Saturday, November 28, 2009

One Dial, Two Sets of Numerals

Panerai California 1936
A prototype of the famous Radiomir divers' watch

(shown: modern replica by Panerai)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Treaty Cruiser

The Washington Naval Treaty of 1921 introduced very strict limits on the construction of battleships and battlecruisers, defined as warships of more than 10,000 tons standard displacement or with armament of a calibre greater than eight inches (203 mm). Under this limit, far fewer restrictions applied. The 10,000 tons and 155 mm (6-inch) level was set. The emergence of these new, powerful cruiser classes sparked off something of a cruiser arms-race.

Here is one of the first 'treaty cruisers', HMS Suffolk:
Ordered on 15th February 1924 from HM Dockyard, Portsmouth and laid down on 30th September that year. The ship was launched on 16th February 1928 and completed on 31st May 1928.
Armed with eight 8-in guns in twin turrets on a 10,000-ton displacement with a thin (50mm) armor belt.

Battle Honours:
NORWAY 1940 - BISMARCK Action - ARCTIC 1941-2 - BURMA 1945

Michelin's Rival

Bergougnan Tires ad
France, 1930s

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Future We Were Promised

Arthur Radebaugh's art was featured in one of my first posts here, about two years ago. Since then, a Website dedicated to his legacy has been closed. But I have managed to collect some examples of Radebaugh's artwork.

Radebaugh article & album @
(sorry, Tome, I'm using the same stuff again, here and there)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Was Ist Das?

Streamlined rear-engine passenger car
Berlin, 1930

© Bundesarchiv

Italian TV Set

Made by SAFAR company in 1939
SAFAR, Società Anonima Fabbricazione Apparecchi Radiofonici,
was in the electronic TV development business as early as in 1934. In 1939 it began experimental broadcasts from the Monte Mario Studio, Rome, using domestic and German equipment.
At least three types of TV sets were offered by SAFAR for 1940.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sickle, Hammer, Deco

Soviet pavilion at the 1937 Paris World's Fair
Designed by Boris Iofan
Sculpture: Vera Mukhina

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eliason Snowmobile

On the cover of Popular Mechanics (December, 1942)
Manufactured by the FWD in Clintonville, Wisconsin, this Motor Toboggan, designed by Carl Eliason, was equipped with the 25 HP Indian 45 CID engine. Steering was controlled by a lever on the left side. Fuel was carried in a square and later half round tank located behind the engine and ahead of the drive. The Indian 45 engine was built with a three-speed transmission that gave the snowmobiles a top speed of 35 miles per hour. However, steering ability was very limited. The total production at Clintonville was about 300 units built from 1941 to 1947.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Point of View

View from the Pont Transbordeau
Marseille, 1929
By László Moholy-Nagy

Friday, November 13, 2009

Idro Gigante

The CANT Z.511 was a four-engine long-range seaplane designed by Filippo Zappata of the "Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico" (CRDA) company. Originally designed for the Central and South Atlantic passenger routes, it was later adapted as a military transport and special raider.
The design for the construction of a large four-engine, twin-float seaplane began at the end of September 1937, when the technical department of CRDA accepted the specifications of the LATI (Compagnia Ala Littoria) company, created in 1939, who required a long-range seaplane for carrying mail, cargo and passengers to Latin America.
These plans were cancelled on the outbreak of World War II, but a version of the aircraft was adapted for long-range maritime patrol, armed with 10 single-mount 12.7 mm (.5 in) machine guns in both sides, in two upper turrets, and belly positions. Plans were made to install 20 mm cannons in a front turret or in a glazed nose position, and more machine guns in a tail position.
For bombing, it was adapted to carry up to 4,000 kg (8,800 lb) of bombs in an internal bomb bay and on outer wing positions: up to four launch racks, for 454 mm (17.7 in) air-launched torpedoes for surface attack, or "Maiale" manned torpedoes or midget submarines for special operations.
The Z.511 had its first test flights at Monfalcone, Venezia Giulia (north-eastern Italy) between October 1940 and March 1942. Between 28 February and 1 March 1942, test pilot Mario Stoppani succeeded in taking off and landing fully loaded in very rough seas, with 1.5 m (5 ft) waves and winds of 55–65 km/h (34-40 mph). The Z.511 prototype was then transported to Grado, Venezia (further away from the insecure Yugoslavian border) for further evaluations; the last test and operational flight occurred on 1 September 1943, the same day that the Italian Armistice was signed.
After the division of the Italian forces, one aircraft was appropriated by the Fascist Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana. However, it had been damaged only three weeks before by British fighters, which had strafed it on Lake Trasimeno where it was undergoing final trials. It was transferred to the seaplane base at Vigna di Valle. There it suffered from sabotage by base personnel to prevent it falling into the hands of either the Allies or the Germans. The other aircraft, still under construction at the CRDA factory, was retained by Axis forces and scrapped for the metal, which was sent to Germany.

Streamlined Stalin

Soviet IS (Joseph Stalin) express locomotive

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Null Means Zero

A modern replica of Leica 0 Series (1923)
So-called Leica Null. The starting point of the 35mm photography

More @

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

One and Only

Three-section diesel-powered passenger train of the London Midland and Scottish Railway was built in 1939. Its service span was brief - only several months before the war. It never returned to paseenger service. There was no other train of the same class.

More @

Photo ©

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Almost Human

Boris Artzybasheff, probably the most imaginative American illustrator, designed advertisements for Xerox, Shell Oil, Pan Am, Casco Power Tools, Alcoa Steamship lines, Parke-Davis, Avco Manufacturing, Scotch Tape, Wickwire Spencer Steele, Vultee Aircraft, World Airways, and Parker Pens. His graphic style is striking. In commercial work he explored grotesque experiments in anthropomorphism, where toiling machines displayed distinctly human attributes.
Here is an ad from his Lycoming series, 1954

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

HMS Hermes

The ninth British warship to bear the name Hermes was the first Royal Navy warship designed and built for use as an aircraft carrier.
The 'island' structure sited on the starboard side of the flight deck included the funnel and a Gunnery Control position at the top of the mast. A special ventilation system was provided in the hangar to reduce the danger of fire from petrol fumes. New handing gear was used to assist in moving aircraft and an electric lift was fitted from the after end of the hangar to the flight deck.
The original design allowed for 15 aircraft but by 1938 had increased to 20. In 1939 the total complement was 1,575 including aircrew and maintenance personnel.
HMS Hermes proved to be very satisfactory in her designed role and was an excellent sea-boat with little roll.
Her full load displacement was about 12,900 tons with an overall length of 598 feet and a bean of 70 feet 9 outside bilges. She had a mean draught of 18 feet 9 inches. Armour protection was similar to that in light cruisers.
The armament fitted consisted of six 5.5 inch guns for defence against surface ships and AA defence of three 4" guns was provided. Before the outbreak of war additional close range weapons for use against aircraft were fitted and later during WW2 some 20mm guns. Replacement of the 5.5" armament by eight twin 4.5" guns was intended.
Geared turbines with a shaft horsepower of 40,000 driving 2 shafts gave a speed of 25 knots.
HMS Hermes was in use as an accommodation ship for officers under training in 1938 and brought forward for service in 1939. She was deployed in the Atlantic for trade protection duties for a brief period before the outbreak of war and was then transferred to the Indian Ocean. In April 1942 whilst deployed with the Eastern Fleet she came under air attack from a Japanese aircraft carrier with heavy loss of life after being hit by several bombs.