Amazing Snapshots Capture Street Life in New York City From the Mid-1930s to the End of the 1940s

In the late 1930s, photographer Helen Levitt rode the New York City subway system, first as an apprentice to photographer Walker Evans, then snapping photos of aloof passengers wearing fur coats, flat-brim hats, and antique brooches.

h/t: vintag.es

Yet for the majority of Levitt’s illustrious career (lasting until the 1990s), she ventured out of the underground to document life on Manhattan streets. She captured authentic moments — children playing on the sidewalk or dressing up for Halloween, a group of women gossiping — in neighborhoods including Harlem, the Lower East Side, and the Garment District.

Levitt spoke about her early pictures shot on the streets in the 1930s: “It was a good neighborhood for taking pictures in those days, because that was before television. There was a lot happening. And the older people would be sitting out on the stoops because of the heat. Those neighborhoods were very active.”

The New York Times, in 2009, described her as: “a major photographer of the 20th century who caught fleeting moments of surpassing lyricism, mystery and quiet drama on the streets of her native New York”.


























SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/09/amazing-snapshots-capture-street-life-in-new-york-city-from-the-mid-1930s-to-the-end-of-the-1940s/

Diathermy in Beauty Culture From From the 1930s

Coin-operated diathermy machine. Pay your 25 cents and stick a hot, germy mask on your face that hundreds of others have sweated into beforehand!

When the term diathermy is used in beauty culture it usually refers to ‘surgical diathermy.’ Diathermy treatments of this type – also known a thermolysis – were used from the 1930s onwards in beauty culture as an alternative to electrolysis for the permanent removal of superfluous hair, spider veins (telangiectasia), acne, warts, moles and other skin blemishes.

h/t: vintag.es

High-frequency diathermy could be replaced with a simple heating pad. This mask appears to be a Thera Therm Electro-Velour face mask. Introduced around 1938, it was operated by an adjustable heating pad, similar to those used in electric blankets.

High-frequency currents have also been used in beauty treatments to warm the face and body as with ‘medical diathermy’. The first use of diathermy in this manner in beauty culture, was Elizabeth Arden’s Vienna Youth Mask. Introduced in 1928, it was claimed to have a rejuvenating effect by stimulating the circulation of blood through the facial tissues.

Surgical diathermy treatment, possibly for pimples or acne, 1933.

Other salons followed Arden’s lead and facial treatments incorporating diathermal heat became quite common in the 1930s, in part because the machines could also be used to remove hair through thermolysis:

“Treatment begins by cleansing the face, which is then dried with tissue and the mask applied. The chin electrode is first fixed in place by an adjustable rubber strap. In similar manner, double cheek electrode bands and the forehead electrode band is fixed. The cables, which are heavily insulated, are then attached and circuits closed. The resulting sensation is a pleasant, deep-reaching warmth; the consequence of a 10 minutes controlled application is a thorough enduring stimulation of skin and sub-cutaneous tissues. This intensive stimulus is not to be achieved by massage, or any available lotion, and is under full control of the operator. (The Hairdresser and Beauty Trade, 1936)”

Silk mask and electrode method, 1936.

Mention should also be made of indirect high-frequency treatments, also known as a Viennese massage. These combined a facial massage with a high-frequency current to heat the skin under the therapist’s fingers.

Surgical diathermy treatment to coagulate acne pustules, although the model in this photograph does not look like she has an acne problem, 1939.

Although there are some salons today that offer warming diathermy treatments as a ‘circulation booster’ during a facial, these are not typical. A more common and more recent use of ‘medical diathermy’ in beauty culture has been in cellulite treatments. Although it is generally combined with other procedures rather than used in isolation, the deep heat produced by diathermy has been claimed to enhance collagen production; increase blood circulation through vasodilation; improve lymphatic drainage of trapped fatty deposits; and even break down fat cells.

A rubber mask contained a series of heating coils that would allegedly “melt away” fine lines and wrinkles, 1939.

