Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Riveting Black and White Photographs From the 1930s!

Looking through my computer, I see I have an odd collection of images. Odder still is that I have actually bothered to transfer many of them from not one but two computers onto my laptop. At some point, I must have subconsciously given a damn about them. Given that, let us now take a look at five notable photos I have on my computer.
Here are some of the airship Los Angeles over New York and Washington, D.C. back in the thirties before people realized that airships were about as ridiculous a method of transportation as you could imagine. I think it’s just cool that the US Navy had a small handful of these suckers. New York in the thirties looks awesome, while you can make out the Capitol building underneath the airships in the second photo.
Here is a coloured lithograph proclaiming the Atlantic cable as the eighth wonder of the world. I guess this would date to the late 1850s (if the Wikipedia is anything to go by). At first it might seem silly that such a thing would be considered a wonder of the world, but then you figure that, for the first time, instant communication from North America to Europe was a possibility. Add to that the realization that they actually laid a fucking piece of wire across the ocean in the 1850s and then it does sound pretty nuts.
Elements from this lithograph that I love and can be found in many similar pieces from this era:
- Animals representing countries (how did a lion come to be associated with the UK, anyway?)
- Classical gods
- The scenes around the border (which is itself a cable) showing the laying of the cable and the points at which it makes landfall

Here’re some samples of the Atlantic cable they had to lay over the years to get a long-lasting, secure connection, which, as I take it, was all the rage.

The following I also take from the Wikipedia:

"On August 16, Queen Victoria sent a telegram of congratulation to President Buchanan through the line, and expressed a hope that it would prove "an additional link between the nations whose friendship is founded on their common interest and reciprocal esteem." The President responded that, "it is a triumph more glorious, because far more useful to mankind, than was ever won by conqueror on the field of battle. May the Atlantic telegraph, under the blessing of heaven, prove to be a bond of perpetual peace and friendship between the kindred nations, and an instrument destined by Divine Providence to diffuse religion, civilization, liberty, and law throughout the world."

These messages were the signal for an outburst of enthusiasm. Next morning a grand salute of 100 guns resounded in New York City, the streets were decorated with flags, the bells of the churches rung, and at night the city was illuminated."

Here we have a section of none other than the mighty Highway 401, lifeblood of Ontario, under construction in Oshawa sometime right before the War. As I understand it, the 401 began as a project designed to link Oshawa (at Harmony) to Scarborough. At the time, it was known as Highway 2A, as it ran parallel to and was meant to relieve some of the congestion on Highway 2. Then the War happened and things didn’t get started again until the 50s, by which point they just went ahead and started making the 401 proper, incorporating a lot of what they’d made of 2A into the 401.

If you ask me, these overpasses must be Simcoe and Ritson. This must also explain why that part of the 401 is rather odd (it’s lower than the city, and peoples’ houses back up right onto the freeway, so close that they have to put some road signs up on top of those ugly green barriers because there is no land between the shoulders and someone else’s property to put them on) – it’s the oldest part of the 401 and they were still trying to figure things out. You can see how they obviously fixed that problem in the newer, post-War parts of Oshawa, like east of Harmony and west of, say… Park.

Special note: Just to see if anyone is paying attention, an alcoholic beverage will go to anyone who has noticed the running theme thus far in my profile photos in the upper right-hand corner.


Anonymous Sweetopopulous said...

My guess for the them is heads detached from their human bodies....come on free alcohol from Spike

5:02 pm  
Blogger Mike said...

Quite right. Remind me over the Christmas break that I owe you an alcoholic beverage. I have some orange juice fermenting behind my radiator as we speak.

5:13 pm  
Blogger Andrew said...

My guess is historical figures who hated jews.

5:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have missed a brain like yours

10:49 pm  

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