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The current state of the camera world Mirrorless vs D-SLR 2018:

I think the 2017 was the first very first year for us to truly see the future would be the Sony E mount and maybe the Fuji X and G systems. They have successfully fixed all weakness or so-called mirrorless specific issues of their respective mirrorless systems with their latest flagship mirrorless offerings.

It is getting better in every way in mirrorless world, not getting perfect or any close to it yet, but it is getting better in every way...

Sure, it is obvious there is no, even one perfect camera system out there, still, even in the end of 2017 and probably neither will be in 2018.

Every ILC system has flaws, some serious ones and not very serious but still significant flaws or at least quirks........that severely hurt usability of the system.

But all systems have pluses and minuses, and it is getting really complicated(used to be a lot easier) to choose the one closest to our specific needs, and still the old D-SLR trolls prefer Canon and Nikon and trash every single mirrorless system without any legitimate or logical reason, they are just too prejudiced against electronics compaines like Sony, Fuji, Panasonic to even assess any of them honestly........but they like it or now, it is really changing and this is the first year we are beginning to see the trend clearly.

Here are some of the "so-called" mirrorless problems at the current stage of mirrorless tech development that some of our crazy biased D-SLR customers at our shop kindly pointed out to us, and I find these points quite interesting but not quite right any more and I'd want to correct these wrong points against the mirrorless.

1) Generally slow operation speed-it is ridiculously slow sometimes due to the tiny weak low power CPU combined with the tiny weak battery Sony, Fuji and m43 all use.

This one was completely correct until the latest generation mirrorless cameras such as the Panasonic GH5, the G9, the Sony A9, the A7R3, the Fuji XE3, etc come out........

So in terms of pure speed and usability, the mirrorless team really leapfrogged this year.

So now, not all mirrorless cameras are slow in operation like their predecessors, but still most of them are slow in every area that does not show up in the spec sheet...

The MK2 generation Fullframe A7 series are very slow because they have a huge sensor and that requires a lot of juice power to run fast, and Sony was too cheap to put a decent processor, or more precisely saying, they did not want to increase the body size by designing and putting proper effective heat sink system....but this serious flaw of the A7X2 series was already fixed with the latest R3 and A9 series and I am sure all newer bodies will have the same powerful A7R3 frontside LSI and similar heat sink system.

Most of Fuji cameras released before 2016 were really slow, but the XT2 and X-T20 changed it and it will get even faster with the next firmware update. The X-E3 is pretty snappy and I think it will get even better with a series of new FW updates that Fuji will issue for that camera in 2018.

However, their IQ flagship GFX is quite slow, nothing like the XT2 or the X-E3.....I just tried a GFX and compared that to my own Sony A7R2(the ancient camera now replaced), and I have to say the GFX is like a snail in my yard, it is extremely slow, much slower than my old A7R2 in every way....... What I mean by slow here is general operation speed not the shooting speed or AF speed. It is extremely slow to write to the card, it is extremely slow to wake up from a long sleep, etc.......and I think it is a bigger issue of a bit slow AF of my A7R2 or any newer Fuji cameras that I have tested.

2) All the current highend mirrorless cameras are overpriced and hold almost no value in a year or two.

"Its a developing technology. So no value in products.IOW, for the same or identical performance for Sony FE or Fuji X, we must pay 2 times more than similar Nikon or Canon to get the identical performance in mirrorless world. The X-T2 costs about 1400US and the Nikon D7200 costs about 700 US.......see my point? even the poorly made lowend camera like Sony A6500 costs 1200US and that is about 500 US more than the D7200.....in fact, even the OM-D EM5M2 using an ancient tiny format sensor costs more than the D7200 or the 80D. The A7R2 costs about 1k more than the D810 and the A7R3 without any weather sealing costs more than the pro class Nikon D850."

This is what out most diehard DLSR customer Jake told us, it may have been true in the last generation mirrorless era, but the latest Sony and Fuji have changed it for good.

The D850 may sound like a big bargain, but it is made out of a collection of old old techs, while the A7R3 or the Fuji GFX is made out of a collection of real latest techs and that costs more to design than the already very matured D850.

However, I agree with Jake on the low end crop mirrorless cameras are all super overpriced and oversized for the sensor size now compared to the cheap mid level crop sensor D-SLRs like the Canon 80D or the Nikon D7200(not the 7500).

The Olympus EM1MK2 with a tiny dated low resolution sensor costs almost 2k USD, is really ridiculous, the new Panasonic G9, while it is an excellent all around hybrid body, I think it is at least about 500 USD overpriced since the IQ of the sensor or system is so poor, lousy.....compared to the cheap but decent matured crop sensor D-SLRs like the Nikon D7200, or the cheap FF cameras like the D750 or the A7MK2.....

The A6500 was also too expensive when it was out, but its price come down significantly and now it is at 1k US and I think it is very acceptable...

Like the A6500, the Fuji X-T2 and XP2 were really overpriced for the sensor size and overall image quality that system could ever produce, but now its price level is acceptable at around 1.2kUS or less. However it is still much more than the Nikon D7200 and about as expensive as the Nikon D750 or the Sony A7MK2...

So I think despite of a bit older tech used if the money is an issue then the Nikons and the Sony A7 non-R bodies are generally "best bang for your buck."kind of value champions. And Fuji and m43 are the two worst value systems, especially the m43.

But for the highend over 30mp FF or bigger sensor system camera market, the Sony A7R3 and the Fuji GFX50s are the two best value cameras ever made for sure..

So Jake is wrong on this one since he thinks all Nikons are better value than all Sony and Fuji rivals in the same price range.

3) Continuous Autofocus is really slow when compared to a decent D-SLR.

Well this was really correct in 2016, but at this end of 2017, it is no longer the case, if you doubt it, please try the A9, the Panasonic G9, or the Sony A7R3 and compare these to your choice of the best D-SLR AF. I bet you would be really shocked to admit these best mirroless AF systems have already surpassed the best D-SLR AF in every area except in super lowlight AF performance.

I think if you compare the D850 vs the A7R3 in real world, you would see the A7R3 is vastly better except in extreme lowlight AF and it may be the only one last bastion of the best D-SLR has against the best mirrorless of this time of 2017.

 

4) It is related to the issue 3, but one of our long time friends said ,"Lowlight AF, almost useless. Even the best mirrorless AF system like the one in the Fuji X-T2, the Sony A9, the A7R3 and the Panasonic G9 struggles in lowlight regardless of their AF EV rating, that is the most important difference between the best mirrorless AF vs the best D-SLR AF, why we serious action shooters still choose a Nikon".

Well, it was maybe true in the last year before the A9, the G9, the A7R3 era of the ILC world, but now I doubt it, the best mirrorless cameras like the A7R3 and the G9 already outperform any D-SLR in almost every area, maybe except action AF in extreme lowlight , say below minus 4EV light level.

And if you do not mind the tiny sensor of the Panasonic system, the G9 has the definitely best lowlight AF in mirrorless world and it is able to track at least as well as the D750, which was the camera its predecessor the GH5 was not able to beat in this specific area of AF performance.

And even the A7R3 is now almost as good as the D750 or the 5DMK4 level in extreme lowlight, it actually focuses on a moving leaf in extreme lowlight like minus 3 EV or a bit lower, and if my memory is correct, I do not remember any Sony mirrorless or Canon D-SLR before the A7R3 could do this without hunting a several seconds or longer.

So even in this very specific area of AF that all the previous generation mirrorless scored very bad, the current best mirrorless made a huge leapfrog, now they are actually better than most of D-SLRs, except for the best Nikon pro bodies.

But still, none of mirrorless cameras are able to go down to minus 4EV light level that the best latest Nikon D-SLRs such as the D850, the D500, the D5 have been able to do some how. And I think the reason is simple the current sensor gets too noisy when it gets heated up by continuous live-viewing in extreme lowlight, and the noisier the sensor gets the more difficult for the sensor based CD/PD AF to work properly at the current level of technology, so the best mirrorless still struggles in extremely lowlight action AF.....but for static thing, the latest AF system of Sony, Fuji and Panasonic made a huge leapfrog in performance in both speed and accuracy.

I think this is the main reason why the Sony's new A99MK2 still have the much criticized SLT design and it is superb in lowlight. I think when Sony or Canon feels comfortable with their respective OSPDAF tech even for extreme lowlight action tracking use,they will eliminate the mirror from their A99MK2 successor or 5D successor and the one get there first will win this game.

But for my personal needs, the AF system of the Panasonic G9 and the Sony A7R3 are both more than good enough for every kind of action that I shoot........so for me it is not a issue any more.

5) extremely poor ergonomics and controls design in some cameras..without proper grip and dual card slots. I personally like ergonomics of the Panasonic G9 and Sony A7R3. I find all my Sonys and Panasonics just OK, but the other mirrorless cameras ,especially the Fuji cameras simply feel too awkward to operate through and difficult to hold steadily. And many of mirrorless cameras even the expensive ones like the A6500 or the Pen F have very poor SD card slot design. I mean why put the SD card slot inside of the battery compartment?

I think this poor SD card slot placement is the only one real con of the Sony A6500/a6300 series, and other wise, I use them as my sub camera to my A7R3 and A7R.

So some mirrorless cameras still have some serious usability issues but these issues are all the tiny size related issues not mirrorless related ones. And the increased size of the G9 body or the A7R3 body has already solved that...

The A7R3 is significantly bigger than my original A7R, but it has dual card slots, a bigger battery, a more powerful CPU, etc, and the size increasement is really easily justified in this case.

The D-SLR guys like our friend Jake always criticize no mirrorless has dual card slots but Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony have already fixed this issue with their respective flagship models. I expect that even consumer models will get this feature pretty soon to make it really no issue for most.

Plus, good ergonomic design is very personal thing, for me the A7R3 body is very easy to use and very intuitive because I have been shooting A7R series since the very first A7R and thus I am extremely familiar with it and that series of camera design already.

I am sure the D-SLR guys hate it but it is not objective criticism and thus it is not fair to mirroless guys.

I mean I know many people feel the D850 or 5D4 really awkward and unintuitive(actually I am in that category) and hate it.

For me the ideal camera body size is something like the Nikon D750 or the Canon 6D, but the latest generation A7R3 is close enough.....

 

6) EVF is not a problem for me, I actually love it but many of our customers hate it and say it is the biggest con of the current mirrorless without even testing the latest cameras like the A7R3, the A6500, the G9 and the EM1MK2.

Is the EVF still really bad? Or is it even fair to criticize it now?

For me, though, it is the biggest advantage of mirrorless over any D-SLR...... I think if one gets used to the best EVF like one in the Panasonic G9 or the Sony A7R3, even the middle class ones like the Panasonic GH5, the Sony A7R2, the Fuji X-T2, there is no way back for him or her to the OVF based cameras. But many of our customers disagree and so I respect that. Some people actually say the Sony A7R3EVF really tires their eyes much faster than the OVF in their D850 or D810 or 5DMK4 does and so they cannot shoot the A7R3, let alone any EVF worse than that. I do not know if this is any true but again I respect that.

Now a few Japanese university studies reporting that the current level of noisy EVF actually hurts human eyes and may degrade their eye sight...........but I do not know if this is really true. And to me the EVF of the A7R3 is very clear and never gets too noisy, and so it is a vastly better finder than any OVF even the best one in the Nikon D850.

But I admit that it is very personal thing, some prefer the OVF in the D850 and some like me prefer the EVF, after all I am and my generation of people are very used to using EVF and LCD panels in their PC's, in their phones, etc...

My first EVF device was the Minolta A2 digital camera from 2003.

7) terrible battery life. the best mirrorless camera in this regard is probably the Panasonic GH5, the G9 or the Sony A9/7R3 now,but even these cameras are still much worse than the similar class D-SLR such as the Nikon D850 or the Pentax K1. Well but, I 'd say try your D-SLR shooting full time LV for 3 hours, you will see the DSLR is actually worse, less efficient in power management than the best mirrorless cameras if you use the LCD a lot. And to be fair to Sony, Sony has kept the same battery for years since the first NEX5, so we long time E mount shooters have already collected at least a several of these, I have 9 and so it is no longer a serious issue for me, I mean even my old A7R2 and A7R are fine.

Nikon, on the other hand, has kept changing their batteries, so I have only two batteries for my D750.

Other than these so-called problems mirror-less already won most of points, at least for me. Mirroless is competing in these areas too, and getting better and better every generation. One day it will send DSLR to Nikon Tokyo camera museum for all good for all of us.

But then, do we have to miss many of important present activities or memories just because the current MLILC cameras cannot focus in lowlight?

And, is it still wiser to wait to see who will be the next decade winner in this business?

Many of us who are already on mirrorless think it will be Sony or Fuji. But many of mirrorless haters think it will be Canon, they think Canon may be able to fight back with the EOS M mount as it can house the fullframe sensor just like the Sony E. Some Canon Nikon fans even think the current Nikon F and Canon EF will dominate the next decade too, they think what Canon Nikon should do to effectively fight back against Sony and Fuji is just eliminate the mirror from their D750 or the 6D series when the right time comes and that is all what they'll have to do to effectively fight back against the Fuji X and the Sony E.

Personally, I think it is now obvious the MIL will be the future of popular cameras for most of consumer markets, but at this time it is not there yet for many of old time D-SLR guys like our friends Jake and Thomas, who really hate the current form of the tiny E mount bodies that I sometime have(almost force) them try. Personally, I do not think the D-SLR will die out completely any time soon(because there is strong prejudice against Sony, Pana and Fuji in this ILC camera world), though, the DSRL will be a very niche expensive product like the rangefinder camera or MFDB in the current consumer camera market.

Last year when I wrote a similar article, I thought the poor lowlight AF of all the best(at the time) mirroless cameras really limits their real life usability in documentary or action photography, or anything not studio based or landscape on a tripod.

And I wrote:"Now, I kind of think mirrorless is, like the electric cars of camera world, it is the future but not really mature enough to be practical for many real life tasks just yet, and they are both still immensely overpriced just because they are relatively new tech in their own field."

But it has dramatically changed this year, now the best mirrorless cameras are just as powerful as the best D-SLRs and even more in many areas , such as video performance, hybrid-ability, precise shock less shutter system, absolute IQ,etc....

The Sony A7R3 is just as powerful a tool as the D850 is, the Panasonic G9 is the best crop camera ever made regardless of the finder system, etc.

And Sony and Fuji have made a huge leap in lens selection, they now have really a respectable lens set and it is expanding rapidly.

The Sony system now has the best wide angle slection in FF world and I think any one serious about super wide should take a serious look at their fantastic wide angle lens selection.

They have produced excellent wide zooms in the FE16-35mm f2.8GM, the FE12-24mm f4G, the FE16-35mm f4Z trio, and as an open mount system, the E mount has been consistently supported by Zeiss and other thirdparty lens makers such as Laowa, Tokina, Sigma, Samiyang, Voigtlander,etc...and they all have produced excellent wide lenses for that mount. Laowa has produced the 15mm f2D lens, which is a superb super fast(for the 15mm focal length)wide lens with incredible close focus capability.

Voigtlander has produced a set of 10mm, 12mm, 15mm primes, and while they are not as sharp as the Laowa 15mm f2D or the Zeiss Batis 18mm f2.8, still sharp and produce excellent images stopped down with incredible flare resistance.

Zeiss has produced a set of Loxia and Batis line primes and none of these are bad, in fact most of these are excellent or class-leading quality lenses and all of these are weather sealed.

In the Fuji X world, Fuji has constantly releasing outstanding quality primes and a bit pricey but stunning quality zooms.

The XF10-24mm f4, the XF16mmf1.4R and XF90mm f2 are all outstanding and nothing Canon Nikon D-SLR system have match the quality of these three Fuji lenses.

So go back to the original question: Are Fuji and Sony actually winning over the Canon Nikon dinosaurs in this mirrorless game ?

Well, one year ago, I thought it maybe 50/50, but now I think they are winning over the CN in many areas........almost all non action photographers have already switched to Sony or Fuji or something else already, and every week we are asked many questions like how much money they actually need to switch to Sony E mount from Nikon D810 based system? Or, how good is the Fuji APS-C camera image quality as a whole system compared to their Nikons? Etc, etc.........

And many Nikon and Canon guys selling their D-SLRs for something else, and many ex-Canon shooters bought their first A7X in last year moving to fully Sony set up this year, or many of these guys selling their Canon lenses for the native Sony or Zeiss lenses.

The above kind of serious changes in this industry are something we have never seen before the A7R2 and the X-T2 era; I think these two cameras have really really changed the way people view the mirrorless or feel about it........and their respective successor may make even more serious impact on this business.

In 2017, I said it would have been still possible for Canon Nikon to dramatically change the power order of the mirroless mount systems in the consumer camera market if they could release something like the Sony A7R2 or a bit better within 2017...........but I cannot say the same for the year 2018 any more.

I mean Sony has solidified the mount system with so many attractive FE lenses, and many thirdparties've also backed the system up with many attractive lens releases for the Sony system, so it is really hard for Canon and Nikon to surpass it with their very first serious mirrorless attempt.

With likes of the A7R3, the G9, the X-H1,etc, the mirrorless companies raised the bar very high this time, and it is really hard for CN to leapfrog over it at their very first try..........but they must do it or lose the mirrorless game forever.

I think the longer they wait to enter into the mirrorless game, the more difficult the rules of this game will become for Canon and Nikon, and time is running out for Nikon, they must do it in the first quarter of the next year 2018, or they will fade into the camera history.

Unlike Canon and Nikon, likes of Fuji, Panasonic, Sony, Leica and Olympus have been listening to their respective user base, thus they could fix almost all their mirrorless system specific issues.

Sony has fixed the battery issue with the A9 and A7R3, it is a huge issue for me since I shoot in a very cold mountain during the winter season and I know having 6 batteries for my A7R2 was not enough there since these weak tiny batteries all depleted already even before I tried to swap them over......

So having many batteries for it does not help there, but a much more powerful battery like the one in the A7R3 will help.

Carrying 3 of these is more practical than having 7 or more of the tiny old A7R2 batteries.

Sony has also fixed all usability issues of the A7R2 and A7MK2 with the A7R3, so there is really almost no real issue in the A7R3.

Sony has also listened to us and brought out the long awaited excellent class-leading FE24-105mm f4 G lens, it is a very important addition to the E mount system since we bad weather shooters can not change lenses over and over and over in any harsh winter mountain or island environment.

Panasonic has listened to us and brought up the excellent super powerful action shooter with 4k60p in the form of the G9.

Fuji has also listened to many of their user base and releasing many excellent lenses and updating the FW of X-T and X-P series bodies.

By contrast,Nikon has never added any new practical feature in any of their recent D810 FW update, they just fix some known bugs after they get criticized about the bugs for long time in many online fora, etc.

Canon rarely issues any new FW update for any of their cameras except the 1 and 5 series, even then they never added any serious video features or anything slightly dramatic....the last major FW update they issued was the 5DMK2 25p video mode because Magic Lantern and that hacking community forced them to do it.

 

Last year, I said no current mirrorless systems got decent flash system and they would be useless for any type of flash work, but it is also fixed.......I think for me at least and many would agree that the Godox has made it no issue and their flash radio base flash system is actually better than the optical based Nikon CLS system.

 

So , while Sony , Fuji and Panasonic all still have some different set of minor issues, I think they have mostly fixed all SERIOUS their mirrorless specific issues for their users, and they have raised the bar very high with their respective latest flagship cameras.

And maybe even more importantly, they've been listening to their long time customers and even thirdparty reviewers like DPR team, ePhotozine, IR team ,etc.

It is really making a glaring difference, and as I recall the last 7 or so years of mirorrless history, I realize this 2017 may be the very first year for Fuji, Panasonic and Sony to truly change the image of their respective mirrorless system or even the mirroless image in general in dramatically positive ways and I think it is a huge change.....and I am sure this dramatic mirrorless revolution will continue on the next few years, at least till 2020 Olympics year.

Time is running out for Nikon and it will never wait for Nikon , many of our customers telling us like below:

"My next camera will be a fullframe mirrorless , whenever I can find one. And once I started adding native lenses, the options on systems will get more and more restricted."

This is now happening to those who thought temporarily escaped away from their beloved CN system and started using a Sony with an adapter because they are now buying some seriously good Sony native FE lenses to replace their CN lenses.

Now Nikon seems really doomed.

Finally you may wonder why only Nikon seems really doomed not Nikon and Canon?

Because Canon already has all techs needed for a good FF mirroless system in house and Canon already has the EOS M mount that will be able to take the 35mm FF sensor easily.

   

+++ DISCLAIMER +++

Nothing you see here is real, even though the conversion or the presented background story might be based historical facts. BEWARE!

  

Some background:

Following the RLM’s selection of the Bf 109 as its next single-seat fighter (beating Heinkel’s He 112, based on a tactical requirement dating back to 1933), Ernst Heinkel became interested in a new fighter that would leap beyond the performance of the Bf 109 as much as the Bf 109 had over the biplanes it replaced. Other German designers had similar ambitions, including Kurt Tank at Focke-Wulf. There was never an official project on the part of the RLM, but new designs were important enough to fund projects from both companies to provide "super-pursuit" designs for evaluation. This would result in the single-engined He 100 fighter, and the promising twin-engine Fw 187 Falke Zerstörer-style heavy fighter.

 

The He 100 was a radical, new approach with the aim of ultimate performance in a simple airframe. Walter Günter, one half of the famous Günter brothers, looked at the existing He 112, which had competed against the Bf 109 in 1936 and already been heavily revised into the He 112B version. Looking at the aircraft’s potential he decided it had reached the end of its evolution. So he started over with a completely new design, called "Projekt 1035".

 

Learning from past mistakes on the 112 project, the design was to be as easy to build as possible, yet 700 km/h (440 mph) was a design goal. To ease production, the new design had considerably fewer parts than the 112 and those that remained contained fewer compound curves. In comparison, the 112 had 2,885 parts and 26,864 rivets, while the P.1035 was made of 969 unique parts with 11.543 rivets. The new straight-edged wing was a source of much of the savings; after building the first wings, Otto Butter reported that the reduction in complexity and rivet count (along with the Butter brothers' own explosive rivet system) saved an astonishing 1.150 man hours per wing.

 

The super-pursuit type was not a secret, but Ernst Heinkel preferred to work in private and publicly display his products only after they were developed sufficiently to make a stunning first impression. As an example of this, the mock-up for the extremely modern-looking He 100 was the subject of company Memo No.3657 on 31 January that stated: "The mock-up is to be completed by us... as of the beginning of May... and be ready to present to the RLM... and prior to that no one at the RLM is to know of the existence of the mock-up."

 

In order to get the promised performance out of the aircraft, the design included a number of drag-reducing features. On the simple end were a well-faired cockpit and the absence of struts and other drag-inducing supports on the tail. The landing gear (including the tail wheel) was retractable and completely enclosed in flight.

 

The He 100 was based on the DB 601 power plant, the same engine as the Bf 109 (and also used in the Bf 110 heavy fighter). In order to achieve the designed performance increase, drag reduced as well as weight and frontal area: the engine was mounted directly to the forward fuselage, which was strengthened and literally tailored to the DB 601, as opposed to conventional mounting on engine bearers. The cowling was very tight-fitting, and as a result the aircraft had something of a slab-sided appearance.

 

Walter turned to the somewhat risky and still experimental method of cooling the engine via evaporative cooling. Such systems had been in vogue in several countries at the time. Heinkel and the Günter brothers were avid proponents of the technology, and had previously used it on the He 119, with promising results. Evaporative or "steam" cooling promised a completely drag-free cooling system. The DB 601 was a pressure-cooled engine in that the water/glycol coolant was kept in liquid form by pressure, even though its temperature was allowed to exceed the normal boiling point. Heinkel's system took advantage of that fact and the cooling energy loss associated with the phase change of the coolant as it boils.

 

Beyond the technical risk of the cooling system, the engine itself became a problem: the production priority for Messerschmitt aircraft caused a serious shortage of advanced aero engines in Germany during the late 1930s, as there was insufficient capacity to support another aircraft using the same engines. The only available alternate engine was the Junkers Jumo 211, and Heinkel was encouraged to consider its use in the He 100. However, the early Jumo 211 then available did not use a pressurized cooling system, and it was therefore not suitable for the He 100's innovative evaporative cooling system. Furthermore, a Jumo 211-powered He 100 would not have been able to outperform the contemporary DB 601-powered Bf 109 because the supercharger on the early Jumo 211 was not fully shrouded.

 

In order to provide as much power as possible from the DB 601, the 100 used exhaust ejectors for a small amount of additional thrust. The supercharger inlet was moved from the normal position on the side of the cowling to a location in the leading edge of the left wing. Although cleaner-looking, the long, curved induction pipe most probably negated any benefit.

 

One aspect of the original Projekt 1035 was the intent to capture the absolute speed record for Heinkel and Germany. Both Messerschmitt and Heinkel vied for this record before the war. Messerschmitt ultimately won that battle with the first prototype of the Me 209, but the He 100 briefly held the record when Heinkel test pilot Hans Dieterle flew the eighth prototype to 746.606 km/h (463.919 mph) on 30 March 1939.

The third and eighth prototypes were specially modified for speed, with unique outer wing panels of reduced span. The third prototype crashed during testing. The record flight was made using a special version of the DB 601 engine that offered 2,010 kW (2,700 hp) and had a service life of just 30 minutes.

 

Despite all these successes, the He 100 did not catch up immediately: it took until 1941 that series production was started - or better: allowed. The reason for this delay is subject to debate. Officially, the Luftwaffe rejected the He 100 for years to concentrate single-seat fighter development on the Messerschmitt Bf 109, despite its shortcomings. Following the adoption of the Bf 109 and Bf 110 as the Luftwaffe's standard fighter types, the RLM also announced a "rationalization" policy that placed fighter development at Messerschmitt and bomber development at Heinkel.

 

Based on the "D" model, which was a refined version of the prototypes and pre-production aircraft, the "G" model became the final evolution of the He 100 and was in late 1943 finally put into service as a pure interceptor, when massive Allied bomber raids started to threaten Germany.

The He 100 G had the D's enlarged horizontal stabilizer, but the big change was the eventual abandonment of the surface cooling system, which proved to be too complex and failure-prone. Instead a larger and simpler version of the D’s retractable radiator was installed, and this appeared to completely cure the vaporization system problems with only a little sacrifice in top speed and rate of climb. The radiator was inserted in a "plug" below the cockpit, and as a result the wings were widened slightly.

