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… it just has to sound plausible


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The future we used to have, part 23

Time for another one of these, I think… Bit of a mishmash this time around – some boats, some fashion, a jet or two, and a giant radio transmitter…

tanki-na-vode-13-foto_10

A proposed Soviet tank hydrofoil. That’s… TANK HYDROFOIL.

space_nuns-e1325951774293

In the future, all cars will be invisible. No, I’ve no idea…

ruben_torres_1967

Ruben Torres fashion, 1967

Rachel-Welch-in-Pierre-Cardin-Space-Look-outfit-1969

Raquel Welch dressed by Pierre Cardin, 1969

Pop-Sci-Aprl-57--tyujmryujk467

Nuclear-powered supersonic bombers from Popular Science, April 1957

Pop-Sci-Aprl-57--agbwrh

A nuclear-powered supersonic bomber from Popular Science, April 1957

Pierre-Cardin-1968-space-age-style-Bill-Ray-Time-Life-Pictures-Getty-Images-53370378-e1347563307191-628x628

Space Age fashion from Pierre Cardin, 1968

Paul-Shambroom---1998-VLF-Cutler-Station,-East-Machias,-Maine-2-million-watts

VLF transmitter at Cutler Naval Station, the most powerful radio transmitter in the world

Lockheed-F-94-Starfire-FA-054-12

The Lockheed F-94C Starfire, which was armed with 24 rockets in the nose and a further 12 in each wing-pod

jetpropelledhydrofoil

A jet-propelled hydrofoil

hydrofoil

A hydrofoil with two giant turbo-props on it

Avenue-Dutch-December-1965-Space-Age-Collection-by-André-Courrèges-e1329562664645

André Courrèges’ Space Age Collection from 1965

courreges-3-modeles-e1329732136393

More André Courrèges

1957-Operation-Survival_Page_19

It’s always good to be sure you don’t get confused between a thunder cloud and a nuclear bomb explosion


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The future we used to have, part 22

There’s nothing new in imagining what the future might look like, and science fiction is far from the only artform with a monopoly on doing so. However, as the future becomes the present, so does our imagined future become part of our past. And here are a few illustrations of that process…

Houses of the future

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

Frigidaire Kitchen of the future, 1956 Motorama

Frigidaire Kitchen of the Future, 1956 Motorama

Clothes of the future

Pierre Cardin with his models, late 1960s

Pierre Cardin with his models, late 1960s

Advert for a tuxedo rental company - wtf?

Advert for a tuxedo rental company – wtf?

Bubble hats for Braniff Airline, Emilio Pucci

Bubble hats for Braniff International Airways, Emilio Pucci

Cabin crew uniforms for Braniff airline, Emilio Pucci

Cabin crew uniforms for Braniff International Airways, Emilio Pucci

Beach cape, Fontana Sisters

Beach cape, Fontana Sisters

Gilet, Pierre Cardin

Gilet, Pierre Cardin

Giant computer brains

22_IBM-System-360-Model-67-Mainframe

IBM 360 Model 67

The office of the future

The office of the future

Univac 9400

Univac 9400

IBM 360

IBM 360

Early HSBC mainframe

Early HSBC mainframe

Bell Labs, 1960

Bell Labs, 1960


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The future we used to have, part 21

These posts have always been about the Cold War, but this time it’s a little more explicit – possibly inspired by a couple of programmes which aired recently on the BBC.

