This 1950s Ad Showed The Sleek Future Of Shipping Automation

This 1950s Ad Showed The Sleek Future Of Shipping Automation

What do ball bearings have to do with the future? Everything, if you believe

This “Cargo Catamaran” discharges loaded barges, plucks newly loaded ones from dockside… nests them high and weathertight to its central hull. Cargo and barges are rushed intact to destination, where unloading and reloading occur with minimum port time.

When this “shipper’s dream” slips down the ways, New Departure ball bearings will still be first choice — aship or ashore — wherever shafts must turn with maximum efficiency, speed and dependability.

Leading industries just naturally look on New Departure products and engineering service as shipmates for smooth sailing.

There’s not a lot to unpack (sorry) in this illustration, aside from the fact that their automated unloading of barges may not be spot-on in style, but they certainly were correct in spirit. Gizmodo’s own Alissa Walker recently looked at the futuristic technologies driving today’s ports.

In fact, this 1950s ad is not unlike the automated warehouses predicted by Arthur Radebaugh in the 27 April 1958 edition of his Sunday comic strip, Closer Than We Think:

This 1950s Ad Showed The Sleek Future Of Shipping Automation

We got these robots in places like Amazon warehouses (and, of course, in various forms at today’s docks), they’re just a bit less midcentury-future in style than 2015-future.

Image: New Departure ball bearings ad from the September 1956 issue of Scientific American via the Modern Mechanix blog

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.