 

Armament was also improved: the engine-mounted 20mm MG FF Motorkanone (firing through the propeller hub) was replaced by the new, very powerful and compact MK 108 30mm cannon. The original pair of 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns in the wing roots (synchronized to fire through the propeller disc) was replaced by a pair of more powerful 13mm MG 131 machine guns, necessitating characteristic bulges on the wings’ upper surface – the MG 131s were placed behind the landing gear wells, their barrels running through them.

 

This initial G-1 type was soon followed by the G-2 variant, which featured a new canopy with a lowered spine, offering a much better all-round view. The first He 100 G-2s were delivered in early 1944, and many of these aircraft had additional weapons installed, e. g. a pair of 20mm MG 151/20 machine cannons in the outer wings – the “leftover” internal space from the defunct vaporization cooler system was effectively recycled . From late 1944 on, these machines were also outfitted with the more powerful DB 601E engine, even though there was no dedicated designation of this version.

 

While the aircraft didn't match its original design goal of 700 km/h (430 mph) once it was loaded down with weapons, and despite the larger canopy and the external radiator, it was still capable of sustained speeds in the 644 km/h (400 mph) range. Additionally, the low drag airframe proved to be good for both speed and range: as a result the He 100 had a combat range between 900 and 1.000 km (560 to 620 mi) compared to the Bf 109's 600 km (370 mi). While not in the same league as the later escort fighters, this was at the time a superb range and might have offset the need for the Bf 110 to some degree.

 

The He 100 only filled a niche role, though, and the Bf 109 and Fw 190 became the backbone of the Jagdwaffe (Fighter Force). The He 100 did not prove flexible enough to be used in different roles, as its external ordnance load was very limited. In spite of its successes in the interceptor role and the fact that it was well liked by its pilots, the He 100 never was able to rival both Bf 109 and also the later Fw 190. Production numbers remained low, only a total of about 300 aircraft were built (50 G-1 and 250 G-2, 150 of them powered by the DB 601E) until early 1945, when production ceased and was switched to other types, including jet and rocket fighters.

  

General characteristics:

Crew: One (pilot)

Length: 8.2 m (26 ft 11 in)

Wingspan: 9.4 m (30 ft 10 in)

Height: 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)

Wing area: 14.6 m2 (157 sq ft)

Empty weight: 1,810 kg (3,990 lb)

Max takeoff weight: 2,500 kg (5,512 lb)

 

Powerplant:

1× Daimler-Benz DB 601E supercharged V12 piston engine, rated at up to 1,350 PS (993 kW) at sea-level with 2,700 RPM and up to 1,450 PS (1,066 kW) at 2.1 km altitude with 2,700 rpm

 

Performance:

Maximum speed: 685km/h (425 mph; 378 kn)

Cruising speed: 552 km/h (343 mph; 298 kn)

Range: 1,010 km (628 mi; 545 nmi)

Service ceiling: 11,000 m (36,089 ft)

Time to altitude: 2.2 minutes to 2,000 meters (6,600 ft), 7.9 minutes to 6,000 meters (20,000 ft)

 

Armament:

1x 30mm MK 108 cannon, firing through the propeller hub

2x 13mm MG 131 machine guns or 20mm MG 151/20 machine cannons in the wing roots

2x hardpoints under the wings, each able to carry up to 250kg (550lb), including bombs, drop tanks or unguided missiles; optional placement of additional guns (e .g. 2x MG 131 or 2x MG 151/20) in this position instead of external stores

  

The kit and its assembly:

This one is a kind of tribute work, dedicated to fellow user Franclab at flickr.com from Canada who came up with a profile of/for this model as a reaction to my He 100 Reno Racer conversion (The orange "Jägermeister"):

 

[http://www.flickr.com/photos/franclab/9485705184/]

 

It's a fantasy aircraft, as the He 100 did not enter service and production was stopped after about 20 aircraft. But I liked Franclab's realistic and colorful profile, and only at second glance it reveals a twist: a sliding canopy from a Fw 190 instead of the Bf 109-like original. A nice challenge for a whif kit conversion!

 

Said and done, I tried to create a 1:72 scale model from/for that profile. The basic kit is the Special Hobby He 100, mostly built OOB. It is a very good model, with fine recessed panel lines and some PE parts, and the recent re-issue with Russian and Japanese markings let the prices drop.

 

What outwardly looks simple - the implantation of a Fw 190 canopy - became more tricky than expected. The He 100 is small! It’s much smaller and slender than the Fw 190, which itself is not a big bird. I had a complete spare glazing sprue from an Italeri Fw 190 D-9 in store which I tried to install, and after some trials the front window ended up steeper than on a Fw 190.

The sliding canopy is actually shorter and higher than on Franclab's sketch (doing mash-ups in Photoshop is probably much easier than in real life!), so I had to improvise and re-sculpt the rear fuselage step by step. As a consequence, the new glazing looks rather "bubbletop"-like and tall, reminiscent of a P-51D? It took some serious surgery (including some implanted styrene wedges under clear parts) and putty work to integrate the Fw 190 parts. While I was successfully able to blend these into the He 100 fuselage, the result still looks a bit odd?

 

Other, less obvious kit mods are a metal axis for the propeller and an added pair of guns in the outer wings, taking up Franclab's idea of heavier armament (which the original He 100 did not feature). The cannon nozzles are hollow steel needles of different diameter, those in the wing root even run through the landing gear wells. A pilot figure was added, too (from a HUMA kit).

  

Painting and markings:

Well, the profile was the benchmark, and I tried to stay true to it. It looks like a typical Fw 190 paint scheme from 1943 on. The grey/green upper color would be RLM 75/83, coupled with RLM65 on the lower side. The latter is a bit unlikely, as RLM 76 became the standard at that time. Still, it looks good, esp. with the rather light upper tones, so that's what I went for.

I used Model Master Authentic tones for the RLM 75/83/65 combo, and later some lighter Humbrol shades for a subtle counter-shading of panels and upper surfaces (e. g. with 140, 120 and 65). The yellow ID markings (typical for the Eastern Front) were painted with Revell 310, Lufthansa Gelb. It’s a RAL tone (RAL 1028), but matches RLM 04 very well.

 

The cockpit interior was painted in Schwarzgrau (RLM 66) and dry-brushed with lighter shades, the landing gear wells are in RLM 02 – everything very conventional, Fw 190s from late 1944 were the benchmark.

 

The black-white-black stripe on the real fuselage was created with decal strips, instead of trying to paint this delicate detail by hand. In contrast to that, the propeller spinner with the B/W spiral was done with a brush and “free hand”. The same goes for the unique mottling on the flanks and fin – this was also done with a brush, and partly with thinned paint in order to create a “washed” effect and blurred contours. The result looks O.K..

 

A dubious element in the profile is the "ace of spades" emblem under the canopy. The tactical stripe codes on the rear fuselage were introduced in 1943, and the BWB-marking correctly belongs to JG 4, which was preliminarily formed as I./JG 4 on August 7, 1942 in Mizil, Romania, from the Ölschutzstaffel/JG 77. It became a full home defense Geschwader much later, on June 15, 1944 in Ansbach - but the spade symbol actually belongs to JG 53. There have been cases that pilots decorated their aircraft with symbols from former units, though, so this small detail is not impossible – but unlikely and a bit controversial. In order to fit into the time frame, this He 100 would be one of the final I./JG 4 aircraft used to defend the Romanian refineries and oil fields - a suitable task for the aircraft.

Additionally, the red number and the absence of any other code symbol identifies the machine as part of the 2nd Gruppe of I./JG 4, everything is very plausible! Anyway, in September 1944 the Jagdgeschwader 4 was finally commanded back to German home territory, after heavy losses against B-24 interceptions, and re-grouped in the Reichsverteidigung.

 

In order to avoid logical conflicts I decided to replace the squadron emblem with a more generic “Ace of Spades” game card icon. I found it on a Fantasy Forge decal sheet for 28mm miniatures in the scrap box.

AFAIK, some JG 4 aircraft displayed the Geschwaderzeichen on the engine cowling, a blue escutcheon with a grey or silver knight’s helmet with a red (red-white) plume. This insignia was first used by II. Gruppe, but later also appeared on other JG 4 Gruppen aircraft.

 

National markings and the red "10" come from TL Modellbau sheets - a lucky and handy purchase, as I had these in store for the recent Wellesley conversion: I wanted to use the red letters for the tactical code, but had to drop this idea because the German letters have a black rim. Now they come in just with perfect timing, and the letters/digits are even in the right typo for Franclab's profile!

The warning stencils were taken from the original Special Hobby sheet.

 

After that, I did some additional detail painting with thinned Humbrol 224 (Dark Slate Gray) and light exhaust and soot stains were added with dry-brushed black. Finally, the kit received a thin coat with Revells’ Acrylic Matt Varnish.

  

All in all, a nice and quick project, even though I invested more work (and putty!) than expected or what is finally visible. It’s (relatively) colorful, and the light livery beyond the typical RLM 70/71/65 paint scheme of the early He 100 Ds suits the elegant aircraft very well. The Heinkel He 100 has some serious whif potential!

 

Merci bien à Franclab pour l’inspiration!

Edwin Georgi Artist (1896 - 1964)

Circa ?

Case Study 113 : Warning, these are the raw, bare unusual occurrences as originally chronicled. Some names, times, places and some facts have been, of course, altered.

Name: Angelica D circa 192__

Subject: an unscrupulous light-fingered body thief

Event: Posh Wedding Reception

Place: Upstate New York

Time: Warm early Autumn Saturday

 

Angie Being Receptive

Story line:

 

Angie had heard about the affair, a wedding, from a list of prospective functions provided by a discreetly paid contact. It was being given for the only daughter of a wealthy politician (as if there were any non-wealthy ones!) Angie had happily invited herself to the affair, carefully dressing up in her best for the special occasion!

 

**

Wedding receptions were by far Angie’s favorite hunting grounds. During the season there could be anywhere from upwards of 20 high end affaires every weekend in the bigger cities, and always 2 or 3 in even the smallest of towns.

Wedding s were usually easy pickings: free food, drink and entertainment, and seldom worn jewelry made for a ready-made mix for Angie to ply her trade. For Angelica D. was a uniquely skilled pickpocket, specializing in the removal for profit of the expensive jewelry worn by the (usually be -gowned) women and young ladies’ who hauntingly dwelt in societies upper crust!

So Weddings, by their nature, were the desirable choice for Angie. One only had to avoid the Bride, her Bridesmaids, and their court, which were usually the major focus of any security present. However, there were plenty of opportunities to be had by employing her special bag of tricks on the outlaying fringe.

Angie had arrived early at the mammoth facility, to scout out the establishment and to scope out who was wearing what. Used to these affairs either being feast or famine, she could quickly tell that in this one there was cooking up a devouring banquet.

**

After Angie had entered the mammoth reception room it did not take her long to spy her first plump prospect, nicely loaded with possibilities. It was a lady, bearing a haughty look, who had been making a b-line through the crowd as way was parted for her. She was wearing a luxuriously long rusty coloured sable fur coat that hid most of her long crimson -red satin gown. What Jewels were visible, ears, fingers and wrist, were all flashing with pricy fire. In tow she held the hand of a young girl, obviously her daughter, wearing actual makeup, which, along with her fetching gown and brite jewelry, made her appear far older than she was. A handsome man , looking like the actor William Powell in a tux, followed behind the pair, husband and father, Angie presumed. She shadowed the little family as they swished their way to a corner table, conveniently located by a rear exit, for a better look over. Her fingers had started with an all too familiar tingle as she took it all in.

**

The husband helped his wife out of the sable, laying it carefully along a bench against the wall. Angie was not disappointed. A silver necklace of large matched diamonds gracefully encircled her throat. A dazzling blood ruby and diamond brooch held up the center of her gown, positioned just below the bust line. Brooches, like this one, were worth a lot once fenced, but its placement required a little more dexterity and skill than she was willing to risk. In actuality, Angie had only attempted twice before to take a brooch pinned to a gown in this fashion. She had only been successful one of those times, only to find out it was a pretty piece of paste.( Years later, as Angie’s talents became more polished, relieving ladies of their dangling brooches, like this blood ruby, became her specialty.. the Eds.) Angie’s eyes moved on. The rest of the snooty lady’s jewels matched her necklace. Long earrings, free clipped, dangling brightly from her earlobe s. A pair of wide ruby bracelets clasped tightly home around elegant red elbow length satin gloves, sparkled devastatingly, matching her brooch. Her long fingers were home to a pair of ruby and diamond rings and a third ring set with a gold band and a vulgarly large solitaire diamond.

**

Angie’s attention turned to the daughter, whom had been helped by her Father , squirming, from the chocolate coloured satin cape that she had been wearing. The youngster, all of about 10, was wearing a cream coloured long puffy sleeved dress with a brown satin sash encircling her waist that matched her Cape. The young lady possessed impossible large bright eyes. The only thing that held more shine than those doe like eyes had been the antique rhinestone diamond necklace that fell dripping ever so invitingly down the front of the precious little imp’s rich glossy gown. The rest of her matching rhinestones (obviously belonging to the child’s mother) consisted of an engaging display of a bracelet, pair of dangling, screwed on clasp earrings, and matching rings encircling a chubby finger one on each hand. It all gleamed brightly, invitingly from her svelte girlish figure. A large round pin held her sash up in place; it sparkled with what looked like a ring consisting of one caret diamonds, as unlikely as it was they could be real.

**

The two females of the family presented a pretty package indeed. Not one to pass up an invite that alluring, Angie walked by , with the pretext of heading to a back exit behind the table the little family had staked, just so she could get a closer peek.

**

Angie’s practiced eye took in a wealth of information during the few seconds it took her to walk up and pass the group, so involved with themselves they never even looked her way. Her attention focused upon the young mother first scoping head to toe.

**

Angie scrutinized the brooch; it was definitely worth the effort. In her mind’s eye, Angie envisioned the mother as a stumbling drunk “bumping into” Angie. Fingers whisking along the slippery lustrously softness of the gown, as the lady was steadied. Angie would accept the women apologies and the pair would part their ways, Angie from the young mother, and the magnificent brooch from the rich satiny red gown. But then the mother raised her head, looking up past Angie, towards a commotion being made behind her. Typical Angie thought, she doesn’t recognize me, so I don’t exist, like some sort of servant. But it was as she caught the young mother in full profile that she realized this lady looked strikingly similar to another woman who had been wearing an expensive dress of teal charmeuse that Angie had had been having a long conversation with, while relieving the woman’s finger of a costly diamond sapphire ring. It had happened only just last weekend at a formal function, and Angie figured she may have not recognized her in passing, but may if Angie were to use one of her approaches again with the intent of taking some of her jewelry, he memory may be jarred, and she may remember her missing ring. This was why Angie only allowed herself to ply her trade for no more than a month in any given place per year. This was from a lesson she had learned early on in her career. And so, for that reason alone, Angie decided to, at least temporarily, abandon any designs she had on the young mother’s brooch, allowing her devious intentions to evaporate from her mind like smoke on the wind. There were plenty more fish in the sea she told herself.

**

Angie still allowed herself a quick appraisal of the squirming 10 year old. She admired the glossy dress of slippery satin that her mother had conveniently dressed her daughter up in, as it fell spilling down to her black open toed shoes. Angie’s fingers started to tingle; this was a perfect tickling gown. Angie liked to think of any long dress or gown that swept down to a females heels as a” tickling gown”. All it took was a strategically placed foot timed with a well place nudge to send the chosen victim tumbling. During the ensuing diversion, Angie would use her long subtle fingers to swiftly probe along the gowned figure, tickling she like to call it due to the tingling sensation of the usually rich material of the victim’s attire. In this fashion, a pre-targeted piece of valuable jewelry could then be easily acquired, no matter what its placement had been on the unfortunate female. If only the chatty youngster had something on better than rhinestones. It was a crying shame to have a child that young dolled up like an adult, but not wearing adult jewels.

**

Angie continued to walk past, unseen, and went out the door. She found herself in a large serenity garden of roses and shrubs, surrounded by a 10 foot high well-trimmed hedge. The sort of garden one usually found in those days around upscale Churches. The only exit was a gate leading onto the parking lot on the side of the church. Here was positioned a solitary, lonely guard in a neat little guard hut. In the opposite, far corner was a statue of Cupid, arrow drawn, standing above a display of blooming moss roses at the end opposite to the gate. There was always potential in places like these.

**

Angie had started to walk over to the Cupid statue when she heard the exit door open. Turning, she saw the young girl, whose mother’s brooch Angie had been scoping out, looking out the door. She snuck through, running out alone, silky tickling gown swishing out behind her. Her heart leapt to her throat as she watched the girls rhinestones sparkle radiantly. She actually turned to head towards the path the unsuspecting child was running up, flexing her fingers as she contemplating a little warm up practice. Angie watched as the dolled up imps necklace flashed with pinpricks of coloure as it bounced to and fro as she ran happily up the path .Angie turned her back to the girl, waiting to hear the telltale click of her heels come up just behind her. She would then move, bumping into the girl as she passed, tripping her to the ground. After which Angie would help her up, removing the girl’s fancy necklace in the process. Come to Mama Angie whispered under her breath, waiting to make her move as the skipping heels grew ever louder.

**

But then Angie froze, hearing the clicking of the exit door again opening behind her. She checked her stride letting the daughter slither past without a glance. She headed again towards the statue, watching her prize move on ahead. Then she heard the father in the background calling out to his little princess. The youngster turned, and ran back, beaming at Angie as she passed. Angie smiled back, her eyes again traveling to the girls neckline, and the sparkling jewelry the outlined her throat. It had been a silly thought she chided herself, as the girl passed from view. If only the necklace had been real, and the father about ten minutes later in discovering his daughter absence. It would have been an unbelievably easy pluck and she could be out the gate before anyone was the wiser. And the best part was that they would probably believe the scampering girl had just lost it in the garden. And, while the parents were looking about, Angie would have been free to renter to ply her trade again. As it was, it was silly of Angie, risking her opportunity on a child’s bauble worth a mere pittance compared to some of the other offerings so readily being flaunted this evening by her adult counterparts.

**

Angie continued her casual stroll through the Garden, happily playing over in her mind some of the jewels that she would like to see adorning the female guests inside, and the scenarios she may be using to acquire them

**

Finding herself approaching the guard hut, she allowed herself a glance back. Jealously she watched the father, who had caught and was carrying his slippery attired daughter, heading back inside. How Angie wished she had been the one carrying the squirming little imp, it would have been like a smorgasbord, with jewels instead of food. Pity her mother had not put the good stuff on the daughter, she sighed to herself. Tonight she would have to work for her butter. She walked past the bored guard, nodding at him, receiving a rather lecherous look in return. A smile was forming across her cunning face, for now it was time to get down to the real business at hand.

**

The affair turned out to be quite a showcase for the very rich. Who were indiscreetly flaunting their riches, trying to outdo one another, probably for the benefit of the politicians’ attention? Certainly not for the attention of the designer satin gowned and flashy diamonded daughter, whom most of the guests hardly knew, or had ever met.

**

Angie always felt like a little kid in a candy shoppe at these lavish affairs.

She spent the first part of the reception mingling and thoroughly enjoying the show her the reception’s guests were u wittingly putting on. Angie, wearing no jewels herself, was something of an anomaly compared to her fellow guests.

**

There were over a thousand luxuriously coloured, squawking female birds and their young chicks pompously displaying valuable finery, oblivious of the cat amongst them waiting to pounce. Angie patently mingled, watching as the adult guests had their fill of food and drink.

Once their guard began to relax, Angie raised hers’, her probingly skillful fingers now more than prepared to begin and ply her trade. For the more they imbibed, the less guarded they were, both about themselves and their female offspring. Angie would start with the adults, 2 or 3 of the right pieces of jewelry, once acquired, and would mean she could call it a night and have enough to support her for a solid month. If she came up empty in that department, her back up would then center on the female off-spring, daughters and nieces.

Most of said offspring would be by then scattered about, aware that their parents were no longer paying them any heed, exploring and playing, sporting their fancy satin gowns, silken dresses, and their dainty jewelry, ripe for the picking. Giving pickpockets like Angie endless opportunity to ply their trade on them, once they had finished working through the adults. Or if the thieves were beginners, plenty of easy practice while “learning the ropes!”

**

Now, when Angie herself was just starting out as a young pickpocket, she stumbled across a treatise written by a man using the pseudonym “Gaston Monescu”. Written around 1826, entitled the Cutpurse: skilles, artes and Secretes of the Dip, it covered the various tactics and moves used by master pickpockets.

 

Angie had studied it religiously, especially a ploy called the “Necklace Flimp.” This tactic was primarily used for body thieves working alone. Angie had been surprised to learn that a pickpocket could raise his/her skill level above just acquiring wallets. Having the ability to lift a woman’s necklace amazed her, not to mention the profit that could be realized. With practice, Angie had found that not only was it a good technique for acquiring necklaces, but it worked for other pieces of worn jewelry as well.

 

It was relatively simple process, but took a long time to master.

First part was to employ psychology and watch the potential victim for the unique movements and quirks in their personality and actions that could provide an opportunity for her skills. Then observe the selected piece the victim wore, for value, type of clasp, make, and accessibility. The second part was to employ a bump, slip, or grasp, and in one motion, flick open the studied clasp and send the piece away from the body by either pulling and palming, or dropping it to the floor or ground for retrieval later. If she was noticed, it was “sorry, miss, very clumsy of me” “here let me get if for you, no harm done?” Then walk away and let the waters settle before trying yet again (sometimes even on the same person!)

 

Angie had practiced the jewelry flimp until she had the technique totally mastered. Starting out first on specially dressed up mannequins in her apartment, than trying it on small pieces of cheap baubles worn by real women in crowded streets and stores. Then on younger, less guarded, better jewelry wearing young girls attending proms and social dances. Young looking for her age at the time, Angie had fit right in amongst them. Then, finally, she graduated to lifting the better jewels of the older, wealthy women attending society’s finer parties and receptions. And it was this path that led her here today, and would also lead several unlucky females to report missing jewelry to their respective insurance companies.

**

See Album “Angie having a Ball” for additional background on our master thief with the light fingers.

**

Angie now eagerly employed those useful talents learned from monsieur Monescu’s little pamphlet at the wedding reception. She mingled freely, carrying around a drink that never touched her lips. She watched and learned, her trained eyes missing very little. Soon, like that hypothetical kid in a candy shoppe, Angie’s head was spinning from so much to choose from that she really could not make any easy choice. So, she waited and watched patiently, knowing opportunity would knock.

 

**

 

Then, like it usually happened with Angie, the first genuine opportunity unexpectedly presented herself. Angie literally was run into a rather awkward, spindly lady in thick glasses clad in a fetchingly expensive costume consisting of a thick silver satin blouse with hanging ruffles down its front, combined with a long rustling tiered skirt that swept down to the top of her open toed silver high heels. Her diamond jewelry shone with exuberant flames as they caught the light from the many chandeliers that hung from the vaulted ceiling. The lady expressed frantically her apologies, placing a hand with well ringed fingers on Angie’s shoulder, where they sparkled merrily. No worries Angie said smiling, her eyes taking it all in without appearing to move. She let the frazzled lady leave, allowing her a head start, it was only sporting to do so.

**

Angie shadowed her quarry for a while, seemingly rewarded for her efforts when the lady managed to spill a bit of her drink down on her skirt. In a show of flashing silvery satin and diamonds ,she retreated and disappeared into a nearby powder room, with Angie following eagerly, opportunity knocking.

**

As Angie grabbed onto the closing powder room door, a mid- twenty something girl in a deep green velvet gown came out. Her only jewelry was a wide diamond bracelet wrapped around a wrist of the matching long green gloves she wore. Angie caught it out of the corner of her eye, realizing that it was as expensive as it was bright. But it was her friend, a willowy short haired pretty young thing in a glamorous Chocolate Satin gown that made Angie’s jaw drop. Her jewels, like her friends, were also sparse, but enormously pricy. The long white satin gloves that graced her hands and arms also held matching bracelets, thin, but each one worth the effort. But her real eye catcher was the row of authentic, one caret white diamonds that were rippling exquisite fire along her throat. Angie held the door for them, nodding to as they passed. Noses in the air, they did not appear to notice Angie. Then, with the ladies backs to her, Angie abandoned Miss silver satin and turned to follow. Angie got in behind the two with the intention of getting a closure examination of the clasp of the fiery diamond necklace Miss Chocolate satin was wearing.

**

However, Angie never got her closer look. For at that moment the tossing of the bride’s boutique was announced and Angie was overwhelmed by a mad dash of single ladies heading for the bride. On a lark she allowed herself to be swept along, losing sight of Miss Chocolate satin, but found herself right smack behind Miss Green velvet and her cheerfully sparkling diamond bracelet, a beautifully expensive piece that would have cost someone a king’s ransom. Angie’s fingers began their all too familiar tingling, eager for a chance to acquire jewelry that valuable, but not for any king, just for herself!

**

Though the night was still relatively early, and Angie still had visions of those exquisite rippling diamonds of the pretty Miss in chocolate satin on her mind, she simply could not pass up this opportunity. Angie wedged herself close behind her chosen victim as the multitude of hopeful young women pressed forward to try their luck. As the Bride teased her guests before getting ready to toss her bouquet of white and red roses, Angie expertly scrutinized the bracelet as it dangled from the green velvet glove. When the bride finally turned her back and raised her arms every one of the richly clad single women’s eyes was focused on the bride’s bouquet, Angie’s eyes were fixated on the bracelet. With the music playing loud, the crowd giggling and laughing, and all eyes focused on the gorgeously outfitted young long haired bride, Angie again felt opportunity knocking. Her pulse beating in rhythm with the music, she made ready to seize the chance when it presented itself. The roses flew through the air and all the women raised their hands high, looking all for the world like being involved in a stick-up. Angie timed it perfectly, snapping the clasp, and snatching the bracelet easily away from the gloved wrist of its owner as she raised her arms high to grab at the boutique. In her excitement, shared by everyone, Miss Green velvet ( who did not catch the bouget of roses) never felt a thing. Angie had smirked as she left the giggling group, stowing securely the purloined diamonds, as she imagined what it would have been like to watch that group robbed in a mass stick-up. The money that some enterprising soul could have made from that haul would have been astronomical.

**

She went to the open bar, lighting her first cigarette; she ordered her first real drink of the night. She could feel the coolness of the weighty bracelet in its hiding spot, and Angie, pleased with herself, calmly sipped her drink as she relished in the moment. The toss of the Brides Boutique was, in Angie’s experienced opinion, one of the three common events occurring during a wedding reception that were fertilely prime times for pickpocketing. (Editor’s note.. Miss D. mysteriously never divulged what she considered the other two prime events to be….)

