Saturday, March 24, 2018

Steam Locomotives
Wall Art Prints

 20th Century Limited

Here is a broad-side image of engine 5451 which is also shown as an Art Deco engine elsewhere within my blog. Quite a well designed streamlined casing for an otherwise common locomotive.

 Comet at Rest

The Blue Comet was the Central Railroad of New Jersey's answer to luxury passenger service in the 1930's. The engine and train were painted a shade of blue, darker then sky but lighter than navy. Very unusual since most locomotives were painted black for obvious reasons. Service from Jersey City to Atlantic City, NJ started in February 1929 and ended in 1941.  

 Hot Rods

Since I've been involved in steam locomotive operations going back to the 1960's, I thought I'd finally commit to film some of the parts that make a steam engine do what it does. "Hot Rods" is a play on words since you don't want these rods to experience excessive heat. They provide a means to run the locomotive either forward or reverse. A crude analogy would be they perform the same function as the transmission in your car. This image won an award from the American Society of Media Photographers.

 Man & Machine

My Dad created this typical railroad portrait, from the mid 1930's, of days gone by. Back then many railroads would assign a particular engineer to a particular engine. Somewhat like the captain of a ship, if you will. He and his assigned fireman were responsible for the safe and efficient operation of both the locomotive and the train it pulled over the right of way.

Their work day would begin several hours before departure time so as to make sure all was in good order for their day. They worked together to make sure the run was a safe and timely one. Good jobs were hard to find in the Great Depression.

As Dad told me, "Smiley" Jackson got his nickname from his fellow workers since seeing him smile was a rarity. He faced an unfortunate death from a bridge accident in the mid 1950's, so I'm told. 

Nevertheless, "Smiley" lives on in this unique portrait. 

Indigo and Iron

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad provided competition for the luxury streamline passenger business with its creation called The Royal Blue. This banner was given to the B & O's new, redesigned express train running between Jersey City and Washington, DC. New, that is, in the year 1937, the era of the Art-Deco train.

The Blue Comet

Central Railroad of New Jersey's plush luxury train is seen leaving Jersey City via the Communipaw lead track out on to the main line. In blue and cream splendor, it's bound for Atlantic City as the world's greatest seashore train. The engineer has the throttle open, the exhaust is high, and the fireman is leaning out of the cab donning his white hat. A site to behold in 1938 as my Dad created this popular image 

 "Nite Sites" Album

All original negatives created by my Dad on September 11, 1940

1939 New York Worlds Fair plus Art Deco Engines


 United States Pavilion and Fountain with Reflecting Pool

This image was captured in front of the United States Federal Building designed by architect Howard L. Chaney.


Trylon and Perisphere: Henry Dreyfuss, designer; Harrison& Fouilhoux, architects. George Washington statue by James Earle Fraser and John Quincy Ward.

This iconic image captures the centerpieces of the Fair with its 700-foot-tall Trylon and 200-foot-diameter hollow Perisphere, designed by pioneering designer Henry Dreyfuss and built by architects Harrison & Fouilhoux. (Harrison was later the lead architect for the United Nations Headquarters.) The Perisphere housed Democracity, a diorama of a Utopian “city of tomorrow”. In keeping with the Fair’s theme, this view shows the back of a nearly sixty-foot statue of George Washington as he faces the future.

White Water

The 1939 New York World's Fair  Fountain  

Two silhouetted visitors sit and stand along the left wall of this water-lit fountain. One of many at the Fair, my Dad was intrigued by this one and took his time to compose the image .

Big Yellow

1939 New York World's Fair  Kodak Pavilion  

This image was created from the side of the pavilion that my Dad felt would give him the representation of the entire building. Semicircular in form, with an irregular wedge-shaped wing that extended to the east and south, the Eastman Kodak Exhibit, on Lincoln square, emphasized the scientific advances within the photographic industry. These advances made possible today's photography and its tremendous influences on modern life. 

