Tanks
What's inside those mechanized fighting vehicles?
Firearms
See the insides of rifles, handguns, automatic weapons, etc.

Naturally, in the popular press of the time, Consolidated Vultee’s B-24 Liberator bomber would be hailed as a magnificent fighting machine, capable of plowing down any obstacle like cutting through butter.

While the B-24 did have its strong points, crew members had a different angle on the craft. Lately, I have been reading Laura Hillenbrand’s book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption.  The person who is the centerpiece of the book, Louis Zamperini, who was a B-24 bombardier, says that the B-24 was called other names by crew members, such as “The Constipated Lumberer,” “The Flying Coffin,” and “The Flying Brick.”

Click to Enlarge to 1328 x 506 px:

B-24 Liberator Bomber Cutaway 1943

B-24 Liberator Bomber Cutaway 1943

 

Source:  Popular Mechanics November 1943

Wright Cyclone Engine World War 2 Aircraft Cutaway 1945

Wright Cyclone Engine World War 2 Aircraft Cutaway 1945

This was a fictional Second World War aircraft meant to illustrate the Wright Cyclone engine (located in the engine cowling, #10) on a test flight.  The aircraft interior has been specially designed for testing.

Areas of this aircraft shown on the cutaway:

  1. Oxygen supply for crew.
  2. Movie camera recording instruments.
  3. Movie lights.
  4. Instrument panel.
  5. Flight observer and cathode ray detonation detector.
  6. Flight observer at engine operating temperature recorder.
  7. Radio equipment bay.
  8. Fuel volume meter.
  9. Pilot and observer co-pilot.
  10. The Wright Cyclone engine.

Popular Science October 1945

WWII Fighter Plane Cutaway Showing Gravity Suit 1945

WWII Fighter Plane Cutaway Showing Gravity Suit 1945

A cutaway within a cutaway.  Drawn by Stewart Rouse, this illustrates a generic WWII fighter plane peeled back to show the pilot within.  Then the pilot’s gravity suit itself is peeled back to reveal some of its inner workings.

Bladders within the suit were inflated with air from the craft, to minimize the chance of pilot blackouts during hard turns.

Source:  Popular Science January 1945

Futuristic Car Cutaway 1940

Futuristic Car Cutaway 1940

In 1940, it was asked if we might be driving a car like this in only two years.

The novel cutaway turned the notion of how to design a car on its head:  streamlined to look like “a giant aerial bomb on wheels,” with the engine in back, driver in the center, and rear passengers resting on upholstered seats in a spacious area as comfortable “as a small living room.”

Futuristic Aerial Bomb Car 1940

Futuristic Aerial Bomb Car 1940

Source:  Popular Science June 1940

Quonset Hut / House Cutaway, 1946

Quonset Hut / House Cutaway, 1946

A gorgeous picture of a Quonset hut from 1946, touted by Popular Science as a possible “stop gap” to the immediate post World War II housing shortage.

I’ve called it a Quonset hut/house because it clearly does not resemble its earlier incarnation:  Army barracks.  In fact, the vets were said to be moving back to their old barracks “and loving it.”

Clusters of these 20 x 48 foot huts was sometimes called Homoja Villages, a compound name for Admirals Horne, Moreell, and Jacobs.

Admiral Ben Moreell (1892-1978) is known as the the Father of the Navy’s Seabees, and himself was known as “Master Bee.”

Quonset Hut Town

Quonset Hut Town

Source:  Popular Science March 1946

Palomar Observatory Cutaway Drawing 1947

Palomar Observatory Cutaway Drawing 1947

Famed Palomar Observatory, just outside of San Diego, CA, had not yet been finished at the time this cutaway drawing was published.

The drawing shows the observatory’s massive 200-inch mirror that, at that moment, was being finished at optical labs at Cal Tech, Pasadena, CA.  The disk of glass was 17 feet in diameter, and waste glass produced during the grinding weighed 2 tons.

Source:  Popular Mechanics March 1947

Consolidated Vultee Clipper For PanAm Cutaway, 1945

Consolidated Vultee Clipper For PanAm Cutaway, 1945

I’m not certain when this Rolf Klep cutaway was produced, but the magazine text mentions that V-E Day was upcoming, so I’ll put it at 1945.

This 160 ton aircraft was expected to be able to take 200 passengers from New York to London in 9 hours.

Consolidated ventured that it would build about 15 Vultee Clippers for PanAm immediately following the War.

Vultee Clipper Cockpit Cutaway, ca 1945

Vultee Clipper Cockpit Cutaway, ca 1945

 

 

 

RAF Typhoon Fighter Aircraft Cutaway Drawing, 1944

RAF Typhoon Fighter Aircraft Cutaway Drawing, 1944

 

The RAF’s Typhoon was termed an “Engine With Wings” by Popular Science because of its 2,200 horsepower, 24 cylinder power plant–a massive engine at the time.

The Typhoon carried four 20 mm cannon.  With its capacity for carrying two 500 lb. bombs, one under each wing, the Typhoon could be a fighter-bomber as well as a fighter only.

At a loaded weight of 11,300 lbs., it was fairly heavy compared to its sister, the Hurricane, which weighed in at 7,290 lbs. loaded.

This cutaway is from Popular Science, August 1944

RAF Mosquito Cutaway Drawing, 1943

RAF Mosquito Cutaway Drawing, 1943

 

The R.A.F. Mosquito was a zippy, nimble aircraft, its fuselage built of plywood on a balsa wood core and its wings made of spruce and birch.  Other than mechanical working parts, this made the Mosquito nearly all wood.

The Mosquito’s crew of two could take the 18,500 lb. craft to relatively low altitudes to whisk into position, drop its load, and whisk away.

This cutaway drawing was pieced together from a December 1943 issue of Popular Science.

Office Building Ventilation Cutaway

One of the great things about the old Fortune magazine was how it often treated extremely mundane subjects with great wonder and awe.  Not only would they profile the high-level anticts of John D. Rockefeller, William Randolph Hearst, and Henry Ford, but they would take things down to the opposite end of the spectrum and highlight things like the inner workings of an oil well in one of Rockefeller’s fields or the daily routine of one of Hearst’s low-level stringers.

This office building cutaway actually calls itself an “X-ray” of an air conditioning system, and I am not completely certain of its original source in Fortune.  I’d guess that it came with some kind of profile of a giant, national air conditioning company, perhaps Carrier.

Not at all the loving detail of the American Standard advertisement I blogged about previously, but interesting nonetheless.