Monday, February 28, 2011

All About Satellites and Space Ships (1958)

A last "goodie" for February. The book is fun but I have a cool piece of ephemera that goes with it.

Here is yet another of the very common space books from the 1950s.  There are tons of copies and it must have been in most school libraries. The "AllAbout" series had a number of titles and one of the things about them that sticks in my memories are that under the covers (which were usually gone by the time they made it to the library) they had distinctive hardcover markings. In fact most of you may know this book from this appearance rather than the cover.

Dietz, David. Illustrated by Wilde, George. All About Satellites and Space Ships. New York: Random House. (164 p.) 24 cm. Cloth, DJ. (1958) Allabout Book #28. Also a 1962 edition.

The text covers the 1st two Sputnik launches, the planned X-15 tests, space stations, rocket theory, planned Moon landings and atomic powered space craft.

The vehicles are interesting because they show another set of ideas about what the first craft landing on the Moon would be.

The ephemera part of this post is that I own the printing plates for the title page and the endplate.  Since this was reprinted so many times it may be one of several that exist.  However as a collector of children's books this is a great artifact of an important book. Here is the close-ups of the cover plate:

Also across from the cover page is this image:

And finally this is the image of the endpapers. It is a little hard to see on the plate so I enhanced and false-colored it so you could see the image.  If the image looks familiar it is a different version of the one I use behind the title of my blog.

I admit these are not quite the original art or the manuscript but they made me happy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"U.S. Space Hardware-- Today and Tomorrow" (1963)

This is a follow-up of sorts to one of my most popular posts of 2010:

The "Space Age 1959" poster:

 The full poster artwork was re-used in this 1963 article:

Dickenson, Fred. "U.S. Space Hardware ---Today and Tomorrow". New York Mirror Magazine, April 28, 1963 pp 9-10.

Since so many people enjoyed the poster this gave me a chance to have a slightly better scan of the art for you since the poster itself won't fit on my scanner :)

The article is interesting in how it justfies some of the vehicles depicted as a true reflection of possible future spaceflight. It also goes on to add some of the current spaceflight gadgets and ships that were being worked at the time.

So here is the higher quality scan (not quite the whole thing) but good enough to use as a background.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Mars Rocket (Die Marsrakete) (1956)

This one is not a book but does have some very nice space art in it.
Die Marsrakete (1956). Instead it is one of the many children's story records that were issued in the 1950s and 1960s.  Record players moved from the living room to the playroom in the 1950s and children had a vast number of records intended just for them.

Once again I do not read German but can get a sense of the storyline from the illustrations.  First of course are children given the opportunity to ride on a rocket. In some stories they sneak on and in others a friendly scientist "uncle" invites them on a trip.

From the expression on the rocket professor's face it looks like he was not planning to launch these boys to Mars. I will guess they snuck aboard or were accidently launched.

Luckily (this was the early space age) something went wrong and instead of going to Mars the rocket capsule came down in the Middle East.  I might not have called this "Mars Rocket" but rather "an unexpected rocket trip". But even with false advertising the images are very beautiful.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

3-D Spacescapes (1964)

This is a spectacular book of punch-outs of the surfaces of other planets. It takes the space art and makes it 3-D.  Because the book itself is 15" x 10" some of the images are harder to share. Also since I did not want to assemble this beauty you can only get part of the effect.  What blows me away about this book is the impressionistic approach to showing the surface of these other planets.

As you see each page is huge with lots of images so I scanned part of the page so you can see some of the spaceflight vehicles and plans.
It is part of the Hammond "Construct-o-kit" books. Hammond was a map and atlas company that as their part of the space age created a number of spaceflight images as to be used in introductions to atlases and as maps. 
Construct-o-kit 3-D spacescapes. By Sonya Rubin Fish. C. S. Hammond, Inc. 1965-02-18 (in notice: 1964)

Other uses of the Hammond images are found in these blog posts:

Some of my favorite images include these of a moonbase and a lunar lander.

