When American industry was great

A look back at General Motors booklets from 1930s that highlight the company's design, invention and engineering


Steven Heller
December 7, 2011 6:00AM (UTC)
This article originally appeared on Imprint.

ImprintIn 1938, when General Motors was indeed a general among industries, its Department of Public Relations proudly issued booklets that celebrated while they informed the public. Using automotive progress as the lynchpin — indeed cars were the hub of American industrial and economic dominance — the books focused on how design, invention, engineering and production were at their height.

Titles, including "Chemistry and Wheels," "Diesel: The Modern Power," "Putting Progress Through Its Paces" and "Modes and Motors," among others, were designed anonymously but with modern flair. "Paces" includes streamlined photomontages that typify the image of '30s industrial might. "Modes" heralds the vernacular of design as art.  Here is a small sampling.

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General Motors PR Booklet

General Motors PR Booklet

General Motors PR Booklet

General Motors PR Booklet

General Motors PR Booklet

General Motors PR Booklet

General Motors PR Booklet

Copyright F+W Media Inc. 2011.

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