early warning

21_tupolev_tu-126

Tupolev Tu-126 ‘Moss’ Airborne Early Warning

Lockheed EC-121D

Lockheed EC-121 Warning Star Airborne Early Warning

21_shackleton_aew2

Avro Shacketon AEW.2

21_dye-3

DYE-3, one of the US Distant Early Warning line stations in Greenland

21_texas_tower

A Texas Tower, a US offshore radar facility

21_hms_agincourt

HMS Agincourt, a Battle class destroyer after conversion to a radar picket

21_USS_Spinax_(SSR-489)_in_1947

USS Spinax, a submarine converted to a radar picket

first strike

21_LC-30-Pershing-missile-tactical-erector

A Pershing missile tactical erector and launcher

21_SA-4-Ganef-1S

A Soviet SA-4 Ganef surface-to-air missile system

French Pluton missiles on their transport-erector-launcher platforms

French Pluton missiles on their transport-erector-launcher platforms

21_9A84-TEL-Transloader-1S

Soviet S-300V, carrying SA-12 Gladiator/Giant air defence missiles

21_titan_missile_silo

Titan missile base under construction

21_ttitan_ii_launch

Titan ICBM

fallout

21_fallout_shelter

A fallout shelter

Nuclear Perceptions

A family-sized economy fallout shelter

21_personal_bomb_shelter

A personal bomb shelter

21_Fallout-Shelter-3

Everything you ever needed to know about fallout shelters


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The future we used to have, part 20

I’m supposed to be working hard on finishing Apollo Quartet 3: Then Will The Great Ocean Wash Deep Above, so of course I decided to take some time out to hunt down some nice retro-future pictures and post them here, as part of my ongoing project to document a future that just has to be better than the one we ended up with…

air

20_xh51-3

Lockheed XH-51A

20_Arrow05

Avro Arrow

20_lockheed_r6v

Lockheed R6V Constitution

Myasishchev M-50 Bounder

Myasishchev M-50 Bounder

land

20_villa_lobos_park

Monument, Villa Lobos Park,São Paulo, Brazil

Pirelli Tire Building, New Haven, CT, USA

Pirelli Tire Building, New Haven, CT, USA

Government Service Center, Boston, MA, USA

Government Service Center, Boston, MA, USA

Sainte Marie de la Tourette priory, Lyons, France

Sainte Marie de la Tourette priory, Lyons, France

"Centipede" apartment building, Moscow, Russia

“Centipede” apartment building, Moscow, Russia

sea

Lookout Bar aboard SS Oriana

Lookout Bar aboard SS Oriana

Engine console aboard SS Oriana

Engine console aboard SS Oriana

Crows Nest bar aboard SS Canberra

Crows Nest bar aboard SS Canberra

Island Room aboard SS Canberra

Island Room aboard SS Canberra

SS Raffaello

SS Raffaello

Check out more interiors from classic ocean liners of the 1950s and 1960s here.

Aluminaut submersible

Aluminaut submersible

Archimède bathyscaphe

Archimède bathyscaphe


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The future we used to have, part 19

While we wait for the next Chicxulub meteor to end the experiment we laughingly call “civilisation”, here’s a few of the more aesthetically-pleasing things we’ve managed to produce since we stumbled out of the Rift Valley. I say, “aesthetically-pleasing” because machines expressly designed to kill people in large numbers are not what you would call admirable…

air

19_martin_mercator

Martin P4M Mercator maritime reconnaissance aircraft (1950 – 1960)

19_F-101 (36)

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo supersonic jet fighter (1957 – 1972)

sea

19_Canberra-UN

SS Canberra (1960 – 1997)

19_USS_Enterprise_(CVN-65),_island_1990

USS Enterprise (1960 – 2012)

land

19_stockwell_bus_garage

Stockwell Bus Garage, London (1952)

19_trinity_urc

Trinity United Reform Church, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield

19_fiesta_night_club

Fiesta Nightclub, Pond Street Development, Sheffield (1966)

19_fiesta_cinecenta

Pond Street Development, Sheffield, seen across bus station (1966)

people

19_cardin02

Pierre Cardin fashion

19_cardin04

Pierre Cardin fashion

19_naked-time-spock1

from Star Trek, ‘The Naked Time’. I have no idea what they’re wearing or why they’re inspecting a frozen shop window dummy

19_solarnauts

from The Solarnauts, an unsold pilot for a UK sf television series

notes

Check out this website for even more fun futuristic fashion, from both designers and media.
And here’s the full pilot of The Solarnauts. It is ace – the credit sequence alone is brilliant.


