Dec 10 2011: Twenty-Seven Advertisements from The Aeroplane Magazine (1948 – 1956)

These advertisements all come from two different issues of The Aeroplane, one published in 1948, the other in 1956. It’s a British trade magazine published, so far as I can tell, mainly for those working in the aerospace industries at the time, so the products – while mainly placed by companies making finished aircraft – also include everything from paint finishes to sparkplugs, gyroscopes, electronics and the springs for landing wheels. Although mainly evocative of a manufacturing past that is long since ended, with major concerns located in places like Wolverhampton, Cheltenham and many similar towns around the UK, there’s a more sinister element that emerges in the pages advertising fighter planes and guided missiles, one that acts as a sharp reminder that these were the high tension days during an early phase of the Cold War, and – perhaps, more disturbingly, given a steady stream of revelations about the relationships between government and arms trade that has continued long after the era covered by these advertisements – that the manufacturing past glimpsed here often depended on trade with highly dubious regimes around the globe. Like an earlier selection of covers from 1960s issues of Flying Review International, there’s also a sense that our own propaganda is not much different to that circulated on the other side of the Iron Curtain at the same historical moment: it’s the familiarity rather than any particular difference in intent that essentially separates them, and makes one species appear to be far more transparent than the other.

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