America’s first commercially operated monorail was called Trailblazer. Built in Fair Park in Dallas, Texas, this suspended monorail operated from 1956 to 1964. Continue reading “Trailblazer: America’s Forgotten Monorail”
Norman Bel Geddes was an American industrial designer and futurist who had a major influence on the streamlined Art Deco design of the 1930s and 40s.
Few of Geddes’ designs came to fruition. A notable exception was the General Motors Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, also known as Futurama.
One of his unrealized designs was “Airliner Number 4,” a nine-deck amphibian airliner that he sketched in 1929. Continue reading “Norman Bel Geddes’ Fantastical Airliner”
The golden age of the airship began around the turn of the last century, when the first Luftschiff Zeppelin — named after the German Count von Zeppelin who pioneered the construction of rigid airships — was launched.
The possibility that airships might be used in war was quickly recognized. George Griffith’s The Angel of the Revolution (1893) has airship bombing Russia’s major cities. H.G. Wells’ The War in the Air (1908) describes the obliteration of entire fleets by aerial attack. Continue reading “Airships in War: Not So Successful in the Real World”
Although airships are popular in steampunk, their heydays came during the era that is more typically associated with dieselpunk. They shared the skies with that other novelty, the aeroplane. Both coexist elegantly in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004).
Planes represent adventure and perhaps a tad of recklessness. Airships exhale confidence and grandeur. They represent an era that was characterized by progress and great confidence in it. Continue reading “Airships: True Liners of the Skies”
After the “Ottensian” Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), maybe we will soon have a real “Piecraftian” dieselpunk” movie as well.
Panzer 88 is an upcoming horror film that tells the story of a German Tiger tank in retreat from Russia in the winter of 1944. The five-man crew of the panzer stumbles across a Jewish town that was previously the target of an SS purge. There they become the target of a vengeful supernatural entity “that will stop at nothing until they’re destroyed.” Continue reading “Panzer 88: Nazi Madness in the Snow”
Probably there is nothing more steampunk than the locomotive — besides the airship, of course. Railways have always represented movement, freedom, human genius, but after their introduction they soon became infected by the germ of war and started serving destructive purposes.
This seems to be the sad destiny of all human inventions, from the ancient chariots to the modern airplanes. Continue reading “Railways and War”
Whenever a new technology is introduced, whether on the battlefield or at home, there is always a brief period when inventors, unfamiliar with the new concepts, begin experimenting with designs and plans, trying to push innovation to the limit. While these experiments occasionally produce useful results, the great majority end up on the scrap heap of history.
One such forgotten experiment was the A7V Sturmpanzerwagen, an early German attempt at creating a battle-ready tank. Continue reading “A7V Sturmpanzerwagen”
On July 28, 1938, at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, England, the flagship of the new Cunard White Star Line was launched. In honor of the proud and record-breaking vessel that served Cunard between 1906 and 1934, this ship was christened Mauretania and, as her predecessor, destined to become a favorite among transatlantic travelers because of her speed and luxury. Continue reading “RMS Mauretania”