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The future we used to have, part 18

As well as the USSR, USA and UK, many other nations were involved in the Cold War. However, none, it seems, built quite as many aircraft as those three countries. As a result, this “rest of the world” post proved really difficult to put together. The USA and USSR were in a military pissing contest, so it’s no real surprise they manufactured hundreds of different types of aircraft. Britain’s large inventory was a result of the role the country played in World War 2… But few other nations invested quite so much in their own military-industrial complexes, and seemed mostly happy to purchase their military aircraft from the USSR, USA or UK. The following aircraft, however, were all the products of their nation’s aerospace companies. Not all of them ever saw service.

fighters

18_Avro_Arrow_3

Avro Arrow
Interceptor prototype
(Canada)

18_MirageG8

Dassault Mirage G
Swing-wing interceptor prototype
(France)

18_SO9000_Trident

SNCASO SO.9000 Trident
Interceptor prototype
(France)

18_vj101c

EWR VJ-101
Experimental VTOL fighter
(Germany)

SONY DSC

Soko/Avioane Craiova JR-22 Orao
Fighter
(Yugoslavia/Romania)

fighter/bombers

18_JH-7JH-7A

Xian JH-7 FBC-1 Flying Leopard
Fighter/bomber
(China)

18_mirage_iv_mv

Dassault Mirage IV
Supersonic strategic bomber
(France)

18_hal-hf-24-marut

Hindustan Aeronautics HF-24 Marut
Fighter/bomber
(India)

18_Fiat-G-91-R3

Fiat G.91
Fighter/bomber
(Italy)

18_saab_a-36_195

Saab 36
Proposed supersonic bomber
(Sweden)


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The future we used to have, part 17

Back in the day, the UK used to have a massive aircraft industry. It was because of the Second World War, of course. We churned out huge numbers of bombers and fighters during those years, but even in the two decades following, there were dozens of aircraft manufacturers in Britain, all bidding on government contracts. Over the years, the various companies merged, amalgamated, or went under, until pretty much all we were left with was British Aerospace. But back in the 1950s and 1960s, when names like Avro, Vickers, Handley Page, de Havilland, Gloster, Supermarine, still meant something, the UK built some iconic military aircraft. Not just the V-Bombers, but also the English Electric Lightning interceptor, the sadly-cancelled TSR.2, or the Canberra – which became the B-57 under licence in the US…

fighters

17_74-sqn-bac-lightning-f6-raf-tengah

English Electric Lightning

17_Gloster_Javelin_XH756_firestreak

Gloster Javelin

17_Sea_vixen_xp924_g-cvix_kemble_arp

De Havilland Sea Vixen

17_sr53

Saunders-Roe SR.53

17_Vickers508

Supermarine Type 508

bombers

17_Victor-K2-XM715

Handley Page Victor

17_Avro_Vulcan_Bomber

Avro Vulcan

17_Canberra-4

English Electric Canberra

17_tsr2

BAC TSR.2

17_valiant-vickers

Vickers Valiant

The SR.53 was a prototype rocket- and jet-propelled interceptor; only two were built. The Type 508 was also a prototype, and a later version of it, without the butterfly tail, went on to enter service as the Supermarine Scimitar.


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The future we used to have, part 16

I did the USSR last week, but now it’s the USA’s turn. The amount of money spent on these aircraft is staggering – far more in total than it cost to put twelve men on the Moon. And yet few of them saw service and even fewer actually saw combat. Despite their capabilities, the technology was far from sophisticated. They pushed the science and engineering of the time as far as it would go, just so they could intercept Soviet bombers before they began dropping bombs, or drop bombs themselves on the enemy without being intercepted. And the only way to do either was to go… higher, faster…

fighters

16_F-101B_kevsaviationpics-com

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

16_F-106 Delta Dart(4)

