Friday, October 30, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gullwing Biplane

Soviet Polikarpov I-153 fighter, introduced in 1939

It saw its first combat the same year during the Soviet-Japanese Battle of Halhin Gol in Mongolia. The Japanese Army Air Forces' Type 97 Fighter Nate proved a formidable opponent for the I-15bis and I-16, but was more evenly matched with the I-153, which retained agility inherent to biplanes while featuring improved performance.
It fought against the Luftwaffe in 1941 and 1942. I-153 has a distinction of being one of the first warplanes armed with air-to-air missiles (unguided, of course).
From 1939 to 1941, 3,437 I-153s were built.

More WW2 biplanes @

Lab on Wheels

1923 Avions Voisin C6 de Course (Laboratoire)
This racing car, designed in 1923 by André Lefebvre for Gabriel Voisin, has never won any competition. But it remains one of the most stunning creations of the Roaring Twenties.

More pictures @ my LJ

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shells for the Republic

Skoda munitions factory
Czechoslovakia, 1937
Photo by Margaret Bourke-White

Source: LIFE
More Bourke-White's photos @

Civil Flagship

The SS Rex was an Italian ocean liner launched in 1931. She held the westbound Blue Riband between 1933 and 1935. Originally built for the Navigazione Generale Italiana (NGI) as the SS Guglielmo Marconi, its state-ordered merger with the Lloyd Sabaudo line meant that the ship sailed for the newly created Italian Line.
Rex operated transatlantic crossings from Italy with its running mate, Conte di Savoia. On 8 September 1944, off Koper, Rex was hit by 123 rockets launched by RAF aircraft, caught fire from stem to stern, rolled onto the port side, and sank in shallow water. The ship was broken up at the site beginning in 1947.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Unlucky One

The Savoia Marchetti S.65 floatplane, designed by Alessandro Marchetti in 1929, was a powerful but highly problematic aircraft. A pure racer, built to win the Schneider Trophy, it haven't seen the competition at all. On January 18, 1930, Tommaso Dal Molin, one of the most distinguished Italian aviators, was killed testing the plane at Lago di Garda. The S.65 has been severely damaged - and never restored.

Green St(r)eam

Polish (ex-German) Pm3 steam locomotive in Warsaw

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Buy the Stock!

An advertisement designed by Alexander Rodchenko calls the Soviet citizens to invest in Dobrolet airline.

Friday, October 23, 2009

1929 Majestic

This extraordinary French motorcycle from between the wars was spotted by Paul d’Orleans in Bavaria recently. On his Vintagent blog, he sums it up perfectly: “The Majestic is the physical embodiment of the Art Deco aesthetic, a streamlined torpedo which suggests Speed and Modernity.” The real innovation is at the front—this is one of the first motorcycles to feature hub-centered steering (as beloved by Bimota of late). And yes, the front also has sliding pillar suspension, similar to that on a Lancia Lambda or early Morgan. D’Orleans was lucky enough to ride this machine, but the styling apparently promises more than the 500 cc Chaise engine can deliver. Still, it’s hard not to be seduced by those swooping lines in light-gauge steel, beautifully accentuated by classic French racing blue paintwork. For that, we could forgive just about anything.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

French Supertank

The Char B1 was a French heavy tank manufactured before the Second World War

It was a specialized heavy break-through vehicle, originally conceived as a self-propelled gun with a 75 mm howitzer in the hull; later a 47 mm gun in a turret was added, to allow it to function also as a Char de Bataille, a "battle tank" fighting enemy armor, equipping the armored divisions of the Infantry Arm. Starting in the early twenties, its development and production were repeatedly delayed, resulting in a vehicle that was both technologically complex and expensive, as already obsolescent when real mass-production started in the late thirties of a derived version, the Char B1 bis. Of a second uparmored version, the Char B1 ter, only two prototypes were built. Among the most powerfully armed and armored tanks of its day, the type was very effective in direct confrontations with German armor in 1940 during the Battle of France, but a slow speed and high fuel consumption made it ill-adapted to the war of movement then fought. After the defeat of France captured Char B1 (bis) would be used by Germany, some rebuilt as flamethrowers or mechanized artillery.

Derby Diesel

British Railways Class D16/1 or 10000 and 10001 were the first mainline diesel locomotives in Great Britain. They were built by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway at its Derby Works, using the EE16SVT 1600 hp diesel engine with electric transmission, in association with English Electric and the Vulcan Foundry.
10000 had its maiden run in November 1947, and after several weeks of proving trials entered service on the Midland route in February 1948. 10000 was outshopped only two months before nationalisation, and when 10001 appeared in July 1948 it had British Railways livery. They operated over a number of routes out of St Pancras or Euston but their low power outputs meant they were less than inspiring when used on heavily loaded or express services.

