Pop Art's Pop

During the Industrial Revolution it was doubtless difficult to see the art through the forest of machine parts. In fact, artists of the 19th century sought to reconnect even more aggressively with nature as an antidote to industrial dirt, grime and standardization. But eventually, machines and the illustrative rendering of machinery were viewed for their inherent merits. This arguably was the beginning of pop as art.

I recently acquired one of many vintage motor parts catalogs that struck my eye for the purity of its presentation. Despite a curiously decorative cover in a Deco vein, the charts showing the respective parts is produced with clear mechanical objectivity. Cheaply printed, this catalog is clearly doing its job while exuding and understated beauty.

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  1. Steven,
    Wonderful piece today. I have a huge soft spot of these types of illustrations, they were around me my whole life. My father is a civil engineer and on the side writes engineering and mechanical design books for McGraw-Hill, this ended up having a big influance on me and my choosing graphic design as a career. Many of my father’s books are collections of this type of content which has been recovered from old publications, where much of the content was only ever shown once in a magazine and forgotten about, possibly forever. Much of that work still has value today and can be the seeds for great ideas. I shutter to think of all the wonderful content that has been lost over the decades as we move forward so fast.
    Thanks for doing what you do, I have enjoyed your daily pieces very much.
    Take care,
    Wayne Parmley