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Entries in rocket belt (6)

Friday
Jun172011

Jetpack Mailmen (1958)

I had to buy stamps recently. It was the worst.

Nothing pushes me into full curmudgeon hack mode quite like standing in line at the post office. We're talking Andy Rooney/ Dave Barry lovechild super-curmudgeon. And don't even get me started on FedEx. Standing in line is so 20th century.

That being said, there's something charming about our antiquated postal service. People literally take letters and packages from one physical place and deliver them to another place. It's pretty darn cute.

In 1960 the future of electronic mail was still envisioned as an analog experiment. Arthur Radebaugh's Closer Than We Think ran a panel on December 25, 1960 in which physical letters would be opened, scanned, beamed to space, returned to earth and reproduced where they would then be delivered to their final destination in the form of a small capsule. It was difficult for people to imagine a world without the postal service delivering some form of physical media, dead tree or otherwise.

The October 4, 1958 edition of Radebaugh's syndicated strip imagined jetpack mailmen of the future leaping from door to door in Suburbatopia, U.S.A. The strip explains that because of its super-secret government technology they can't go into detail on how such a rocket pack might work, but rest assured, it'll make every mail carrier in town a regular Buck Rogers.

Uncle Sam's mailmen can look forward to going faster, getting farther, and doing so with less effort than ever before. All it will take will be a device like the recently prefected "rocket assists" which were originally developed to help infantrymen leap like grasshoppers.

Just how such equipment works is still a military secret. The designer, Reaction Motors, Inc., is not permitted to say how large the device is, or how long it fires, or what kind of fuel it uses. But best guess is that the rocket fires intermittently, so that the wearer can bound from spot to spot as he wishes, with no more energy then it takes to walk. Also the mechanism is believed to be of small size, simply constructed and low-priced. What a boon for mailmen and others whose work takes them from door to door!

 Many thanks to Tom Z. for the color version of this amazing panel from Closer Than We Think!

Monday
Jan312011

PBR Jetpack Ad (1976)

In 1976 Pabst Blue Ribbon ran this TV ad of a man flying effortlessly with a jetpack.* Though the man we see at the end who takes off his helmet is just an actor, the man who actually flew in the ad was none other than William P. Suitor.

You know how we'll know when we're living in the future? When we finally see public service announcements warning us of the dangers of drunk jetpacking. Until then, just keep chugging hipster juice until your bed feels like a giant spinning hoverboard. Drink your way to the future!

*Technically, it's a rocket belt, but I'll let you nerds fight over that in the comments. Nerds.

 

Previously on Paleofuture:

 

Saturday
Jan232010

Jetpack at the 1982 World's Fair

Here at the Paleo-Future blog we look at the work of many visionary people; John Elfreth Watkins Jr, Arthur Radebaugh, Harry Grant Dart, Victor Cohn... but few deserve the title of professional badass of the retrofuture. William P. Suitor no doubt deserves that distinction, risking life and limb to bring us that much closer to a jetpack-filled future.

That's Suitor in this 1966 footage from Disneyland, this photo from the 1964 New York World's Fair, and above in a photo from the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. My generation, (I was just a twinkle in my father's eye in 1982), probably best knows about the 1982 World's Fair through the 1996 Simpsons episode, Bart on the Road

You can find many more great pictures in Suitor's book, Rocketbelt Pilot's Manual: A Guide by the Bell Test Pilot.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Friday
Feb152008

Disneyland Jetpack (1966)

Thursday
Mar152007

Jet Flying Belt is Devised to Carry Man for Miles (New York Times, 1968)


The New York Times article from 1968 titled, "Jet Flying Belt is Devised to Carry Man for Miles," describes the device pictured above as a Buck Rogers flying belt. Oh, how close to the future New York Times readers must have felt on June 28, 1968. Little did they realize that jetpacks would be relegated to the paleo-future.

"....the police might use the belts for riot control, for setting up roadblocks in a hurry, for inspecting rooftops for snipers, burglars or others escaping from the scene of a crime."

If you have a TimeSelect subscription you can read the entire article here.

See also:
Jet Pack Video (1966) 21 Feb 2007

Wednesday
Feb212007

Jet Pack Video (1966)

A friend of mine contends that jet packs were the Segways of the 20th century. They promised to change the way that people traveled but were really just a novelty. I must confess that I find Segways fun, (no matter how nerdy I might look), and would love to try a jet pack if given the chance.

On second thought, I might let Buck Rogers have all the fun for now.