Bel Geddes’ Fantastical Airliner

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Norman Bel Geddes was an American industrial designer and futurist who had a major influence on the streamlined Art Deco design of the 1930s and 40s.

Few of Geddes’ designs came to fruition. A notable exception was the General Motors Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, also known as Futurama. (Click here for a collection of photographs from that year’s fair.)

One of his unrealized designs was “Airliner Number 4,” a nine-deck amphibian airliner that he sketched in 1929.

It would have been a mammoth airship, inspired by Germany’s Dornier Do X flying boat. Geddes wanted to seat up to 600 people and provide areas for concerts, deck games, a gymnasium, a solarium — even two airplane hangars!

He put the cost of building the aircraft at $9 million, which would be something like $125 million in today’s money.

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