Atomica projects resume beginning with High-Fi Radio Podcast – 10:
Come fly with us…!
Frank Tinsley (1899-1965) was a concept artist during a time when the imagination was the only limit. During the late 1940s and through much of the 1950s, Tinsley found a home at Mechanix Illustrated magazine. He wrote and illustrated numerous articles that mused about the future of technology, transportation, strategic military weapons and equipment, and space exploration. Tinsley was a man with a lot of ideas.
When America Bosch Arma Corporation decided to run an advertising campaign to promote their inertial and military guidance systems and space technology, they turned to Frank Tinsley to illustrate their concepts. Below are some his works for the Steps In The Race To Outer Space campaign, with descriptions from the adverts.
(adverts via nevsepic.com.ua)
This is the command deck of space ship ‘Asteroid‘ – and YOU are the captain, seated in the center there in front of your impressive array of instruments. I am speaking to you over your personal contact tele-viewer, and you can see my ship ‘The Starider‘ on your forward tele-view. We are midway between Earth and the Moon and we are bound for Mars where we are to meet the deep-space ship, ‘The Aspirant.’
On our journey I’ll share some adventures I’ve had and some things we’ve met, but first let’s review some of the equipment we use in space. Let’s go!
A. The Hydramatic Mark 4 Flame Gun which uses a light hydro-ammonal compound – its lethal range in space is 2000 yards.
B. The Atomatic which fires .20-caliber atomic bullets – the burst from these atomic guns produce spectacular results.
C. The Radiumatic which works on the controlled-fission principle produces a concentrated radiation beam. The Radiumatic is proportionality more effective than weapons A and B and can be converted into an ideal weapon for ground use.
Humans and the Mercurians have become firm friends since the first meeting nine years ago. The Mercurians are referred to as ‘The Iron Men‘ as the outer skin of these strange chaps is a thick tissue with a metallic base, protection against the intense heat.
The canopy and cape worn by the Mercurian on the right are used by them when Mercury makes its nearest approach to the sun, when even they need some extra protection.
The Venusians are an advanced lot. As the ship descended to the planet it was frozen into immobility. A grating metallic voice came over the intercom, ‘Hello men of Earth. Follow me and no harm will come to you. Do as I command!’
Guided to the domed city of Metharon, a meeting was arranged with the elected overlord of Venus, The Imperator. The Imperator disclosed that the Venusians knew all about Earth, had in fact visited in the past, and now monitored Earth’s broadcasts. ‘Go Back to Earth,’ he said, ‘and tell them that whenever they come in peace we shall welcome them but, at the first sign of hostility they will be destroyed, utterly!’
Since then, the Venusians have been treated with the respect they merit.
And there is The Aspirant. She’s surrounded by space-suited men and two transport ships are bringing in last-minute supplies. The Aspirant will be the ship used for ‘Operation Deep Space’ – an exploration of the outer planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
Much of the credit for the design of The Aspirant should go to the Venusians and Martians. They provided important component designs that helped make the ship into what it is.
Now that the supplies from The Asteroid have been loaded into The Aspirant it’s time to return to Earth. In twenty-four hours The Aspirant will blast off into deep space. One day we’ll be back to tell you — what lies beyond!
Passing the moon on the return to Earth a sinister shape is seen streaking toward the ship – a space pirate! A message is radioed to the moon-based Space Patrol. Furious activity and almost at once, the ships are blasting off the launching ramps. The Asteroid holds the pirates off long enough – here come the Space Patrol!
Images via The Ron Turner Collection
These space cards tell a story – the story of America’s man-in-space programs. The hearts deal with the human element, the clubs portray the sciences, the spades show products and the diamonds depict modern aerospace management without which the other three elements could not be successful.
General Dynamics Astronautics Space Cards
Manufacturer: National Periodical Publications, Inc.
Click on images to enlarge.
Two cards from the suit of Hearts representing the human element: Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and Buck Rogers – human physical being and human imagination. With the Two of Hearts, General Dynamics recognizes the important influence of the science fiction genre as inspiration for developments in modern space exploration.
Two cards from the suit of Clubs representing the sciences: The Ace of Clubs features an illustration reminiscent of those referred to in the 19th century pseudoscience of phrenology – rather than assigning various functions to different parts of the brain, this card highlights various fields of science relevant to space travel. The Two of Clubs features an image of Leonardo da Vinci with a few of his familiar flying machine designs.
Two Cards from the suit of Spades representing products – The Ace of Spades features a rocket launch reminiscent of NASA’s Project Mercury and the lift off of Friendship 7 carrying John Glenn, the first United States astronaut to orbit the Earth. General Dynamics’ Convair division designed and produced the Atlas boosters used in the launch. The Two of Spades features a hot air balloon – the grandaddy of flight and aerial transportation. In 1783 brothers Joseph and Étienne Montgolfier succeeded in launching the first manned ascent from Earth – Étienne was lifted off in the Montgolfièr hot air balloon, globe aérostatique.
