Norman Bel Geddes’ Fantastical Airliner

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, called 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”

Airships in War: Not So Successful in the Real World

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, our review here) 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”

Airships: True Liners of the Skies

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. The two 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”