**

She looked about without a worry in the world, coolly watching the antics of some of the younger women on the dance floor. She spied the young miss in the green velvet gown over in a corner talking in an animated fashion with several other women. Green velvet gown’s now bare velvet glove, apparently not noticed by anyone but Angie. One of her group was displaying some bright emeralds peeking through the long silver fur she was wearing, obviously she was leaving, and she was talking excitedly about something to the group formed around her! Nowhere in sight was Miss chocolate satin, too bad, Angie would have loved another peek before leaving.

Angie watched around the room causally, as the cold bracelet pressed expensively against her figure from its hiding spot. She eventually lost track of green velvet and her friends while finishing her drink. Setting down the empty glass, she decided it was time to call it a night. The bracelet now in her possession was easily worth as much as the 2 or 3 separate pieces she usually acquired at functions like these, added together! And, she needed her rest, Angie had a couple of plans the next day, one revolving around the female guests who would be attending an upscale afternoon prom fashion show a, the other, an evening opera performance (invited guests only, and her contact had managed to supply a ticket, at a hefty price!) No rest for the wicked, Angie told herself.

**

On her way out of the main lobby, she found herself leaving behind the very lady in green velvet whose bracelet was now in Angie’s possession. She was with the same gaggle of her similarly dressed friends, including the one exhibiting the emeralds. However, miss chocolate satin was still not visible. They were laughing and joking as they collected their assorted pretty wraps, obviously heading for a nightclub. If she had not already relieved one of them of a bauble, Angie might have invited herself along, if only to have a go at some emeralds. Angie hesitated about leaving withy them, then shrugged, followed the group out the door past the pair of bored rent a cops.

**

She remembered thinking, as she followed the elegant young princesses ,their fluid gowns peeking from under their various furs and wraps, how shallow the very rich could be. She wondered if Miss Green velvets friends had even noticed that she had had diamonds around the wrist of her glove, let alone that they were now missing. She wondered how long it would be before the bracelets loss was discovered. She figured it would be several hours, long enough for its owner not to be sure what place they had been lost. As young Miss Green velvet fancy gown and her friends turned right outside the exit, Angie turned left, heading towards the guard hut at the entrance to the garden.

She decided not to follow them but rather circle around the outside of the garden to give her victim time to leave.

**

That simple decision to make a left turn proved to be a major turning point in Angie’s fortunes that evening.

**

As Angie passed the hut guarding the entrance to the serenity garden, she noticed it was deserted.

It was as she was looking it over, that she heard the sounds of clicking heels moving fast, followed by the sounds of a young girl giggling. On the alert she stole to the backside of the hut, soon spying a splash of something blue and silky between the gaps of a couple of large bushes. Her senses on their highest peak, she began to move cautiously in, hoping the female making the noise would be in need of aid and comfort perhaps.

**

She soon spotted a young lady of about 14 bending over, hands on her knees as she panted heavily. Her back was to Angie, and what pretty back it was. She was nicely attired in a long gown of shiny material dyed deep blue like an afternoon, cloudless summer sky. The gown cascaded down along her petite figure, spilling out on the ground around her feet. Her hair was pulled back, easily displaying a pair of small diamond and sapphire earrings, not rhinestones for this one, but the real McCoy. Around one finger was a gold ring with sapphires, and from her left wrist dangled a thin silver bracelet with a row of diamond chips, both pretty, both valuably real. But it was her last piece of visible jewelry that stole the show. It hung, swinging to and from her neck on a thick braided chain of solid silver. On its end, like a hypnotists prism, was a silver pendent in the shape of a flower, with 1 inch long, pear shaped real diamonds as petals and a fully 2 inch in circumference center stone of deep sea blue. Angie watched it, her eyes following it for a full minute, its expensive fire sealing its own fate as Angie began flexing her fingers. Angie took her eyes off of it and looked around to see why the princess had been running. But all was still as the girl continued to peek through the branches towards the back door leading into the hall. Angie silently approached, and walking up to the pretty miss she bent down and in a friendly tone, asked who she was running from.

**

I played a joke on my sister, and now I’m hiding from her, piped the girl breathlessly, as Angie placed a hand upon the girls shoulder in a conspiratorial fashion, said shoulder made silky soft by the gowns half sleeve.

**

I know a better place where you can hide from her, Angie whispered in the girl’s ear, the dangling earring ever so close to her lips. The girl looked up, smiling, and Angie pointed towards the guard hut, and as the girl looked, Angie’s fingers glided up along the silky shoulder and lifted the thick silver chain up from the back of the gowns’ scooped collar. Come Angie said, and as the girl rose Angie’s fingers nimbly flicked open the chains’ lobster clasp, holding onto the clasp as the other end of the chain slipped down, allowing the pendent to slide free and fall onto the grass at the girls feet, where it lay shimmering. Angie moved her hand to the girls shoulder, squeezing it, while slipping off the braided silver chain with her other hand, whisking it back and away from the guileless young girl. Angie led her princess away from the spot and walked with her to the guard’s hut, still empty, where she had her hide neath the counter.

**

Angie turned and went back to claim the pendent, there still was no sign of any sister. She secured the pendent, joining it with the chain and bracelet, and headed deeper into garden. Her plan was to watch the hut and see which way the girl went after getting bored waiting. But as she skirted the perimeter her plans were changed when, upon rounding a corner of the path at the far end, she saw yet another back belonging to a solitary lady in her late thirties, clad in a long slinky yellow coloured gown of expensively shiny taffeta, bending over to smell the yellow roses on a bush. Instinctively Angie knew two things about her. One was that whatever jewels this lady would be wearing, they would be expensive, and the other was that with an expensive gown like that; the lady would undoubtedly be wearing her jewels. Angie suddenly became aware that her fingers were tingling, as an all too familiar whelming feeling again delightfully washed over her.

**

Angie found herself automatically turning back onto the garden path. She headed around the women and went down to the cupid’s statue, where now out of sight, she carefully hid the purloined bracelet, and still warm fiery pendent and its ‘fancy silvery braided chain..

**

She then headed towards the unsuspecting flower admirer. The ladies’ long brunette hair had fallen, flowing down the backside of her shiny taffeta gown. Angie could see rings and a bracelet gleaming as she was holding up the rose to her face. A long double rope of pearls hung swaying deliciously from her throat. Coming up behind her Angie stood watching; calculating until the lady rose and with a start realized she was not alone.

**

Pretty Angie said, her eyes on the pearls now draping down the front of her marks yellow gown. They are lovely, are they not? The damsel responded thinking Angie was referring to the roses. Just like the ones in the park, my husband and I walked through on our way to catch a cab today. Actually, I meant your dress Angie said complimentary. Thank you the lady practically squealed, I love the way it flows, and she swirled it about to show Angie, who got an eyeful of sparkly jewelry for her efforts. As she continued engaging the women in conversation, Angie decided upon attempting for the woman’s necklace of pearl. Seeing opportunity knocking when Yellow Taffeta pulled her long hair forward so it hang down the front of her gorgeous gown, laying silkily over one shoulder, nicely exposing the pricy necklaces clasp. Angie looked around, they were alone, out of site of the opposite end of the garden where the inside door was, and the guards hut with it’s pretty occupant.

**

Angie, using the marks interest in roses to her advantage, managed to steer the capricious damsel in shiny yellow over to the cupid’s statue. There, she placed a hand upon a silky taffeta covered shoulder, and pointed down to the shrub of moss roses growing at the foot of the statue . When she stooped down to get a closer look, Angie’s fingers whisked from her marks shoulder to the clasp, in a single effort with two fingers, lifted it by the clasp, and snapped it open. At that moment the mark cried “spider” and jumped up, backing into Angie, who watched helplessly as the pearls fell down from the damsel’s throat and slipped along the front of the yellow taffeta gown. They fell with a soft plop unto the ground at their mistress’s feet. Angie tried to lead her away, hoping to come back and reclaim the necklace. But as Angie pointed to another rose bush some distance away, the lady took a step forward, instead of back, planting her feet right onto the pearl necklace. Hey she exclaiming, what’s that, looking down to her high heeled foot? Oh, my pearls the lady squealed again, a glittering hand shooting to feel around her throat. Angie reached down, and reluctantly retrieved them from the base of the rose bush for the squealing lady in yellow . My husband would not have been pleased if I had lost these, she said as Angie held them, feeling their pricey smoothness.

**

She asked if Angie could help her put them on, my maid usually does this sort of thing, you know. Angie reluctantly complied, re- hanging the pearls as the pretty damsel held up her hair, and reluctantly redid the clasp. The Damsel thanked Angie by embracing her in a full hug, her diamond and pearl earring hitting Angie’s cheek. But Angie’s arms were being held by the hugging woman, so Angie was able to only watch the tantalizingly close earring sway free. Angie left yellow-gowned damsel in the garden, getting nothing for her efforts other than the feel of an expensive gown of the likes she could probably never afford to own.

**

With the pretty damsel hovering around the cupid statue, Angie decided to go back into the reception hall until the coast was clear. She carefully looked towards the Guards hut, and seeing that the guard had returned, figured the girl, so fetchingly clad in blue, had been rousted out, so that loose end was probably tied up. She just had to keep a careful eye out. The quite valuable bracelet and pricy necklace with its pendent were well hidden; there was absolutely no danger of someone stumbling over it.

**

Truth was, Angie had found her appetite wetted and once again visions of a lady in chocolate brown satin exhibiting a row of flashy diamonds, teased her thoughts. An accomplished pickpocket like herself had a couple of well-practiced ploys she could utilize to obtain a tight fitting necklace from its mistress. In addition, Angie was now determined to find her and to risk a try. She had really nothing to lose.

**

It took almost an hour of hunting amongst the now well liquored, gaily mingling crowd before Angie could admit to herself that there was absolutely no sign of the willowy lady in the stunning chocolate satin gown. Damn she thought to herself, those diamonds were something special. She shrugged it off, reciting in her mind a wicked little mantra of hers, “Another one who got away, a chance to lose her jewels to Angie on another day!” She strolled about pondering on what her next course of action could be. There had been no sign of the pretty girl in blue whose necklace Angie now had hidden away, and Miss Green Velvet was definitely out of the picture, so she felt that it was still safe to try to pluck one last bird or chick. In her hunt for the brown, Angie had seen several inviting prospects; one lady(purple satin, diamonds), two girls( ivory silk, pearled pin; red satin, gold necklace set with chips of precious stones), and now was weighing the risks.

 

It was at that point she once again espied the thickly bespectacled awkwardly introverted young lady invitingly wearing the thick silver satin ruffled blouse, which she had been tailing much earlier. And as Angie watched here, she again accepted the invitation. Her prey had appeared on the dance floor, being led around by a rather charming young man. That would make a dandy consolation prize Angie drooled to herself happily as she took in the sparkling show put on by the dancers jewels.

**

Angie looked her over, reacquainting herself with the jewels she so nicely was displaying. A pair of long earrings cascaded down from her earlobes where they precariously held on by antique silver claps. Angie relished the opportunity to “flimp” pairs of earrings like these. Heavily jeweled, each one was worth a tidy sum. Angie mulled this as she continued to study the jewels of her appealingly dressed new target.

**

The girl’s only ring was a solitaire diamond of at least 3 carets on a thick solid gold band worn vulnerably loose on her un-gloved, bare ring finger. A wide silver cuff bracelet with what appeared to be at least seven rows of matching, shimmering diamonds was dangling around her left wrist (she was right handed Angie observed) . The bracelet had a habit of lying over her sleeve, and Angie could see that it was a costly tiffany piece, whose clasp was exceptionally easy to flick open. A diamond pendent hung swinging from her satiny ruffles, held by an extravagantly thick silver chain with a simple , small eye in hook clasp. The Diamonds in the pendent were as shimmery as stars plucked from the night’s sky.

Angie remembered reading that in a poem from a book she had picked up years earlier in a library, while stalking a young mother in a satin dress, wearing an authentic Gruen Watch on one wrist, and a bracelet of diamonds on the other, that had gone into the library in pursuit of her young son running inside. Like that young mother, It was obvious that this lady in silver satin was not accustomed to wearing jewels, and that set probably spent most of their days lying in a safe. Angie licked her lips as she imagined what the other contents of that safe might look like

**

Angie moved in to allow herself a much closer appraisal of her potential victim’s jewels.

The young lady was totally oblivious to anything but the rather surprisingly strikingly handsome man who to all appearances was her Fiancée, who was holding her ever so close. But Angie was able to see enough of what she wanted to. The young Ladies’ thick satin blouse shone richly in the lights, moving like glistening wet liquid silver, while from her waist spilled the long black skirt with satiny tiers that swished and swayed nicely along her figure as she uneasily danced. Her jewels were bursting with colour as they played hide and seek with Angie’s watchful eyes. From all appearances, they were a mismatched couple. He seemed to know everyone and moved with a confident air, she was just the opposite. It made an enticingly intriguing package indeed for someone with Angie’s skills.

**

Silver Satin was the perfect “Gaston Monescu” type of mark, a perfect combination of classic mannerisms, clothing and Jewels worth anyone’s efforts to take. This was the only fly in the ointment that Angie observed. For by the bar she could see that two other sets of eyes were watching the same young lady in shiny satin and blazing diamonds. Angie intuitively knew they were drooling over acquiring jewels she was wearing.

**

She had noticed the pair of young men in loose fitting suits when they had entered a little earlier about the same time as Angie’s reappearance. They were obviously casing the jewels of any woman, young, or old, who walked past them. Angie knew their type, simple thieves, with no real skills outside of holding a knife in a dark alley to the throat of their victim while they unceremoniously searched and stripped them of their treasures. Angie saw that they were whispering amongst themselves and instinctively knew they were watching and waiting for the fetchingly clumsy silver clad lady clad loaded with diamonds, to leave the “establishment”.

**

She is mine Angie whispered, possessively snarling the words under her breath. She looked around as she thought about how best to handle the situation. Her eyes opened wide as she saw a familiar woman waiting by the coat checkroom. Perfect she purred, placing an unlit a cigarette in her mouth and heading over the bar.

**

She sauntered up next to them and ordered a drink, catching their eyes she asked for a light. As they obliged she took a pull and puffed out smoke, asking in a casual tone, “how about my jewels? Boys!” They could see perfectly well that she was not wearing any, and one snarled, “What’s your game, sister?” Angie snarled back in her best cop like manner, “We know what you boys are up to, and we suggest you both call it a night!” “Yer no cop sister”, they challenged, calling her bluff,” what’s your angle!” Angie calmly looked towards the entrance, perfect she mused as she saw their eyes follow hers, “Maybe not” she stated, “but see that lady being helped into the black mink?” “The shiny yellow dame?” one of em asked? “ “yes”, Angie replied taking a puff on her cigarette before going on, “ well that man’s she’s with used to be mine .” “ Now, I aint one to hold a grudge, but, those pearls she’s waltzing around with are worth plenty. And her rings, they are an easy two grand alone.”

**

Angie could tell she had captured their interest, and that they were now paying rapt attention to the lady in the thick yellow taffeta gown whose necklace Angie had almost acquired in the serenity garden. One of them looked at Angie, a suspicious look crossing his mug, “What’s innit for you sister?!” He demanded. Angie looked at him, dripping with sarcastic innocence. “Nothing brother, other than to make sure the jewels of the dame who stole my husband get home safely .” “I just worry,’ Angie went on, “there is a park in front of their residence and that dame in yellow likes to stroll through it to smell the roses after their cab drops them off.” They watched the couple leave, her expensive yellow gown sweeping provocatively at her gold high- heeled shoed feet. Angie looked them in the eyes and said smoothly, “ Gentlemen such as yourselves may want to do a good deed and follow them home to make sure some miscreant doesn’t spot her in those valuable jewels and mink. Not to mention her man’s gold watch and three hundred sawbucks in his wallet!” Angie winked at the pair, “If you catch my drift.” She added.

**

Still not totally convinced about what Angie was selling them, but equally unsure over who Angie was, both men got up and quickly headed towards the main exit as the last slip of an expensive yellow taffeta gown disappeared through the door. Smugly, Angie puffed on her cigarette as she watched them leave.

**

It was then that a hand was placed on Angie’s shoulder from behind.

**

She froze for a split second, before becoming aware of the soft mummer of satin, and of a slender finger was home to a sparkling sapphire ring. Angie smiled and turned around, facing the girl. Pardon me ma’am, she says politely, but do you remember me? Of course dear, Angie gushes while beaming at the forlorn looking miss in the fetching blue gown; I met you in the garden. Yes she confirms, but I lost my necklace somewhere and I was wondering if you remember if I had it on when we met? Angie’s heart leapt, bless this babe in the woods, thinking her necklace had merely been lost, never suspecting that someone like, say, Angie could have been the cause. She absolutely adored the trusting nature of rich girls this age. For that aspect of their purity had allowed Angie, far too easily sometimes, to lift many a jewel from well attired unsuspecting young princesses like this one. Who was now standing before her, miserable, her desirable diamond and sapphire earrings dangling ever so beckoningly, her sad puppy eyes pleading ever so sweetly, and her missing necklace closer than she could ever imagine.

**

No dear, I did not see you with a necklace, Angie lied coolly, as she reached out and stroked the girl tenderly alongside her face, her fingers touching one of the earrings. Angie was looking her fully in the eye, you didn’t lose anything else, and did you dear she asked with a concerned tone. The girl checked her earrings, bracelet and ring (Angie smiled to herself, silently thinking thanks for the info kid!) But when she spoke, it was with hopeful words laced with honey, If you want, I can help you look, my dear. The girl’s eyes lit up for a second, thank you ma’am, I wanted to, but papa said to wait until tomorrow when the light is better.

Angie smiled winningly, don’t worry dear, I’m sure its somewhere in the garden. Someone will find it, she promised, thinking to herself maliciously, and keep it for their own profit!

**

Thank you Ma’am she chirped, at the encouraging words that had been spoken, luckily she could not hear the ones Angie was thinking to herself, and turning moved off, her scrumptious gown swishing pleasantly around her silver heels. Angie watched, as the girl disappeared in the crowd Angie marked her direction.

**

Angie Imagined if the girl had accepted her offer, and she had left with the vulnerable, unguarded princess to search in the garden, and in the process help relieve her of her remaining jewels. There would be enough light with the gas lamps that lined the paths in the garden. Enough light, so that as Angie helped the princess look, her fingers could slip ever so delicately slip in and search along her shiny sky blue gown.

**

Angie licked her lips slowly as she fantasied about the search. The girl bending down to look under a bush, Angie placing her knee sharply in a certain spot below the girl’s armpit, temporarily numbing her upper body. Allowing Angie enough time to pull off both her earrings without feeling it,( this also worked well on working off broaches placed in upper parts of gowns and dresses, not to mention necklaces!) The bracelet would be no problem; it would be the easiest and probably the first, snatched off while the rich girl’s attention was easily diverted away. Since she was not wearing silky gloves, her ring would be the trickiest, but manageable, by either having her walk too close to a water fountain and hopefully having her get her fingers wet, or by simple holding onto her hand and tripping her by stepping on her gowns hem. And just like that, Angie would become that much richer, the rich girl that much poorer. And it all would be done without giving the girl any additional stress, like say she had run into the two muggers Angie had chased off. They may not have been content with just the jewels of a girl dressed as she was that they had found wandering alone in the gardens at night.

**

As Angie excitedly thought about these things, she had trained her focus back upon her original meal ticket, whom for the second time that evening had almost been allowed to slip through Angie’s light fingers. Watching with half lidded eyes, the still dancing couple not unlike a wolf watches lambs, waiting for one to make an ill-fated move away from the flock. The lamb’s fate was sealed, when a vivacious blonde in a long wispy silken dress cut in on the dancing couple. Asking miss silver satin’s fiancé for a dance. He obliged, leaving his shimmering fiancée unaccompanied, nakedly exposed to the wolf that was Angie.

**

More than one way to skin a cat Angie thought, tingling from the thrill of the hunt her prey, now in a reachable situation. She happily headed towards the spot where Miss silver satin had moved off to. A small table, located conveniently by a powder room. One the way she grabbed a half full glass of red wine off a table. Angie circled around young miss silver satin, taking a position up about two table lengths behind her. She casually scoured the area; most of the nearby tables were deserted.

Knowing the band would stop playing soon for the evening; most of the couples were out on the dance floor. All in all, the situation presented the perfect opportunity for some one of Angie’s persuasion.

**

Angie watched as the young lady picked up a glittery silver clutch and opening it, started to search inside. Angie moved swiftly, catching up behind her , tripping intentionally into her, splashing some wine onto the front of the silver satin blouse as the unfortunate lady dropped her purse in surprise. Oh my gosh, I did not see you, miss silver satin pleaded apologetically to Angie, more concerned over Angie’s feelings than her soiled satin blouse. Angie accepted her apology and, producing a lacey silk handkerchief, began to wipe themselves both down.

Angie’s practiced eyes swiftly took it all in. Miss silver satin’s pretty earrings swaying out vulnerably from her long straggly hair as it fell into her face. The clasp of her necklace was also exposed and within easy grasp. A s she reached out for the floor to steady herself, Angie’s eyes took in the sparkling ring on her now wetted finger and then watched the wide bracelet with its’ easily open able clasp slip up glitteringly over her sleeve.

The girl, now thoroughly flustered, started to rise, tripping over her slippery long skirt( with no help from Angie) Angie caught her, taking advantage of the split second opening she had been waiting for and Angie took it, making her selection as she steadied the poor thing with one hand, as the other caressed along a slick silver satin back. Angie’s long supple fingers darted in and deftly did their trick, this time with no spiders interfering. She quickly removed her chosen glittery prize from the distracted lady, who never noticed so much as a prick as Angie removed the expensive piece from her person in the confusion.

**

Angie secreted he shiny jewel as she helped miss silver satin collect herself. Than they rose, and Angie happily accepted miss silver satin profuse and obviously well used, apology. Then, as she fumbled nervously with her thick glasses, Angie laid a calming hand upon her shoulder, her fingers relishing in the richness of her victims sleek ruffled blouse. Miss silver satin was by now so distracted and embarrassed that Angie was all but assured of a clean get away.

However, as an extra measure of caution Angie intentionally jarred silver satin’s elbow of the hand steadying her eye glasses. Thus sending her glasses falling from her face to the floor with a small clatter, then Angie kicked them under a table before the startled lady could react. Angie offered to help, but the lady implored that she was okay, just needed to find her glasses. Angie left as Miss silver satin started to frantically grope around for her glasses, her silver blouse and remaining jewels shimmering brightly along their miserable mistress..

Angie took her leave, knowing that once she found her glasses, Miss silver satin would flee for sanctuary into the ladies powder room, buying her more than enough time for Angie to make her escape. Taking one last look over the dance floor, she blithely saw that miss silver satins fiancé was still in the clutches of the vivacious blonde-haired girl, still safely out of the picture. Angie made her way with purpose to the rear exit leading to the garden that she had used earlier, intending to head out into the serenity garden to collect the hidden bracelet and pendent, adding them to her purloined plunder.

**

As she walked amongst the mostly deserted tables, her mind went to the woman in yellow taffeta and imagined that right about now she would be standing with raised arms and a forlorn look. Ruefully wincing as the man who was holding her mink busily stripped those luscious pearls from the neckline of her tight gown, as the shiny yellow material gleamed in the moonlight! Serves her right for being afraid of spiders, Angie thought unforgivingly.

***

Angie’s mind also went to the poor young princess in blue with the missing necklace. She looked towards the area she had headed, opposite of the back exit to the garden. She reluctantly decided not to push her luck, there was a sister and parents to contend with, and she really had no time left. So she decided to call it a day, a rather successful day, and made her way to retrieve her loot.

**

Angie had now reached the now deserted table by the back exit where the lady in the crimson gown and blood red rubies had been earlier, along with her rhinestone encumbered 10 year old daughter and handsome husband.

**

She paused between the table and the bench, something was not quite right, She eyed the area around the dance floor for any signs of trouble that may be centered on the quite valuable jewels now in her possession. All was quiet, except for a little murmur behind her. Turning she looked at the bench and was shocked to discover the soundly asleep ten year old, using the long rusty sable fur as a blanket. What have we here, Angie thought, licking her lips wickedly?

**

Angie pursed her lips, checking the coast; spotting the young girl’s parents, still on the dance floor, a safe distance away the other side of the room. No sign of miss silver satin. No one else was nearby. Perfect. She went over, bending down so the table hid her. The child looked so vulnerably innocent, sound asleep as she lay on her side, facing Angie. She was clutching an arm of the sable like a warm fuzzy teddy bear, her ring sparkling. Angie gently tugged the mink from the girl’s clasp, and gradually pulled until the fur swished away from along the inert silken figure on the bench, where it fell into a pile on the floor. The child looked very innocent, very vulnerable, like a sleeping princess. An earring lay exposed over one shoulder, her necklace dangled down slightly askew from her slender throat, the pin holding her sash, all of which shone brightly now that it was exposed to the low lights of the ballroom, still called out. Too bad, Angie thought to herself, too bad the mother had not dressed her little doll in real diamonds.

**

 

Angie again looked to the dance floor; she could see the mother’s jewelry twinkling brightly as the child’s parents danced close, very unaware of anything else but themselves. She looked back over the girl, contemplating. But the song was winding down, Angie stooped to pick up the sable, bird in hand she thought, and placing the rich fur over her arm, stood just as the song ended. Looking at the exit door, so near and yet so far, she started to hasten to it, but checked herself as the band immediately started another, rather slow song that Angie knew quite well.

**

She hesitated, incredibly, everyone was staying on the floor for the final dance, she looked back at the bench, and the sleeping imps exposed jewels still shined, tempting her to come for them. Angie knew that she would only have about four minutes. Always open to new challenges, Angie chose to answer that sweet little invite that the necklace was extending out to her. Checking once again to make sure the parents was still obliviously dancing; she laid the mink down by the door and eased back to the bench. Kneeling down, Angie began to perform the delicate operation.

**

Lifting up the necklace she gently tugged it loose from around the sleeping child’s neck until the clasp appeared. She subtly flicked open the clasp, then shamelessly slipped the necklace from around its perch on the little whelp’s throat. It flickered like some slithering shiny snake, glittering as it came away. Like taking candy from a baby, Angie drooled happily, as she let the necklace run along her fingertips while watching the sleeping princess for a few seconds.

**

Her fitted cream coloured dress shimmered with expensive richness in the shadowy light. The poor thing was so soundly asleep after her long exhausting day that Angie figured she could have peeled the dress off her without causing a stir. This for a pickpocket would be the ultimate test, the pinnacle of her criminal class. But, Angie thought; if she ever had the opportunity to do so, it would have to be worth her while, like a shiny gown, an appealing sky blue gown with half sleeves and scooped collar. And the jewels would be sapphire drop earrings, bracelet and ring, not plain rhinestones. She licked her lips at the enticing thought of such a perfect “coup fera”, than told herself to get back to work, time was money.

