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Boeing Stratocruiser Cutaway Drawing 1952

Click Image For Full 1636 x 781 px Size

In 1952, the 67.5 ton Boeing Stratocruiser cost a (then) whopping $1.5 million.  With a 3,000 mile range, this craft–first delivered to PanAm–offered up luxury as few commercial passengers had seen before:  a galley, a lower-deck lounge, sleeping berths, a forward stateroom, and more.

Truly a case of “swords to ploughshares,” the Stratocruiser was “developed from the C-97 Stratofreighter, a military derivative of the B-29 Superfortress used for troop transport,” according to Wikipedia.

Or as a promo film from that time says, “from bomber to boudoir,” referring to the powder room accommodations for women.

Making Dinner on the Stratocruiser

Making Dinner on the Stratocruiser


Source:  LIFE, August 16, 1948

Camper Built Inside 1949 Nash, 1952


The illustrator for this drawing is unknown, which is a shame because it’s such a precisely rendered cutaway of a 1949 Nash that had been converted into a camper.

Lucius Sheets of Huntington, Indiana, converted his Nash into a camper that allowed him to sleep, cook, and eat on the road, saving motel expenses.

The right rear door, where the woman stands, was the meal center where basics could be stored.  A piece of plywood attached to hooks near the food center and served as the table.  Mr. and Mrs. Sheets preferred to stand while eating.

Best as we can tell, Lucius Sheets died around 1979.

Click to Enlarge to 943 x 607 px

Source:  Popular Science, October 1952

Triple Deck Auto Transport Plane 1952


A lovely 3-color cutaway by Popular Science stalwart, technical illustrator Ray Piotch, of the Blackburn Universal Freighter (“BUF”).

The BUF had two lower freight decks that could accommodate 6-8 autos, depending on size, and an upper deck for 42 passengers.

This hulking beast wasn’t known for its speed, though, reaching a maximum of 180 miles an hour.

See AirpowerWorld for pictures of the real-life BUF.

Source:  Popular Science, October 1952

Super Dome Train Car Cutaway 1952

Sightseeing “dome” rail cars were not new in 1952, but to this point these VistaDomes, as they were called, had extended only partially along the length of the car.  With the new Pullman super dome car, this “greenhouse” area now extended 73 feet, the entire length (more or less) of the car, accommodating 68 passengers.

The half-inch thick glass top was double-walled, air conditioned air flowing through the plenum during hot summer months.

Downstairs was a 28 seat diner with full electric kitchen.

The Napa Valley Wine Train is one of the few outfits running Super Dome Cars, though in their literature they mistakenly refer to them as VistaDomes.

Click to Enlarge to 1251 x 762 px

Source:  Popular Science, July 1952

2 Story Travel Trailer Cutaway 1952

2 Story Travel Trailer Cutaway 1952

We’re told that this trailer, from Holan Engineering from Elmwood (sic), IN, has two stories and an attic, a plastic-tiled kitchen and bathroom, and a living room with a picture window.

What they don’t tell us is that this is a mobile home, not meant to travel any farther than from the dealer’s lot to the mobile home park or vacation spot near the lake.  Also, they’ve got the city wrong:  it’s Elwood, not Elmwood.

Blog Portable Levittown states that this trailer later took the name Ventoura Loft-Liner.

Source:  Popular Science, June 1952

Click to View Large Sized Image (1861 x 769 px):

Two Story Travel Trailer 1952 Large Image

Idlewild JFK Original Air Traffic Control Tower Cutaway

Originally called Idlewild Airport, it was renamed JFK Airport in 1963, after the President’s assassination.

This workman-like, competent but hardly spectacular cutaway illustration by Sloane shows the 11-story so-called “supertower” that allowed air traffic controllers in the early Fifties to track and guide up to 1,000 aircraft a day (real capacity was likely much less).

At the time, Idlewild was nine times larger than its sister airport, La Guardia.  It became so difficult for controllers to maintain control of air traffic at the massive 4,900 acre Idlewild that sometimes, Popular Science reports, a jeep with a tw0-way radio would be sent out to the runways to communicate with controllers at the old tower.

Source:  Popular Science, June 1952

Linda Plannette

We’re barely out of the 1940s–1952, to be exact–and this lovely lady is presaging the Sixties already by wearing cut-off jeans shorts, no doubt called “dungarees” at that time.  She’s a missus, too:  Mrs. Linda Plannette.  Looks like a sunny but cool Spring day in Southern California, judging by the long sleeves.  My guess is that she didn’t traipse around in cut-offs all the time.  Likely, her husband Paul Plannette, wanted to take a picture of the Merc and said, “Hey, how about a little cheesecake in the photo, huh?”  Check out the big fat palm tree in the background.