The main features of the Exhibit were the Great Hall of Color where the world's most spectacular show of color photography was projected on a panorama of enormous screens. Next the Hall of Light showcased the practice and results of amateur, professional and commercial photography. Lastly, the Tennessee Eastman Corporation's display consisted of their cellulose acetate products of Tenite plastic rayon fabric. The next great part of the overall exhibit was the Photo-Garden where you could take souvenir pictures in strikingly unusual settings. Competent instructors were in attendance to render advice on posing, lighting, and a wide range of picture-taking techniques.

Eerie Orb

September 11, 1940. My Dad created this image after closing time at the New York Worlds Fair. It depicts the 18 story high Perisphere, the massive sundial, Greek statues, and a reflecting pool.

Dad was a volunteer for the two year span of the Fair. He had access to a number of exhibits and he took his time to capture what appealed to him. I'm forever thankful that he gladly gave me his negative collection long before his death in August 2001.

Theme City

1939 World's Fair  Theme City

This image shows the reverse side of of the Trylon and Perisphere that are highlighted in the image shown in "Nite Sites" labeled Trademarks. The four illuminated 65 foot pylons represented the four elements in the Plaza of Light section of the Fair. 


1939 New York World's Fair  Nightly Fireworks  

Fireworks displays were a weather-permitting nightly feature of the Fair. Using his tripod, my Dad took a long-time exposure with his lens cap protecting the film between the several bursts it took to complete this image. The structures in the background, from left to right, are the pavilions of Florida, Firestone Tire, and Westinghouse which provide a unique background.

Night Rider

The Cyclone Roller Coaster, located in the Amusement Zone, was 70 feet high and 3,000 feet long. A thrill to ride any time of day. The Zone covered 280 acres filled with attractions of all kinds including the Parachute Jump which is now defunct at Coney Island.

Jello Mold

One of many show fountains that were placed within the fair grounds.

A close-up shot of the Jell-O shaped fountain seen, perhaps, in the Theme Center area. There were additional fountains throughout the Fair, this being one of them. This same fountain, if photographed during the day, would not yield the striking effect as a night image.

I chose “Jell-O Mold” for obvious reasons. Ever since my Dad shared the negative with me years ago, this title seemed most appropriate. Unlike a named exhibit, this unique “structure” reminded me of a unique dessert design which I've always enjoyed.

 Glass House

On the Avenue of Pioneers, a tower of plate glass and brick illuminated the night and surmounted the Glass Center. In the Great Rotunda, where decorated panels depicted the history of industry, the main exhibit also featured a furnance containing molten glass which was continually manned by a crew of skilled glass blowers. It was in this pavilion of the Fair that four corporation had their exhibits: Corning Glass Works; The Owens-Illionis Glass Company; The Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company; and Owens Corning Fiberglass. 

Moon Shot

This building was a great blue stainless hemisphere turned inside out. The framing trusses were on the outside and at night were outlined by glowing blue lights. 

On the first floor were animated dioramas on steel making described by experienced salesmen. A graph made of steel parts showed the increasing use of iron and steel over the last 100 years and an unusual mural made of blue and polished thin steel sheets illuminated the wide uses of steel. In the Hall of Research, actual laboratory demonstrations pointed out the important part research plays in the process of modern steel manufacturing.

On the second floor a series of dioramas showed the houses made of steel girding and sheeting to which new rooms could have been added at will; a hydrophonic farm (where everything from irrigation to reaping was controlled by radio) ; lastly a city of the future where all traffic would run smoothly when regulated by central grouping.


                         Replica of Independence Hall                          

My Dad chose this vantage point to create this image for obvious reasons. The absence of patrons and the stillness of the reflecting pool both lend to enhancing a striking night portrait. Again, a tripod mounted camera, a stopped down lens aperture, a long uninhibited exposure, and proper processing produced a high quality negative that has survived more than 70 years.

