyone who collects ads or Saturday Evening Post
covers from the ’40s and ’50s, died in 1982; Four
Roses was revived in 2002 when Kirin of Japan bought
the brand and distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.
≈ Counterfeit Elm
contraption is part of a camouflage project for a war-industry
plant. Strange as it looks on the ground, this collection
of garnished chicken wire, guy ropes and telephone poles
will look very much like real trees and real fields
to an enemy plane at expected bombing altitudes. So
deceptive is this camouflage that it will give a great
measure of protection against the kind of attack informed
opinion says American industry should expect: High-level,
precision, “token” bombings up to 300 miles from either
coast . . .
In 1942, less than a year after
the attack on Pearl Harbor, camouflage, blackout
shades and taped-over headlights were being used
in anticipation of aerial attacks on the U.S. mainland.
They never materialized, but did provide a marketing
opportunity. The upshot here is that Owens-Corning
Fiberglas, wouldn’t you know, is perfectly suited
for use as “camouflage garnish.”
≈ Catalin, Gem of Plastics
Leading radio manufacturers,
alert to a public trend that now judges “fine birds
by fine feathers,” are proceeding wisely to outwardly
enhance their finest 1947 receivers in housings cast
of Catalin . . . the gem of plastics.
RCA Victor 66X8 table radio in
Catalin cast resin, an early plastic. It tended
to shrink and change color with exposure to sunlight
and heat from vacuum tubes; the sets that survived
are eye-poppingly beautiful. The caption has links
to two Web sites on Catalin collectibles.
≈ The Magic in a Moth Ball
Like most people,
you doubtless believe that moth balls are solely matters
of housewifely concern. If so, you are doing them a
great injustice because naphthalene, the substance composing
moth balls, is actually a basic heavy industrial chemical
of widely varied applications in the Nation’s War Program.
Transmuted by RCI technicians into phthalic anhydride,
naphthalene changes its form and becomes a vital component
of many products necessary for Victory . . .
Naphthalene gets its 15 minutes
of fame in 1942 thanks to Reichhold Chemicals Inc.
of Detroit and John Vickery.
TUESDAY, APRIL 19,
≈ Transoceanic Treat
in its appearance and streamlining is this designer’s
conception of one of the transoceanic liners of the
future. Perhaps — because it combines strength with
lightness — Bohn aluminum would play a part in the construction
. . .
From the drawing boards of Bohn
Aluminum, another vivid example of the Future That
Never Was, Darn It.
MONDAY, APRIL 18,
≈ The Sundae Basement
This room belongs
to some of the luckiest teen-agers — and the cleverest
parents — in the world! Just last month, upstairs, it
was anybody’s guess who owned the living room — the
high-school set or the grownups. Now everybody’s happy,
especially Mother. For not even dancing feet and spilled
drinks will mar the gay floor of Armstrong Excelon tile
. . .
Armstrong’s mid-1950s ads for flooring
are like a one-page graduate course in retro room
makeovers. Our thesis for today: The sock-hop basement,
complete with ice-cream sundae bar, Neapolitan stairs
and bubblegum pink ceiling.
SUNDAY, APRIL 17,
≈ Star Chief
luggage room aplenty in any 1954 Pontiac — Star Chief
or Chieftain! In models of the new extra-long Star Chief
Series you can stow away up to thirteen pieces
of assorted full-size luggage — including your golf
clubs — and still find space for miscellaneous smaller
The 1954 Star Chief was 11 inches
longer than standard Pontiacs, with most of the
extra length in the trunk.
SATURDAY, APRIL 16,
≈ Los Angeles, 1953
A 1947 or 1948 Buick
Roadmaster ragtop in the driveway.
≈ Project X
Whee. Yippee. Isn’t
this fun. Yes, Mom and Dad, I really love the Erector
set and the sailor suit. Now can I go out and play?
≈ The Hidden Menace
You get “all-around”
road coverage and safety in your all-new 1949
Mercury. You can see more out the front, out the back,
on the right, and on the left. The brakes are large,
powerful. The ventilati0n system prevents closed-car
drowsiness . . .
The car that finally put an end
to “closed car drowsiness”: More images from the
jumbo-size 1949 Mercury catalog.