**

She slipped her hand along the satin cape being used as a pillow and felt under the girls head until she felt the cold earring she was laying upon. Deftly undoing the screw she pulled it free, watching with delight as it came out from underneath.

**

Angie than, gently lifted, and nimbly stroked back the girl’s ultra-soft hair, exposing her long silvery earring. She pulled the jewel out and laid it out upon the child’s shoulder, where it lay, shimmering vibrantly. Then she reached in with her fingers and began unscrewed its clasp. Pulling it free she added it to her growing collection. She next lifted the hand that had held the warm sable, gently prying open her clenched fingers. The sleeping child never stirred. Angie gently slipped off the glittering ring. She then peeled back a silky sleeve, checking for the bracelet, finding her wrist was bare. The rest of the jewels were hiding securely on the side she was laying upon. Smiling wickedly to herself, an idea popped into Angie’s head.

**

The music was now almost to the halfway point, and Angie thought for a brief second that she should leave . Another quick scan assured her the coast was still clear, and Angie decided to press her luck, eagerly going back to work, putting her idea into motion.

Angie fingers felt along the sleeping child’s waist until she located the brooch. Quickly unfastening the brooch from the chocolate satin sash, she pulled it out. Watching as the diamonds caught fire and burst into vibrant life, unusually vivid for plain rhinestones she thought contemplatively. Angie plopping it in with the growing pile of the sleeping girls purloined baubles. Again reaching in along the warm waist, Angie gradually tugged at the now undone sash. The sleeping girl, unconsciously obliged by turning over on her other side, as the sash was pulled away.

**

Her arm with the ring and bracelet was now exposed. Lifting the arm , and peeling back the puffy sleeve, Angie found and unclasped the bracelet, slipping it away, then allowing it to dangle in triumph before letting it join its purloined mates. Then lifting the child’s hand she pulled at the ring, it was a little tight. Angie licked her fingers, and moistened the girls finger, than began slipping the ring off ever so gently from the along her finger. Almost there, Angie thought, as the ring joined its abducted companions in her pocket.

 

**

As Angie finished pocketing the last of the girls jewels, her victim whimpers something discernible in her sleep, her small hand feeling to pull up the missing warm sable she had been using as a blanket. Angie quickly looked around, spying a cheap linen coat hanging on a nearby hook, she grasped it and laid it over the stirring girl, stroking her for a precious few seconds. Then rising, calmly Angie snatched a shiny purse from the table, and moved off, unbelieving of her luck. She reclaimed the sable fur, and strolled out the door without looking back.

**

As Angie closed the door she heard the last notes of the song waning from inside. She licked her lip, that was close, but her luck had held. Now all that remained was to visit the Cupid Statue In the garden to reclaim her other prizes. As she reached the statue, Angie realized that she still had the child’s satin sash in her hand.

She smiled as she tied it, blindfolding the cupid statues eyes. Retrieving and pocketing the now stone cold diamond bracelet, and the young Princess in blue’s necklace with its shimmering pendent, she slowly looked around, the cost was clear. Angie coolly made her way to the gate, the bored guard offering to help her with the mink she was carrying. , Angie stopped, and handed it to him. Then turning, allowed him to help her on with it. He puffed out his chest as Angie gave him a sweet smile; she thanked him, then turned and disappeared into the darkness of the night.

**

Angie disappeared from view into the foggy evening, relishing the warmth of the sensuous sable. Happily contemplating the small fortune in jewels it had been in contact with earlier that evening, and also the small fortune she had walked out of the reception with in her possession.

**

The guard watched the spot for some time where the pretty lady in the expensive fur had vanished in the mists. He fantasized for a good few minutes, wondered what had been behind the enchantingly secret smile she had given to him.

Excuse me, sir?, a female voice coming from the garden startles him, he had never heard anyone coming.

He turns, catching an eyeful of a long glamourous, brown satin gown, worn fetchingly by a willowy short haired pretty young thing. Diamonds blazed from around her throat, caught by the gas lights, and from around her white satin gloved wrists as she raised her hands in a pleading fashion.

She continues, pointing to a young girl in a smashing blue satin gown, bending over looking for something in the bushes. My sister lost her necklace and pendent while playing around here earlier, did you or anyone find it? She asked in a rather seductive tone of voice9 not a common, it was her regular voice)

No lady, no one turned in a necklace. Thank you sir, and she turns away, her gown flowing out behind her.

He watches for a minute as she and her sister both move elegantly down the path, continuing their search.

He sighed, and turns away, babysitting rich dames he mutters under his breath, what a dismal way to make a living. Why won’t this affair ever end he asked himself, as he reached for his silver pocket watch to check the time. Damnations he said, not finding it nor its chain and fob, must have dropped it in the alley earlier where I had gone for a nipper from his flask. He sauntered off quickly to the alley located in the direction Angie had disappeared, abandoning his post.

Soon after, a pair of dark figures who had been walking on the opposite side of the street, and had stopped to loiter when they spied the guard talking to some posh broad in a shiny brown dress, saw the guard leaving his post. They quickly stole with sinister intent across the road and entered into the gardens, disappearing into the darkness.

*********************************************************************************

This ended up being Angie’s first big score, She got more for the rhinestone set then she had imagined, the small brooch taken off the brown satin sash had proved to have real diamonds in its center! Also the princess in silky sky blue’s pendent and chain had fetched a nice tidy sum. The jewels lifted from the ladies in Green and Silver also realized quite a handsome profit, as did the sable and purse.

if one includes the real diamond ring slipped off the finger of a silky dressed debutante from the prom show and her rather nice haul of a slim pearl necklace and diamond pin from the Opera, the whole weekend was unimaginably successful.

**

From the profit realized, she had been able to spend a pleasant month away in Monte Carlo, even indulging in the purchase of a rich red wine coloured taffeta gown to wear.

Which she pleasantly found that, when paired with her deftly acquired collection of dripping rhinestone diamond jewelry, she attracted wealthy young males with expensive gold watches and fat wallets like honey bee drones to a bright moss rose.

**

She also enticed a long raven haired, Miss, richly clad in emerald silk, to enter into her snare.

But Angie did not make an entirely clean get away. For the last jewel to be taken was the girl’s brooch , and before Angie could hide it with the rest, the girl spotted its’ glitter in Angie’s hand, and with a gasp had looked down on her dress at the now vacant spot where it had been dangling ever so provocatively for Angie all evening.. Angie smiled at the girl as she had looked up in confusion. The girl had placed a hand to her throat, startled when feeling it bare of her necklace. She looked at Angie in hurt confusion, her eyes wide with fright. Angie placed a finger to the girl’s lips, hushing any fuss she may have been thinking of making over her missing jewelry, and turning her back to the forlorn miss, Angie left, not looking back….

**

But that was a story for another day, so we were promised by Angie, giving us an all too familiar look of devious satisfaction at making us wait.

.************************************************************************************

Editor’s Notes:

Our Thanks to Mr. J. Gardner for pointing out the existence of Mr. Monescu’s 1826 guide

If you enjoyed our little story, please like and leave a comment.

And if you wish, describe what intrigued you the most about it…

Thank You

************************************************************************************

Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives

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No Part of this can reprinted, duplicated, or copied be without the express written permission and approval of Chatwick University.

These photos and stories are works of fiction. Any resemblance to people, living or deceased, is purely coincidental.

As with any work of fiction or fantasy the purpose is for entertainment only, and should never be attemp

+++ DISCLAIMER +++

Nothing you see here is real, even though the conversion or the presented background story might be based historical facts. BEWARE!

  

Some background:

The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was one of the largest and heaviest fighter aircraft in history to be powered by a single piston engine. It was heavily armed with eight .50-caliber machine guns, four per wing. When fully loaded, the P-47 weighed up to eight tons, and in the fighter-bomber ground-attack roles could carry five-inch rockets or a significant bomb load of 2,500 pounds; it could carry over half the payload of the B-17 bomber on long-range missions (although the B-17 had a far greater range).

 

The P-47, originally based on the powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine, was to be very effective as a short-to-medium range escort fighter in high-altitude air-to-air combat and, when unleashed as a fighter-bomber, proved especially adept at ground attack in both the World War II European and Pacific Theaters.

The P-47 was one of the main United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) fighters of World War II, and served with other Allied air forces, notably those of France, Britain, and Russia. Mexican and Brazilian squadrons fighting alongside the U.S. were equipped with the P-47.

 

In 1943, two P-47D-15-RE airframes (serials 42-23297/23298) were selected for testing with the new experimental 2300 hp Chrysler XIV-2220-1 sixteen-cylinder inverted Vee liquid-cooled engine. These aircraft were re-designated XP-47H. The liquid-cooled Chrysler engine with its large under-fuselage radiator radically changed the appearance of the Thunderbolt, and increased overall length to 39 feet 2 inches. With the increased power and improved streamlining, a maximum speed of 490 mph was anticipated.

 

The two P-47D-15-RE airframes were converted until early 1944 and test flights began on July 26, 1945. During flight trails, one of the XP-47Hs actually attained a speed of 490 mph in level flight, and the new aircraft was primarily intended as a fast interceptor for the European theater, where especially Great Britain was endangered by the fast V1 missiles, and initial reports about German jet fighters and reconnaissance aircraft that were hard to counter with current piston-engine types, stirred the need for this fast aircraft.

 

Production P-47Hs received several amendments that had already been introduced with the late D types, e. g. the lowered back and a bubble canopy that offered excellent view. The P-47H also received the new wing from the P-47N, recognizable by its characteristic square wing tips which allowed better roll manoeuvers. Not visible at first glance were the integral wing tanks, which enhanced the internal fuel load to 4.792,3 liters, resulting in a range of 3.500 km (2.175 ml), so that the P-47H was also suited for long range bomber escorts. Air brakes were added to the wing's lower surfaces, too, to allow braking after a dive onto its prey.

Furthermore, serial production machines received an uprated, more reliable Chrysler XIV-2220-2 engine, which had an output of 2.450 hp.

 

The P-47H was put into limited production with 130 built, sufficient for one group. However, the type suffered serious teething problems in the field due to the highly tuned engine. Engines were unable to reach operating temperatures and power settings and frequently failed in early flights from a variety of causes: ignition harnesses cracked at high altitudes, severing electrical connections between the magneto and distributor, and carburetor valve diaphragms also failed. Poor corrosion protection during shipments across the Atlantic also took their toll on the engines and airframes.

 

By the time the bugs were worked out, the war in Europe was nearly over. However, P-47Hs still destroyed 15 enemy jet aircraft in aerial combat in March-May 1945 when aerial encounters with the Luftwaffe were rare. The type also proved itself to be a valuable V1 missile interceptor over the Channel.

 

The entire production total of 130 P-47Hs were delivered to the 358th Fighter Group, which was part of the 9th Air Force and operated from Great Britain, France and finally on German ground. From the crews the P-47H received several nicknames like 'torpedo', 'Thunderbullet' or 'Anteater', due to its elongated nose section.

 

Twelve P-47H were lost in operational crashes with the 358th Group resulting in 11 deaths, two after VE Day, and two (44-21134 on 13 April 1945 and 44-21230 on 16 April 1945) were shot down in combat, both by ground fire.

 

Paunchy

 

General characteristics

Crew: 1

Length: 39 ft 2 in (11.96 m)

Wingspan: 40 ft 9 in (12.42 m)

Height: 14 ft 8 in (4.47 m)

Wing area: 300 ft² (27.87 m²)

Empty weight: 10,000 lb (4,535 kg)

Loaded weight: 13,300 lb (6,032 kg)

Max. takeoff weight: 17,500 lb (7,938 kg)

 

Powerplant:

1× Chrysler XIV-2220-2 sixteen-cylinder inverted Vee liquid-cooled engine, rated at 2.450 hp.

 

Performance

 

Maximum speed: 503 mph at 30,000 ft (810 km/h at 9,145 m)

Range: 920 mi combat, 2.175 ml ferry (1.480 km / 3.500 km)

Service ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,100 m)

Rate of climb: 3,120 ft/min (15.9 m/s)

Wing loading: 44.33 lb/ft² ()

Power/mass: 0.19 hp/lb (238 W/kg)

 

Armament

 

8 × .50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns (3.400 rounds)

Up to 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) of bombs, drop tanks and/or 10× 5 in (127 mm) unguided rockets

  

The kit and its assembly:

I had the (X)P-47H on the agenda for some time, and even the respective MPM kit stashed away. But it took some time to start this project - one reason actually being the the simplicity and, well, crudeness of the MPM offering.

 

Anyway, I wanted to build a service aircraft, and I wondered how this would have looked like, way beyond 1944? That brought me towards the late bubble canopy versions of the P-47D - and suddenly the idea was born to convert the XP-47H into a respective service aircraft which would not only carry the Chrysler XIV-2220-1 V16 engine, but also other improvements of the type.

 

This eventually led to the decision to make this build a kitbash, as a spine implantation would be the easiest way to incorporate the lowered back - or so I thought...

 

I chose the ancient Heller P-47(N) as donation kit. Not because it was "good", it just had the right ingredients and was cheap and easy to purchase.

 

What sound like a simple plan turned into a twisted route to mere success. I took the front fuselage and the lower belly from the MPM kit, as well as the horizontal stabilizers and mated it with the upper and rear fuselage of the Heller Thunderbolt. This could have been easy, if both kits would not have had different fuselage diameters - the Heller kit is about 1mm too narrow, even though the length is fine.

 

In order to compensate I built two new fuselage halves from the salvaged pieces, and once these were stable and more or less sanded even, put together. Inside, the cockpit was taken from the Heller kit, but the seat comes from the MPM kit, and a pilot figure was added.

Another problem is the fact that the MPM kit features engraved panel lines, while the Heller kit has old school, raised details and lots of rivets.

 

The propeller from the MPM kit is a joke, so I built a replacement from scratch - from a drop tank front half from an ancient Revell F4U, and the individual propeller blades were taken from an Italeri F4U. Inside the fuselage, a styrene tube was implanted which holds the new propeller on a metal axis, so it can spin freely.

 

Other personal mods include lowered flaps and the large cooler intake was opened, with foamed styrene placed inside which mimics some mesh. The same method was also used inside of the intercooler outlets (primarily in order to block any light from shining through).

In the landing gear wells I added some structure made from styrene profiles.

 

Another bigger challenge was the wing attachment - Heller and MPM kit differ here, so that swapping parts is not easy. The MPM kit has the wing roots molded onto the fuselage halves, while the Heller wings are more or less directly attached to the fuselage. As a consequence, the Heller wings hold the complete landing gear wells, while the MPM solution has divided sections. I decided to get rid of the MPM wing roots, about 3mm of material, and onto these stubs the Heller wings were attached.

 

The landing gear was taken from the Heller kit, but the main wheels come from a (new) Revell Me 262 - both MPM and Heller parts are not recommended for serious use...

 

Finally, the many exhausts and cooler flaps were either sanded away and replaced by scratched parts, or added - e. g. the vents behind the cockpit.

 

While the Heller kit features bomb and missile hardpoints under the wings I decided to leave them away - this is supposed to be a fast interceptor, not a train-hunting plough.

  

Painting and markings:

As this was to be a very late WWII aircraft, NMF was certain, and I wanted to place the service P-47H into the European conflict theatre, where its speed would IMHO be best used against German jet threats.

 

I wanted a colorful aircraft, though, and settled for a machine of the 358th FG. This group actually flew Thunderbolts in the 365-367th Sqaudrons, and I found several profiles of these gaudy things.

Common was an orange tail and a dark blue back, while the engine cowling would be decorated with a red front and the air outlets would carry bands in red, white and blue, with lots of tiny stars sprinkled upon. Furthermore, I found specimen with white cowlings behind the red front end, or even yellow cowlings. Pretty cool.

 

I tried to mimic this look. The model was basically painted with Aluminum Metallizer (Humbrol 27002) overall. The effect is really good, even without rubbing treatment. Some panels were contrasted with Aluminium Plate and Polished Steel Metallizer (Modelmaster), as well as with Aluminum (Humbrol 56, which is rather a metallic grey). The latter was also used on the landing gear. The anti-glare panel in front of the cockpit was painted in Olive Drab (ANA 613 from Modelmaster).

 

Since there is no air intake opening on the inline engine I decided to paint the spinner in bright red (Humbrol 19), and tried to incorporate the white and blue theme with stars decoration to the rest of the nose. As a convenient coincidence I found decals from an Italeri B-66 in the stash: it features a version with dark blue jet air intake decorations in the right size, colors and style for what I had been looking for. So, instead of painting everything by hand I decided to incorporate this decal option.

The area behind the spinner was painted white and then the B-66 decals applied to the front flanks. The radiator air intake scoop had to be cut out, but the overall size and shape were a very good match. Even the transition into the blue spine and cockpit area worked well!

 

The tail was painted with Humbrol 18, later some shading with Humbrol 82 was added. The blue spine was done with a mix of Humbrol 104 and 15 (Oxford Blue and Midnight Blue) - not a perfect match for the B-66 decal colors, but after some dirt and weathering these differences would blur.

 

Cockpit interior was painted in Humbrol 159 (Khaki Drab) and Zinc Chromate Green from Model Master. The landing gear wells received a chrome yellow primer (Humbrol 225 - actually RAF Mid Stone but a perfect match for the task) finish.

 

For weathering the kit received a rubbing treatment with grinded graphite, which adds a dark, metallic shine and emphasizes the kit’s raised panel lines. Some dry painting with Aluminum was added, too, simulating chipped paint on the leading edges. I also added some oil stains around the engine, and serious soot stains at the exhaust.

 

Decals were, beyond the B-66 decoration, puzzled together. The aircraft' code 'CH-F[bar]' is another exotic twist, in two ways. The bar under the letter marks a second use of that code within the squadron, and as a difference from normal code placement (normally exclusively on the fuselage) I put the aircraft's individual code letter on the fin, a practice which had been used on P-51s and a consequence of the relatively large letter decals.

 

The nose art is again a fictional puzzle, consisting of a(nother) Czech MiG-21 pin-up from the Pardubice '89 meeting, and the "Ohio Express" tag comes from a Tamiya 1:100 F-105 Thunderchief. A neat combination that even matches the overall colors well!

 

As a final step, a coat of semi matt acrylic varnish was applied, with the exception of the ant glare panel, which became purely matt.

  

A better XP-47H? Hard to tell, since this kitbashing was a messy and rather crude work, so the overall finish does not look as good as I hoped for. But the lowered spine and the fin root extension adds to a fast look of this thing, more elegant (if that's possible in thjis case?) than the Razorback prototypes.

I can't help, but the finished article looks like an Evel Knievel stunt vehicle? The red spinnerlooks a bit odd, but I'll leave it this way. ;)

  

Midtown Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

 

The Empire State Building is today the best-known symbol of New York City. Its name, Its profile, and the view from its summit are' familiar the world over, and a visit to New York is generally conceded to be incomplete without a trip to the Empire State Building's observatory.

 

The Empire State was the final and most celebrated product of the skyscraper frenzy produced by the economic boom of the 1920s, and'the most prominent of the modernistic towers that created the midtown skyline in those years. Its completion in April, 1931, on the former sits of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, marked the transformation of midtown from New York's preeminent residential area for the social elite into the commercial center of the metropolis.

 

The engineering and construction of the Empire State Building were perhaps the most awesome accomplishments of its creators. Its design, in many ways shaped by the constraints of time, cost, and structure, was the finest work of architect William Lamb, chief designer for Shreve, Lamb 6 Harmon. The slender, modernistic silhouette he created fit the building so well that even today, when it is no longer the tallest, it remains one of the handsomest of New York's skyscrapers.

 

With the decline in construction which accompanied the Depression, and the tendency in the post-war period towards shorter, denser office buildings, the Empire State it 1250 fser remained the world's tallest building until the 1970s, when the Sears Building in Chicago took the title of the world's tallest, end the World Trade Center took the title of New York's tallest. Yet despite the loss of the title which was one of the sources of its original renown, the Empire State Building remains New York's most widely recognized symbol, and the city's quintessential landmark.

 

The Site Development of Midtown Manhattan into the commercial center of New York

 

The site of the Empire State Building was part of a farm, owned by John Thompson, which was acquired In 1827 by William B. Astor. The site remained in Astor hands over a hundred years of development until Its purchase, in 1929, by the Empire State Building Interests.

 

Astor was the second son of John Jacob Astor, founder of the Astor dynasty in America. Using the family fortune, he acquired a great deal of undeveloped property in Manhattan, foreseeing that the northward expansion of New York along the island would eventually make his property worth many times its original price. Over the next fifty years, the area around 34th Street and Fifth Avenue developed first into an outlying rowhouse neighborhood of New York, and then into the city's most fashionable residential area.

 

By the 1850s, Fifth Avenue was lined with the palaces of the Vanderbilts, A.T. Stewart (the "merchant prince," one of New York's wealthiest men), and other millionaires. The Astors themselves moved from Astor Place up to Fifth Avenue in 1859, when John Jacob Astor, Jr., built his house at the northwest corner of Fifth and 33rd Street; shortly thereafter his brother William Backhouse Astor built an adjoining house at the southwest corner of Fifth and 34th Street. The Astor houses soon became known as the central meeting place of New York society, and home to the famous balls thrown by Mrs. Astor for "the four hundred," New York's social elite.

 

Following the traditional pattern of Manhattan growth, the city's hotels, theaters, clubs, and restaurants followed the residential development up Fifth Avenue. By the 1890s, guides to the city identified "the great hotel district" as lying "between 23d and 59th Streets, and Fourth and Seventh Avenues.... in that territory, which is little less than two miles long by a half mile wide, are half of the leading hotels of the metropolis.

 

In 1890, William Waldorf Astor, son of John Jacob Astor, Jr., having decided to move to London, tore down his house and filed plans for the Waldorf Hotel, a thirteen-story building designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh and completed in 1893. in 18S7, the neighboring Astor house having been demolished, the Astoria Hotel was erected by Astor's aunt, and connected to the Waldorf to form the Waldorf-Astoria. The new hotel soon became a major social institution of New York.

 

Forty years later the area was changing again, largely because of the influx of department stores just before and after World War i. During the final decades of the 19th century New York's fashionable stores had clustered in the area called the "Ladies Mile," along Fifth and Sixth Avenues and Broadway between 11th and 23rd Streets.

 

Altman's started the new trend northward by moving in 1906 from Sixth Avenue and 18th Street to Fifth Avenue at 34th Street. Others followed, and by the early 1920s Fifth Avenue was lined from 34th Street north by stores such as Best s, Tiffany's, Franklin Simon, Bonwit Teller, Lord & Taylor and Arnold Constable. Along with the department stores came several tall

 

office buildings, beginning in 1902 with the Flatiron Building at Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street.' Rider's New York City Guide noted that "Hotels and restaurants that have long been landmarks, such as the Manhattan, the Buckingham and Sherry's, have disappeared and tall office buildings are multiplying even on the side streets.

 

Newspapers picked up on the changes taking place in the area. Capt. William J. Pedrick, executive vice-president of the Fifth Avenue Association, was quoted extensively on the development of Fifth Avenue; he noted in particular the avenue's new tall commercial buildings: the 15-story New York Trust, the 34-story Squibb Building, the 58-story Salmon Jower (500 Fifth Avenue), and the plans for the Empire State Building.

 

To demonstrate the rate of change on Fifth Avenue, Rider's Guide gave a capsule history of the site across Fifth Avenue from the Waldorf-Astoria: a house belonging to Dr. "Sarsaparilla" Townsend, popularlzer of soft drinks, was replaced in 1867 by the "marble palace" of A.T. Stewart; in the 1890s the house was converted for use by the Manhattan Club; in 1901 it was demolished to make way for the four-story Knickerbocker Trust Building, to which, finally, in 1920-21 were added another twelve stories to create the Columbia Trust Building.

 

The changeover of Midtown Manhattan from social to commercial center was finally consummated by the demolition In 1930 of the Waldorf-Astoria Itself, and the opening on its site the following year of the Empire State Building, a speculative office building and the tallest In the world.

 

A New, Modernistic Midtown Skyline and the Skyscraper Race

 

A new skyline was created for the newly commercial Midtown by the progressively larger office buildings being erected during the 1920s, Since the beginnings of skyscraper development in New York in the last decades of the 19th century, architects had tried to adapt historical sty.es to the modern American invention of the skyscraper. The most successful and famous of these attempts produced the Woolworth Building (Cass Gilbert, 1913), the sixty-story Gothic tower christened the "Cathedral of Commerce." Towards the end of the 1920s, however, under the influence of a "modernism" derived in part from the European Art Deco, New York architects created a new "skyscraper style" which, it has been argued, more fully expressed the nature--the verticality, the metal structure, the sense of an industrial and technological future—of the skyscraper. The series of skyscrapers constructed in midtown, including ;be Chrysler, Daily News, McGraw-Hill, Chanin, RCA (now GE), Fuller, and Empire State buildings, helped Introduce the new modernistic Art Deco style to urban America, and defined midtown's characteristic look for the next several decades, until the new round of skyscraper buildings began in the 1960s.

 

At the same time, the builders of skyscrapers began to reach for progressively greater heights. The WooIworth Building's sixty stories

 

had rested unchallenged for a decade, and Its observatory was considered to have the finest view of New York.

 

In the late 1920s, however, the new commercial buildings began to challenge the title. A 110-story building announced in 1926 by developer John Larkin was never built, but in 1929 two towers, the Bank of Manhattan (927 ft, 70 stories) downtown on Wall Street, and the Chrysler Building (1,050 ft, 77 stories) in Midtown on East **2nd Street, competed in a race to see which would be the new tallest building in the world. The race was heightened by the rivalry between the architects of the two buildings, H. Craig Severance and William Van Alen, who had formerly been partners.

 

Chrysler won by arranging to have the building's spire secretly constructed inside the building and then jacked up through the top at the last minute. Shortly thereafter, however, the Chrysler Building lost Its title to the Empire State Building.

 

The Empire State Building was a speculative office building planned by John J. Raskob, who hired former New York State Governor A1 Smith to be president of the Empire State Company. As an executive of General' Motors, Raskob no doubt considered himself a rival in many ways of Walter Chrysler.

 

According to rental manager Hamilton Weber, the originally planned 86 stories of the Empire State Building were only four feet higher than the Chrysler Building, and "Raskob was worried that Walter Chrysler would pull a trick—like hiding a rod in the spire and then sticking it up at the last minute." Hence, according to Weber, the Idea for the 14-story dirigible mast which raised the building's height to 1250 feet but proved, in the end, to be unusable for its Intended purpose. The Chrysler and Woolworth buildings, seeing there could be no hope of competition with the Empire State, eventually closed their own observatories.