There is almost no text in this book except this information page.  Like other punch-out books this one encourages a child to imagine what the future might bring.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Station "Moon" (Stantsiia "Luna") (1974)

This is an updated version of this 1965 Russian book:

I blogged about that one more than 18 months ago so you may not have seen the post. What I would like to do is reuse some of the illustrations from that older book to compare and contrast how they chose to update them.  Since I don't read Russian I can't really comment on the text.

This is the 1965 version of what planning for the moon base would look like.  This picture was recently on "Project Sword" so I thought I would show more of these images.

I like seeing the new vehicles they chose to include. Notice the Apollo "moon buggy" in the front?  It also has a different style, less cartoony and more like an accurate illustration. Also for some reason there is no observatory in the 1974 illustration.

Here is the 1965 version of the complete base. For some reason the book assumes that there will eventually be an atmosphere on the Moon. Otherwise I am not sure how to explain the helicopter. I also like how they have preserved an original mountain under glass as a conservation effort.

The 1974 version again tries for a more realistic style. There is still that unexplainable helicopter but the terrain has been less altered. There are less outside plantings (although cactus still seems popular).

These illustrations from the 1974 book definitely show the impact of 9 years of space exploration.  In fact they seem a little dull even if they are more familiar to us now.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Space Flight : The Coming Exploration of the Universe (1959)

Here is a book that most of you have seen I would bet. It is one of the commonest to find in used bookstores, etc. This is the original binding, it was also reprinted endlessly. The first was in 1959 with glossy board covers (24 cm.) and then again in 1961 as a "revised" edition with little or no changes in the text or illustrations.

Del Rey, Lester. Illustrated by Polgreen, John. Space Flight: The Coming Exploration of the Universe. New York: Golden Press. (56 p.) 21 cm. (1959)

The reason why this is so well remembered are the paintings by John Polgreen.  There had been a "space quartet" of books published in 1957-1958 known as the "Adventure in Space" series. I blogged about the first of these books last fall:

"Space Flight" worked as a synopsis of these books reusing some of the best paintings.

In the true 1st edition there is an interesting error. The first sentence is incorrect stating “The space age began on October 4, 1958…” A loose errata card was slipped into the 1st editions with the correct 1st sentence. 

This space suit is especially memorable with its claw-like hands and feet. As space suits were developed there were doubts whether the pressure in a suit would allow a person to flex individual fingers or ankles. So one idea was providing these claws for gripping.

The other solution was miniature space ships that would allow a longer time in space. Don't they remind you of the "pods" from 2001?
 A classic book, that is inexpensive and easy to find if you are looking for a few books to start a collection. Each painting is a space art jewel.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

First Vacation on the Moon / Premieres Vacances Sur La Lune (1967)

OK as promised your "First Vacation on the Moon".  This is a very interesting French book that seems to have been published using photographs from a space flight movie of the time.  I will welcome any corrections to my guesses since my French is very poor.

Heimer, Marc. Premières Vacances Sur La Lune. Paris: Presses de la Cité, #2 p., 32 cm. 1967

What makes it especially interesting to me is the photographs of a child visiting the Moon. This is very much like "You Will Go to the Moon (1959) but with photographs of the Moon.

The other topic of interest is the Moonbase they visit.  This is probably just the design from the film but it gives the book the sense of it being a visit to a real place.

 I have not been able to find out very much about the book but did find this quote:

"In 1967, Mark Heimer, inspired by images from the film "Luna" the Lennaoutchfilm, imagine the holidays out of the ordinary for a small boy in the "First Holiday on the Moon"  "

I have tried to find out more about "Luna". It may be the 1965 Russian film that was released in Europe as "La Lune"

Having never seen the film I really like the models and details they used for the moonbase.

As a collector I get kind of blasé about having found all the books out there. I have dabbled in finding original books from other countries but having poor language skills has limited me to tripping across them.  This one is an astrofuturism classic. 

I also like some of the details shown like the hydroponics room:
There is also what looks like a monorail and an electromagnetic launching system for return to orbit:

This book is a visual treat. It even has the classic image of how when you walk on the Moon gravity lets you do some fun tricks.

It happily crosses that line between what is fantasy and what might be reality one day.