Convair F-106 Delta Dart

16_F-108MockupGlamourAlternate

North American XF-108 Rapier

16_f2y-1

Convair F2Y Sea Dart

16_lockheed-cl-1200-lancer

Lockheed CL-1200 Lancer

bombers

16_a-5_foto27

North American A-5 Vigilante

16_xb43_13

Douglas XB-43 Jetmaster

16_xb-46-photo

Convair XB-46

16_xb51_15

Martin XB-51

16_ConvairYB-60LOW

Convair YB-60

Of the fighters, only the F-101 and F-106 ever flew with USAF. The F-101 was also flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force. The North American A-5 Vigilante was based on the cancelled XF-108, but rather than a Mach 3 interceptor it was a carrier-based Mach 2 bomber. The Convair XB-46 was built for a medium jet bomber competition, but lost out to the Boeing B-47 Stratojet. The Martin XB-51 was built for a low-level bomber competition, but lost out to the Martin B-57, a license-built version of the English Electric Canberra. The Convair YB-60 was an attempt to extend the operational life of Convair B-36 Peacemakers by giving them swept wings and all-jet propulsion. USAF instead chose to use the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.


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The future we used to have, part 15

One of the things we used to have was the USSR, which meant we also had the Cold War. That gave us “the three-minute warning”, fallout shelters, Mutually Assured Destruction, vast military-industrial complexes, spies and defectors and assassinations, and all manner of political posturing that nowadays all looks a bit farcical but was quite scary at the time. It also gave us some very effective-looking military aircraft. On both sides. Here are some Soviet ones.

fighters

15_mig-21-fighter

Mikoyan Mig-21′Fishbed’
(source: militarywallpapers.com)

15_mig-25_militaryphotosnet

Mikoyan MiG-25PU ‘Foxbat-C’  trainer
(source:militaryphotos.net)

DN-ST-89-08430

Sukhoi Su-15 ‘Flagon’
(source: Wikipedia)

15_tu128-index

Tupolev Tu-28 ‘Fiddler’

15_yak282

Yakovlev Yak-28 ‘Maestro’

bombers

15_M-_4_valkacz

Myasishchev M-4 ‘Bison’
(source: valka.cz)

15_m50-12_testpilotru

Myasishchev M-50 ‘Bounder’
(source: testpilot.ru)

15_sukhoi_t4

Sukhoi T-4

BRIGHT STAR 90

Tupolev Tu-16 ‘Badger’
(source: Wikipedia)

15_tu-22_airlinersnet

Tupolev Tu-22 ‘Blinder’
(source: airliners.net)

The Tupolev Tu-28 was, and remains, the largest and heaviest fighter ever to see service. The Myasishchev M-50 was a prototype – only one was ever built. A second prototype, designated M-52, was built but never flew. The Sukhoi T-4 was also a prototype, and was never given a NATO reporting name.


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The future we used to have, part 14

This time last year it was warm and sunny. This year, it is not. It’s the end of March, it’s freezing cold and there’s snow on the ground. It’s supposed to be spring, dammit. Let’s have some appropriate weather, please. Meanwhile, here’s some pictures to look at:

air

14_nx2_nuclear_plane

Proposed design for a nuclear plane – the detachable pod is the reactor

14_Jello-Kitty--f--0daed1_o

Nuclear bomb delivery mechanisms – an illustration from Life Magazine

14_x15delta

A proposed delta-winged version of the North American X-15

14_t4_2

The Sukhoi T-4 supersonic bomber – it never entered service

space

14_planeta bur 14

Spacesuits from Soviet sf classic, Планета Бур (Planeta Bur, 1962)

14_phantom_planet_u_02

Spacesuits from The Phantom Planet (1961)

14_moon_zero_two

Brightly-coloured spacesuits from Moon Zero Two (1969)

14_machte_navstrechu

Spacesuits from Мечте навстречу (Mechte Navstrechu, 1963)

14_gordo_cooper

Gordon Cooper

14_Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

land
(places I’ve known)

14_NCCW002672

Idlewells Precinct, Sutton in Ashfield (the pyramid in the background gives access to the underground car park)

14_kelvin_flats

Kelvin Flats, Sheffield (I worked on their refurbishment for the 1991 World Student Games; they were knocked down in 1993)

14_hyde_park

Park Hill Flats, Sheffield (they are currently being refurbished)

14_cov_uni

Coventry University (my alma mater)

14_Cov_Cathedral_Sep 1962

Coventry Cathedral in 1962

14_castle_market_4

Castle Market, Sheffield

14_castle_market_3

Castle Market, Sheffield (it’s now run-down and in sore need of refurbishment)

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