Sea Clippers, Land Clippers

Today’s poster, by artist Kenneth Thompson, is a ‘Pan American’ (later more familiar as ‘Pan Am’) poster advertising the earlier iteration of their ‘Clipper’ airliners. In the American vernacular ‘ship’ for an aircraft was regularly used, adding another layer to the ‘clipper ship’ call-back to earlier times.


Then, a lot of promotion assumed marine aircraft were better for flying over water (not really true as they weren’t designed, or capable of, safe emergency open water alighting). There’s a deliberately comforting retro storybook feel to the design of the poster, even more evident in the map below.

Андрей Мятишкин, on the original Golden Age of Illustration post where I first found the above poster, dated it to 1937-38, as earlier the types weren’t in service and; “Any later than that and they’d have been advertising their more modern Boeing 314s. I looked up the (real) registration number of the DC-3 depicted in the lower image, and found it was delivered to Pan Am in October 1937. The flying boat in the upper image is a 1934 model, actually ‘Brazilian Clipper’, the first Sikorsky S-42 delivered to Pan Am. It finished out its life as a houseboat…”

253978_0And here’s the route map. So much to read, as we’ve seen on other thirties airline advertisements.

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

Originally on the Golden Age of Illustration here, but better quality copies of the posters found here.

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