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Entries in helicopter (11)


"Sense and the City" at the London Transport Museum

A new exhibit recently opened at the London Transport Museum which will likely be of interest to readers of this humble blog. Called "Sense and the City," the exhibition looks at the cultural and technological evolution of transportation in London, with a special emphasis on past visions of the future. Unfortunately, I have no plans to visit London in the near future, but if anyone has seen this exhibit in person please let us know how it is.

The exhibition opens with a striking futurist vision by artist Syd Mead (Bladerunner, Aliens, Tron) and a memorable selection of images showing past-future visions including those by architects Le Corbusier and Archigram as well as the failed and the frivolous such as a spiral escalator, winged buses and taxi airships. The centre of the space features two real vehicles – the controversial Sinclair C5 and the Ryno - a self-balancing, one wheel, electric scooter.

The displays look at the development of technology and its integration into the - social, economic and political fabric of the city. The gradual convergence of devices which has led to smart phones, tablets and laptops and wireless networked devices is illustrated on a wall of retro technology including 1980s brick-sized mobile phones, Commodore computers and the earliest wireless devices.


You can read more about the exhibit on the London Transport Museum website or at Londonist. The image below is featured in the exhibit and was illustrated by Frank Tinsley around 1950.


The Future of the Helicopter (1955)

Flying Platform - 1955

The April 30, 1955 issue of Pacific Stars and Stripes (Tokyo, Japan) ran this short piece about the future of the helicopter. While it's certainly up for debate, I think the "hoppi-copter" pictured in the article below may be the most dangerous flying machine this side of a flying Ford Pinto

The many different shapes and sizes helicopter-like flying machines have assumed in recent years were designed mainly for military use but the future promises civilian occupations for almost all of them.

The Navy's new "flying platform" is a recent example. The machine consists of a wingless circular platform. It contains two fans rotating in opposite directions and producing an air blast that lifts and propels the platform.

Inexpensive and so simple to operate it could serve as an assault boat for the individual solider, it also may be the businessman's speedy coupe of the future.

Another unusual whirlybird is the "portable helicopter," a four-bladed rotor and engine weighing 60 pounds. To fly, the operator simply straps the contraption on his back, starts the motor and takes off.

In war the infantryman might use it for airborne assaults. In peacetime the Dodger fan could take in a double header without having to fight stadium crowds on the way to the game.

Previously on Paleo-Future:



Mechanized Stadium of the Future (1958)

The November 2, 1958 edition of Closer Than We Think featured a "mechanized stadium."

The stadium of tomorrow might very well be adaptable to a variety of athletic and other events, thereby solving a practical problem that has long plagued sports promoters.


The mechanized arena depicted here contains self-propelled sectional grandstands made of a new lightweight high tensile aluminum. Such seating areas would be maneuverable and could be properly positioned for the event at hand with little difficulty. Thus the stadium would be as suitable for a baseball game as it would be for football, boxing or hockey.

And not only would such a stadium bring spectators right up to where the action took place - but as an added touch there might be an adjustable mobile glass roof to protect them from the elements.

Next week: "Turnpike Jet Lines"

Many thanks to Tom Zmudzinski for providing this difficult to find strip.

See also:
Sports Fans of the Year 2000 (1967)
Mile Run in 3:41 by Year 2000 (1965)
Lunar High Jump (1979)
Sport in Space Colonies (1977)
Olympic Games on the Moon in 2020 (1979)
Zero-Gravity Football (1981)
Future Without Football (Daily Review, 1976)
"Grasshopper" Golf Cart (1961)


Experimental City of the Future (1967)

The January 22, 1967 Lowell Sun (Lowell, MA) ran this illustration of an experimental city of the future.

Typical Experimental City may look like this. At left is computerized communications complex; at center lies atomic power plant, while at right is greenhouse for vegetables and greenery.

See also:
Transportation in 2000 A.D. (1966)
Personal Helicopter (1943)
Commuter Helicopter (1947)



Man Made Sea Legs (1949)

The December, 1949 cover of Science and Mechanics featured this illustration of "Man Made Sea Legs for Ships."

See also:
Commuter Helicopter (1947)
Personal Helicopter (1943)
'Flying Saucer' Buses (1950)
Will War Drive Civilization Underground? (1942)


House of the Future (1956)


Personal Helicopter (1943)

This 1943 rendering of a personal helicopter by Alex S. Tremulis appears in the book Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future by Joseph J. Corn and Brian Horrigan. The caption from the book is below.

This concept for a high-speed personal helicopter was an early expression of what would become in the years immediately after World War II an extremely popular vision of the future. To many observers, the helicopter seemed to promise wings for city dwellers who might land atop their apartments or office buildings. Unfortunately, helicopters were - and remain - difficult to fly, relatively unsafe, noisy, and energy inefficient.

See also:
Commuter Helicopter (1947)
Transportation in 2000 A.D. (1966)
Vision (Clip 2, 1993)
Nazi Paleo-Futurism (1941)
Year 2000 Time Capsule (1958)
New York in 1960 (1935)
Closer Than We Think! Throw-Away Clothes (1959)
Automobiles Without Wheels (1958)