 

The 1920s procession of skyscrapers might have continued producing ever taller buildings: according to a Herald Tribune article discussing the Empire State project in 1930, "Charles F. Noyes let it be known some time ago that he was considering erecting 150 floors over two square blocks in the old mercantile district downtown."

 

The Depression put an end to any such plans, however, and the Empire State Building remained the tallest by far of the city's commercial towers.

 

John Jacob Raskob and Al Smith.

 

The man who conceived the idea for the world's tallest speculative office building was a self-made multi-millionaire industrialist named John J. Raskob.

 

Born Into a poor family in Lockport, New York, Raskob went to work early In life to support his widowed mother and family. He found work as a secretary for a small street railway company in Lorain, Ohio, that happened to be owned by Pierre Du Pont, of the Du Pont chemical industry family.

 

When Du Pont bought the Dallas Street Railway Company In Texas, he made Raskob treasurer, and eventually he took Raskob with him to Wilmington, Delaware, where Du Pont became president of E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Raskob became vice president in charge of finance.

 

Early In the century, Raskob Invested heavily In the newly formed General Motors Corporation, and convinced Du Pont to do the same.

 

In 1915, Du Pont became chairman of General Motors, and in 1918 Raskob became chairman of its Finance Committee. The spectacular growth of the value of General Motors stock made Raskob a multi-millionaire, and one of the wealthiest men in the country. Shortly before the Depression Raskob co-authored an article in the Ladies' Home Journal entitled "Everybody Ought to be Rich."'

 

Aside from his organizational abilities, Raskob's chief contribution to General Motors was the invention of the installment plan for buying automobiles.

 

Like many businessmen of the time, Raskob was interested in politics, and like most millionaires he was a Republican. His entry into politics, however, was as a contributor to the gubernatorial campaign of populist Democratic governor A1 Smith. Raskob was introduced to Smith in New York City in 1926.16 The two men came from similar backgrounds--poor Irish Catholic famlies—and shared a dislike of the Prohibition amendment, an issue in Smith's later campaign for the presidency. They became friendly, and Raskob volunteered generous contributions to Smith's 1926 gubernatorial re-election campaign. Although many of Smith's closest aides distrusted Raskob, they were unable to prevent his appointment two years later as campaign manager for Smith's unsuccessful 1928 race with Hoover for the Presidency, an appointment which resulted in the anomaly of a conservative Republic millionaire becoming Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

 

(One of Raskob's first actions as Chairman was to move thecommittee to offices in the General Motors Building on West 57th Street.)

 

Although Raskob was blamed by some Smith aides for the loss of the 1928 election, and by others for Smith's gradual shift towards a more conservative political philosophy, the relationship between the two men remained strong. When Raskob decided to get into the real estate business, and to build the tallest building in the world, he offered Smith the $50,000 a year job of President of the Empire State Corporation.

 

Al Smith and the World's Tallest Building: Public Relations at the Highest Levels."

 

Raskob's rationale for building the world's tallest building, and for making Governor Smith its president, was never clearly stated, although several explanations have been offered. Unlike its immediate predecessors—the Woolworth Building for Frank W. Woolworth and his company, the Manhattan Company Building for the Bank of Manhattan, and the Chrysler Building for Walter Chrysler and his company—the Empire State was not built to symbolize one man or company: it was not the General Motors Building or Raskob Tower, for instance.

 

The Empire State Building was instead simply a speculative office building, and it was named for New York State, home of the building and the state of which Al Smith had been four times governor. Rather than being a corporate symbol, the building became identified as the world's tallest building and a venture of Al Smith's.

 

The explanation of its height offered by the company in Its various promotional brochures was simply that of a human adventure, carrying on "the Pharaoh's dream":

 

Down through the ages, men have yearned and toiled and planned, that they might build a structure nearer to the skies than ever had been built before. Something of this great desire burned in the souls of the Pharaohs of Egypt, when the Great Pyramid of Gizeh was erected, 451 feet high, equal to thirty-four stories. St. Peter's, at Rome, lifts its dome 435 feet toward the sky. That slender and marvelous minaret in Cairo spears the heights at 280 feet and the Cremona Campanile in Italy rises 396 feet above the earth. The famous Cathedral of Cologne attains an altitude of 512 feet; the Washington Monument is 555 feet high. Then came the era of steel, heralded by the world-famous Eiffel Tower in Paris, 984 feet high, useless except as an awe-inspiring demonstration of what men, steel and machinery can accomplish.

 

The Woolworth Tower was for long the world's tallest building, rising in beautiful Gothic design to a height of sixty stories, 792 feet. The Bank of Manhattan at last surpassed it with its height of 838 feet, only to be in turn surpassed by the 1046 foot elevation cf the Chrysler Building's topmost spire. But Empire State is higher than all these. It carries to triumphant completion the vaulting ambition of the Pharaohs, of Pope Julius when he began the building of St. Peter's.

 

As for bringing ex-Governor Smith into the project, Raskob apparently suggested at the time that he was going to build the Empire State Building to give his old friend a job. Smith, having lost the presidential election and retired from the governorship of New York, faced an uncertain future.

 

His friend, actor and producer Eddie Dowling, recalled being present at the moment of Raskob's offer, the occasion being a dinner thrown by the New York State Democratic party for newly elected Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. Smith and Dowling had gone to the men's lounge during a lull in the proceedings, and Smith was telling him of his worries, when Raskob appeared and announced, "Don't worry, A1, I'm going to build a new skyscraper--biggest in the wor!d--and you're going to be president of the company," maintaining that he was doing it all to give Smith a high-paying job.

 

The key to understanding the actual motives behind the height of the building and the involvement of Governor Smith seems to involve a newly developing science that was becoming more and more important to the art of architecture: advertising.

 

Advertising seems to have become an accepted function of office buildings in the 1920s. Arthur Tappan North, writing on the subject, noted:

 

The incorporation of publicity or advertising features in a building is frequently an item for consideration.... This feature, when possessing intrinsic merit, is consonant with and is a legitimate attribute of good architecture. It stimulates public interest and admiration, is accepted as a genuine contribution to architecture, enhances the value of the property and Is profitable to the owner in the same manner as are others forms of legitimate advertising.

 

The Empire State Company in fact launched an extensive advertising campaign capitalizing on several features of the building: its "historic site," formerly that of the Astor Mansion and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel; its convenience ot the two rail terminals in midtown; "a board of directors that inspires confidence;" and its advertising campaign, run by the public relations firm of Belle Moscowitz, former political aide to Al Smith, hit all the leading New York newspapers 'week after week with very clever ads.

 

The value of advertising for the Empire State Building was picked up by the Real Estate Magazine, in an article entitled "Good Publicity Something More Than 'Hitting1 Front Page," in which the Empire State Building was singled out as an excellent example of how it should be done:

 

The Empire State Building has received extensive newspaper attention because of former Governor Smith's connection with the enterprise and through a number of clever creative publicity stunts, notable the mast which will top the building as a mooring spot for Zeppelins duly authorized by official Washington with reporters and cameramen obligingly on hand.-1

 

The two primary subjects of the advertising, however, the two attributes most closely identified with the building, were the involvement of Al Smith, and the building's unmatched height.

 

Al Smith's relationship to the enterprise was frankly stated In the booklet released on May ], 1931> for the building's opening ceremonies:

 

Raskob and his associates selected a leader, a man so well known to the public that his very presence placed the seal of integrity upon their undertaking. He was Alfred E. Smith, four times Governor of New York State, Presidential candidate of the Democratic Party.... known and beloved by his countrymen. He became president of Empire State, Inc. even while the mighty structure was only a dream.

 

Lists of the building's board of directors invariably began with Alfred E. Smith, and ended humbly with John J. Raskob. A New Yorker article of early

 

1931 noted that the building was "inevitably associated with ex-Governor Al Smith, fn its earlier stages his picturesque statements made excellent publicity and drew all New York's attention to the steelwork as it grew to dizzy heights."

 

Smith's biographers have noted that his functions at the building were "largely ceremonial.... The staff handled all the rental and maintenance problems, while Smith served as attention getter, greeter, and publicity man delux." To the public, however, the building was Al Smith's, and from the opening ceremonies, when his grandchildren, as representatives of "posterity," cut the ribbon at the main entrance, through the following years of giving tour upon tour to visiting royalty, politicians, sports heroes, and celebrities of every kind, he remained the building's symbol.

 

Similarly, the building's height played a major role in the company's public relations campaign. Besides constantly comparing the building's height to other tall monuments, the company emphasized the extraordinary daring of the construction workers involved in erecting the world's tallest building by commissioning photographer Lewis Hine to document the work.

 

The Company arranged for a special mechanical cage that would enable Hire to be swung out into the air to photograph the most difficult feats. The photographs were then used in advertisements, and put on display in the ground floor store windows.

 

The publicity value of tall buildings was apparently considered to be great enough that it could actually be figured in as a legitimate "expenditure," designed to bring increased prestige and, presumably, income. R.H. Shreve, one of the Empire State Building's architects, wrote in 1930 that the constraints of zoning, wind-bracing, and general costs of a very tall building determine a point...

 

...where the balance begins to swing back and the rate of return on capital investment begins to diminish as the building goes higher, unless the owner gets a markedly greater unit return for the higher space, or charges the decrease in the direct net return to "advertising."

 

Justification for this approach was probably found in the tremendous public interest which developed during the late twenties in skyscraper heights.

 

The New York Sun published a list of the fifty tallest buildings in New York, arranged by height, and shortly afterwards the architectural journal Pencil Points found It necessary to reprint it, in January 1931, noting that "Interest in the heights of New York skyscrapers does not seem to abate, if we may judge by the inquiries concerning them received in this office."

 

A cartoon in the same issue showed an architect with a rendering of a pointed skyscraper and a caption reading: "Enthusiastic Architect: 'You See, This Spike Runs Down the Entire Length of the Building and if Anyone Builds a Taller Building We Can Jack Up the Spike and Still Be the Tallest!"

 

In short, Raskob's strategy was based on an aggressive advertising campaign to market the Empire State Building, a speculative real-estate venture, as the world's tallest building, headed by the world's most popular former politician, with the world's most competent board of directors, on the world's most prestigious site, and the world's most

 

daring engineering feat, with Ai Smith personally conducting the world's famous to see the world's most overwhelming view.

 

If advertising was indeed the goal of the builders of the Empire State Building, they were extraordinarily successful. Twenty years later, Collier's described the effect of the building on the publicity-minded:

 

Douglas Leigh, who makes those superspectacular signs for Broadway, is itching to transform the top into a giant soft-drink bottle, or a glowing cigarette. Human flies want to walk up the front, flagpole sitters want to sit on the lightning rod, and high-wire artists want to traipse through space over to the Chrysler tower at Forty-second Street,

 

The effort spent on public relations paid off much sooner than the building's promoters imagined. Two weeks after the project was announced the stock market crashed, and throughout the early years of the Depression the building remained seriously undertenanted. The Empire State Building was saved from bankruptcy, in part, by the million or so visitors to the observation decks each year who paid one dollar a piece admissions.

 

Shreve, Lamb & Harmon

 

John J. Raskob was no doubt attracted to Shreve, Lamb 6 Harmon by their business-like approach to architecture. Raskob first encountered Shreve S Lamb in 1926 when his company, General Motors, commissioned a new headquarters on West 57th Street from the firm. He must have been impressed by their performance; he may also have considered it an advantage that Shreve, Lamb £ Harmon had been called in as consulting architects for the Bank of Manhattan Building, and therefore had some experience in races for the "tallest building" title, as well as experience working with the Starrett & Eken construction company which built the^Bank of Manhattan and which was later awarded the Empire State contract.

 

Richmond Haroid Shreve (1877" 1946) was born in Cornwall is, Nova Scotia, son of a former Dean of Quebec Cathedral. He studied architecture at Cornell University, graduated in 1502, and spent the next four years on the faculty of the College of Architecture there. While at Cornel! he supervised construction of Goldwiri Smith Hall, designed by the prominent New York firm of Carrere £ Hastings, and at the conclusion of the work he joined the firm.

 

William Frederick Lamb (1883-1952), son of New York builder William Lamb, was born in Brooklyn. After graduating from Williams College in 1904, he studied at the Columbia University School of Architecture, and then went to Paris to study at the Atelier Deglane. Having received his diploma from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1911, he returned to New York and joined Carrere S Hastings. in 1920, both Shreve and Lamb became partners in the new firm of Carrere £ Hastings, Shreve & Lamb.

 

Four years later they broke away to form Shreve & Lamb, and in 1925 they were joined by Arthur Loomis Harmon (1878-1958) to form Shreve, Lamb & Harmon.Harmon, born in Chicago, had studied at the Art Institute there, and graduated from the Columbia University School of Architecture in .1901. From 1902 to 1911 he was a designer in the office of McKim, Head & White, in 1912-13 an associate of the firm of Wall is & Goodwlllie, and then practiced under his own name until joining Shreve £ Lamb. His work alone included battle monuments at Tours, Cantigny and Somme-Py in France, a YMCA in Jerusalem, and the award-winning Shelton Hotel in New York.

 

Of the three architects in the firm, Lamb was generally acknowledged to be the designer, and Shreve the administrator. Shreve was also active as a planner outside the firm's work; he was the director of the Slum Clearance Committee of New York after its formation in 1933, and chief architect of the group preparing plans for the Williamsburg Housing Project, as well as chief architect of the Vladeck Houses on the Lower East Side and also of Parkchester in the Bronx.

 

Shreve, Lamb & Harmon worked principally on commercial office buildings, although they also designed a number of estates and residences in the New York suburbs, and a few apartment houses in Manhattan, Their residential work largely in the neo-Tudor and other popular styles of the 1920s, while their commercial work tended to be spare and functional, reflecting little of the Beaux-Arts ornament for which Carrere & Hastings had been famous.

 

Their buildings in New York, including 500 Fifth Avenue, 14 Wall Street, the Lefcourt National Building, and the Mutual of New York Building, and also their commissions outside the city, such as the Standard Oi! Building in Albany, the Reynolds Tobacco Company building in Winston-Salem, and the Chimes Building In Syracuse, are all similarly designed with unadorned limestone cladding, metal framed windows, and simple set-back massing, occasionally with Art Deco or Streamlined ornamental motifs.

 

The spareness and economy of the firm's designs were a reflection of several architecturai notions gaining currency in the 1920s. As office buildings grew larger and their engineering and financing more complex, the nature of architecture had to adapt to new conditions, Many architects in the 1920s and 1930s, recognizing new constraints, adapted the language of the international Style and functionalist schools of thought and wrote about a new art of architecture.

 

All three architects in the firm wrote on the subject of the changing nature of architecture. Harmon listed the various forces at work on design as: steel construction, congested business areas, the need for light and air, property shape, internal lighting, zoning, the ratio of rentable area to overall area, the cost of steel, wind bracing, and elevators. William Lamb, the partner concerned least with organization and most with design, concurred:

 

An interesting development in the planning of present day office buildings is the change in the conception that the architect has of his work. The day that he could sit before his drawing board and make pretty sketches of decidedly uneconomic monuments to himself has gone. His scorn of things "practical" has been replaced by an intense earnestness to make practical necessities the armature upon which he moulds the form of his idea. Instead of being the intolerant aesthete, he Is one of a group of experts upon whom he depends for the success of his work, for the modern large building with its complicated machinery is beyond the capacity of any one man to master, and yet he must, in order to control the disposition and arrangement of this machine, -have a fairly accurate general knowledge of what it is all about. Added to this he must know how to plan his building so that it will "work" economically and produce the revenue for which his clients have made their investment.39

 

Lamb's design inclinations corresponded very well to the kind of work that Shreve brought into the office. Mrs. Lamb recalls that his tastes in most matters tended to the simple and classical. The architecture he loved best was the spare Romanesque of the southern French cathedrals. Among his contemporaries he greatly admired Raymond Hood, particularly his spare, vertical Daily News Building; HoGd also wrote about the practical side of architecture, dismissing fantastic design as unnecessary. The two men were close friends. Although Lamb's "work had much of the Modernistic to it, his opinion of the flamboyant variety of Moderne represented by the Chrysler Building was rather low—he referred to it once as the "Little Nemo school of architecture," meaning fancy and fantastic, like the comic strip. He never considered his work to be in any way describable as "Art Deco."

 

Precisely because the firm was a well-organized producer of practical and unadorned office buildings, it was able to organize the myriad elements involved and produce a striking, handsome, but still economical design for the Empire State Building, which was above all a creation of business considerations and an unrivalled engineering feat.

 

Conception and Design

 

According to the architects, the Empire State Building was largely shaped by the various economic and engineering considerations involved.

 

The program was short enough—a fixed budget, no space more than 28 feet from window to corridor, as many stories of such space as possible, an exterior of limestone, and completion by May 1, 1931, which meant a year and six months from the beginning of sketches, The first three of these requirements produced the mass of the building and the latter two the characteristics of its design.

 

Planning of the building's layout — involving the placement of elevators, utilities, ventilation, and pipe shafts in such a way as to obtain the maximum amount of rentable office space-~centered on a prototypical plan for the 30th floor, at which point the tower legally began to rise with a zoning-mandated floor-area of one-quarter the lot size.

 

The principles, established by these cooperative investigations, which covered a period of four weeks, together with the owner's requirements... formed the complete program. The "parti" was arrived at in two hours, the evening before a meeting of the owner's corporation. An all-night "charette" produced the next day a series of five or six of the essential plans, an elevation, a perspective, and a fairly accurate tabulation of rentable areas and cube.

 

Lamb described the plan arrived at through the various consultations:

 

The logic of the plan is very simple. A certain amount of space in the center, arranged as compactly as possible, contains the vertical circulation, toilets, shafts and corridors. Surrounding this is a perimeter of office space 28 feet deep. The sizes of the floors diminish as the elevators decrease in number. In essence there is a pyramid of non-rentable space surrounded by a greater pyramid of rentable space....^

 

The massing of the building was to a great extent affected by the elevator system. The elevators were placed in four banks parallel to the building's main axis, with those on the east and west sides being the low-rise group. The low-rise elevators drop off as the building rises, enabling the tower to step back...

 

...from the long dimension of the property to approach the square form of the shaft, with the result that instead of being a tower, set upon a series of diminishing setbacks prescribed by the zoning law, the building becomes all tower rising from a great five-story base.^

 

Elevators and budget were said to be the determining factors of the building's height. The elevator contractor, and Starrett Brothers and Eken, asked independently to calculate the height limit of the building based on their economic priori tie:;, each arrived at a limit of eighty stories plus five for the executive offices.

 

Floor-plan, massing, and height arrived at, the architects turned to the building's exterior. The spare design, based on massing and vertical window strips, was a product of both the building program's practical needs, and Lamb's aesthetic preferences.

 

The exterior is defined almost entirely by a system of vertical strips of windows, projecting slightly beyond the limestone walls, set in continuous vertical metal surrounds, and separated by dull aluminum spandrels; these strips are arranged singly, in pairs, and in sets of three, and run continuously from bottom to top. There is almost no ornamental detail, other than modernistic ripples in the aluminum spandrels and modernistic caps where the window strips terminate at building setbacks.

 

The practical source of the window system was "the last and perhaps_ the most important item in the owner's program-speed of construction."

 

Completion of the building by May 1st was required because that was the traditional day for the signing of new commercial leases in the city, and therefore of crucial importance in the economic planning of a speculative office building. With such a complex building program, construction had to proceed smoothly and as quickly as possible. The advantages of the system were outlined by Shreve in a special article.

 

The total effect of the massing, height, and window-spandrel-wall design is of a very tall tower, rising from a five-story base, and topped by a modernistic spire. The window strips break up the mass of the building, and emphasize its verticality, while the elimination of reveals creates effectively a smooth glass, metal, and stone skin. The expression

 

of the building's taliness is simple arid elegant, the epitome of the kind of design most admired by William Lamb.

 

On the question of the building's style, Lamb wrote:

 

Whatever "style" it may be is the result of a logical and simple answer to the problems set by the economic and technical demands of its unprecedented program.

 

He never thought of it as Art Deco. Much of the ornament can only be described as "modernistic," especially the glass and steel dirigible mooring mast, and in that sense would fall under the generic term "Art Deco" or "Moderne," but the design of the building has little in common with that of the flamboyant Chrysler Building, almost its contemporary and the generally accepted prototypical Art Deco skyscraper.

 

In its reliance on stacked massing, vertical window strips, and simplicity of materials, and in the public insistence by its architects that these elements were largely determined by sheer practical necessity, the Empire State Building seems closer to Raymond Hood's Daily News Building, also contemporary with it.

 

It is quite possible that Lamb discussed his work with his close friend Hood; he admired his work, and the Daily News was Hood's most recent success at the time. The Daily News Building is also riot a purely Art Deco creation, but in some respects an International Style slab; similarly, Hood's contemporary McGraw-Hill Building combines aspects of both, If the Empire State Building, a spare tower on a base with some modernistic details, belongs In a line of succession, it might be that of the News and McGraw-Hill Buildings, followed by the RCA tower in Rockefeller Center, of which Hood was a chief designer.

 

By contrast with the News Building, however, the Empire State is thoroughly symmetrical, and not treated with bright colors. Unlike many skyscrapers, it does not present an overwhelming mass: in midtown, pedestrians are conscious only of its five-story base, which blends into the scale of the area, while from a distance It presents 3 slender silhouette, rising from the center of the metropolis, which Is visible and recognizable from almost every point in the city and some beyond. In this sense, the Empire State Building is in its own class, and its design reflects what it, uniquely, is.

 

Description

 

Although the 1250-foot high Empire State Building is often described as 102 stories tall, that is not quite accurate. The major portion of the building is comprised of 80 stories of commercial office space, with five stories above that for the building's executive offices, and the observatory at the 86th floor. The enormous metal "mooring mast" above the building contains only an elevator encircled by a staircase, and no floors per se; its height, however, is considered by the Empire State Building management to be the equivalent of 14 stories; these, added to the 86 offices floors and two basement levels, produce the figure of 102 stories.

 

The building's tower sits on a five-story base, with facades at the lot line on West 33rd Street, Fifth Avenue, and West 34th Street. The base is a monumental modernistic version of a classical scheme: basement, colonnade, and attic. The basement is formed by the first floor shops and entrances •> the colonnade is approximated by a giant order of molded stone piers piers flanking vertical window strips; and the attic consists of small windows alternating with molded stone panels.

 

The Fifth Avenue facade centers on the building's main entrance which consists of a central pair of doors flanked on either side by a revolving door; a three-story high, three-bay wide set of windows set in modernisticalIy-designed patterns; and an attic story of a pair of windows, all set off from the rest of the facade by two giant molded-stone piers topped by stylized stone eagles above which are inscribed the words EMPIRE STATE. The rest of the facade is comprised of monumental bays, three on either side.

 

Each bay consists of a storefront of chrome-metal and glass at the first floor levei, two three-story vertical window strips separated by a narrow stone mull ton and flanked by a wide stone pier with a modernistic top in place of a capital, and two windows at the fifth-floor level separated by a narrow squat molded-stone mull ion and flanked by wide squat stone piers. These three bays are set off from the central*-entrance bay by a half-bay comprising one vertical strip of windows, and end at either corner with a half-bay set between two monumental stone piers.

 

The identical 33rd and 34th Street facades each comprise three sections of monumental bays, similar to those on the Fifth Avenue facade, separated by two entrance bays. The three sections consist of six, seven, and six bays, slightly emphasising the central section. The two entrance bays on either facade, which project slightly outward, are less elaborate versions of the main Fifth Avenue entrance bay: doors at the first floor level, three vertical window strips, and a three-window attic story, all enframed by a wide stone surround.

 

The two West 33rd Street entrances, however, are actually recessed; these entrances have sets of side doors perpendicular to the building front, and front revolving doors; a moderne light fixture hangs In the center of the recess; the doors are aluminum, set in marble walls.

 

Streamlined metal marquee-type canopies with curving corners project over the entrances on West 33rd and West 34th Streets; each is ringed by three sets of continuous horizontal metal bands. The original storefronts are almost entirely glass-fronted. Each has a black-granite base, a cornice of horizontal molded-aluminum bands framing a black-granite panel, and a central recessed entrance, and each is separated from the next by narrow molded aluminum mull ions topped by modernistic finials.

 

The storefronts form a glass wall which projects three feet beyond the five-story base and forms a banding around it; the continuous black-granite cornices are at the same level as the metal canopies over the 33rd and 34th Street entrances and form a black band course at that level. Several of the storefronts have been unsympathetically altered.

 

The design scheme above the five-story base is determined simply by massing and fenestration. On both the eastern, Fifth Avenue, facade and the western, rear, facade, the tower is dramatically set back above its base, and rises, with shallow setbacks at the 21st and 25th floors, to the 30th floor; from there It rises unobstructed to a .shallow setback at the 72nd floor, then to the 81st floor setback, somewhat more pronounced, which marks the top of the commercial office portion of the building--wi th corresponding elevator banks—and the beginning of the five-story executive suite; a final setback at the 85th floor marks the observatory. Above the tower rises the metal-faced dirigible mooring mast, topped by an enormous television broadcasting antenna.

 

The tower on the east and west facades is nine bays wide from the sixth to the 25th floor, seven bays wide to the 72nd floor, six bays wide to the 81st floor, and five bays wide to the mooring mast.

 

The north (34th Street) and south (33rd Street) facades, wider than the east and west facades, are fifteen bays wide from the sixth to the 21st floor, eleven bays wide to the 30th floor, and nine bays wide to the mooring mast; the nine bays from the 30th floor up are divided into three sections of three bays each: a central section enframed by two projecting side sections; the central section rises unbroken to the 85th floor, while the flanking projecting sections rise to a shallow setback at the 72nd floor and another at the 81st. The various setbacks produce a symmetrical massing that emphasizes the verticality of the building, and creates at the lower levels the effect of a tower rising from a layer of surrounding tapered masses.

 

A fenestration pattern of long vertical window strips is used to break up the mass of the building and emphasize Its verticality. Each window In the vertical strips protrudes slightly from the Indiana limestone cladding of the tower, and is enframed by a strip of nickel-chrome-steel ; each window is separated from the one above by a dull aluminum spandrel with modernistic molding. Where the vertical window strips rise to a setback, they end in simple modernistic metal caps, and begin again above the setback. The three central window strips on the north and south sides end at the 85th-floor level in much larger and more elaborate modernistic metal plates.