And now for something
completely different — a selection of vintage
drawings from the files of the U.S. Patent Office. The
porciform barbecue stand is a special favorite.
THURSDAY, APRIL 14,
From the outside
your first look will tell you that this all-new 1949
Mercury is longer, lower, with down-to-earth roadability.
Its broad-beamed sturdiness is artfully hidden under
a sleek, style-wise, curved-arch silhouette .
The 1949 Mercury sales catalog
was a minor masterpiece of the graphic arts — exceptional
layout, design and typography. We’ll post more examples
in the coming days.
TUESDAY, APRIL 12,
≈ On the Road, 1960
Last of the true
station wagons, faithful to its sound functional concept,
is the TRAVELALL. Now with four doors and lower silhouette,
TRAVELALL Custom and standard models provide generous
carrying capacity, safe ground clearance and other desirable
attributes that have been generally forgotten by designers
who simply extend the bodies of ground-hugging passenger
cars. If you are interested in a real station
wagon, ask for a separate folder describing the TRAVELALL
. . .
From a 1960 sales flyer comes this
early sport-utility vehicle, International Harvester’s
≈ Off the Road, 1962
Clean as a whistle
— and just as apt to attract attention. That’s descriptive
of the functional beauty — inside and outside — of the
1962 “Jeep” Wagoneer 4-Door Station Wagon. The Wagoneer
is not a converted passenger car with a tailgate thrown
in, nor a modified truck with windows — the all new
“Jeep” Wagoneer is more than just another new
vehicle . . .
Another early sport-ute, back before
anyone called them that, when Jeep was owned by
Willys Motors of Toledo.
SUNDAY, APRIL 10,
≈ America’s First Compact
For 1961, the distinguished
new Ambassador V-8 offers the one great luxury other
fine cars deny you — the modern luxury of compactness.
The Ambassador alone gives you the distinctive balance
of the elegant and the agile . . .
Ed in London writes to ask if we
have any Ramblers. Do we ever. From 1961, the cover
of the Ambassador brochure.
≈ Rambler Station
For 1961, the Rambler
Ambassador is the only compact luxury car with Personalized
Living Comfort. And the 1961 Ambassador Cross
Country represents the ultimate in station wagon beauty
and usefulness to the user.
Four illustrations (1
from the 1961 sales brochures. The
were longer than the cars.
SATURDAY, APRIL 9,
≈ The Green Eye
Not all of America’s
guardians are flesh-and-blood soldiers. Some are made
of steel and wire and colored glass . . .
such as the army of high-speed signals standing at constant
alert along Chesapeake and Ohio tracks. Sometimes, as
we give Uncle Sam’s freight the green light, your shipments
may travel a bit slower. If this happens, we know you’ll
be patriotically patient.
A 1942 illustration from the Chesapeake
and Ohio railroad’s wartime series of noirish black
and green ads.
≈ 1961 Dodge Police Pursuits
The 1961 Dodge Police
Pursuits will save you money from the day you buy right
up to the day you turn them out to pasture. All Dodge
Police Pursuits are full-sized automobiles priced smack
in the low-price field, right along with Ford and Chevrolet.
Yet there’s no austerity inside or outside. You get
Dodge room, comfort, looks. And the ride is Torsion-Aire!
Three duotone illustrations from
the 1961 Dodge police car catalog, including what
has to be the most
ever put in a car brochure. We call it: The Beach
Picnic Where Something Went Horribly Awry.
≈ Buick Crossing
Secondary art from
the 1959 Buick sales brochure.
They kept one gun
going . . . And it swept the dunes like
a breeze from hell . . . and the sound of
bullets ricocheting was the sound of sandpipers crying
all along the dreary beaches of the world. The air stank
of cordite. [Snip Snip Snip] All of us at Nash-Kelvinator
are devoted to winning this war . . .
to speeding the Peace when together we’ll build an even
finer Kelvinator, an even greater Nash!
From 1944, one of a long series
of Nash-Kelvinator ads. The first-person narratives
by fictitious servicemen described situations ranging
from grim to dire, yet somehow they always ended
on a note of optimism — the promise of better
refrigerators, bigger cars.
POSTS (MARCH 2005)