Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Book of Mars for You (1968)

Just a quick cover today before I miss more "blogging" days.  Franklyn Branley wrote many, many children's science books. He often worked with the illustrator Leonard Kessler, whose drawings are wonderfully simple.

Branley, Franklyn M. Illustrated by Kessler, Leonard. A Book of Mars for You. New York: Thomas Y Crowell Co. (56 p.) 21 x 23 cm.

It outlines what is known currently about Mars and our exploration plans. Includes drawings of spacecraft, manned exploration of the Mars surface and reproductions of some of the early photos of Mars. It ends promoting Mars as "space target number two" (after the Moon of course). "A Book of…For You" series book. Also 1975 edition.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Space Travel (1958)

The words fail me.  Here is a great book written by Dr. Kurt Spielberg. He was a PhD in physics and taught at City College of New York at the time. He is world famous for his work in Operations Research.

Some cool space art pictures from a wonderful children's book. Enjoy!

Spielberg, Dr. Kurt. Illustrated by Hutchinson, William M. Space Travel. New York: Maxton Publishing Co. (28 p.) 27 cm. (1958)

A simple book covering all aspect of space travel including history, physics, U.S. and Russian space efforts, building a space station, manned exploration of the Moon, and exploration of the planets. It has wonderful paintings of all these things devoting a page or two to each topic. "A Maxton Book about" series. See 1960 update and 1963 UK Reprint.

I like the claws on this space suit.
One of my favorite space paintings.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Flight into Cosmic Space (1949)

This one I do not have a title for. I have had it for about a year and haven't turned up another copy with a translated title so I will go ahead and share it.

My readers save me with this comment:

"While not a children's book, this is in the genre of popular science. The book, whose title is "Flight into Cosmic Space," was written by Ari Shternfeld, a Polish writer who emigrated to the Soviet Union in the 1930s and stayed in the USSR until he passed away in 1980. Shternfeld's earlier book "Introduction to Cosmonautics," published in 1937, was a very famous book that influenced a generation of young Russians. "

My love of space art is well known to my readers, in this case I bought this based on the sample illustrations in the seller's advertisement.

The first thing that caught my eye was this very different version of a rocket ship. It is almost Art Deco in appearance. It also reminds me of Russian domed architecture.

You can see from this diagram why it looks so strange. It was intended to be constructed in orbit and then separate and spin to provide gravity for the residents during their travels.

Here is an illustration of a more traditional space station that this unique ship would depart from. You can see a more traditional rocket leaving the station.

One of the reasons I like space art is trying to find the line that divides it from science fiction.  These illustrations are science-based to show the possibility, but they are as quaint as da Vinci's helicopter to our modern eyes. I am still a reader of Popular Science magazine and wonder which of their images show a true future but with the same "wrongness" of how it will really look.
 This is what rockets were going to look like from 1949, what will manned travel to other planets look like from 2011?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

3D (or lenticular) Space Postcards (1960s)

Unfortunately something that I collect that does not scan very well are lenticular postcards.

I remember these from my childhood and have been picking them up slowly over the last couple of years.  They are a unique form of space art and show an interesting creativity.  Most were made from 3D models that  were photographed. So the artist had to come up with models, a pose, and a background that would make the right effect.

This space station is one of my favorites for it's excellent 3D effect. I also have a few larger lenticular items, usually these are the same images as the postcards only larger.

 The postcards I collect fall mostly around the landing on the Moon.  The anticipation of what it might look like and especially what a U.S. flag would look like on the moon created a number of postcards.

Some of these are made with GI Joes (or action Man) while others are the Gemini astronaut model.

I also like trying to date the postcards by which model of the Lunar Lander they chose.

I like to think of these as postcards from a future that had not happened yet.  I will leave you with one more postcard from a future that was predicted in 1968 and still hasn't happened:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tomorrow the Moon (1959)

This is a wonderful early space book based on the 1955 Disneyland episode "Man and the Moon" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_and_the_Moon)

What most people don't realize is that within this book is a series of detailed paintings of the construction of a space station that were not seen in the episode.

So here is Wernher von Braun's detailed plans (as interpreted by Disney artists) for how to construct a space station:

Unpacking the components---
Inflating the core---

More pieces- see how they are marked?

Assembly and carrying in place---

You can now see the shape of the station forming---
Finishing work---

 Attaching the propellant to "spin" it up---
Applying protective armor over the inflated portions---
And you have one beautiful completed space station. Some of these paintings are reproduced small in the book but the sequence is fantastic in showing how it could be done.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hammond's Guide to the Exploration of Space (1958)

One of the great space posters of the late 1950's was the 1958 Hammond Space Map.  Produced by the Hammond Map Company it has gorgeous paintings of space vehicles.

Because the map is 29" x 42" inches it is hard to scan but I have been lucky enough to acquire a very nice copy as a part of this "Hammond's Space Kit" set:

The folded map looks like this (which may be the way most of you have seen it):

This map is almost a book within itself. The entire backside of the map is covered in text explaining the images on the front. Here is one shorter example of the text. The real treat however are the illustrations.

Any one of these mini-paintings would make a great screensaver (remember to click on the image to enlarge it). Here are the satellites:

Here you see the solar powered satellite circle the Earth.

The details and labeling make each image a fascinating combination of engineering design and romantic illustration.

And our favorites: the Space Taxi, Space Station, and Moon Base

I can't forget the rockets and astronauts can I?

All in all this map is a real treat that I am glad to share.  These illustrations were reused by Hammond in other publications including this one that I blogged about here:

Here is one last one to leave you with, The Interplanetary Ship Central Control. Be sure to read all of the labels since I am not exactly sure what a "Uloranoben" is supposed to do. Please comment if you have any idea.