 

The strips on most of the building are arranged in pairs, each level comprising two adjacent windows separated by a nickel-chrome-steel mull ion and enframed by nickel-chrome-steel surrounds, each window having an accompanying dull aluminum spandrel; several bays however comprise triple window strips, while others comprise single window strips. The alternation between paired, triple, and single strips Is used to create a horizontal rhythm of vertical lines accentuating the center of each facade.

 

On the east and west facades, all windows are arranged in paired vertical strips, with these exceptions: the outer bay on either side from the sixth to the 25th floor, and the outer four bays on either side from the 21st to the 25th floor, consist of single vertical window strips; the outer bay on either side from the 72nd to the 81st floor likewise consists

 

Sf a single vertical window strip, and also the outer two bays from the 81st to the 84th floods. The arrangement on the wider north and south fronts Is more complicated. The outer two bays, on either side, which rise from the sixth to the 21st floor, are paired vertical window strips.

 

The next five bays on either side, rising from the sixth floor to a shallow setback at the 25th, and projecting out past the central section, are symmetrically arranged with a centra! paired-window strip bay in the center flanked on either side by two single window strips; these bays above the 25th floor setback to the 30th floor are rearranged as two paired vertical strips and a triple strip. The central five bays, from the sixth to the 30th floors, are paired vertical window strips. Above the 30th floor, where these facades are divided into two projecting sections flanking a central section, the latter comprises three paired window strips, while the former are symmetrically arranged as a triple-window strip flanked on either side by a paired window strip.

 

Rising above the 86-story office building is the aluminum, chrome-nickel-steel and glass mast, originally designed to be used for mooring dirigibles but now serving only as a support for the upper observatory tower, and housing for display lights, Four progressively smaller rectangular levels form a base from which springs a cylindrical shaft rising to a conical top. The sides of the levels forming the base are ringed by continuous horizontal metal banding. At each of the four corners of the cylindrical shaft, rising to half its height, Is a set of three overlapping metal wings from which the shaft appears to grow; the four sides of the shaft are formed by continuous glass walls.

 

The top is Jr. three sections: a cylindrical enclosed observation level, still used, of the same circumference as the shaft; a second, smaller cylindrical level surrounded by an open-air observation area, no longer in use, originally Intended as a landing platform for dirigible passengers; and a top section In the shape of a truncated cone--pierced by eight circular openings--which houses the mooring mechanism and beacon lights, and which is topped by a metal mooring pole; each of these three sections is ringed by continuous tubular metal bands. The mooring mast Is now the base for a 200-foot high television antenna, added In 1953, which completes the silhouette of the building as It has been known since that year.

 

Empire State Building: Symbol of New York

 

Following the uncertain first years of the Depression, during -which the half-tenanted building was nicknamed "Smith's Folly*" or the "Empty State Building," the Empire State became a successful commercial office building. The continuing northward trend of Midtown took the prime corporate tenants whom Raskob had hoped to attract away to office buildings north of 42nd Street; the tenancy of the building therefore has since bean largely drawn from the surrounding garment district. Among others housed In the building are the notions, shoe, shirt and hosiery industries, as well as many international corporations and banks.

 

The Empire State Building, however went beyond the aspirations of

 

Raskob for a prestigious and profitable commercial office building. The success of the observatory in drawing crowds of tourists, arid the guided tours by Governor Smith for all visiting celebrities, started a process which helped make the building famous the world over. March 1940 saw the building's four-millionth visitor (actor Jimmy Stewart), and May 1971 its forty millionth. "

 

The Empire State Building's place as symbol of New York derives perhaps equally from its function as a place to visit, from where the most spectacular view of Mew York can be had, and its function as a centrally located landmark, whose slender, pointed silhouette can be seen literally from miles around, marking out midtown Manhattan, the center of the metropolis. The famous silhouette has been reproduced in countless images, and small statues of the. building have been spotted in Far-Eastern bazaars 55 as well as In Times Square tourist shops. The building has figured In television and movies--most famous of these being King Kong—as a symbol of the summit of New York, the greatest creation of a great city.

 

In the 1970s, when the building lost Its title as world's tallest, the office of Shreve, Lamb & Harmon announced a plan to remove the mooring mast above the 86th floor observatory and replace it with twenty stories of office space, to reestablish the building's position as world's greatest skyscraper. The plan—apparently more a public relations ploy than a serious proposal —was quickly forgotten, and indeed would have been counter-productive, as It would have destroyed the silhouette by which the building is known.

 

Despite the loss of Its "world's tallest." title, In fact, the Empire State Building has lost none of Its original distinction or renown. Its design, its history, and perhaps also its position In the center of the city, have all helped it retain Its symbolic significance.

 

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary—May 1, 1981--a special proclamation was Issued by the Mayor of New York, declaring the week of May 1-8, 1981, to be "Empire State Building Week."

 

The Empire State Building remains New York's preeminent landmark.

 

- From the 1981 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report

Lockheed MC-130P Combat Shadow 65-0991 one of the Son Tay Prison Camp raiders.

 

Story borrowed from Air Force Magazine by C.V. Glines

------------------------------------------------------------

 

The mission statement might have been expressed simply: "Rescue approximately fifty American POWs from Son Tay prison near Hanoi, North Vietnam." However, the Air Force's planning for this mission was as comprehensive and meticulous as any in the history of the service. Moreover, it was the first major military operation to be conducted under the direct control of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The President made the final go/no go decision. Unfortunately, the rescue effort itself turned out to be futile, though it produced unintended benefits.

 

The story of the Son Tay raid can be said to begin in the spring of 1970 when it was reported that an increasing number of American prisoners of the North Vietnamese had died in prison from beatings, torture, and starvation by their captors. At the time, more than 450 Americans were held captive in the undeclared war in southeast Asia, eighty percent of them in North Vietnam. More than half of them had been in prison more than 2,000 days.

 

While Washington had very little information about the POWs' individual physical conditions, it was known that all were being held under the most primitive and inhumane conditions imaginable. Torture was a daily expectation; maintaining their sanity on a meager diet and in solitary confinement was a challenge.

 

Within the Pentagon, a special, dedicated group was at work, locating and keeping an eye on all POW compounds through frequent aerial reconnaissance. Son Tay, on the Song Con River about twenty-three miles west of Hanoi, was one of the prisons under surveillance. It was believed that at least fifty and possibly as many as 100 prisoners were located in this isolated camp. (It was later established that fifty-seven POWs were held there at that time.) Analysts in Washington focused attention on the possibility that the American prisoners might be "extracted" from the camp by a specially trained force of Army and Air Force rescue experts.

 

The idea was forwarded to Army Brig. Gen. Donald D. Blackburn, special assistant for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities under the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Earle G. Wheeler. General Blackburn was given permission to conduct a feasibility study to determine if a rescue was possible.

 

The General, working with the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency, developed a conceptual plan to extract the POWs. It was code-named "Polar Circle." Although such a bold idea did not "sell" immediately, it was eventually approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in July 1970 and given top-secret status. It would be a joint endeavor eventually involving twenty-six planners and a task force of 148 men to support and carry out the mission.

 

US intelligence estimated that 12,000 North Vietnamese troops were stationed within a few miles of the POW camp. There were also air defense missile batteries and another compound nearby, labeled "secondary school" by intelligence specialists.

 

High-altitude photos of the prison were taken frequently by SR-71 "Blackbirds" and low-altitude pictures by Buffalo Hunter reconnaissance drones. The POW camp was not very large and was built in two sections. One was a walled compound where prisoners were located, and the other was an administrative section. There was a small cleared area inside the compound, the size of a volleyball court, surrounded by trees more than forty feet high. A skilled pilot could land a small helicopter there, but it would probably be sacrificed if it struck the trees on descent.

 

Staging From Takhli

 

To hit with total surprise, the raid would be staged from Takhli RTAFB in central Thailand and launched at night from Udorn, south of the Laotian border. The flight from Udorn to Son Tay and back was a circuitous 687-mile route. It would be a strenuous mission over mountainous jungles at low altitudes. Weather figured strongly in planning.

 

Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, entrusted the mission to Air Force Brig. Gen. Leroy J. Manor, commander of the USAF Special Operations Group at Eglin AFB, Fla. His deputy was Army Col. Arthur D. "Bull" Simons, a strong, outspoken proponent of unorthodox operations who would lead the actual assault on the compound.

 

The eventual plan was for an Army assault team to ride in one Air Force HH-3E Jolly Green Giant and five HH-53 helicopters to Son Tay, accompanied by two Air Force MC-130 Combat Talons that would navigate for them and two HC-130s to refuel the helicopters. A flight of five A-1E Skyraiders would provide an umbrella of cover, and ten F-4s would fly a MiG combat air patrol to intercept any enemy fighters that might try to interfere. General Manor later decided to add an F-105 "Wild Weasel" force to the operation to bait the North Vietnamese surface-to-air missile sites and lure their attention away from the assault force.

 

The HH-3 was to land inside the compound with men who were to alert the prisoners and release them from their cells. The HH-53s would land outside with the rest of the assault force. Some were to secure the area around the compound and fight off any enemy forces that appeared. Others were to blow a hole in the prison wall and lead the POWs to the choppers. Meanwhile, the A-1Es would provide cover and be available to assist against any threatening enemy ground forces.

 

After loading the prisoners on board the HH-53s, the entire force would depart for Udorn. Since the bombing pause was still in effect at the time, Navy planes would drop flares over the Haiphong area to distract and confuse the enemy defense forces.

 

The leaders decided that the elite cadre of Air Force and Army specialists, all volunteers, would assemble and be trained at Eglin. Colonel Simons carefully selected 103 Army Special Forces Green Berets for the raid. The ranking man chosen as the ground force deputy was Army Lt. Col. Elliott P. "Bud" Sydnor, who would lead the security group that would land outside the compound, seal off the roads, and secure the guard quarters. Army Capt. Richard J. Meadows would head the assault team that would land inside the compound. General Manor selected Air Force search-and-rescue veterans for his lead helicopter pilots. They were Air Force Lt. Cols. Warner A. Britton, Herbert E. Zehnder, Royal C. Brown, and John V. Allison and Majs. Frederic M. Donohue, Herbert D. Kalen, and Kenneth D. Murphy. When Colonel Simons asked for a "combat-type" doctor, Army Lt. Col. Joseph R. Cataldo, former chief surgeon for the Green Berets, volunteered.

 

A replica of the prison was constructed, using two-by-fours and target cloth with windows, doors, and gates cut out. The camp was rolled up and the post holes covered during daylight hours when Cosmos 355, a Soviet reconnaissance satellite, overflew Eglin.

 

An arsenal was assembled, including assault rifles, grenades, claymore mines, blasting caps, and demolition charges. Break-in tools, such as bolt cutters, machetes, chain saws, axes, and acetylene torches, were collected along with night sights, ropes, fire extinguishers, and radios. Colonel Cataldo, concerned about the physical condition of the prisoners, ordered special medical kits with anesthetics, inflatable splints, and inhalation agents, in addition to cans of water, thermal ponchos, rubber shoes, pajamas, and baby food (in case the just-released POWs could not eat solid food).

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

 

Training began August 20 under strict security. The ground assault team practiced entry into and escape from the fake compound and the POW cell blocks 170 times, mostly at night, perfecting and smoothing out the details. Their training included target recognition, village surveillance, house search, hand signals, demolition placement, jungle survival, and much night firing. Colonel Cataldo taught them how to treat battle casualties.

 

Meanwhile, the aerial force practiced night aerial refuelings, night formation flying, and flare-dropping, logging more than 1,000 hours in 268 sorties, without an accident. Major Kalen and copilot Colonel Zehnder made thirty-one practice night descents into the tree-shrouded eighty-five-foot clearing with the HH-3, a feat calling for a superior touch on the controls in unknown ground wind conditions. An HH-53, with Major Donohue at the controls, practiced shooting out the compound's guard towers with the side-firing Gatlings.

 

There was nothing normal about the flying they would be doing on the three-and-a-half-hour flight to the target area. Two HC-130s would accompany the formation from Udorn and refuel the helicopters en route. Two MC-130 Combat Talons, modified with new infrared navigation systems, would guide the formation on a twisting route at low altitude through the mountains from the refueling point to Son Tay.

 

The mixture of aircraft types posed the toughest problems for the pilots. A C-130's normal cruise speed is about 250 knots at low level, but for this mission they would have to fly at 105 knots with 70 flaps, barely above stalling speed. The heavily loaded HH-53s and especially the HH-3 would be flying on the high edge of their performance envelopes trying to keep up. They would have to learn to fly at that speed "in draft" behind the C-130s, much as racing drivers and cyclists do to increase speed and conserve fuel.

 

The A-1Es also had an unusual requirement. Loaded with bombs and rockets, they had to make S-turns and fly at just above stalling speed to stay with a mother ship and not outrun the slower aircraft.

 

On September 28, the Air Force and Army teams began practicing the assault together, some with tracer ammunition and satchel charges. Now truly a joint operation, the code name was changed to "Ivory Coast."

 

On October 6, there was a final, full-fledged, live-fire rehearsal. If all went as planned, it would take about twenty-five minutes on the ground to get all the prisoners loaded and head for Udorn. Two days later, Generals Manor and Blackburn and Colonel Simons went to the White House and briefed Henry Kissinger, President Richard M. Nixon's National Security Advisor, and Brig. Gen. Alexander Haig, Mr. Kissinger's military executive officer, informing them that the mission had a "ninety-five to ninety-seven percent assurance of success."

 

At this time, those in Washington following the status of the POW compound through air reconnaissance photos reported a "decline in activity" within the Son Tay camp. Weeds were growing where prisoners would have normally walked. On October 3, an SR-71's photos showed no sign of occupants. Some analysts thought that if POWs were still there, they were being punished for some reason and not being allowed outdoors. Later, SR-71 films showed "a definite increase in activity" at Son Tay.

 

The first contingent of the rescue force departed Eglin AFB November 12 and all had arrived by November 17. The mission was then given its third code name: "Kingpin." President Nixon was briefed and gave the OK; a "red rocket" coded message was sent to General Manor to "execute."

 

General Manor and Colonel Simons gave a joint briefing to their men at 2 p.m. November 18 in the base theater at Takhli with a schedule to be observed for the following three days. During the next day, weapons and equipment were checked. Some limited test firing was conducted. An escape-and-evasion briefing was given and blood chits were provided. The ground force would consist of fifty-six Army and ninety-two Air Force personnel, but still only a handful knew what their destination was to be.

 

Bad News Develops

 

Bad news developed in Washington when a usually reliable intelligence source in Hanoi stated that the Son Tay prisoners had been moved. Reconnaissance aircraft tried to get last-minute photographs of the camp November 18 but failed. However, another report indicated that the camp was occupied by "someone."

 

Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird was briefed on the possibility that no prisoners were in the camp. General Blackburn and DIA Director Lt. Gen. Donald V. Bennett recommended the raid proceed, weather permitting. Mr. Laird agreed and so advised the President, who acknowledged that it was worth the risk. The "go" message was sent to General Manor at Takhli.

 

General Manor laid on the mission for the night of November 20. In the Red River Valley, little cloudiness was expected, as were good visibility and light winds. As the General reported later, "The night of 20/21 November 1970 was the only night for many days before and after that date that launch would have been possible."

 

Vice Adm. Frederic A. Bardshar aboard USS Oriskany was sent his go-ahead planning message, which said simply, "NCA approval received." The aircrews of fifty-nine strike and support aircraft were briefed but not told why they would be flying over the major North Vietnamese port of Haiphong and dropping only flares, not bombs. They were given permission to fire their Shrike air-to-surface missiles and 20-mm ammunition against any enemy radar-controlled SAM defenses that posed a threat to US forces and to support search-and-rescue missions if anyone were shot down.

 

Although the launch order had not yet been given at the time of a noon briefing at Takhli on November 20, all personnel were issued sleeping pills and ordered to rest from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Following chow, all air and ground force personnel were assembled in the base theater where Colonel Simons told the group they were going to rescue as many as seventy American POWs, "something American prisoners have a right to expect from their fellow soldiers," he said. "The target is twenty-three miles west of Hanoi."

 

The audience was stunned into silence, then a few let out low whistles. Then, they stood up and applauded.

 

The task force members boarded C-130s for the flight from Takhli to Udorn where the choppers and HC-130s and MC-130s waited; A-1E crews were taken to Nakhon Phanom RTAFB. The C-130s, the HH-3E, and five HH-53s began taking off at 11:10 p.m. Under complete radio silence, they formed up and set course for North Vietnam. By the time they crossed the Laotian border, a total force of 116 aircraft had departed from seven bases in Thailand and the three carriers in the Tonkin Gulf. Five F-105s reached the Son Tay area at high altitudes to keep the SAM batteries from acquiring radar locks on the approaching assault force, while ten F-4Ds from Udorn went into high orbit looking for MiGs.

 

Rendezvous and refueling of the helicopters with the HC-130P tanker was accomplished over Laos despite an unidentified aircraft flying a reciprocal heading at their altitude, which briefly scattered the formation. The helicopters managed to regain formation with increased separation through occasional clouds. All aircraft were refueled as scheduled.

 

The official Air Force history of the mission describes what happened next:

 

"The raiders entered the objective area below 500 feet. The C-130s led the six choppers until Son Tay lay only three and one-half miles ahead. At that point, the leading C-130 climbed to 1,500 feet followed by two HH-53 choppers: Apple 4, piloted by Lt. Col. Royal C. Brown and Maj. Ryland R. Dreibelbis; and Apple 5 with Maj. Kenneth D. Murphy and Capt. William M. McGeorge at the controls.

 

"Brown's Apple 4 was the primary flare chopper and one of those designated to haul back the released prisoners. Apple 5 was the secondary flare helicopter. Over the Son Tay compound, the flares worked perfectly, so the choppers flew to a planned holding area on islands in the Finger Lake, seven miles west of Son Tay, while the C-130 circled to drop a firefight simulator (firecrackers with timed fuses) on the sapper [secondary] school. It then released its pallet of napalm before flying off to its designated orbit.

 

"The second C-130, only a minute behind the first, came in leading the A-1s. After the A-1s pulled away, this C-130 dropped a napalm marker and then joined the other C-130 in its orbit while the Skyraiders bombed a nearby bridge before taking up their orbit over the flaming pool of napalm."

 

With this many aircraft involved, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would have a mechanical difficulty. Apple 3, the lead HH-53 flown by Major Donohue and Capt. Thomas R. Waldron, had an apparent transmission failure, indicated by a red warning light. This is enough to cause concern in any helicopter crew and bring a forced landing under normal circumstances. However, warning lights are not always dependable, and Major Donohue chose to ignore it. The helicopter gunners on board blasted two prison guard towers and the guard barracks.

 

Major Kalen and Colonel Zehnder, following in the HH-3, found the cleared area inside the compound and began the letdown through large trees that were twice as tall as anyone had thought. Tree limbs, leaves, and debris were blasted everywhere as the chopper's blades sliced through them and descended to a landing. The impact caused the right door gunner to be thrown out of the helicopter, but he was unhurt. Colonel Zehnder, Major Kalen, and TSgt. Leroy M. Wright, the HH-3 flight engineer who broke an ankle in the landing, scrambled out to guard the aircraft and ready medical kits for POWs and casualties. Out jumped Captain Meadows, leader of the prison assault group, and his thirteen men.

 

No Response

 

Captain Meadows, carrying the bullhorn, shouted, "We're Americans. Keep your heads down. This is a rescue. We're here to get you out." There was no response as his men raced from cell to cell. The team split up into action elements and reached their assigned cell blocks, eliminating enemy soldiers.

 

Meanwhile, the helicopter carrying Colonel Simons and his twenty-two-man team had landed by mistake at the "secondary school" 450 meters south of the prison. It was an understandable error. The two compounds looked similar at night, and a canal running alongside the school looked like the Song Con River. The pilot, Colonel Britton, was following the chopper ahead of him and did not see it change course suddenly while he prepared for his landing. Colonel Sydnor saw the mistake and put an alternate plan into effect: he had his men head for the area outside the prison wall, where he set up his command post.

 

Colonel Britton offloaded the Simons group and flew to his holding area. The raiders under Colonel Simons were immediately engaged in a furious firefight with what appeared in the darkness to be well-armed Chinese or Russian soldiers. With the advantage of complete surprise, his men killed more than 100 of them within the next few minutes. Colonel Simons hurriedly called Colonel Britton back and reboarded his men for the quick flight to the prison. Remarkably, there were no assault group casualties.

 

By this time, Captain Meadows and his men had engaged in a firefight and had killed a dozen or more surprised North Vietnamese. The first report of "negative items" (no prisoners) came from one of the two-man teams checking the cells; others quickly followed. Captain Meadows radioed General Manor at his command post: "Search complete. Negative items."

 

Colonel Sydnor ordered the demolition of the HH-3, and the order was given for all to load up for departure.

 

The raid had taken twenty-eight minutes, and surprise had been complete. Sergeant Wright had a broken ankle, and one other raider sustained a minor thigh wound. One of Colonel Simons's men had broken his pants belt and had hurriedly grabbed one from a corpse to replace it. It was the only souvenir of the raid.

 

The men returned to Thailand in disappointed silence. On the way home, two of the F-105s were attacked by SAMs; one of them was hit, and the two-man crew bailed out over Laos. A C-123 Provider dropped flares where the men were thought to be, and A-1Es "sanitized" the area. Two helicopters from the assault force located them and snatched them to safety.

 

Despite the successful execution of the raid, public response was negative. Some critics called the assault a "major escalation of the war," while others insisted that the POWs had been endangered by such an attempt to rescue them. The truth was just the opposite. After the raid, prisoners at other locations were quickly transferred to Hoa Lo Prison in downtown Hanoi, nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by the POWs. Their treatment eased; many received letters and parcels. For the first time in many months, most of them had cell mates to talk to. Morale soared. The men organized themselves into squadrons with assigned duties for each, helped each other with medical care, held church services, and conducted math and language classes.

 

"Our Country Had Not Forgotten"

 

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Tex.) had been a prisoner since he was shot down in an F-4 Phantom II on April 16, 1966. He and his fellow inmates at Hoa Lo felt sure a raid had taken place when they heard the ruckus and saw the flares over Hanoi during the early morning hours of November 21, but they had no positive evidence until the summer of 1971. He received some hard candy from his wife, Shirley. "I plopped one in my mouth and sucked on it," he said. "I felt something stiff, like a tiny plastic sliver, stick against the roof of my mouth. When I picked it out with my fingers, I found it to be a tiny brown speck, about the size of a pinhead. I rubbed it between my fingers, and it began to unfold. Amazed, I rubbed some more. In seconds, it had opened to the width of 16-mm film. . . . It was microfilm of the front page of the New York Times telling all about the Son Tay raid. Obviously, the Air Force had given the candy to Shirley to send. The young guys with good eyes could read it and gave us the details.

 

"We knew then that our country had not forgotten us."

 

One question that has not been fully answered is exactly when or why the prisoners were moved. Some speculate that it was because of rising water of the Song Con River bordering the camp, four months before the raid. Others believe it may have been to consolidate prisoners to save manpower or to prevent knowledge of their whereabouts.

 

The only certainty is that the POWs benefitted indirectly from the raid. And, as one raider said, "If there had been POWs there, we would have gotten them out."

Midtown Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States

 

The Empire State Building is today the best-known symbol of New York City. Its name, Its profile, and the view from its summit are' familiar the world over, and a visit to New York is generally conceded to be incomplete without a trip to the Empire State Building's observatory.

 

The Empire State was the final and most celebrated product of the skyscraper frenzy produced by the economic boom of the 1920s, and'the most prominent of the modernistic towers that created the midtown skyline in those years. Its completion in April, 1931, on the former sits of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, marked the transformation of midtown from New York's preeminent residential area for the social elite into the commercial center of the metropolis.

 

The engineering and construction of the Empire State Building were perhaps the most awesome accomplishments of its creators. Its design, in many ways shaped by the constraints of time, cost, and structure, was the finest work of architect William Lamb, chief designer for Shreve, Lamb 6 Harmon. The slender, modernistic silhouette he created fit the building so well that even today, when it is no longer the tallest, it remains one of the handsomest of New York's skyscrapers.

 

With the decline in construction which accompanied the Depression, and the tendency in the post-war period towards shorter, denser office buildings, the Empire State it 1250 fser remained the world's tallest building until the 1970s, when the Sears Building in Chicago took the title of the world's tallest, end the World Trade Center took the title of New York's tallest. Yet despite the loss of the title which was one of the sources of its original renown, the Empire State Building remains New York's most widely recognized symbol, and the city's quintessential landmark.

 

The Site Development of Midtown Manhattan into the commercial center of New York

 

The site of the Empire State Building was part of a farm, owned by John Thompson, which was acquired In 1827 by William B. Astor. The site remained in Astor hands over a hundred years of development until Its purchase, in 1929, by the Empire State Building Interests.

 

Astor was the second son of John Jacob Astor, founder of the Astor dynasty in America. Using the family fortune, he acquired a great deal of undeveloped property in Manhattan, foreseeing that the northward expansion of New York along the island would eventually make his property worth many times its original price. Over the next fifty years, the area around 34th Street and Fifth Avenue developed first into an outlying rowhouse neighborhood of New York, and then into the city's most fashionable residential area.

 

By the 1850s, Fifth Avenue was lined with the palaces of the Vanderbilts, A.T. Stewart (the "merchant prince," one of New York's wealthiest men), and other millionaires. The Astors themselves moved from Astor Place up to Fifth Avenue in 1859, when John Jacob Astor, Jr., built his house at the northwest corner of Fifth and 33rd Street; shortly thereafter his brother William Backhouse Astor built an adjoining house at the southwest corner of Fifth and 34th Street. The Astor houses soon became known as the central meeting place of New York society, and home to the famous balls thrown by Mrs. Astor for "the four hundred," New York's social elite.

 

Following the traditional pattern of Manhattan growth, the city's hotels, theaters, clubs, and restaurants followed the residential development up Fifth Avenue. By the 1890s, guides to the city identified "the great hotel district" as lying "between 23d and 59th Streets, and Fourth and Seventh Avenues.... in that territory, which is little less than two miles long by a half mile wide, are half of the leading hotels of the metropolis.

 

In 1890, William Waldorf Astor, son of John Jacob Astor, Jr., having decided to move to London, tore down his house and filed plans for the Waldorf Hotel, a thirteen-story building designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh and completed in 1893. in 18S7, the neighboring Astor house having been demolished, the Astoria Hotel was erected by Astor's aunt, and connected to the Waldorf to form the Waldorf-Astoria. The new hotel soon became a major social institution of New York.

