Hobo Symbols From The Great Depression : The Secret Language Of America’s Itinerant Workers

In 1972 American industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss (March 2, 1904 – October 5, 1972) published The Symbol Sourcebook, A Comprehensive Guide to International Graphic Symbols.

“A ready reference aid and an inspiration to designers . All in all the best book now available on symbols.” –Library Journal.

This visual database of over 20,000 symbols provided a standard for industrial designers around the world. He included a section of 60 hobo signs, used by ‘transient working class men and women who traveled by train to communicate with one another in the Great Depression, late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

“This unparalleled reference represents a major achievement in the field of graphic design. Famed industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss recognized the importance of symbols in communicating more quickly and effectively; for many years he and his staff collected and codified graphic symbols as they are used in all walks of life throughout the world. The result is this “dictionary” of universally used graphic symbols. Henry Dreyfuss designed this sourcebook to be as practical and easy to use as possible by arranging the symbol information within ingeniously devised sections: Basic Symbols represents a concise and highly selective grouping of symbols common to all disciplines (on-off, up-down, etc.).

Disciplines provides symbols used in accommodations and travel, agriculture, architecture, business, communications, engineering, photography, sports, safety, traffic controls, and many other areas. Color lists the meanings of each of the colors in various worldwide applications and cultures. Graphic Form displays symbols from all disciplines grouped according to form (squares, circles, arrows, human figures, etc.) creating a unique way to identify a symbol out of context, as well as giving designers a frame of reference for developing new symbols.”

More: Amazon h/t: flashbak, we find wildness

Jules J. Wanderer noted in his 2001 paper ‘Embodiments of bilateral asymmetry and danger in hobo signs’ one way these signs worked was by tapping into the American brain’s natural bias for right over left:

“For example, paths, roads, or trails were not marked with words indicating they were ‘preferred directions’ to travel or places to be ‘avoided.’ Instead objects were marked with hobo signs that discursively differentiate paths and roads by representing them in terms of bilateral asymmetry, with right-handed directions, as convention dictates, preferred over those to the left.”

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/03/hobo-symbols-from-the-great-depression-the-secret-language-of-americas-itinerant-workers/

Before Bikini: Cool Photos of Women in Swimsuits From the 1930s

The silhouette of the 1930s swimsuit took on direct inspiration from men’s swimsuits (which were still one pieces). Men were encouraged to build a muscular yet lean sportsman’s body. Women also needed to slim down into an athletic body that was tall, lean, and curvy up top to flatter the latest bias cut dresses.

h/t: vintag.es

Swimsuits were cut to show off more leg and more back skin than ever before. The thin straps also made the shoulders appear broader and more athletic. It became what we know as the swimsuit today.

In the 1920s, most swimsuits were one solid color only. In the 1930s, a top half and bottom half could each be different colors or have cubist shapes stitched into (or onto) the design for even more color. Belts and decorative ties emphasized the waist. Swimwear was now real fashion.



























SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/02/before-bikini-cool-photos-of-women-in-swimsuits-from-the-1930s/

Mechanical Secrets of Moving Gorillas in “King Kong”, 1933

Ever wonder how a Hollywood make-up man converts an actor into a terrifyingly realistic gorilla in those fascinating jungle pictures you watch on the silver screen?

A study of these photos will give you an idea of what goes on behind a gorilla face. Mechanics have devised a set of mechanical facial bones and muscles which act as the skeleton for a leather “skin” which make-up men put on.

h/t: vintag.es

A simple set of levers on the mechanism and a strip clamping over the lower teeth enable the actor to open and close his huge gorilla jaws like the real beast of the jungle. A special strap over the eyes gives the beetle browed effect.

Since gorillas have resisted all attempts to train them for use in the movies, film producers have resorted to “synthetic” animals custom-built to fit the picture. One such animal completed recently by Max Factor Studios of Hollywood, California, is made up of an aluminum skeleton with its “bones” filled out with mohair. The body is covered with a tanned leather hide into which thousands of hairs have been knotted by wig craftsmen.

Basic and motionless portions of the gorilla’s skull also are of aluminum, but the working parts in the jaws are made of aluminum, supplemented by steel springs and pinions. Bone teeth and synthetic flesh tongue and mouth lining have a natural appearance. For skin of the gorilla’s head, smooth polished chamois is used, with hair wig-stitched in the proper locale. The “bones” of the cinema gorilla’s hand extensions are of duralumin.

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/02/mechanical-secrets-of-moving-gorillas-in-king-kong-1933/

Brutal 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Touring Berlinetta

First shown at the 1935 London Motor Show, the 8C 2900A was a sports racer targeted to the gentleman driver, powered by a supercharged 2.9-liter inline eight-cylinder engine rated at 220 horsepower.

h/t: The Dieselpunk Flim-Flam

In the hands of Scuderia Ferrari, Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A models swept the podium at the 1936 Mille Miglia, backing up this performance by finishing 1-2 in the 1937 race. Not every buyer needed (or wanted) a car with this level of performance, so in response Alfa Romeo created the the slightly more relaxed 8C 2900B in 1937.

