Airliner Number 4

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Norman Bel Geddes (1893-1958) was an accomplished industrial designer known for aerodynamic form that was as much about aesthetics as wind resistance. He began as a theatrical designer before venturing into furniture, cars, trains and aircraft. Perhaps his most innovative design was Airliner Number 4, a transatlantic boat with a 528-foot wingspan— a 747's is just under 200 feet.

The proposal included twenty 1900-horsepower engines capable of lifting Airliner Number 4 to 5,000 feet and attaining a cruising speed of 100 mph. The 450 passengers could choose from nine decks including private dining rooms, a solarium, a gym, six shuffleboard courts, a dance floor, a library, and a concert hall.

Airliner Number 4 mock-up

Airliner Number 4 mock-up

Along with the members of the orchestra, Airliner Number 4's 155-person crew included telephone operators, masseuses, manicurists, and—ahead of its time—a personal trainer.

Unfortunately, Airliner Number 4 didn't make it much farther than the drawing board, but its legacy included Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose.

Below are photos of other Bel Geddes creations, including his his daughter, Barbara, a.k.a. Miss Ellie on Dallas.

Bel Geddes's 1939 World's Fair pavilion

Bel Geddes's 1939 World's Fair pavilion

Locomotive Number 1

Locomotive Number 1