 

Forty years later the area was changing again, largely because of the influx of department stores just before and after World War i. During the final decades of the 19th century New York's fashionable stores had clustered in the area called the "Ladies Mile," along Fifth and Sixth Avenues and Broadway between 11th and 23rd Streets.

 

Altman's started the new trend northward by moving in 1906 from Sixth Avenue and 18th Street to Fifth Avenue at 34th Street. Others followed, and by the early 1920s Fifth Avenue was lined from 34th Street north by stores such as Best s, Tiffany's, Franklin Simon, Bonwit Teller, Lord & Taylor and Arnold Constable. Along with the department stores came several tall

 

office buildings, beginning in 1902 with the Flatiron Building at Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street.' Rider's New York City Guide noted that "Hotels and restaurants that have long been landmarks, such as the Manhattan, the Buckingham and Sherry's, have disappeared and tall office buildings are multiplying even on the side streets.

 

Newspapers picked up on the changes taking place in the area. Capt. William J. Pedrick, executive vice-president of the Fifth Avenue Association, was quoted extensively on the development of Fifth Avenue; he noted in particular the avenue's new tall commercial buildings: the 15-story New York Trust, the 34-story Squibb Building, the 58-story Salmon Jower (500 Fifth Avenue), and the plans for the Empire State Building.

 

To demonstrate the rate of change on Fifth Avenue, Rider's Guide gave a capsule history of the site across Fifth Avenue from the Waldorf-Astoria: a house belonging to Dr. "Sarsaparilla" Townsend, popularlzer of soft drinks, was replaced in 1867 by the "marble palace" of A.T. Stewart; in the 1890s the house was converted for use by the Manhattan Club; in 1901 it was demolished to make way for the four-story Knickerbocker Trust Building, to which, finally, in 1920-21 were added another twelve stories to create the Columbia Trust Building.

 

The changeover of Midtown Manhattan from social to commercial center was finally consummated by the demolition In 1930 of the Waldorf-Astoria Itself, and the opening on its site the following year of the Empire State Building, a speculative office building and the tallest In the world.

 

A New, Modernistic Midtown Skyline and the Skyscraper Race

 

A new skyline was created for the newly commercial Midtown by the progressively larger office buildings being erected during the 1920s, Since the beginnings of skyscraper development in New York in the last decades of the 19th century, architects had tried to adapt historical sty.es to the modern American invention of the skyscraper. The most successful and famous of these attempts produced the Woolworth Building (Cass Gilbert, 1913), the sixty-story Gothic tower christened the "Cathedral of Commerce." Towards the end of the 1920s, however, under the influence of a "modernism" derived in part from the European Art Deco, New York architects created a new "skyscraper style" which, it has been argued, more fully expressed the nature--the verticality, the metal structure, the sense of an industrial and technological future—of the skyscraper. The series of skyscrapers constructed in midtown, including ;be Chrysler, Daily News, McGraw-Hill, Chanin, RCA (now GE), Fuller, and Empire State buildings, helped Introduce the new modernistic Art Deco style to urban America, and defined midtown's characteristic look for the next several decades, until the new round of skyscraper buildings began in the 1960s.

 

At the same time, the builders of skyscrapers began to reach for progressively greater heights. The WooIworth Building's sixty stories

 

had rested unchallenged for a decade, and Its observatory was considered to have the finest view of New York.

 

In the late 1920s, however, the new commercial buildings began to challenge the title. A 110-story building announced in 1926 by developer John Larkin was never built, but in 1929 two towers, the Bank of Manhattan (927 ft, 70 stories) downtown on Wall Street, and the Chrysler Building (1,050 ft, 77 stories) in Midtown on East **2nd Street, competed in a race to see which would be the new tallest building in the world. The race was heightened by the rivalry between the architects of the two buildings, H. Craig Severance and William Van Alen, who had formerly been partners.

 

Chrysler won by arranging to have the building's spire secretly constructed inside the building and then jacked up through the top at the last minute. Shortly thereafter, however, the Chrysler Building lost Its title to the Empire State Building.

 

The Empire State Building was a speculative office building planned by John J. Raskob, who hired former New York State Governor A1 Smith to be president of the Empire State Company. As an executive of General' Motors, Raskob no doubt considered himself a rival in many ways of Walter Chrysler.

 

According to rental manager Hamilton Weber, the originally planned 86 stories of the Empire State Building were only four feet higher than the Chrysler Building, and "Raskob was worried that Walter Chrysler would pull a trick—like hiding a rod in the spire and then sticking it up at the last minute." Hence, according to Weber, the Idea for the 14-story dirigible mast which raised the building's height to 1250 feet but proved, in the end, to be unusable for its Intended purpose. The Chrysler and Woolworth buildings, seeing there could be no hope of competition with the Empire State, eventually closed their own observatories.

 

The 1920s procession of skyscrapers might have continued producing ever taller buildings: according to a Herald Tribune article discussing the Empire State project in 1930, "Charles F. Noyes let it be known some time ago that he was considering erecting 150 floors over two square blocks in the old mercantile district downtown."

 

The Depression put an end to any such plans, however, and the Empire State Building remained the tallest by far of the city's commercial towers.

 

John Jacob Raskob and Al Smith.

 

The man who conceived the idea for the world's tallest speculative office building was a self-made multi-millionaire industrialist named John J. Raskob.

 

Born Into a poor family in Lockport, New York, Raskob went to work early In life to support his widowed mother and family. He found work as a secretary for a small street railway company in Lorain, Ohio, that happened to be owned by Pierre Du Pont, of the Du Pont chemical industry family.

 

When Du Pont bought the Dallas Street Railway Company In Texas, he made Raskob treasurer, and eventually he took Raskob with him to Wilmington, Delaware, where Du Pont became president of E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Raskob became vice president in charge of finance.

 

Early In the century, Raskob Invested heavily In the newly formed General Motors Corporation, and convinced Du Pont to do the same.

 

In 1915, Du Pont became chairman of General Motors, and in 1918 Raskob became chairman of its Finance Committee. The spectacular growth of the value of General Motors stock made Raskob a multi-millionaire, and one of the wealthiest men in the country. Shortly before the Depression Raskob co-authored an article in the Ladies' Home Journal entitled "Everybody Ought to be Rich."'

 

Aside from his organizational abilities, Raskob's chief contribution to General Motors was the invention of the installment plan for buying automobiles.

 

Like many businessmen of the time, Raskob was interested in politics, and like most millionaires he was a Republican. His entry into politics, however, was as a contributor to the gubernatorial campaign of populist Democratic governor A1 Smith. Raskob was introduced to Smith in New York City in 1926.16 The two men came from similar backgrounds--poor Irish Catholic famlies—and shared a dislike of the Prohibition amendment, an issue in Smith's later campaign for the presidency. They became friendly, and Raskob volunteered generous contributions to Smith's 1926 gubernatorial re-election campaign. Although many of Smith's closest aides distrusted Raskob, they were unable to prevent his appointment two years later as campaign manager for Smith's unsuccessful 1928 race with Hoover for the Presidency, an appointment which resulted in the anomaly of a conservative Republic millionaire becoming Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

 

(One of Raskob's first actions as Chairman was to move thecommittee to offices in the General Motors Building on West 57th Street.)

 

Although Raskob was blamed by some Smith aides for the loss of the 1928 election, and by others for Smith's gradual shift towards a more conservative political philosophy, the relationship between the two men remained strong. When Raskob decided to get into the real estate business, and to build the tallest building in the world, he offered Smith the $50,000 a year job of President of the Empire State Corporation.

 

Al Smith and the World's Tallest Building: Public Relations at the Highest Levels."

 

Raskob's rationale for building the world's tallest building, and for making Governor Smith its president, was never clearly stated, although several explanations have been offered. Unlike its immediate predecessors—the Woolworth Building for Frank W. Woolworth and his company, the Manhattan Company Building for the Bank of Manhattan, and the Chrysler Building for Walter Chrysler and his company—the Empire State was not built to symbolize one man or company: it was not the General Motors Building or Raskob Tower, for instance.

 

The Empire State Building was instead simply a speculative office building, and it was named for New York State, home of the building and the state of which Al Smith had been four times governor. Rather than being a corporate symbol, the building became identified as the world's tallest building and a venture of Al Smith's.

 

The explanation of its height offered by the company in Its various promotional brochures was simply that of a human adventure, carrying on "the Pharaoh's dream":

 

Down through the ages, men have yearned and toiled and planned, that they might build a structure nearer to the skies than ever had been built before. Something of this great desire burned in the souls of the Pharaohs of Egypt, when the Great Pyramid of Gizeh was erected, 451 feet high, equal to thirty-four stories. St. Peter's, at Rome, lifts its dome 435 feet toward the sky. That slender and marvelous minaret in Cairo spears the heights at 280 feet and the Cremona Campanile in Italy rises 396 feet above the earth. The famous Cathedral of Cologne attains an altitude of 512 feet; the Washington Monument is 555 feet high. Then came the era of steel, heralded by the world-famous Eiffel Tower in Paris, 984 feet high, useless except as an awe-inspiring demonstration of what men, steel and machinery can accomplish.

 

The Woolworth Tower was for long the world's tallest building, rising in beautiful Gothic design to a height of sixty stories, 792 feet. The Bank of Manhattan at last surpassed it with its height of 838 feet, only to be in turn surpassed by the 1046 foot elevation cf the Chrysler Building's topmost spire. But Empire State is higher than all these. It carries to triumphant completion the vaulting ambition of the Pharaohs, of Pope Julius when he began the building of St. Peter's.

 

As for bringing ex-Governor Smith into the project, Raskob apparently suggested at the time that he was going to build the Empire State Building to give his old friend a job. Smith, having lost the presidential election and retired from the governorship of New York, faced an uncertain future.

 

His friend, actor and producer Eddie Dowling, recalled being present at the moment of Raskob's offer, the occasion being a dinner thrown by the New York State Democratic party for newly elected Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. Smith and Dowling had gone to the men's lounge during a lull in the proceedings, and Smith was telling him of his worries, when Raskob appeared and announced, "Don't worry, A1, I'm going to build a new skyscraper--biggest in the wor!d--and you're going to be president of the company," maintaining that he was doing it all to give Smith a high-paying job.

 

The key to understanding the actual motives behind the height of the building and the involvement of Governor Smith seems to involve a newly developing science that was becoming more and more important to the art of architecture: advertising.

 

Advertising seems to have become an accepted function of office buildings in the 1920s. Arthur Tappan North, writing on the subject, noted:

 

The incorporation of publicity or advertising features in a building is frequently an item for consideration.... This feature, when possessing intrinsic merit, is consonant with and is a legitimate attribute of good architecture. It stimulates public interest and admiration, is accepted as a genuine contribution to architecture, enhances the value of the property and Is profitable to the owner in the same manner as are others forms of legitimate advertising.

 

The Empire State Company in fact launched an extensive advertising campaign capitalizing on several features of the building: its "historic site," formerly that of the Astor Mansion and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel; its convenience ot the two rail terminals in midtown; "a board of directors that inspires confidence;" and its advertising campaign, run by the public relations firm of Belle Moscowitz, former political aide to Al Smith, hit all the leading New York newspapers 'week after week with very clever ads.

 

The value of advertising for the Empire State Building was picked up by the Real Estate Magazine, in an article entitled "Good Publicity Something More Than 'Hitting1 Front Page," in which the Empire State Building was singled out as an excellent example of how it should be done:

 

The Empire State Building has received extensive newspaper attention because of former Governor Smith's connection with the enterprise and through a number of clever creative publicity stunts, notable the mast which will top the building as a mooring spot for Zeppelins duly authorized by official Washington with reporters and cameramen obligingly on hand.-1

 

The two primary subjects of the advertising, however, the two attributes most closely identified with the building, were the involvement of Al Smith, and the building's unmatched height.

 

Al Smith's relationship to the enterprise was frankly stated In the booklet released on May ], 1931> for the building's opening ceremonies:

 

Raskob and his associates selected a leader, a man so well known to the public that his very presence placed the seal of integrity upon their undertaking. He was Alfred E. Smith, four times Governor of New York State, Presidential candidate of the Democratic Party.... known and beloved by his countrymen. He became president of Empire State, Inc. even while the mighty structure was only a dream.

 

Lists of the building's board of directors invariably began with Alfred E. Smith, and ended humbly with John J. Raskob. A New Yorker article of early

 

1931 noted that the building was "inevitably associated with ex-Governor Al Smith, fn its earlier stages his picturesque statements made excellent publicity and drew all New York's attention to the steelwork as it grew to dizzy heights."

 

Smith's biographers have noted that his functions at the building were "largely ceremonial.... The staff handled all the rental and maintenance problems, while Smith served as attention getter, greeter, and publicity man delux." To the public, however, the building was Al Smith's, and from the opening ceremonies, when his grandchildren, as representatives of "posterity," cut the ribbon at the main entrance, through the following years of giving tour upon tour to visiting royalty, politicians, sports heroes, and celebrities of every kind, he remained the building's symbol.

 

Similarly, the building's height played a major role in the company's public relations campaign. Besides constantly comparing the building's height to other tall monuments, the company emphasized the extraordinary daring of the construction workers involved in erecting the world's tallest building by commissioning photographer Lewis Hine to document the work.

 

The Company arranged for a special mechanical cage that would enable Hire to be swung out into the air to photograph the most difficult feats. The photographs were then used in advertisements, and put on display in the ground floor store windows.

 

The publicity value of tall buildings was apparently considered to be great enough that it could actually be figured in as a legitimate "expenditure," designed to bring increased prestige and, presumably, income. R.H. Shreve, one of the Empire State Building's architects, wrote in 1930 that the constraints of zoning, wind-bracing, and general costs of a very tall building determine a point...

 

...where the balance begins to swing back and the rate of return on capital investment begins to diminish as the building goes higher, unless the owner gets a markedly greater unit return for the higher space, or charges the decrease in the direct net return to "advertising."

 

Justification for this approach was probably found in the tremendous public interest which developed during the late twenties in skyscraper heights.

 

The New York Sun published a list of the fifty tallest buildings in New York, arranged by height, and shortly afterwards the architectural journal Pencil Points found It necessary to reprint it, in January 1931, noting that "Interest in the heights of New York skyscrapers does not seem to abate, if we may judge by the inquiries concerning them received in this office."

 

A cartoon in the same issue showed an architect with a rendering of a pointed skyscraper and a caption reading: "Enthusiastic Architect: 'You See, This Spike Runs Down the Entire Length of the Building and if Anyone Builds a Taller Building We Can Jack Up the Spike and Still Be the Tallest!"

 

In short, Raskob's strategy was based on an aggressive advertising campaign to market the Empire State Building, a speculative real-estate venture, as the world's tallest building, headed by the world's most popular former politician, with the world's most competent board of directors, on the world's most prestigious site, and the world's most

 

daring engineering feat, with Ai Smith personally conducting the world's famous to see the world's most overwhelming view.

 

If advertising was indeed the goal of the builders of the Empire State Building, they were extraordinarily successful. Twenty years later, Collier's described the effect of the building on the publicity-minded:

 

Douglas Leigh, who makes those superspectacular signs for Broadway, is itching to transform the top into a giant soft-drink bottle, or a glowing cigarette. Human flies want to walk up the front, flagpole sitters want to sit on the lightning rod, and high-wire artists want to traipse through space over to the Chrysler tower at Forty-second Street,

 

The effort spent on public relations paid off much sooner than the building's promoters imagined. Two weeks after the project was announced the stock market crashed, and throughout the early years of the Depression the building remained seriously undertenanted. The Empire State Building was saved from bankruptcy, in part, by the million or so visitors to the observation decks each year who paid one dollar a piece admissions.

 

Shreve, Lamb & Harmon

 

John J. Raskob was no doubt attracted to Shreve, Lamb 6 Harmon by their business-like approach to architecture. Raskob first encountered Shreve S Lamb in 1926 when his company, General Motors, commissioned a new headquarters on West 57th Street from the firm. He must have been impressed by their performance; he may also have considered it an advantage that Shreve, Lamb £ Harmon had been called in as consulting architects for the Bank of Manhattan Building, and therefore had some experience in races for the "tallest building" title, as well as experience working with the Starrett & Eken construction company which built the^Bank of Manhattan and which was later awarded the Empire State contract.

 

Richmond Haroid Shreve (1877" 1946) was born in Cornwall is, Nova Scotia, son of a former Dean of Quebec Cathedral. He studied architecture at Cornell University, graduated in 1502, and spent the next four years on the faculty of the College of Architecture there. While at Cornel! he supervised construction of Goldwiri Smith Hall, designed by the prominent New York firm of Carrere £ Hastings, and at the conclusion of the work he joined the firm.

 

William Frederick Lamb (1883-1952), son of New York builder William Lamb, was born in Brooklyn. After graduating from Williams College in 1904, he studied at the Columbia University School of Architecture, and then went to Paris to study at the Atelier Deglane. Having received his diploma from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1911, he returned to New York and joined Carrere S Hastings. in 1920, both Shreve and Lamb became partners in the new firm of Carrere £ Hastings, Shreve & Lamb.

 

Four years later they broke away to form Shreve & Lamb, and in 1925 they were joined by Arthur Loomis Harmon (1878-1958) to form Shreve, Lamb & Harmon.Harmon, born in Chicago, had studied at the Art Institute there, and graduated from the Columbia University School of Architecture in .1901. From 1902 to 1911 he was a designer in the office of McKim, Head & White, in 1912-13 an associate of the firm of Wall is & Goodwlllie, and then practiced under his own name until joining Shreve £ Lamb. His work alone included battle monuments at Tours, Cantigny and Somme-Py in France, a YMCA in Jerusalem, and the award-winning Shelton Hotel in New York.

 

Of the three architects in the firm, Lamb was generally acknowledged to be the designer, and Shreve the administrator. Shreve was also active as a planner outside the firm's work; he was the director of the Slum Clearance Committee of New York after its formation in 1933, and chief architect of the group preparing plans for the Williamsburg Housing Project, as well as chief architect of the Vladeck Houses on the Lower East Side and also of Parkchester in the Bronx.

 

Shreve, Lamb & Harmon worked principally on commercial office buildings, although they also designed a number of estates and residences in the New York suburbs, and a few apartment houses in Manhattan, Their residential work largely in the neo-Tudor and other popular styles of the 1920s, while their commercial work tended to be spare and functional, reflecting little of the Beaux-Arts ornament for which Carrere & Hastings had been famous.

 

Their buildings in New York, including 500 Fifth Avenue, 14 Wall Street, the Lefcourt National Building, and the Mutual of New York Building, and also their commissions outside the city, such as the Standard Oi! Building in Albany, the Reynolds Tobacco Company building in Winston-Salem, and the Chimes Building In Syracuse, are all similarly designed with unadorned limestone cladding, metal framed windows, and simple set-back massing, occasionally with Art Deco or Streamlined ornamental motifs.

 

The spareness and economy of the firm's designs were a reflection of several architecturai notions gaining currency in the 1920s. As office buildings grew larger and their engineering and financing more complex, the nature of architecture had to adapt to new conditions, Many architects in the 1920s and 1930s, recognizing new constraints, adapted the language of the international Style and functionalist schools of thought and wrote about a new art of architecture.

 

All three architects in the firm wrote on the subject of the changing nature of architecture. Harmon listed the various forces at work on design as: steel construction, congested business areas, the need for light and air, property shape, internal lighting, zoning, the ratio of rentable area to overall area, the cost of steel, wind bracing, and elevators. William Lamb, the partner concerned least with organization and most with design, concurred:

 

An interesting development in the planning of present day office buildings is the change in the conception that the architect has of his work. The day that he could sit before his drawing board and make pretty sketches of decidedly uneconomic monuments to himself has gone. His scorn of things "practical" has been replaced by an intense earnestness to make practical necessities the armature upon which he moulds the form of his idea. Instead of being the intolerant aesthete, he Is one of a group of experts upon whom he depends for the success of his work, for the modern large building with its complicated machinery is beyond the capacity of any one man to master, and yet he must, in order to control the disposition and arrangement of this machine, -have a fairly accurate general knowledge of what it is all about. Added to this he must know how to plan his building so that it will "work" economically and produce the revenue for which his clients have made their investment.39

 

Lamb's design inclinations corresponded very well to the kind of work that Shreve brought into the office. Mrs. Lamb recalls that his tastes in most matters tended to the simple and classical. The architecture he loved best was the spare Romanesque of the southern French cathedrals. Among his contemporaries he greatly admired Raymond Hood, particularly his spare, vertical Daily News Building; HoGd also wrote about the practical side of architecture, dismissing fantastic design as unnecessary. The two men were close friends. Although Lamb's "work had much of the Modernistic to it, his opinion of the flamboyant variety of Moderne represented by the Chrysler Building was rather low—he referred to it once as the "Little Nemo school of architecture," meaning fancy and fantastic, like the comic strip. He never considered his work to be in any way describable as "Art Deco."

 

Precisely because the firm was a well-organized producer of practical and unadorned office buildings, it was able to organize the myriad elements involved and produce a striking, handsome, but still economical design for the Empire State Building, which was above all a creation of business considerations and an unrivalled engineering feat.

 

Conception and Design

 

According to the architects, the Empire State Building was largely shaped by the various economic and engineering considerations involved.

 

The program was short enough—a fixed budget, no space more than 28 feet from window to corridor, as many stories of such space as possible, an exterior of limestone, and completion by May 1, 1931, which meant a year and six months from the beginning of sketches, The first three of these requirements produced the mass of the building and the latter two the characteristics of its design.

 

Planning of the building's layout — involving the placement of elevators, utilities, ventilation, and pipe shafts in such a way as to obtain the maximum amount of rentable office space-~centered on a prototypical plan for the 30th floor, at which point the tower legally began to rise with a zoning-mandated floor-area of one-quarter the lot size.

 

The principles, established by these cooperative investigations, which covered a period of four weeks, together with the owner's requirements... formed the complete program. The "parti" was arrived at in two hours, the evening before a meeting of the owner's corporation. An all-night "charette" produced the next day a series of five or six of the essential plans, an elevation, a perspective, and a fairly accurate tabulation of rentable areas and cube.

 

Lamb described the plan arrived at through the various consultations:

 

The logic of the plan is very simple. A certain amount of space in the center, arranged as compactly as possible, contains the vertical circulation, toilets, shafts and corridors. Surrounding this is a perimeter of office space 28 feet deep. The sizes of the floors diminish as the elevators decrease in number. In essence there is a pyramid of non-rentable space surrounded by a greater pyramid of rentable space....^

 

The massing of the building was to a great extent affected by the elevator system. The elevators were placed in four banks parallel to the building's main axis, with those on the east and west sides being the low-rise group. The low-rise elevators drop off as the building rises, enabling the tower to step back...

 

...from the long dimension of the property to approach the square form of the shaft, with the result that instead of being a tower, set upon a series of diminishing setbacks prescribed by the zoning law, the building becomes all tower rising from a great five-story base.^

 

Elevators and budget were said to be the determining factors of the building's height. The elevator contractor, and Starrett Brothers and Eken, asked independently to calculate the height limit of the building based on their economic priori tie:;, each arrived at a limit of eighty stories plus five for the executive offices.

 

Floor-plan, massing, and height arrived at, the architects turned to the building's exterior. The spare design, based on massing and vertical window strips, was a product of both the building program's practical needs, and Lamb's aesthetic preferences.

 

The exterior is defined almost entirely by a system of vertical strips of windows, projecting slightly beyond the limestone walls, set in continuous vertical metal surrounds, and separated by dull aluminum spandrels; these strips are arranged singly, in pairs, and in sets of three, and run continuously from bottom to top. There is almost no ornamental detail, other than modernistic ripples in the aluminum spandrels and modernistic caps where the window strips terminate at building setbacks.

 

The practical source of the window system was "the last and perhaps_ the most important item in the owner's program-speed of construction."

 

Completion of the building by May 1st was required because that was the traditional day for the signing of new commercial leases in the city, and therefore of crucial importance in the economic planning of a speculative office building. With such a complex building program, construction had to proceed smoothly and as quickly as possible. The advantages of the system were outlined by Shreve in a special article.

 

The total effect of the massing, height, and window-spandrel-wall design is of a very tall tower, rising from a five-story base, and topped by a modernistic spire. The window strips break up the mass of the building, and emphasize its verticality, while the elimination of reveals creates effectively a smooth glass, metal, and stone skin. The expression

 

of the building's taliness is simple arid elegant, the epitome of the kind of design most admired by William Lamb.

 

On the question of the building's style, Lamb wrote:

 

Whatever "style" it may be is the result of a logical and simple answer to the problems set by the economic and technical demands of its unprecedented program.

 

He never thought of it as Art Deco. Much of the ornament can only be described as "modernistic," especially the glass and steel dirigible mooring mast, and in that sense would fall under the generic term "Art Deco" or "Moderne," but the design of the building has little in common with that of the flamboyant Chrysler Building, almost its contemporary and the generally accepted prototypical Art Deco skyscraper.

 

In its reliance on stacked massing, vertical window strips, and simplicity of materials, and in the public insistence by its architects that these elements were largely determined by sheer practical necessity, the Empire State Building seems closer to Raymond Hood's Daily News Building, also contemporary with it.

 

It is quite possible that Lamb discussed his work with his close friend Hood; he admired his work, and the Daily News was Hood's most recent success at the time. The Daily News Building is also riot a purely Art Deco creation, but in some respects an International Style slab; similarly, Hood's contemporary McGraw-Hill Building combines aspects of both, If the Empire State Building, a spare tower on a base with some modernistic details, belongs In a line of succession, it might be that of the News and McGraw-Hill Buildings, followed by the RCA tower in Rockefeller Center, of which Hood was a chief designer.

 

By contrast with the News Building, however, the Empire State is thoroughly symmetrical, and not treated with bright colors. Unlike many skyscrapers, it does not present an overwhelming mass: in midtown, pedestrians are conscious only of its five-story base, which blends into the scale of the area, while from a distance It presents 3 slender silhouette, rising from the center of the metropolis, which Is visible and recognizable from almost every point in the city and some beyond. In this sense, the Empire State Building is in its own class, and its design reflects what it, uniquely, is.

 

Description

 

Although the 1250-foot high Empire State Building is often described as 102 stories tall, that is not quite accurate. The major portion of the building is comprised of 80 stories of commercial office space, with five stories above that for the building's executive offices, and the observatory at the 86th floor. The enormous metal "mooring mast" above the building contains only an elevator encircled by a staircase, and no floors per se; its height, however, is considered by the Empire State Building management to be the equivalent of 14 stories; these, added to the 86 offices floors and two basement levels, produce the figure of 102 stories.

