Having been wandering about in the civil nineteen-tens music, let’s flip to after the Second World War, the military, and quite a different noise – the raw ripping sound of a jet fighter* roaring overhead, made real in a poster.
A standard response to airbase NIMBYs** is another cliche, promoted by western air forces – ‘Jet Noise – The Sound of Freedom’, available as a bumper sticker and the like. The idea probably goes back to this nineteen-fifties era, when jets, the Cold War and a direct threat to the Continental United States were all a very new thing. Embedded in the hyperbolic US marketing copy of the era: “Every flight has only one purpose – your personal protection!” is an attempt to change attitudes to a major new, and when supersonic, literal, shock to the community.
This effective poster ties the Convair F-102 Delta Dagger overhead to the peaceful suburban dawn scene of the milk delivery, almost bringing to life the clink of the milk bottles subsumed in the jet noise off the page. While the advert, circa 1956, was presented by the military company Convair, General Dynamics Corporation, it would’ve been thoroughly backed to the hilt by the then-new United States Air Force, formed in 1947, desperate to ensure its importance with the US public. Look they even say so: “Published for the better understanding of the mission of the U.S.A.F. Air Defense Command.”
It’s also a fine illustration of the closing grip of the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned the American people about in 1961. As well as an iconic illustration of a time and concept in military aviation history.
EXTRA: Since sharing this post on the Today’s Inspiration Facebook page, Ken Steacy has kindly dug out a magnificent array of other Convair advertisements, and it looks possible – but unproven – that the artist above might be Ren Wicks. Details here.
James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.
Image found in several online locations and collections.
*A ‘jet fighter’ is a fighter aircraft powered by a turbojet engine. Not, as some media outlets have it, a cool name for any high performance aircraft.
**’NIMBY’ – Not In My Backyard – fierce ‘defenders’ of their local environment, often despite the fact they came along after the thing they’re complaining about or that they want the amenity without the cost.