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/08/diathermy-in-beauty-culture-from-from-the-1930s/

“We Were Once Alive”: 100-Year-Old Portraits from Rural Sweden by John Alinder

Sävasta, Altuna parish, 1910–20

From the 1910s to the 1930s, John Alinder portrayed the local people of rural Sweden, the landscape around them and their way of life. Alone, in pairs or in groups, the people stand facing the photographer’s camera.

h/t: guardian

Sävasta, Altuna parish, 1910–20

He often photographed people in their homes and gardens, using the photographic technology of the time – glass plates. These were developed in a small darkroom he had built. After exposure and development of the negatives, he placed them in direct contact with a special photographic paper in a frame under glass and exposed them to sunlight to create the prints.

Sävasta, Altuna parish, 1918–35

Born in 1878, in the village of Sävasta in Uppland, a province in eastern central Sweden, Alinder was the son of a farmer.

Miss Linnea Ekenberg and Emil Johanson, Tibble Torstunaby, Sävasta, Altuna parish, 1919

Alinder remained in the village all his life. He controversially chose not to take over his parents’ farm and instead became a self-taught photographer and jack of all trades.

Stråle’s dog sitting with eyeglasses, Kaby, Simtuna parish, 1922

Alinder was a music lover, holder of the Swedish agency for the British gramophone brand His Master’s Voice. For a time he ran a rural shop from his home, and likewise even operated an illicit bar.

Painters Lindgren and Torell, Sävasta, Altuna parish, 1919

Alinder’s portraiture allows for the magic of chance, both liberating and defining its subjects.

Siri Johanson in confirmation attire, Kotte, Altuna parish, 1931

Often his subjects look straight into the camera, as if they can see us and travel the hundred years or so that lie between their time and ours, saying: “You are alive now, but we were once alive.”

Agnes Johansson (right) and friend, Sävasta, Altuna parish, 1910–20

The Alinder collection came to light in the 1980s when a curator found more than 8,000 glass plates in a library basement.

Ljung’s daughter standing by herself on a chair, Torstunaby, Torstuna parish, 1920

Children placed on chairs, people perched in trees, labourers, confirmation candidates and old ladies; Alinder’s subjects are often depicted against a background of foliage and sprawling greenery penetrated by sunlight.

Major Alström’s wife with the owl, Göksbo, Altuna parish, 1932

Sävasta, Altuna parish, 1910–20

Self Portrait, John Alinder in his garden, 1910–20

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/08/we-were-once-alive-100-year-old-portraits-from-rural-sweden-by-john-alinder/

1934 Peugeot 601 Eclipse, the First Automatic Retractable Hardtop for an Automobile

Fixed-roof cars of the early 20th century could feel claustrophobic. But convertibles of the time were often leaky, drafty, noisy, and insecure. The advanced solution came from Peugeot in 1934, with the introduction of the retractable hardtop on its luxurious 601. The self-storing roof structure automatically disappeared behind the passenger’s compartment into a space revealed by the reverse-opening rear deck in lieu of the trunk.

This Georges Paulin design set the general design standard for retractable hardtops. The technology surfaced in an American production car when Ford introduced the 1957–1959 Skyliner, and all modern variants can trace their roots back to prewar France and have evolved from Peugeot’s idea.

h/t: vintag.es

It used an electric to operate the roof mechanism which Peugeot promised would take 15 seconds to erect or lower, but it actually took closer to a minute to fully complete. Furthermore, four such cycles were sufficient to completely drain the car’s battery a situation which meant you had to do it by hand via a manual lever.

In 1935 the 601 was further developed with minor modifications and some new body variants on the C-series of 1934 and these were classified in the series 601D. The long body styles were called 601DL. The D-series are recognizable by the lowered headlights and the elongated handles on the hood instead of the flaps.

A total of 1,235 units were produced of the C variants in 1934 and approximately 779 units of the L. There were 1,074 copies of the D variants and 911 copies of the DL.

Although the 601 was only in production for 2 years, the 601 was a popular car at concours d’elegances. The body style “transformable electrique” (now known as the CC) in particular appealed to the public’s imagination.

