Posts from the ‘The Cold War’ Category

Jets and Rockets!

Bell X-15 Rocket Plane and Boeing B-52 Flyover (Public Domain)

The Cold War was an amazing time of wholesale fear tied to the rise of technology.

As world powers tread lightly on subjects of military might, atomic weapons, and troop deployments, the engineering behind the power was being displayed and used in other ways.  Rocket power and jet bombers were perfect examples of technology which had come to fruition in the 1950s, and ultimately fine-tuned into the factors we see in the picture above.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Bell X-15 and the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.

The X-15 was built to test the limits of aerospace technology, operating from 1959 to 1970 with NASA.  It set many records in both speed and altitude,

An American icon of power and aviation, the B-52 first flew in 1954 and went into service with the US Air Force in 1955.  Of the original 744 built through 1962, about 85 continue to fly.  I started looking for cool B-52 pictures recently after reading that the planes were now being configured with Sniper Pods, which will make them an even-more effective tool when collaborating air strikes with ground forces.  Current fitment timelines have it flying – with continuous maintenance – until its full retirement in the 2040s.

That’s right; it will be flying the skies in our military for nearly 90 years.

HL-10 Lifting Body and B-52 Flyover (Public Domain)

 

Now that’s what I call Long Range!

`61 Style – Courtesy of Montgomery Ward

Montgomery Ward Collage 1961 Lileks 2

Scans courtesy of James Lileks

Before the Intertubes took over our buying habits, there was Sears and Wards.

These images are from the 1961 Montgomery Ward catalog, “Your Store At Home!”  Order over the telephone and like magic you have a new wardrobe (Just say “Charge It”).  Just look at the wasp wastes, the fitted cuts, and the hair.  And the hats.  Wow.  Every picture looks like the model is on the way to some kind of social function, or at least dressing for the unexpected fortune which might be walking their way.  With the recent appearance of shows like Mad Men, Vegas, and the short-lived Pan Am, styles from the early 1960s have gotten a lot of attention.

And in my mind, it’s for good reason.

I have some respect for the amount of effort it took to be in style back then.  The fashion of the era had a certain way of drawing a line between genders, something which has become more blurred with time.  Catalogs from any decade serve as a time capsule, and this one from fifty-plus years ago captures much.

The scans above were done by James Lileks, a Midwestern blogger and writer.  He is also immensely funny, and his descriptions of pictures he posts on his personal blog have – in the past – made me purple from laughing.  To see this entire scan collection – page by page – click HERE.  Make sure to read his commentary!

Cacharro! Well-used Cuban `59 Chevy

Photo courtesy of Kachoff (Flickr) http://flic.kr/p/bUVREG

Well known already for its outrageous fins, this 1959 Chev Impala is famous as one of the surviving American-built cars that still ply the streets of Havana Cuba – fifty years after a US Embargo on Cuba.

Mechanics in that country are legendary for their ability to whip up a batch of home-brew brake fluid, rebuild an engine in an alley, and even retrofit a carburetor off a Soviet truck to keep these old cars – known locally as Cacharros – functional and mostly roadworthy.

Additionally, roughly 300 Harley-Davidson owners in Cuba manage to keep their pre-Embargo Big Twins alive in the same way, and recently had their first National Rally in April.

NY Times – Old Cars in Cuba: Nurtured But Not Loved

Mid-Century Style [1967]

sunset_homesweethome1

Sunset Books: Ideas for Planning Your New Home

From the Intro:

The house on the cover is a provocative example of what can be done with the use of sky-lights. Glass walls open the house to the out-of-doors and the unusual sky-light system opens the roof over every room. Architect: Jacob Robbins

Hi-Fi Set for The Atomic Age

Now that’s a music system!

This is what happens when entertainment is mixed with Cold War technology.  The I.T. Guy in me loves this picture for the technology it represents.  The Music Guy in me loves that she’s surrounded by 12″ LP records.  Is that an Oscilloscope in the rack?  I also see a turntable, two reel-to-reels, a massive speaker, a rotary phone dial (?), and Bakelite knobs a-plenty.  Rivets and screws are everywhere; the whole set is built to withstand Alien Hordes, Atomically-mutated Insects, or Godless Commies.  The retro tech and style queues here are almost too numerous to mention!

The rustic blond wood paneling behind tube-style electronics is classic early 1950s. The wagon above the cabinets is a nice touch.

We Heart Vintage will appreciate the snappy dress of our pretty music fan!

Big Fifties Bomber and The Cold War Cowboy

“Well it was about that time when ole Clem mosied on down to the air strip to take a gander at one of them New-Q-Ler Bommers…”

One of the cutest Fifties pictures I’ve ever seen.  The little man has the stance, the hat and the weapons to remain part of popular culture well into the 21st Century.  I wonder if – as an adult – he realizes that his picture is all over the InterTubes these days.  And the object of his determined look?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the YB60 strategic bomber.

The YB60 was a jet-powered prototype version of the Convair B-36 Peacemaker.  Both planes – being integral to the defense of America during The Cold War – were designed to carry nuclear weapons.  While the B-36 enjoyed a fairly long career (1946 to 1959), the YB60 never got past experimental stage.

The official statement that went with this picture says,

A young “cowboy”, the son of a member of the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California, looks over the Convair built YB-60 during its visit at Edwards from the Fort Worth, Texas, plant.  1953

Ride `em Clem!!

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US Air Force Photo, 1953 (Public Domain)
Original Image URL: www.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/040315-F-9999G-008…

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