1959 Popular Mechanics Magazine

1958 & 1959 Popular Mechanics Magazine. Is it Wall Art?

Popular Mechanics Magazine was a frequently read magazine in our house when I was a kid. They always had informative and entertaining content. Especially if you like to tinker with things and dream big. Today, if you keep your eyes open, you will see in antique shops in your area these period correct magazines for your Mid-Century home. I ran across these three magazines, at our local antique shop. They are not perfect however for the most part are undamaged. When you think about it, they are 65 years old. It is pretty amazing the color is still intact.

You can read these old magazines and enjoy the content for hours on end. It was a really neat time in history with a look towards a bright future. My intention will be to get something like these frames (below) to put them in and use them as wall art. We (my wife and I) were talking about making an art wall for all 12 1959 editions. After all, these magazines had hours of time designing and creating these images to represent the content. Are they wall art? I think so, they are Mid-Century Art after all.

1956 (October) Popular Mechanics Mid-Century Home Edition

This one was really neat to look at. It had several articles that showed how to implement the new clean “space age” home designs. Simple things like changing to solid slider doors for your closets to adding pop out windows. The list and content goes on forever. This is a rather thick edition with 380+ pages.

  • How to PM (project manage) a small home for the big family
  • Adding wood Paneling to add “Luxury”
  • Facts on soundproofing, storage walls and general costs for projects.
  • Then my favorite section about a nationwide “Parade Of Homes 1956”

The Parade of Homes had several designs with lots to chat about. The first page had a design of a home in Seattle that was an open design concept with a large patio outside. It included a garage and 3 bedrooms. Check out the full magazine below in PDF form.

A completed Mid-Century Modern design that was an open concept before it was cool in our “modern” age. This size was rather small compared to our current sized homes. It was only 1067 Square Feet. The overall cost was only $13,250 to include the property! Can you say inflation set in since this time?

1959 (July) Popular Mechanics Build an Airplane

July, the summer month where dreams are made. On the front lawn or a golf course. I am not really sure what the boy is doing on the cover below. Maybe it is a picture of someone hiking in the woods? Who knows, let me get your thoughts below, my imagination can go on forever.

The larger topic is to support the theme of the time, Space and Flying. “Everyone” can build and fly a plane. While I think there were dreamers who would pick up this issue and say, “OK it could be possible,” I imagine, just like cars, there were only a handful of people who actually could build their own plane. Even though it says on the cover “FULL-Size-PLANS.” Like that would make it any more convincing. Would you start with half the plan? Just kinda funny how it is written.

1959 (September) Popular Mechanics European Car MPG edition

We may think in our modern age that fuel efficiency is something that is on our minds only today. When oil was more plentiful (or our perception it was) they were still looking at improving the fuel efficiency of vehicles back in 1959 too. On the cover you will notice they had a Volvo (obviously this one is dear to my heart after 24 years working for Volvo Group) and Hillman getting between 15-20 MPG. Morris, Simca, Saab, DKW are all at the 25MPG line. Finally the VW Beetle, a Renault, Austin, and a Fiat are at the 30MPG line. All of these cars were European cars and I am not sure all of them were actually sold here in the USA. I guess after WWII many manufactures were able to bring products here to support the rebuilding of Europe. Many of these manufactures don’t exist now, like DKW, a part of Auto-Union, is now Audi.

Side note: if you did not know, Volvo Cars is not part of the Volvo Group. They are owned by a company in China. However, it does not mean we don’t collaborate with them. Volvo Group sells the rights to the name and logo. They are still made in Sweden and designed around the world. We also collaborate with them on the brand and user experience system. So don’t ask me for a Volvo Car discount (I don’t get one either).

1959 RJR Ads – Camel and Winston Cigarettes

Many of my friends growing up had parents who worked for the RJR (R.J. Reynold Tobacco Corporation) in Winston-Salem, NC. Now many of them do too… When looking at these magazines, the back page had a full page spread in color ad. When is the last time you saw a tobacco ad in print or on TV? But I know you see MULTIPLE ADS almost every 10 minutes on TV or the internet about some big pharmaceutical drug that “can save you from yourself”? Right? Well you may not like smoking, but it is an interesting contrast in our “elevated” way of thinking. So these ads are pretty interesting none the less… showing you what the times were like.

As always, thanks for stopping by. One more item to add to our list of things to do on our house and why not fill a wall with interesting topics such as these?

Until next time!

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