Text in this Popular Mechanics piece says that

Mrs. Linda Plannette…is a spare-time Los Angeles mechanic.  She and her husband put together the souped-up car, using a standard Mercury frame, shortened by 18 inches and a stock 1949 Mercury engine.

The guys over at Jalopy Journal say she looks like Geena Davis.  I had to pull up a picture of the actress because it’s not a face that I have in my memory banks.  My evaluation:  sure, a little bit.  Davis’ is a standard-issue attractive face.  It’s not worth posting her picture; you can Google her.

I’d love to know what became of Linda Plannette.  Is she sitting in a nursing home in Indio as we speak?  Or not?  My parents who are in their 80s are still going strong at their own place, no elderly people are they.  Mrs. Plannette would be their age or a bit younger.

Source:  Popular Mechanics, June 1952



As far as I know, this one-man tank never left the mind of Les G. Scherer.

Scherer designed this personal-sized tank to weigh 7,000 pounds, pack two .30 caliber machine guns, and have 650 ports arrayed around the driver with each port containing a shotgun shell that could be electrically fired.  Main selling point of the Turtle Tank was its low center of gravity.  Like its terrapin namesake, this tank would have been difficult to turn over.

Click to Enlarge to 934 x 682 px:

Turtle Personal Tank 1952

Turtle Personal Tank 1952

Source:  Popular Science April 1952

This was real, not Fifties fantasy:  a building heated by atomic energy.

Appropriately enough, the building, located in Harwell, England, was the center for that nation’s atomic research.  Waste heat from the nicknamed “Bepo,” one of the atomic piles, was diverted to heat the 330,000 cubic foot/80 office building.  The system cost $42,000, but it was estimated that it would save $7,500 per year in heating bills.

Click to Enlarge to 850 x 693 px:

Atomic-Powered Heating System for Building 1952

Atomic-Powered Heating System for Building 1952

Source:  Popular Science February 1952

Hal B. Hayes House, Hollywood, CA Exterior 1953

Hal B. Hayes House, Hollywood, CA Exterior 1953

Though I’ve lately dedicated this site to cutaway drawings from the golden age of illustration art–1930s to 1960s–certain things come along that are so amazing that they trump my mission.  The Hal B. Hays residence in Hollywood, CA is one such thing.

I ran into the Hal B. Hayes residence, which Popular Mechanics described as a House For the Atomic Age.  Ever practical, the magazine notes how Mr. Hayes designed the house to withstand or flex against the stresses of an atomic bomb blast.  The outer walls are “fluted to resist shock waves” and the large front glass window, pictured above, will sweep away in the same blast.  There is an underground concrete-and-steel fallout shelter, as well as another room equipped with bottled oxygen.

Hal B Hayes House Hollywood CA 1953 Exterior Glass Wall

Hal B Hayes House Hollywood CA 1953 Exterior Glass Wall

But the house is also whimsical.  The magazine says that the car’s parking spot was cantilevered because “space is at a premium.”  Perhaps:  I don’t know the house’s location, but I assume it’s in the Hollywood Hills.  But I really think Hayes cantilevered the car for the drama of it.

This is drama, this is show and fun.  How else to account for things like the three-story tree growing in the house and passing through a skylight:

Hal B Hayes House Hollywood CA 1953 Tree Through Skylight

Hal B Hayes House Hollywood CA 1953 Tree Through Skylight

Or the underground sanctuary accessed by swimming underwater:

Hal B Hayes House Hollywood CA 1953 Underground Sanctuary and Pool

Hal B Hayes House Hollywood CA 1953 Underground Sanctuary and Pool

Who was Hayes?  In 1956, Zsa Zsa Gabor announced that she would marry Hal Hayes.

L.A. Curbed tells us that the house is located at 1235 Sierra Alta Way Los Angeles, CA 90069 but is so built over that it no longer resembles the original house.  It last sold on May 7, 2010 for $8.4 million.

We see from Google Maps that “the tree” mentioned above (or some kind of tree, anyway), is visible in this satellite shot:

1235 Sierra Alta Way West Hollywood CA Satellite View 2013

1235 Sierra Alta Way West Hollywood CA Satellite View 2013

Source:  Popular Mechanics August 1953