Apr 26 2012: Thirty-One Monochrome Photographs from The Boys’ Book of Radio, Television and Radar (Burke Publishing, 1957)

The Boys’ Book of Radio, Television and Radar was published in 1957 as an accessible schools-level guide to the latest technology in the field mapped by the book’s title, covering everything from missile guidance systems to astronomical installations, the BBC’s outside broadcast equipment to medical imaging techniques and the gigantic installations around the country that … Continue reading

Apr 23 2012: A Postcard from Warsaw to The Secretaries of Sherwood Road (1977)

Mailed in the summer of 1977 and inscribed “to my lovely secretaries from sunny Warsaw”, there’s a wonderful inversion in this small postcard showing an almost generic 1970s scene of towerblocks and flyovers that could just as easily have been sent from Birmingham as from behind the iron curtain. Perhaps this just confirms the generic … Continue reading

Apr 21 2012: Twenty-Nine Monochrome Photographs from a Souvenir Volume Documenting Socialist Czechoslovakia (CSSR, c.1957)

From the same 1957 publication as yesterday’s gallery of colour images, these monochrome plates show life in the then relatively new Communist state of Czechoslovakia as idealised and in the service of State propaganda, as though addressing the outside world from the Ministries of a kind of earthly paradise. Yet as with yesterday’s colour photographs’ … Continue reading

Apr 20 2012: Fifteen Colour Photographs from a Souvenir Volume Documenting Socialist Czechoslovakia (CSSR, c.1957)

A girl releases a dove in the name of ‘joy and beauty’. Clean, new buildings rise in historic cities. Athletes and dancers perform mass synchronised routines on a sports field. Gleaming motorcycles promote the latest in industrial design while the steelworks and plants that enabled their construction are dynamically photographed, the camera granting factories and … Continue reading

Apr 16 2012: Eight Kitsch Dream Images by Salvador Dali (Coronet Magazine, 1950)

Coronet magazine seems to have been, in format and approach, an attempt to imitate the success of Reader’s Digest. In among its pages of amusing anecdotes, abridged stories and other human interest material fairly typical of its time, however, are some intriguing advertisements and a definite curveball, given the journal’s otherwise rather conservative idiom, in … Continue reading

Apr 15 2012: Eighteen Monochrome Illustrations From Atomics Magazine (Leonard Hill Technical Publications, 1956)

Back in 1956, the progressive vision of the Festival of Britain had faded somewhat, with most of the South Bank site demolished by the Conservative governments that followed the set up of the 1945 consensus, and in place of that more whimsical and social kind of progressive ideal, a harder, more technocratic and businesslike version … Continue reading

Apr 12 2012: A Portrait of Harry Wheatcroft (Illustration on Celluloid for an Unknown Magazine, 1970s)

A curious item, this image reproduces as best I can the image on a reddish-tinted celluloid sheet containing a photographic transfer of a watercolour portrait of Harry Wheatcroft, the Nottingham-born celebrity horticulturalist and 70s media entrepreneur whose name became synonymous with commercial rose-growing, and whose garden centre, Wheatcrofts, still trades on the edge of the … Continue reading

Apr 4 2012: Twenty-Five Photographs from Bell and Howell 1623 Super/Standard 8mm Projector Instruction Manual (1970s)

Bell & Howell were one of the leading manufacturers of consumer equipment for slide and film projection, and these images are taken from a 1960s or 70s instruction manual that shows how to prepare and thread film, generally operate and maintain their 1623 model Super/Standard home projector. Based in the United States, the company’s history … Continue reading

Apr 2 2012: Seventeen Varieties Of Tents Named After British Birds (from Bukta Campedia Catalogue, 1960)

A 1960 edition of the Bukta Campedia – a sort of general catalogue of camping equipment – manages a certain poetry in its adoption of the common names of British birds for its various models of tent, here presented in a hand drawn format, their variations on the temporary architectural theme united by being coloured … Continue reading

Apr 1 2012: Eleven Postcards Showing Airlines And Aircraft Of The World (1960s – 1980s)

Until the sell-offs of national aviation companies during the 1980s, such as the wholesale privatisation of BA in the UK and the contracting out of such infrastructures as Air Traffic Control and baggage handling in the US (the latter had rather more to do with facilitating the 9/11 attacks than apologists for cost-cutting privatisation have … Continue reading