October 7th, 2010


1941 and the Family Car of the Air

koremelanaigis sent me this from society pages, it's too good not to pass on:

It's a vintage at from 1941. The text is hard to read, the biggest version I could find anywhere was still less than 600 pixels, but through much squinting this is what I decoded:

"They're Building Jobs As Well As Planes in Wichita to be ready when you boys come flying home"
"Believe me, you fellows in the service have something to look forward to the day Hitler hollers 'Uncle'," says Captain McNay. "The airplane that everyone can fly and fly is ready now at Cessna to be produced as soon as this war is over. It's the Cessna Family Car of the Air. And Mr. and Mrs. America will be flying it all over the country as naturally as they've driven automobiles for years."

"That's not just prop-wash. It's bound to come. And with it will come thousands of new jobs building, selling, and servicing thousands of Family Cars of the Air. What's more, there'll be miles of traffic-controlled airways, thousands of airports, landing strips and service stations to be operated. And that means jobs, good jobs and lots of them, for the boys when they come marching, rolling, flying home."

Mrs. America Wins Her Wings
Remember, Mrs. America likes to go places and see things. And when she finds out that she can cover 600 miles in a morning, to shop or visit in any one of a dozen cities, she's going to fly. And nothing can stop her.

Yes, she'll be flying, taking off and landing, as easily as she drives her car, in a few hours after she first steps in a plane. Compared to the hundreds of American women flying today, hundreds of thousands will fly in the post-war tomorrow. Why? Because it's going to be as easy as that for you to fly your own Cessna Family Car of the Air.

Everything about this ad is so happy! Go off and be a soldier, when you come home it will be The Future. You'll have a good job, a pretty wife who likes shopping, your own plane for her cruise along the airways with thousands of other women pilots (win!)

It feels like airplanes were the future... we weren't quite sure what we'd do with them, so we figured we'd do everything. Now days I don't even think the future is the future. We're jaded. We went to the moon, but it wasn't good enough to get us back. We cured diseases, but new ones came up. We connect with each other instantly, but no one knows their neighbors. It's like we made it to the future and it wasn't that cool. And airplanes... well, we decided they had their place.

But isn't this ad just adorably optimistic? I have a little hope, I mean hey I might not be renting a plane to go shopping every weekend, but the pilot thing worked out. I sort of fit into the Awesome Tomorrow.

I did a teensy bit of reading (one paragraph in one book I have, that's blogger-level research for you) and apparently this really was an airplane in the works. We were barely into the 40s, the war was just starting for us, business was booming, America was pulling together, engineers in Wichita were designing this airplane. They were trying to keep the cost in the same range as a 1941 Chevy. But then things got more serious, the war escalated and the program had to be suspended.

Oh well... so the future didn't all come together after WWII. It could still happen. The more we fly, the faster it'll get here, right?