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Pennsylvania Railroad One Hundred Years ad. Life 1946. Hi-res file

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Hi-res digital file. A Pennsylvania Railroad centenary ad published in Life Magazine, February 18, 1946.

The year 1946, marks a century of progress in service to the American people. Reflecting the tremendous industrial growth of the Country itself, this service has steadily advanced from a few trains a day to 1,340 passenger trains and 3,170 freight trains daily, operating over 10,114 miles of line extending from the Atlantic to the Mississippi.

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Copyright and Credits

In the United States, anything  (like this ad), published without a copyright notice between 1923 and 1977 is in the public domain and is free to use.

It is unlikely, but not impossible that this ad's content is not in the Public Domain in other countries.
More info on our "Copyright and Public Domain" page.

Please notice that any advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007.


Starting from the mid-thirties, many railroads in the United States were driven progressively out of business due to competition from buses, airlines, and Interstate highways.
The answer was the development of deluxe passenger trains, the streamliners. Some became legendary and profoundly influenced popular culture by focusing on concepts such as power, speed, technological progress, comfort, and luxury service.
Railroads’ advertisements, pamphlets, and even menus were extremely impacting, and it was not easy to select the best.

An excerpt from a Pennsylvania Railroads ad, which is an extraordinary blast into the spirit of the era.
“Capable of speed up to 120 miles an hour, this long streamlined giant not only marks another forward stride in the science of railroading — it is indicative of the spirit of progress in an industry vital to the welfare of America. now and in the future.”

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Celebrating American Technological Progress.

Starting from the mid-thirties, many railroads were driven progressively out of business due to competition from buses, airlines, and Interstate highways.
The answer was the development of deluxe passenger trains, the streamliners. Some became legendary and profoundly influenced popular culture by focusing on concepts such as power, speed, technological progress, comfort, and luxury service.

Railroads’ advertisements, pamphlets, and even menus were extremely impacting, and it was not easy to select the best. 
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  • I Predict … by Lurelle Guild - The Weatherhead Company ad. artwork by Lurelle Guild

    I Predict…by Lurelle Guild. Forecasting the Future of railroads 1944

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    I Predict…by Lurelle Guild. Forecasting the Future of railroads 1944

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    Hi-res digital file. The Weatherhead Company ad published in Fortune in February 1944.
    Artwork by Lurelle Van Arsdale Guild, an architect, industrial and interior designer.

    …The railroad car of tomorrow will make today’s deluxe cars resemble the stagecoach by comparison. I have designed for one of the country’s largest railroads a train embodying numerous new and practical features, including super-efficient heating and cooling to eliminate dust, germs, and draft…

    Max-Quality jpg (5000x6580px, 11.8MB). 
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  • All the Comforts of Roam. American Railroads ad, artwork by James Bingham - Life. April 24, 1944

    All the Comforts of Roam. American Railroads Forecasting the Future 1944

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    All the Comforts of Roam. American Railroads Forecasting the Future 1944

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    Hi-res digital file. American Railroads ad published in Life Magazine on April 24, 1944.

    …The day is coming when a train trip will again be something to look forward to eagerly — something to be enjoyed at ease, in spacious comfort — and all at a moderate price.
    That of course will be after the war is won. It will be when the armed forces no longer need nearly half of all our passenger equipment to move fighting men. It will be when many coaches and Pullmans now busy in war service can be honorably retired to make way for new cars with comfort, convenience, and thoughtful appointments beyond anything the past has known…

    Max-Quality jpg (5000x6700px, 26.1MB). 
    Full-text transcript in the ITPC metadata

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  • Trains of thought for the Future. American Railroads ad - Life. March 27, 1944

    Train of Thought for the Future. American Railroads Streamline 1947. Hi-Res file

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    Train of Thought for the Future. American Railroads Streamline 1947. Hi-Res file

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    Hi-res digital file. American Railroads ad published in Life Magazine on March 27, 1944.

    …Someday this war will be won by America and her Allies.
    Our first duty meanwhile is to meet the demands of the war. This we are doing.
    And we’d like you to know our ideas of comfort and style go far beyond what we’re able to offer today. That’s why we print the picture below….

    Max-Quality jpg (5000x6700px, 26.1MB). 
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  • It's years ahead of schedule. General Motor's Exciting New Train of Tomorrow. artwork by John Clymer - Life. June 16, 1947

    It’s years ahead of schedule. General Motor’s Exciting New Train of Tomorrow. 1946

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    It’s years ahead of schedule. General Motor’s Exciting New Train of Tomorrow. 1946

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    Hi-res digital file. Ad published in Life Magazine on June 16, 1947.

    …Conceived by General Motors engineers and stylists, this new train, from the powerful Diesel locomotive to its unique and beautiful observation car, is packed throughout with vivid and stimulating ideas for future travel pleasure. Among these, there is the Astra Dome, a 32-foot glass-enclosed observation deck built into the roof of every car—giving passengers a giraffe’s-eye view of the passing landscape and skyscape….

    Max-Quality jpg (6700x5000px, 27.4MB). 
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  • Abdulla Cigarettes Ad - Melisande at Montecarlo. N.3 AU CAFE DE PARIS. La Vie Parisienne. April 16, 1921. Artwork by Anne Harriet Fish.

    Abdulla Cigarettes 1921. Mélisande a Monte-Carlo N.3 Au Café de Paris. Art Anne Fish

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    Abdulla Cigarettes 1921. Mélisande a Monte-Carlo N.3 Au Café de Paris. Art Anne Fish

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    High-Resolution file digitally restored. Published in “La Vie Parisienne” on April 4, 1921. Artwork by Anne Harriet Fish.
    Max-Quality jpg (5000x6628px, 17.6MB).

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  • Your-next-car-see-DeSoto-Life-1941-10-13_064-hi-res-file-from-original-print

    Your Next Car See DeSoto 1941 Ad Hi-res Digital File

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    Your Next Car See DeSoto 1941 Ad Hi-res Digital File

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    Your Next Car See De Soto advertisement from Life 1941-10-13. Hi-res digital file, taken from the original print.
    Max Quality 58MB jpg. File size 9521x6322px. The “file info” section embeds the Ad editable body copy.

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  • American Locomotive. Two Trains of Thought. Life Magazine. February 16, 1942

    Two Trains of Thought. American Locomotive ad 1942. Streamliner

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    Two Trains of Thought. American Locomotive ad 1942. Streamliner

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    Hi-res file digitally restored.
    Life February 16, 1942. The ad shows a Diesel-Liner and a Steam-Liner in an idyllic landscape.
    Artist unknown.

     

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  • Abdulla Cigarettes Ad - Melisande at Montecarlo. No. 7. L'APÉRITIF. La Vie Parisienne. July 30, 1921. Artwork by Anne Harriet Fish.

    Mélisande a Montecarlo N.7 L’apéritif. Art Anne Fish. Abdulla Cigarettes 1921

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    Mélisande a Montecarlo N.7 L’apéritif. Art Anne Fish. Abdulla Cigarettes 1921

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    High-Resolution file digitally restored. Published in “La Vie Parisienne” on July 2, 1921. Artwork by Anne Harriet Fish.
    Max-Quality jpg (5000x6682px, 18.2MB).

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