The transformable electrique, or the Peugeot ‘Eclipse’, was born thanks to the meeting of three men: Darl’Mat, one of the most important Peugeot dealers, coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout and Georges Paulin, who was actually a dentist but also found his talent in designing of cars. It was Georges Paulin who entrusted the paper with an idea in 1933 to fold a metal roof completely into the trunk. He patented his invention and then went for coffee with Marcel Pourtout. Eventually, they enlisted their friend Darl’Mat to try out the concept on the new 601. The result was astonishing. The iconic Peugeot Eclipse was born.

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/08/1934-peugeot-601-eclipse-the-first-automatic-retractable-hardtop-for-an-automobile/

The Futuristic World as Envisioned by Echte Wagner Advertising Cards, 1930

These future fantasy collectible cards were published by the German company Echte Wagner in the first half of the 20th century. Originally Echte Wagner made margarine, and it made a lot of trade cards that were distributed all over Central Europe. In 1930, the True Wagner Margarine created a series of books designed as a display for a collection of stickers made available separately. In this book, there’s a section called Future Fantasy which has no artist or author credited.

The illustrations are beautiful, the technology is actually quite brilliant and not so far-fetched. The book is called Echte Wagner Margarine Album Nr. 3, Serien 12 und 13 (Genuine Wagner Margarine Album Nr. 3″, series 12 and 13). It was published by Elmshorn in Holstein, Germany.

Wireless Private Phone and Television

“Each person has their own transmitter and receiver and can communicate with friends and relatives using certain wavelengths. But television technology has become so advanced that people can talk and watch their friends in real-time. The transmitter and receiver are no longer bound to the location but are carried in a box the size of a photo apparatus.”

h/t: rarehistoricalphotos

Monorails

“To increase the speed of traffic, there’s a single-lane expressway. The cars are designed to minimize air resistance. To ensure that the train does derail, which would be a disaster at 500 km, it is supported by stabilization surfaces.”

The Artificial Island

“Since there is no island located on the shortest route to America which could serve as a port, it’s a good idea to create an artificial landing place on the ocean. Of course, there are hotels, spas, restaurants, and a movie theater, so the passengers can enjoy their trip if there is a storm delaying the flight.”

The Rocket Plane

“The aircraft of the future is powered by rockets. The rockets are fitted at the stern of the vessel, which propels the aircraft forward through the recoil of the escaping gases. The aircraft shown here is cruising toward Nankoupas and the ancient Great Wall Of China with 10,000 kilograms of mail. Since it has a speed of 1,000 km per hour, it takes less than 8 hours for the Berlin-Tokyo route. A steamer today needs about 50 days!”

The Rocket Airships

“The rocket planes are in huge proportions and they are shaped like a parabola. The lavishly furnished cabins are built into the wings and hold almost 400 passengers. Because there is no fuselage, the control fins are located at the ends of the wings. The driver’s cab, from which the rockets are managed, is located in the middle of the deck.”

New Highways

“The horses are gone and electricity has replaced the steam power. The pedestrians are no longer in danger from traffic because the motorways and sidewalks are strictly separated. All men and women wear uniform clothing: zipped suits and pants.”

An airship ready to land

“The airship displayed above is about to land in its giant pad. It is no longer lifted by gas and driven by engines, it has a built-in transformer that is able to harness gravity into repulsive force. Now it’s possible to raise, lower, and move huge payloads.”

A New Driving Force (Nuclear-Powered Cars)

“The future cars are powered by tiny engines that use nuclear power. The speed of cars has grown accordingly. The reach speed of 200 to 300 kilometers an hour on city roads. On highways, speeds of 1,000 km/h are quite common!”

An Oceanic Steamer

“The shape of the steamer has changed and the bulky constructions have disappeared, not even a chimney can be seen. The ship shown here carries 20,000 passengers in two days from Hamburg to New York.”

Landing Of A Spaceship On The Moon

“Is this depiction wrong? Shouldn’t the rockets ignite at the stern of the vessel and spew their fire back? No, it’s correct! The ship is landing, it has deployed the brake rockets and has quickly reduced its speed. Now you can easily make the landing on the Moon.”

Private Aircraft With Nuclear Propulsion

“Here we have the opportunity to see a plane. But, where is the propeller? That is none! The aircraft rises and comes down vertically. The engine is a small capsule, in which the nuclear reaction takes place. On the right side, you can see the airplane’s garage.”