Tower of Light

The Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing pavilion was horseshoe-shaped with an imposing 120 foot "Tower of Light"that contained a waterfall and was flanked on either side by huge glass-enclosed structures - the Hall of Electrical Power and the Hall of Electric Living. Part of the pavilion's draw was a robot named Elektro and a time capsule scheduled for opening in the year 6939.

Nite Lab

Industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague was a member of the Board of Design and played a prominent role in designing many of the exhibits including those for E.I. DuPont. Ford Motor Company, Eastman Kodak, and the National Cash Register. For DuPont's "World of Chemistry", Teague's design included a spectacular 105 foot, test tube-shaped tower which was meant to simulate bubbling chemicals when lit at night. Among DuPont's many innovative displays, arguably the most important was the debut of nylon; knitting machines at the Fair produced nylon pantyhose with which female models played a tug-of-war to demonstrate the fiber's unique strength and amazing flexibility. 

White Lightning

GE's copper-paneled structure was designed by the preeminent architectural firm Voorhees, Walker, Smith and Foley known for Art Deco landmarks such as 1 Wall Street and 32 Avenue of the Americas. A huge stainless steel lightning bolt distinguished the pavilion which contained a 10-million-volt lightning display; a complete television studio; a model electric appliance store; and an x-ray exhibit where visitors could view an assortment of mummy skeletons.


Art Deco Engines

A number of engines built in the 1930's and 40's were streamlined in keeping with the Art Deco influence. Some were rather radical, others quite subtle. Steam locomotives and other engines were manufactured by "form follows function"; streamlining gave them more of a public appeal. A few are remembered here.


 NYC 5451

Number 5451 was among a group of Hudson-type locomotives that The New York Central Railroad used for express passenger service in the 1930's. This engine and several others were streamlined, according to a Henry Dreyfuss design, for the NYC's 20th Century Limited which provided high speed rail service from New York City to Chicago. Any one who was any one rode "The Century" at one time or another back in the day!


The Pennsylvania Railroad wanted to make a statement about steam locomotive design and construction in the 1930's so they created the one and only S-1 designed by Raymond Loewy. It was the largest engine ever built measuring more than 140 foot in length long with thousands of horse power and the ability to run at high speeds all day long. Unfortunately, it was scrapped not long after the Fair due to its size (could only operate on certain lines) and its heavy duty maintenance requirements. 

PRR 3768

With the 3768, the Pennsylvania Railroad created a competitor to the NYC's 20th Century Limited in terms of styling. Their Broadway Limited provided the same first class service from New York City to Chicago. However, the PRR investment in Art Deco streamling was no where near as expansive of what the NYC achieved but was well received nonetheless. 


Saturday, March 17, 2018


Hot Rod & Custom Cars Album
Wall Art Prints 

 Plymouth Rock

The Plymouth Division of the Chrysler Corporation had the neatest looking hood ornaments during the 1930's. They were unique outlines of the three ships that landed at Plymouth Rock centuries before. The grill badge plate also contained a more pronounced image of one of the same ships. 

Lead Sled

Without question, one of the most popular cars of the custom car genre is the 1949-1951 Mercury which was manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. It came in a number of body styles such as 2 door, 4 door, and convertible. The Lincoln, of the same era, bore a strong resemblance to the lower priced Mercury. 

Chrome Teeth

The "behemoth" Buick is another of those custom cars that has stood the test of time. As a matter of fact, the chrome "teeth" of the '50's Buicks have been used to enhance the front end and grills of other very special cars in the custom car industry.

Deluxe Indeed

The very distinctive vertical grill of the 1940 Ford has made it a sought after vehicle for someone wanting a classic custom car. The fact that it's all chrome plated only added to the appeal of the grill design. It certainly is a car that's Deluxe Indeed!

Boney Pony

The 1963 Pontiac Bonneville was produced the same year I graduated from high school. All us guys wanted one but we were a little shy of cash. Nonetheless, it had a big engine, 4-on-the-floor, and 4 buckets seats. Had I bought one, if possible, I would have lost my license no doubt.