The suit of Diamonds is meant to depict modern aerospace management – and they are the most curious and enigmatic. They are wonderful representations of the Cold-War/Space-Race era. The illustrations utilize symbols to relate this part of the story making the message more subliminal. They also reflect the kind of protective secrecy that was so much a part of that era. The Ace Of Diamonds shows a flow chart suggesting the various areas of aerospace management. The third vertical row has a number of squares contained in the top square – a committee leadership governing this area, or a bureaucracy heading a bureaucracy? At the top of the flow chart flies the U.S. flag – that symbol could mean different things to different folks, depending on a persons cynicism and/or sentimentalism. The two of Diamonds shows an antique telephone and an inkwell – rather primitive devices chosen to portray ‘modern aerospace’ communications.
Below are a few favorites from the deck without descriptions. See what they bring to your mind.
(Card deck images via Unkee E.)
Dehumanized and drugged, transistorized and plugged with electronic replacements for natural parts, a spaceman might survive. But would you still think of him as human?
The illustration above is from the November, 1963, issue of Popular Science magazine. The article is credited to Toby Freedman. M.D., and Gerald S. Lindner, M.D.. It’s a discussion about adapting man for space travel and exploration, and it’s remarkably dramatic. Below are the last few paragraphs from the article. If you’re curious enough to read the full article this link will take you to the terrific Modern Mechanix webpage for your enjoyment.
More profound is the biological approach, which seeks to understand adaptive mechanisms in other forms of life and apply them to man. Instead of hooking up a transistorized organ, the object here is to enable the subject to grow one. This is not as inaccessible as it sounds. Remove one kidney and the other one grows large to sustain the load.
Wonders or horrors? What guide can we look for to direct us in the development of these new powers? For if we can raise people’s general performance with stimulants, we can also reduce them to automatons with depressants, and dissociate them with hallucinating drugs. We can interchange their organs or intercept their heredity by scrambling their DNA. In short, we can alter them in any direction, letting loose in the world forces more powerful and menacing than anything that came out of the atom.
As in the case of the atom, are we going to back into this and find ourselves facing catastrophe without a policy? I have no answers to this question – simply a plea that we start thinking about it.
Let us plan to improve man as we modify him. Let us, while taking over from nature, follow her lead. The keynote is gradual improvement. We should try to optimize those capacities and abilities man already has, by all means available, but avoid radically tampering with the basic mechanism.
In contrast to the astronaut who accomplishes his space mission at the cost of trading most of his physiological systems for electronic ones, whose mouth is sealed, his lungs collapsed, his body wastes recycled through himself, his neural pathways partly severed, and his emotions dissected out we see another. We envision a man who looks quite normal, but who has been adapted to the oxygen requirements of a Himalayan Sherpa, the heat resistance of a walker-on-coals; who needs less food than a hermit, has the strength of Sonny Liston, and runs the mile in three, minutes flat while solving problems in tensor analysis in his head. We call him Optiman, and we think we can make him in the near future.
It we don’t, the Russians will.
(h/t to Sweet Dreams‘ Tumblr for the tip)
On 18 January 1964, The Huntsville Times announced Plans for a $5 million amusement park with space as the central theme – Space City USA would open in 1965. Planners envisioned an amusement park that would rival Disneyland. Local investors eagerly jumped on board. Construction began within weeks.
During the first year of development the public were given teasers as bits of the project took shape. Unfortunately, the projected 1965 opening of Space City USA came and went. The management of the project – Skylim of Alabama Inc. under an individual named Glen Robinson – pushed the opening to the spring of 1967.
In September of ’67 The Huntsville Times ran the headline: ‘Space City USA in Court Battle — Costly Park Lies in Decay.’ Space City had filed for bankruptcy. In October, the assets of the doomed theme park were put on auction. The Times condemned the project as ‘an amusement park scheme which fell flat on its face and took some $2 million in capital with it.’
In the end, no clear reason was ever given as to why Space City never materialized. Some local folks suspected ‘shady dealings going on.’ Some thought that it was just too ambitious of a project and ahead of its time. Only one-third of the invested funds went into actual construction, it was assumed that the remaining two-thirds – an estimated $1.5 million – ‘was simply wasted by more planning, meetings and long business trips.’
Only small remnants remain around the old construction site. The area has since been developed into the up-scale subdivision of Edgewood. (Source: Deborah Storey Of AL.com Photos: ©The Huntsville Times)