Spaceship Port

“Because there are rare minerals on the Moon, America has built a $20 billion enterprise named MoMA-A.G. (Moon Minerals A.G.). At this dock station, the ships can renew their rocket fuel. The station floats freely in the space.”

Cars powered by nuclear power

Getting ready to launch a rocket to the Moon

A rocket among the stars

A rocket flying toward Sun and Mercury

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/06/the-futuristic-world-as-envisioned-by-echte-wagner-advertising-cards-1930/

R-100 Airship: Inside a British “Flying Hotel”, 1929-1930

The R-100 moored in Cardington, England. 1929.

The R100 airship was built as part of a British government programme to develop airships to provide passenger and mail transport between Britain and the countries of the British Empire, including India, Australia and Canada. Originally, it was proposed that two airships be constructed: one, R101, to be designed and constructed under the direction of the Air Ministry, and the other, R100, to be built by a private company under a fixed price contract.

Photo credit: Planet News Archive/Getty Images/Keystone France/Hulton Archive/Fox Photos

h/t: rarehistoricalphotos

The R-100 nears completion in its hangar in Yorkshire. 1929.

The R100, designed by Barnes Wallis, was the first to be finished in Howden, Yorkshire in 1929. The airframe was made of duralumin, an early aluminum alloy, and covered with a giant 5-acre fabric coating stitched together in pieces and stretched into place. Inside the cavernous 146,000 cubic metre shell, 17 gas bags made from oxen intestines provided the all-important buoyancy.

Passengers lounge in the grand salon of the R-100. 1930.

After the 7 successful trial flights and flights checking the outer cover ripple effect, the decision was made for a transatlantic flight or long distance proving flight by one of the two new airships. As the R101 had been put back in Shed Number 1 for further changes to the design to increase the disposable lift, the R100 was tasked with a trip to Canada, successfully crossing the Atlantic to Montreal to the newly erected mast. The ship slipped the moorings from the Cardington mast at 02.48am on the morning of 29th July 1930. The ship flew over the Atlantic and headed down the Newfoundland coast.

Passengers admire the view from the veranda deck of the R-100. 1929.

After R101 crashed and burned in France, en route to India on 5 October 1930, the Air Ministry ordered R100 grounded. It was deflated and hung up in its shed at Cardington for a year whilst three options were considered: a complete refit of R100 and continuation of tests for the eventual construction of R102; static testing of R100 and retention of about 300 staff to keep the programme “ticking over”; or retention of staff and the scrapping of the airship. In November 1931, it was decided to sell R100 for scrap. The entire framework of the ship was flattened by steamrollers and sold for less than £600.

Passengers pass the time in the R-100’s lounge. 1929.

A maid prepares a dish in the airship’s galley. 1929.

Passengers enjoying the views from above. 1929.

A maid sets up a table for lunch in the lounge. 1929.

A passenger looking outside the R-100 panoramic windows.

Passengers hang around the salon and upper gallery. 1930.

Maids set up tables in the lounge for a meal. 1929.

The lounge is rearranged as a dining room for meals. 1929.

R-100 airship (interior).

Reading and playing cards in R-100’s deck.

The R-100 leaves her mooring on her maiden voyage.

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/05/r-100-airship-inside-a-british-flying-hotel-1929-1930/

Amazing Photographs of Sir Malcolm Campbell With His Stunning Blue Bird Cars in the 1920s and 1930s

Sir Malcolm Campbell (March 11, 1885 – December 31, 1948) was a British racing motorist and motoring journalist. He gained the world speed record on land and on water at various times during the 1920s and 1930s using vehicles called Blue Bird, including a 1921 Grand Prix Sunbeam.

h/t: vintag.es

Campbell broke the land speed record for the first time in 1924 at 146.16 mph (235.22 km/h) at Pendine Sands near Carmarthen Bay in a 350HP V12 Sunbeam. He broke nine land speed records between 1924 and 1935, with three at Pendine Sands and five at Daytona Beach. His first two records were accomplished whilst driving a racing car built by Sunbeam.