The 8C 2900B was detuned for greater reliability, producing 180 horsepower thanks in part to a drop in compression from 6.5:1 to 5.75:1. Though the eight-cylinder engine retained its 2.9-liter displacement and Roots-type supercharger, aluminum was substituted for magnesium on certain engine castings and the wheelbase was lengthened slightly from 2.75 meters (roughly 108 inches) to 2.8 meters (roughly 110 inches) on corto (short) chassis examples. The 8C 2900B also debuted a new lungo chassis variant, which utilized a wheelbase of 3.0 meters (roughly 118 inches).

Just 10 lungo chassis 8C 2900B models were ever built, including the five aforementioned examples wearing enclosed Berlinetta bodywork from Carrozzeria Touring. Chassis 412020 was the first completed, and displayed at motor shows across Europe in late 1937 and early 1938.



SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/01/brutal-1938-alfa-romeo-8c-2900b-lungo-touring-berlinetta/

Brutal 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Touring Berlinetta

First shown at the 1935 London Motor Show, the 8C 2900A was a sports racer targeted to the gentleman driver, powered by a supercharged 2.9-liter inline eight-cylinder engine rated at 220 horsepower.

h/t: The Dieselpunk Flim-Flam

In the hands of Scuderia Ferrari, Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A models swept the podium at the 1936 Mille Miglia, backing up this performance by finishing 1-2 in the 1937 race. Not every buyer needed (or wanted) a car with this level of performance, so in response Alfa Romeo created the the slightly more relaxed 8C 2900B in 1937.

The 8C 2900B was detuned for greater reliability, producing 180 horsepower thanks in part to a drop in compression from 6.5:1 to 5.75:1. Though the eight-cylinder engine retained its 2.9-liter displacement and Roots-type supercharger, aluminum was substituted for magnesium on certain engine castings and the wheelbase was lengthened slightly from 2.75 meters (roughly 108 inches) to 2.8 meters (roughly 110 inches) on corto (short) chassis examples. The 8C 2900B also debuted a new lungo chassis variant, which utilized a wheelbase of 3.0 meters (roughly 118 inches).

Just 10 lungo chassis 8C 2900B models were ever built, including the five aforementioned examples wearing enclosed Berlinetta bodywork from Carrozzeria Touring. Chassis 412020 was the first completed, and displayed at motor shows across Europe in late 1937 and early 1938.



SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/01/brutal-1938-alfa-romeo-8c-2900b-lungo-touring-berlinetta/

Stunning and Rare Images of The 1935 Adler Diplomat 8 Wheels

The Adler Diplomat is a substantial six-cylinder “limousine” built by the Frankfurt auto-maker, Adler. It was introduced in March 1934 as a direct replacement for the manufacturer’s Standard 6. Less directly the six-cylinder Diplomat also replaced the Adler Standard 8 since Adler’s large eight-cylinder car was discontinued in 1934 without a direct replacement of its own. The Diplomat initially...

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SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/11/stunning-and-rare-images-of-the-1935-adler-diplomat-8-wheels/

Stunning Artistic, Portrait and Surreal Photography by Man Ray in the 1920s and ’30s

Glass Tears, 1932 Born 1890 as Emmanuel Radnitzky in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, American visual artist Man Ray spent most of his career in Paris. He was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. h/t: vintag.es Portrait of André Breton, 1922 Ray produced major works in a variety of media but considered himself a painter above...

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SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/09/stunning-artistic-portrait-and-surreal-photography-by-man-ray-in-the-1920s-and-30s/

1938 Buick Y-Job, the World’s First Concept Car

It’s easy to look at the Harley Earl-designed 1938 Buick Y-Job today and dismiss it as just another neat old car. But put it in the context of 1938, and you’ll realize that it is one of the most radical, influential cars of all time. h/t: vintag.es When you look at the Y-Job, you realize it was nothing like that. It was long, low, wide. No back seat. No running boards. 13-inch wheels.

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SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/08/1938-buick-y-job-the-worlds-first-concept-car/

1939 Pontiac Plexiglas “Ghost Car”: The First Full-Sized “See-Thru” Car Ever Made In America

Visitors to the 1939 New York World’s Fair Highways and Horizons exhibit by General Motors were dazzled by the display of a one-of-a-kind 1939 Pontiac Deluxe Six Plexiglas car. This specially fabricated see through vehicle was constructed of acrylic plastic (quite an advancement at the time) which made visible the many parts that created the Deluxe Six. All screws and fasteners were chrome-plated...

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SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/06/1939-pontiac-plexiglas-ghost-car-the-first-full-sized-see-thru-car-ever-made-in-america/

Beautiful Vintage Black And White Photos Of New York City In The Summer Of 1938

Children on 1st Avenue Sheldon Dick New York City in the summer of 1938 was wet. On June 28, 1.69 inches of rain fell on the city – a record for the date. On July 23, 2.40 inches of rain fell. Minding where they stepped, photographers Jack Allison, Sheldon Dick, Walker Evans and Russell Lee photographed the city as pat of the Farm Security Administration’s aim to record American life between 1935...

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SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/06/beautiful-vintage-black-and-white-photos-of-new-york-city-in-the-summer-of-1938/