More (Wiki)

Photo: © Mike Morant

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Square Colosseum

The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, also known as the Colosseo Quadrato (Square Colosseum), is an icon of Fascist architecture. It lies in the district of Rome known as the Esposizione Universale Roma (a.k.a. 'E.42' and 'EUR').
The palace was constructed as part of the program of the Esposizione Universale Roma, a large business center and suburban complex, initiated in 1935 by Benito Mussolini for the planned 1942 world exhibition and as a symbol of fascism for the world. The Palazzo was designed by the architects Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano and constructed between 1938 and 1943. It was inaugurated on 30 November 1940 as the centerpiece of the Esposizione and continues to be its most iconic building. The structure is also considered one of the most representative examples of Fascist architecture at the EUR.

Zombie Hunter

by ixlrlxi @ LJ

Monday, October 19, 2009

Galloping Goose

Galloping Goose is the name given to a series of seven railcars (also known as "motors") built in the 1930s by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad (RGS) and operated until the end of service on the line in the early 1950s.

More @

Picture © S&C Editor @ RailPictures.Net
See full size

Dustbin Turret

Boulton Paul P.75 Overstrand bears the distinction of being the last RAF biplane bomber - and the first one to have power-assisted closed turret.
Commissioned in 1936

More images & info (EN): Wiki, Avia

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Futurist Cyclist

by Fortunato Depero

Depero's artwork & biography @

Czechoslovak Twin-Lens Reflex

The Flexaret series of TLR cameras was made by Meopta (and its predecessors) in the former Czechoslovakia. The Flexaret III is the only Flexaret to have an advance crank, not a knob. It's a fully mechanical camera with an all-metal body. The body is covered in black leather. The Meopta logo is on the black sports finder of the viewing hood.

Photo by driesvandenelzen @ Flickr (Set)
Another photo

Friday, October 16, 2009

B-17. Not a Fortress. Still Flying

Swedish Saab B-17 warplane is very different from its American namesake. Developed in late 1930s it was employed by different air forces (Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Ethiopian) in a multitude of roles - from dive bomber to target tug. It was compact, sturdy and could be fitted with every kind of landing gear - wheels, floats, skis. 322 built.
More info (PDF, SE)

For Friday Night

Johnny Hess sings, in person:

This time it's an adverisement for the Meva cigarettes (erroneously named 'Eva' in the clip)

Numbers in Love

by Giacomo Balla,
a prominent second-generation Italian Futurist

Could be a perfect cover for Zamyatin's 'We'

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tatra T97

The T97 was designed in 1936 as a smaller alternative to the large T87. Instead of a V8, it was powered by a 1.8-litre flat-four engine. With engine power of 29.4 kilowatts (40.0 PS; 39.4 bhp) the car could achieve top speed of 130 km/h. The design was also simplified, using just two headlights instead of three, a single-piece windscreen, and an overall smaller body.
Production of the car was canceled after the Nazis annexed Czechoslovakia in 1938, possibly to avoid comparison with the KdF-Wagen (future VW Beetle). At that time, 508 cars were built.
In 1946, production resumed, but the new communist government quickly dropped the T97 in favor of the cheaper to build Tatraplan

Photos by © tatraskoda & © Davydutchy @ Flickr

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Heavy Industry near Red Square

People's Commissariat for Heavy Industry
Designed by A.G. Mordvinov, 1930s
Never built

Dieselpunk Fighter

Stubby aka HMS Stubbington is the logo of
Here is a Dieselpunk version of this glorious craft,
drawn by Greg Manchess


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Escort Aircraft Carrier

HMS Nairana (in 1946-1948 - HNLMS Karel Doorman)
She was built at John Brown & Company shipyards in Clydebank, Scotland. When construction started in 1941 she was intended as a merchant ship, but was completed and launched as an escort carrier, entering service at the end of 1943.
Nairana operated escorting convoys and doing anti-submarine work in the Atlantic and Arctic theatres. She survived the war, and in 1946 was transferred to the Dutch Navy as the Karel Doorman (QH1), the first Dutch aircraft carrier. In 1948 she was replaced in the Dutch Navy by another Karel Doorman (R81), previously HMS Venerable. Nairana was returned to the Royal Navy, and immediately sold to Port Line, becoming the merchant ship Port Victor. In 1971 she was scrapped at Faslane.

Renault Streamlined Express

Operating on the Paris-Caen route, it has a speed of 80 miles an hour, and is driven by two Diesel-Renault motors. This train, comprising two articulated cars, can be driven from either end, and has seats for 85 people.



