A 1950s Kitchen, Locked Away Since It Was Built

Like walking back in time, furniture designer Nathan Chandler opened the door on a home he bought in 2010 and found the kitchen in nearly original condition from when it was built in 1956. For some reason the original owners built the house but never lived in it, keeping it sealed away and rarely using the pastel pink General Electric appliances that were installed from the start.

This Was “The Phone of Tomorrow” in 1956… and They Got Almost Everything Right!

It’s not too often that old technology predictions come true… I mean, I still haven’t seen an amphibious battleship… but an article from the September 1956 issue of Modern Mechanix got just about everything right when they talked about “Your Telephone of Tomorrow”. The opening line: “Future may bring push-button dialing, videophones, direct calls anywhere on earth and pocket-sized sets.” Hey, that sounds a lot like my latest smart phone. It took almost 5 decades to make the article’s predictions come true, but hey, they even predicted that right!

How Creatives Work: The Visual Playground of Charles and Ray Eames

Charles and Ray Eames were more than just designers. One of the visual arts most famous and influential married couples, they redefined much of the world that now surrounds us. They also touched multiple disciplines, leaving their mark on architecture, furniture design, interior design, exhibition design, toy design, fine art, photography, and film. They saw themselves as educators and they were definitely innovators.

Who Knew Gas Stations Could Be Beautiful? Architectural Marvels from the Mid-Century

Modernist Gas Stations 2

It’s likely you didn’t even notice the architecture of the gas stations you pulled into this last labor day weekend… but if you did it was probably not because they looked good. Most places you fill up have had their design considered for about 0.2 seconds – before moving on to placing the soft drinks quickly at hand, the dingy toilets hidden somewhere out back and the credit card machine handy. That hasn’t always been the case however, as seen by these beautiful modernist designs from the bygone era – when cars were chrome covered and filling up the tank was the station attendant’s job.

Delicious, Retro Animations from Colin Hesterly

Hammer and Hand Colin Hesterly

I’ll admit it: I’m a complete fiend for mid-century media. When it comes to, say, cartoons from that era, it’s hard to beat the warm nostalgic feeling you get from their positive, often childlike vibe, and optimistic outlook towards the possibilities of the future. So when I ran across these classy retro animations from Colin Hesterly, I couldn’t help but love each short tasty nugget of nostalgia.

A Duck is Different than a Buck: 50s Ethyl Gasoline Ads


In a time long before Photoshop, when advertising departments looked something like the set of Mad Men and every piece of art was hand-crafted, this advertising campaign from the Ethyl Corporation was highly ambitious and still succeeds in capturing our eye. The once giant Ethyl Corporation is a manufacturer of fuel additives designed to stop engines from knocking better than fuel without – a point driven home by this vintage series of ads… after all, a collie is very different than a cauliflower.

Satoshi Hashimoto Illustrates a Retro/Modern World

Yokohama based Satoshi Hashimoto is kicking it old-school cool. This Japanese illustrator has the touch of a mid-century master, creating a world of goatee sporting beatniks and cocktail swizzling cool guys brought up to the modern age. His figures, which feature in plenty of modern periodicals, are surrounded by the technological signs of our modern world: laptops, rooftop gardens and DJ turntables place these images decisively in the 21st century.

Pin Up Girls: Before and After

When I ran across these old 50’s pin-up gals the other day, I couldn’t help but hear some lonely Korean War soldier remarking, “wow, will you look at the gams on this dame!” If these did make it to that war, they came all the way from the advertising pages of America. These classic examples of the mid-century feminine ideal were created by legendary advertising painter Gil Elvgren during his long and successful career. Each image features his original photograph, mocking up the scene to be painted later. His models pose in campy and sometimes awkward positions, doing their best to emulate the scene and demonstrating what must be some of the earliest examples of the dreaded “duck face.”

It’s Great to Be Alive! Shocking 1950s Kids Into Safety

I’m pretty sure it’s not what the original author was going for, but this vintage childrens safety manual still has me laughing at the crazy images and captions. Each illustration features Dick and Jane type comments about kids getting into this trouble or that… some advice still fits today; others like getting locked in a refrigerator have luckily passed. If I was a kid in the 50’s, this pamflet would have been a real keeper!

Harry Truman’s White House Renovation

Did you know that during the Truman administration the White House it had a full gutting and renovation? The iconic building had been home to every US president since John Adams took residence in 1800, but after years of neglect during the Great Depression and World War II, the building had fallen into a very sad state.