On February 4, 1927, Campbell set the land speed record at Pendine Sands, covering the Flying Kilometre (in an average of two runs) at 174.883 mph (281.447 km/h) and the Flying Mile in 174.224 mph (280.386 km/h), in the Napier-Campbell Blue Bird.

He set his final land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on September 3, 1935, and was the first person to drive an automobile over 300 mph, averaging 301.337 mph (484.955 km/h) in two passes.

Here, below are some amazing photographs of Sir Malcolm Campbell in different versions of the Blue Bird that he used over his career setting the land speed records:

















SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/05/amazing-photographs-of-sir-malcolm-campbell-with-his-stunning-blue-bird-cars-in-the-1920s-and-1930s/

Incredible Colorized Photos Show What Life of the U.S. Looked Like in the 1930s and ’40s

Street kids at play, Georgetown, Washington D.C., Summer 1935

The Great Depression was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world, lasting from 1929 to 1939. It began after the stock market crash of October 29, 1929, the “Black Tuesday”, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors.

More: Flickr h/t: vintag.es

Street smart, Washington, D.C., 1935

Over the next several years, consumer spending and investment dropped, causing steep declines in industrial output and employment as failing companies laid off workers. By 1933, when the Great Depression reached its lowest point, some 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half the country’s banks had failed.

Cigar store owner and his Indian, Manchester, New Hampshire, October 1936

The end to the Great Depression came about in 1941 with America’s entry into World War II. America sided with Britain, France and the Soviet Union against Germany, Italy, and Japan. The loss of lives in this war was staggering.

Son of a woodcutter, Eden Mills, Vermont, August 1936

The European part of the war ended with Germany’s surrender in May 1945. Japan surrendered in September 1945, after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

These incredible vintage photos were colorized by Lamont Cranston that revived life of the U.S. in the 1930s and 1940s.

Steelworker listening to an unseen union organizer, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, July 1936

18 year-old mother from Oklahoma in California, March 1937

Anton Weber, a resettled farmer, Tompkins County, New York, September 1937

Biker girl, summer 1937

Men on “Skid Row”, Modesto, California, March 1937

Rosie’s Cafe, Texas, 1937

Sharecropper family, Hazlehurst, Georgia, July 1937

A farm wife waits for her husband at a farm auction near Oskaloosa, Kansas, October 1938

Magazine stand, Omaha, Nebraska, November 1938

Parade watchers, 1938

Father and daughter, 1939

Migrant workers camped beside a road near Prague, Oklahoma, June 1939

Tour guide, 1939 World’s Fair, New York City

Wife and child of an itinerant cane furniture maker, Wagoner County, Oklahoma, June 1939

Grand Central Station, New York City, April 1940

Moviegoers outside the Monroe Theater, Chicago, July 1940

Rainy day on Main Street, Norwich, Connecticut, November 1940

Teenagers and their jalopy, Belle Glade, Florida, June 1940

Couple, Chicago, 1941

High St., Holyoke, Massachusetts, September 1941

Teenage girls at a water fountain, Caldwell Idaho, June-July 1941

Three young women outside a church, southside Chicago, Easter morning 1941

Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival in May 1941

Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival in May 1941

A Grumman F4F Wildcat fighter plane displayed at a war bond event, Columbus Circle, New York City, September 1942

Girl sitting alone in the Sea Grill Bar waiting for a pickup, Washington, D.C., April 1942

Hollywood girl, 1942

Mrs. Ethel Oxley in the drugstore that her family ran on the main street of Southington, Connecticut for more than 200 years, 1942

Oxley’s Drug Store, Southington, Connecticut, May 1942

People gathered for Memorial Day commemoration on the town green, Southington, Connecticut, 30 May 1942

Jitterbugs, Washington DC, April 1943

People waiting for a Greyhound Bus in Indianapolis, Indiana, September 1943

Two 18 year-old ‘pit women’, June 1943. They worked near Concord, New Hampshire at a timber salvage sawmill

Waiting for a train, 1943

A crowd watching the news line on the Times building at Times Square, 6 June 1944

Shoe shiners take a lunch break, New York City, 1947

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/04/incredible-colorized-photos-show-what-life-of-the-u-s-looked-like-in-the-1930s-and-40s/

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/