Futurist Beverage

Campari Soda bottle
Designed by Fortunato Depero, the most prominent of the 'second-generation' Futurists
late 1920s

Monday, October 12, 2009

Big in Brazil

The Blériot 5190 was a French transatlantic mail plane of the 1930s, a large parasol-wing monoplane flying boat. It was of slightly unusual design, with a low-profile hull and the crew compartment housed in the thick pylon that supported the wing. The four engines were arranged with three along the leading edge of the wing, and the fourth on the centreline of the trailing edge. It was constructed for a French government contract to carry airmail to South America.
The first example, christened Santos-Dumont flew on 3 August 1933 and by the end of 1934 had completed two proving flights across the Atlantic Ocean. In February 1935 with Aéropostale's only other transatlantic mailplane, the Latécoère 300 la Croix du Sud, out of commission for maintenance, the Santos-Dumont entered service.
Blériot 5190 Santos Dumont
at Rio de Janeiro, 1935
Water Color By Ian Marshall

Future Airship

Construction of LZ127 Graf Zeppelin
c. 1928

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Arches of Utopia

A sketch by Iakov Chernikov (1889-1951),
a Soviet 'paper architect' who left numerous 'cycles' of fantastic urban images

Source (EN)

Crossley Streamliner

Powered by 1991 cc inline-six, 60 bhp at 4200 rpm
About 20 were made

Tip: nicolya @Dieselpunk LJ community

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Flying Hamburger

When viewed from the front the train bears a remarkable resemblance to a grotesque face, as will be seen from the illustration below. It cannot be called a "Zeppelin on rails," since it lacks the propellers of the fast train, constructed by the engineer Kruckenberg of Hanover, which reached a maximum speed of 124.26 miles per hour ; but it certainly is appropriately called the "Flying Hamburger."
To travel on the "Flying Hamburger" type of train is an experience in itself, but one that must, in time, become a part of normal transport. The "Flying Hamburger" type takes the place of the "F.D." (long distance) trains. It carries 102 passengers and reaches a maximum speed of loo miles per hour, with an average speed of 77.4 miles per hour from Berlin to Hamburg and 76.3 miles per hour in the reverse direction, on the run of 178.1 miles. The fare on this train costs no more than that of a second-class journey on the "F.D." expresses.

Friday, October 9, 2009

For Friday night: Je suis swing!

 Very expressive cover of Johnny Hess' 1940 hit, performed by a Belgian band in 1993.
The Zazous, Wiki tells us, were a subculture in France during World War II. They were young people expressing their individuality by wearing big or garish clothing (similar to the zoot suit fashion in America a few years before) and dancing wildly to swing jazz and bebop. Men wore large lumber jackets, while women wore short skirts, striped stockings and heavy shoes, and often carried umbrellas. The Vichy regime tried hard to suppress the movement - but their music is still alive.

Death on Three Wheels

Nimbus Motorcycle
Danish Army, 1930s

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Half-Frame Wonder

Ducati Sogno
Italy, 1938
Dubbed 'Italian Leica', this pretty little camera was very special. It accepted super-slim cassetes and produced only fifteen 18x24 mm frames per roll. Its controls were almost similar to Leica's, but the shutter release was placed on the front panel. Lenses were interchangeable, with a bayonet mount. Not less than seven lenses are known, from 19/6.3 collapsible wide-angle to 120/5.6 rigid telephoto.
The manufacturers, Ducati brothers, made a name in the motorcycle realm - just a bit later.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

American Style. Swedish Steel

Volvo PV 60 family car
This vehicle, produced in 1944-1947, bears a remarkable resemblance to the 1939 Detroit models.

Soviet Flying Tank

Walter Christie's idea of a flying fast tank was taken seriously in the USSR (together with Christie suspension and other more realistic concepts of the famous American engineer). Here's one of the early studies for a Soviet flying AFV: a combination of BT-2 cruiser tank with a glider. Developed by Aram Rafaeliants, this project was canceled in 1933.

via tancist@LJ

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Instruments of War

15" (38.1 cm) Mark I/N Turret being constructed for HMS Abercrombie
Photograph taken at Vickers-Armstrong's Elswick Works in December 1942


Monday, October 5, 2009

Zeppelin Chronograph

Modern German wristwatch
LZ127 series


A Nice Pair

Talbot-Lago racing car and Caudron C.460 air racer

From the Speedbirds blog

Woman in the Moon

Modern poster (using original imagery) for Woman in the Moon - a stunning Fritz Lang's silent movie, released in 1929. Thea von Harbou, Lang's spouse, was in charge for the plot. Hermann Oberth, the leading German rocket engineer, was an advisor for this film.
See it on Google videos (1 h 20 min)
or take a peek @ YouTube