 

The building's tower sits on a five-story base, with facades at the lot line on West 33rd Street, Fifth Avenue, and West 34th Street. The base is a monumental modernistic version of a classical scheme: basement, colonnade, and attic. The basement is formed by the first floor shops and entrances •> the colonnade is approximated by a giant order of molded stone piers piers flanking vertical window strips; and the attic consists of small windows alternating with molded stone panels.

 

The Fifth Avenue facade centers on the building's main entrance which consists of a central pair of doors flanked on either side by a revolving door; a three-story high, three-bay wide set of windows set in modernisticalIy-designed patterns; and an attic story of a pair of windows, all set off from the rest of the facade by two giant molded-stone piers topped by stylized stone eagles above which are inscribed the words EMPIRE STATE. The rest of the facade is comprised of monumental bays, three on either side.

 

Each bay consists of a storefront of chrome-metal and glass at the first floor levei, two three-story vertical window strips separated by a narrow stone mull ton and flanked by a wide stone pier with a modernistic top in place of a capital, and two windows at the fifth-floor level separated by a narrow squat molded-stone mull ion and flanked by wide squat stone piers. These three bays are set off from the central*-entrance bay by a half-bay comprising one vertical strip of windows, and end at either corner with a half-bay set between two monumental stone piers.

 

The identical 33rd and 34th Street facades each comprise three sections of monumental bays, similar to those on the Fifth Avenue facade, separated by two entrance bays. The three sections consist of six, seven, and six bays, slightly emphasising the central section. The two entrance bays on either facade, which project slightly outward, are less elaborate versions of the main Fifth Avenue entrance bay: doors at the first floor level, three vertical window strips, and a three-window attic story, all enframed by a wide stone surround.

 

The two West 33rd Street entrances, however, are actually recessed; these entrances have sets of side doors perpendicular to the building front, and front revolving doors; a moderne light fixture hangs In the center of the recess; the doors are aluminum, set in marble walls.

 

Streamlined metal marquee-type canopies with curving corners project over the entrances on West 33rd and West 34th Streets; each is ringed by three sets of continuous horizontal metal bands. The original storefronts are almost entirely glass-fronted. Each has a black-granite base, a cornice of horizontal molded-aluminum bands framing a black-granite panel, and a central recessed entrance, and each is separated from the next by narrow molded aluminum mull ions topped by modernistic finials.

 

The storefronts form a glass wall which projects three feet beyond the five-story base and forms a banding around it; the continuous black-granite cornices are at the same level as the metal canopies over the 33rd and 34th Street entrances and form a black band course at that level. Several of the storefronts have been unsympathetically altered.

 

The design scheme above the five-story base is determined simply by massing and fenestration. On both the eastern, Fifth Avenue, facade and the western, rear, facade, the tower is dramatically set back above its base, and rises, with shallow setbacks at the 21st and 25th floors, to the 30th floor; from there It rises unobstructed to a .shallow setback at the 72nd floor, then to the 81st floor setback, somewhat more pronounced, which marks the top of the commercial office portion of the building--wi th corresponding elevator banks—and the beginning of the five-story executive suite; a final setback at the 85th floor marks the observatory. Above the tower rises the metal-faced dirigible mooring mast, topped by an enormous television broadcasting antenna.

 

The tower on the east and west facades is nine bays wide from the sixth to the 25th floor, seven bays wide to the 72nd floor, six bays wide to the 81st floor, and five bays wide to the mooring mast.

 

The north (34th Street) and south (33rd Street) facades, wider than the east and west facades, are fifteen bays wide from the sixth to the 21st floor, eleven bays wide to the 30th floor, and nine bays wide to the mooring mast; the nine bays from the 30th floor up are divided into three sections of three bays each: a central section enframed by two projecting side sections; the central section rises unbroken to the 85th floor, while the flanking projecting sections rise to a shallow setback at the 72nd floor and another at the 81st. The various setbacks produce a symmetrical massing that emphasizes the verticality of the building, and creates at the lower levels the effect of a tower rising from a layer of surrounding tapered masses.

 

A fenestration pattern of long vertical window strips is used to break up the mass of the building and emphasize Its verticality. Each window In the vertical strips protrudes slightly from the Indiana limestone cladding of the tower, and is enframed by a strip of nickel-chrome-steel ; each window is separated from the one above by a dull aluminum spandrel with modernistic molding. Where the vertical window strips rise to a setback, they end in simple modernistic metal caps, and begin again above the setback. The three central window strips on the north and south sides end at the 85th-floor level in much larger and more elaborate modernistic metal plates.

 

The strips on most of the building are arranged in pairs, each level comprising two adjacent windows separated by a nickel-chrome-steel mull ion and enframed by nickel-chrome-steel surrounds, each window having an accompanying dull aluminum spandrel; several bays however comprise triple window strips, while others comprise single window strips. The alternation between paired, triple, and single strips Is used to create a horizontal rhythm of vertical lines accentuating the center of each facade.

 

On the east and west facades, all windows are arranged in paired vertical strips, with these exceptions: the outer bay on either side from the sixth to the 25th floor, and the outer four bays on either side from the 21st to the 25th floor, consist of single vertical window strips; the outer bay on either side from the 72nd to the 81st floor likewise consists

 

Sf a single vertical window strip, and also the outer two bays from the 81st to the 84th floods. The arrangement on the wider north and south fronts Is more complicated. The outer two bays, on either side, which rise from the sixth to the 21st floor, are paired vertical window strips.

 

The next five bays on either side, rising from the sixth floor to a shallow setback at the 25th, and projecting out past the central section, are symmetrically arranged with a centra! paired-window strip bay in the center flanked on either side by two single window strips; these bays above the 25th floor setback to the 30th floor are rearranged as two paired vertical strips and a triple strip. The central five bays, from the sixth to the 30th floors, are paired vertical window strips. Above the 30th floor, where these facades are divided into two projecting sections flanking a central section, the latter comprises three paired window strips, while the former are symmetrically arranged as a triple-window strip flanked on either side by a paired window strip.

 

Rising above the 86-story office building is the aluminum, chrome-nickel-steel and glass mast, originally designed to be used for mooring dirigibles but now serving only as a support for the upper observatory tower, and housing for display lights, Four progressively smaller rectangular levels form a base from which springs a cylindrical shaft rising to a conical top. The sides of the levels forming the base are ringed by continuous horizontal metal banding. At each of the four corners of the cylindrical shaft, rising to half its height, Is a set of three overlapping metal wings from which the shaft appears to grow; the four sides of the shaft are formed by continuous glass walls.

 

The top is Jr. three sections: a cylindrical enclosed observation level, still used, of the same circumference as the shaft; a second, smaller cylindrical level surrounded by an open-air observation area, no longer in use, originally Intended as a landing platform for dirigible passengers; and a top section In the shape of a truncated cone--pierced by eight circular openings--which houses the mooring mechanism and beacon lights, and which is topped by a metal mooring pole; each of these three sections is ringed by continuous tubular metal bands. The mooring mast Is now the base for a 200-foot high television antenna, added In 1953, which completes the silhouette of the building as It has been known since that year.

 

Empire State Building: Symbol of New York

 

Following the uncertain first years of the Depression, during -which the half-tenanted building was nicknamed "Smith's Folly*" or the "Empty State Building," the Empire State became a successful commercial office building. The continuing northward trend of Midtown took the prime corporate tenants whom Raskob had hoped to attract away to office buildings north of 42nd Street; the tenancy of the building therefore has since bean largely drawn from the surrounding garment district. Among others housed In the building are the notions, shoe, shirt and hosiery industries, as well as many international corporations and banks.

 

The Empire State Building, however went beyond the aspirations of

 

Raskob for a prestigious and profitable commercial office building. The success of the observatory in drawing crowds of tourists, arid the guided tours by Governor Smith for all visiting celebrities, started a process which helped make the building famous the world over. March 1940 saw the building's four-millionth visitor (actor Jimmy Stewart), and May 1971 its forty millionth. "

 

The Empire State Building's place as symbol of New York derives perhaps equally from its function as a place to visit, from where the most spectacular view of Mew York can be had, and its function as a centrally located landmark, whose slender, pointed silhouette can be seen literally from miles around, marking out midtown Manhattan, the center of the metropolis. The famous silhouette has been reproduced in countless images, and small statues of the. building have been spotted in Far-Eastern bazaars 55 as well as In Times Square tourist shops. The building has figured In television and movies--most famous of these being King Kong—as a symbol of the summit of New York, the greatest creation of a great city.

 

In the 1970s, when the building lost Its title as world's tallest, the office of Shreve, Lamb & Harmon announced a plan to remove the mooring mast above the 86th floor observatory and replace it with twenty stories of office space, to reestablish the building's position as world's greatest skyscraper. The plan—apparently more a public relations ploy than a serious proposal —was quickly forgotten, and indeed would have been counter-productive, as It would have destroyed the silhouette by which the building is known.

 

Despite the loss of Its "world's tallest." title, In fact, the Empire State Building has lost none of Its original distinction or renown. Its design, its history, and perhaps also its position In the center of the city, have all helped it retain Its symbolic significance.

 

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary—May 1, 1981--a special proclamation was Issued by the Mayor of New York, declaring the week of May 1-8, 1981, to be "Empire State Building Week."

 

The Empire State Building remains New York's preeminent landmark.

 

- From the 1981 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report

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The Evolution of Auto Show ‘Booth Babes’

 

VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH INDUSTRY INSIDERS (3:03)

 

Once called ‘booth babes,’ product specialists at auto shows have evolved into trained spokespeople for car brands.

 

The rebirth of the U.S. auto industry has been accompanied by a trend that the millions of people who visit car shows each year are bound to notice: The auto-show model has made a roaring comeback.

 

After several lean years, some car companies have doubled their use of so-called product specialists, These aspiring fashion models or actors earn as much as $1,000 a day for staffing the companies’ displays and answering questions about their vehicles while looking better than almost anyone else around. For a single show, their services can cost an auto maker hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

In recent years, the job, which has long required a detailed knowledge of vehicle specs and pricing, has expanded to include market research. Hedy Popson, a onetime show model who runs a talent agency, said auto companies are interested in their models extracting as much information from show visitors as they give out.

 

“What are consumers saying?” said Ms. Popson, referring to one of the many questions car makers ask her company, Productions Plus. “Are they interested in the economy anymore? Do they want brighter colors? What do they think of the aesthetics, the style, the design?”

 

“The minute the consumer leaves, the product specialist is downloading all that [information], either on an iPad, an iPhone, by text, because that is their job,” said Ms. Popson, who oversees 300 or more models at a big show like the North American International Auto Show.

 

Some product specialists write daily briefs. Others compile a comprehensive report at the end of a show, which can run as long as two weeks.

 

The renewed demand for models stems from several factors. Auto makers are willing to dress the predominantly female hires more provocatively than was customary during the industry’s downturn and bankruptcies, said Ms. Popson. This year, with auto sales at near-decade highs and a glow overhanging Detroit, car companies see value in sex appeal. They are “saying ‘it’s time to have fun again,’ ” Ms. Popson added.

 

Not only can attractive people sell cars, they can squeeze a lot out of conversations, said Joe Gallant, Nissan Motor Co.’s auto-show and exhibits head. “Young women representing a brand at an auto show are much more approachable—I use the word accessible,” he said.

 

Men also play a part. Ken Paul Smith, a Nissan product specialist for 19 years, says he remembers getting a lot of negative feedback several years ago on a feature in the trunk of the Infiniti sedan. Show models, including Mr. Smith, scrambled to get the comments to Nissan executives, and the auto maker ordered a design change.

 

Productions Plus model, got her marching orders. Wearing an off-brand gray-leather jacket and hound’s-tooth patterned cropped pants, she gathered feedback on General Motors Co.’s redesigned Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid vehicle unveiled this week.

 

Before the show ends she will see hundreds of thousands of visitors come by the Chevy display area. And she plans to use her iPad to jot down loads of comments about the Volt. “I’m very curious to hear what they’re going to tell us now,” she said.

 

Ms. Fotiu has a lot riding on the Volt’s success. While not an engineer or car designer, she has been appearing alongside the Volt since 2011 at shows all over the country. Over two years, she collected comments on its seating, radio controls and climate systems. Those comments played a role in GM’s redesign efforts.

 

“We got a lot of feedback because this was when the technology was brand new,” she recalled. “And [consumers] really picked it apart for us. We sent all that information back to GM, and that’s why when this next generation [of the Volt] came out, it changed a lot, based on what they said.”

 

While Detroit, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles host the nation’s biggest auto shows, they are among a handful of the hundreds held across the globe each year. Even small venues can provide important insights.

 

On New Year’s Eve, Chicago-based model and actress Cathleen Hennon was working the Indy Auto Show in Indianapolis, hoping to glean useful information from the clutch of visitors braving 16-degree temperatures to attend. Ms. Hennon, in a formfitting black jumpsuit designed by La Petite Robe and necklace and earrings by Givenchy, hit pay dirt within minutes of starting her shift.

 

Nearby, Michelle Loya, wearing a red Armani jersey faux wrap dress, worked on an iPad screen jammed with remarks she had heard about Toyota cars. The Prius hybrid needed a power lift gate, according to one visitor. Another urged Toyota to make heated cloth seats an option on all vehicles.

 

“The Camry XSE rims are just plain ugly,” one visitor told her. Another suggested that Toyota should come up with a better option to its current wheels, which were “a deal breaker.”

 

Based on her several years of experience, Ms. Loya said, she believes the Japanese auto maker will take action. A few years ago, when a new version of the best-selling Camry sedan came out, it didn’t have the HomeLink garage-opening system standard on some competing makes. After getting negative feedback, including complaints from the show floor, Toyota added the system.

 

Above writen by John D. Stoll for WSJ (john.stoll@wsj.com)

LINK TO ARTICLE ON WSJ WEBSITE.

  

MODEL

 

A model (from Middle French modelle) is a person with a role either to promote, display, or advertise commercial products (notably fashion clothing) or to serve as a visual aide for people who are creating works of art or to pose for photography.

 

Modelling ("modeling" in American English) is considered to be different from other types of public performance, such as acting or dancing. Although the difference between modelling and performing is not always clear, appearing in a film or a play is not generally considered to be "modelling".

 

Types of modelling include: fashion, glamour, fitness, bikini, fine art, body-part, promotional and commercial print models. Models are featured in a variety of media formats including: books, magazines, films, newspapers, internet and TV. Fashion models are sometimes featured in films: (Looker), reality TV shows (America's Next Top Model, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency), and music videos: ("Freedom! '90", "Wicked Game", "Daughters", and "Blurred Lines").

 

Celebrities, including actors, singers, sports personalities and reality TV stars, frequently take modelling contracts in addition to their regular work.

 

HISTORY OF MODELING

 

Early years

 

Modelling as a profession was first established in 1853 by Charles Frederick Worth, the "father of haute couture", when he asked his wife, Marie Vernet Worth, to model the clothes he designed. The term "house model" was coined to describe this type of work. Eventually, this became common practice for Parisian fashion houses. There were no standard physical measurement requirements for a model, and most designers would use women of varying sizes to demonstrate variety in their designs.

 

With the development of fashion photography, the modelling profession expanded to photo modelling. Models remained fairly anonymous, and relatively poorly paid, until the late 1950's. One of the first well-known models was Lisa Fonssagrives, who was very popular in the 1930's. Fonssagrives appeared on over 200 Vogue covers, and her name recognition led to the importance of Vogue in shaping the careers of fashion models. In 1946, Ford Models was established by Eileen and Gerard Ford in New York; it is one of the oldest model agencies in the world. One of the most popular models during the 1940's was Jinx Falkenburg who was paid $25 per hour, a large sum at the time. During the 1940's and 1950's, Wilhelmina Cooper, Jean Patchett, Dovima, Dorian Leigh, Suzy Parker, Evelyn Tripp, Carmen Dell'Orefice, and Lisa Fonssagrives dominated fashion. Dorothea Church was among the first black models in the industry to gain notoriety in Paris. However, these models were unknown outside the fashion community. Compared to today's models, the models of the 1950's were more voluptuous. Wilhelmina Cooper's measurements were 38"-24"-36" whereas Chanel Iman's measurements are 32"-23"-33".

 

The 1960s and the beginning of the industry

 

In the 1960's, the modelling world began to establish modelling agencies. Throughout Europe, secretarial services acted as models' agents charging them weekly rates for their messages and bookings. For the most part, models were responsible for their own billing. In Germany, agents were not allowed to work for a percentage of a person's earnings, so referred to themselves as secretaries. With the exception of a few models travelling to Paris or New York, travelling was relatively unheard of for a model. Most models only worked in one market due to different labor laws governing modelling in various countries. In the 1960's, Italy had many fashion houses and fashion magazines but was in dire need of models. Italian agencies would often coerce models to return to Italy without work visas by withholding their pay. They would also pay their models in cash, which models would have to hide from customs agents. It was not uncommon for models staying in hotels such as La Louisiana in Paris or the Arena in Milan to have their hotel rooms raided by the police looking for their work visas. It was rumored that competing agencies were behind the raids. This led many agencies to form worldwide chains; for example, the Marilyn Agency has branches in Paris and New York.

 

By the late 1960's, London was considered the best market in Europe due to its more organised and innovative approach to modelling. It was during this period that models began to become household names. Models like: Jean Shrimpton, Joanna Lumley, Tania Mallet, Celia Hammond, Twiggy, Penelope Tree, and Pauline Stone dominated the London fashion scene and were well paid, unlike their predecessors. Twiggy became The Face of '66 at the age of 16. At this time, model agencies were not as restrictive about the models they represented, although it was uncommon for them to sign shorter models. Twiggy, who stood at 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm) with a 32" bust and had a boy's haircut, is credited with changing model ideals. At that time, she earned £80 an hour, while the average wage was £15 a week.

 

In 1967, seven of the top model agents in London formed the Association of London Model Agents. The formation of this association helped legitimize modelling and changed the fashion industry. Even with a more professional attitude towards modelling, models were still expected to have their hair and makeup done before they arrived at a shoot. Meanwhile, agencies took responsibility for a model's promotional materials and branding. That same year, former top fashion model Wilhelmina Cooper opened up her own fashion agency with her husband called Wilhelmina Models. By 1968, FM Agency and Models 1 were established and represented models in a similar way that agencies do today. By the late 1960's, models were treated better and were making better wages. One of the innovators, Ford Models, was the first agency to advance models money they were owed and would often allow teen models, who did not live locally, to reside in their house, a precursor to model housing.

 

The 1970's and 1980's

 

The innovations of the 1960's flowed into the 1970's fashion scene. As a result of model industry associations and standards, model agencies became more business minded, and more thought went into a model's promotional materials. By this time, agencies were starting to pay for a model's publicity. In the early 1970's, Scandinavia had many tall, leggy, blonde-haired, blue-eyed models and not enough clients. It was during this time that Ford Models pioneered scouting. They would spend time working with agencies holding modelling contests. This was the precursor to the Ford Models Supermodel of the World competition which was established in 1980. Ford also focused their attentions on Brazil which had a wide array of seemingly "exotic" models, which eventually led to establishment of Ford Models Brazil. It was also during this time that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue debuted. The magazine set a trend by photographing "bigger and healthier" California models, and printing their names by their photos, thus turning many of them into household names and establishing the issue as a hallmark of supermodel status.

 

The 1970's marked numerous milestones in fashion. Beverly Johnson was the first African American to appear on the cover of U.S. Vogue in 1974. Models, including Grace Jones, Donyale Luna, Minah Bird, Naomi Sims, and Toukie Smith were some of the top black fashion models who paved the way for black women in fashion. In 1975, Margaux Hemingway landed a then-unprecedented million-dollar contract as the face of Fabergé's Babe perfume and the same year appeared on the cover of Time magazine, labelled one of the "New Beauties," giving further name recognition to fashion models.

 

Many of the world's most prominent modelling agencies were established in the 1970's and early 1980's. These agencies created the standard by which agencies now run. In 1974, Nevs Models was established in London with only a men's board, the first of its kind. Elite Models was founded in Paris in 1975 as well as Friday's Models in Japan. The next year Cal-Carries was established in Singapore, the first of a chain of agencies in Asia. In 1977, Select Model Management opened its doors as well as Why Not Models in Milan. By the 1980's, agencies such as Premier Model Management, Storm Models, Mikas, Marilyn, and Metropolitan Models had been established.

 

By the 1980's, most models were able to make modelling a full-time career. It was common for models to travel abroad and work throughout Europe. As modelling became global, numerous agencies began to think globally. In 1980, Ford Models, the innovator of scouting, introduced the Ford Models Supermodel of the World contest. That same year, John Casablancas opened Elite Models in New York. In 1981, cosmetics companies began contracting top models to lucrative endorsement deals. By 1983, Elite developed its own contest titled the Elite Model Look competition. In New York during the 1980's there were so-called "model wars" in which the Ford and Elite agencies fought over models and campaigns. Models were jumping back and forth between agencies such Elite, Wilhelmina, and Ford. In New York, the late 1980's trend was the boyish look in which models had short cropped hair and looked androgynous. In Europe, the trend was the exact opposite. During this time, a lot of American models who were considered more feminine looking moved abroad. By the mid-1980's, big hair was made popular by some musical groups, and the boyish look was out. The curvaceous models who had been popular in the 1950's and early 1970's were in style again. Models like Patti Hansen earned $200 an hour for print and $2,000 for television plus residuals. It was estimated that Hansen earned about $300,000 a year during the 1980's.

 

The 1990's to present

 

The early 1990's were dominated by the high fashion models of the late 1980's. In 1990, Linda Evangelista famously said to Vogue, "we don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day". Evangelista and her contemporaries, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz and Stephanie Seymour, became arguably the most recognizable models in the world, earning the moniker of "supermodel", and were boosted to global recognition and new heights of wealth for the industry. In 1991, Turlington signed a contract with Maybelline that paid her $800,000 for twelve days' work each year.

 

By the mid‑1990's, the new "heroin chic" movement became popular amongst New York and London editorial clients. While the heroin chic movement was inspired by model Jaime King, who suffered from a heroin addiction, it was Kate Moss who became its poster child through her ads for Calvin Klein. In spite of the heroin chic movement, model Claudia Schiffer earned $12 million. With the popularity of lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret, and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, there was a need for healthier-looking supermodels such as Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum to meet commercial modelling demand. The mid‑1990's also saw many Asian countries establishing modelling agencies.

 

By the late 1990's, the heroin chic era had run its course. Teen-inspired clothing infiltrated mainstream fashion, teen pop music was on the rise, and artists such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera popularized pleather and bare midriffs. As fashion changed to a more youthful demographic, the models who rose to fame had to be sexier for the digital age. Following Gisele Bundchen's breakthrough, a wave of Brazilian models including Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Ana Beatriz Barros rose to fame on runways and became popular in commercial modelling throughout the 2000's. Some attribute this to decisions by magazines to replace models with celebrities their covers.

 

In the late 2000's, the Brazilians fell out of favor on the runways. Editorial clients were favoring models with a china-doll or alien look to them, such as Gemma Ward and Lily Cole. During the 2000's, Ford Models and NEXT Model Management were engaged in a legal battle, with each agency alleging that the other was stealing its models.

 

However, the biggest controversy of the 2000's was the health of high-fashion models participating in fashion week. While the health of models had been a concern since the 1970's, there were several high-profile news stories surrounding the deaths of young fashion models due to eating disorders and drug abuse. The British Fashion Council subsequently asked designers to sign a contract stating they would not use models under the age of sixteen. On March 3, 2012, Vogue banned models under the age of sixteen as well as models who appeared to have an eating disorder. Similarly, other countries placed bans on unhealthy, and underage models, including Spain, Italy, and Israel, which all enacted a minimum body mass index (BMI) requirement.

 

The often thin shape of many fashion models has been criticized for warping girls' body image and encouraging eating disorders. Organizers of a fashion show in Madrid in September 2006 turned away models who were judged to be underweight by medical personnel who were on hand. In February 2007, six months after her sister, Luisel Ramos, also a model, died, Uruguayan model Eliana Ramos became the third fashion model to die of malnutrition in six months. The second victim was Ana Carolina Reston. Luisel Ramos died of heart failure caused by anorexia nervosa just after stepping off the catwalk. In 2015, France passed a law requiring models to be declared healthy by a doctor in order to participate in fashion shows. The law also requires re-touched images to be marked as such in magazines.

 

In 2013, New York toughened its child labor law protections for models under the age of eighteen by passing New York Senate Bill No. 5486, which gives underage models the same labor protections afforded to child actors. Key new protections included the following: underage models are not to work before 5:00 pm or after 10:00 pm on school nights, nor were they to work later than 12:30 am on non-school nights; the models may not return to work less than twelve hours after they leave; a pediatric nurse must be on site; models under sixteen must be accompanied by an adult chaperone; parents or guardians of underage models must create a trust fund account into which employers will transfer a minimum of 15% of the child model's gross earnings; and employers must set aside time and a dedicated space for educational instruction.

 

TYPES OF MODELING

 

Runway modelling

 

Runway models showcase clothes from fashion designers, fashion media, and consumers. They are also called "live models" and are self-employed. They are wanted to be over the height of 5'8" for men and 5'6" for women. Runway models work in different locations, constantly travelling between those cities where fashion is well known—London, Milan, New York City, and Paris. Second-tier international fashion center cities include: Rome, Florence, Venice, Brescia, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Moscow. Cities where catalog work comprises the bulk of fashion packaging, merchandising and marketing work are: Miami, San Francisco, Sydney, Chicago, Toronto, Mexico City, Tokyo, Hamburg, London, and Beijing.

 

The criteria for runway models include certain height and weight requirements. During runway shows, models have to constantly change clothes and makeup. Models walk, turn, and stand in order to demonstrate a garment's key features. Models also go to interviews (called "go and sees") to present their portfolios. The more experience a model has, the more likely she/he is to be hired for a fashion show. A runway model can also work in other areas, such as department store fashion shows, and the most successful models sometimes create their own product lines or go into acting.

 

The British Association of Model Agents (AMA) says that female models should be around 34"-24"-34" and between 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) and 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) tall. The average model is very slender. Those who do not meet the size requirement may try to become a plus-size model. According to the New York Better Business Career Services website, the preferred dimensions for a male model are a height of 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) to 6 ft 2 in (189 cm), a waist of 29–32 in (73.66–81.28 cm) and a chest measurement of 39–40 in (99.06–101.60 cm). Male runway models are notably skinny and well toned.

 

Male and female models must also possess clear skin, healthy hair, and attractive facial features. Stringent weight and body proportion guidelines form the selection criteria by which established, and would‑be, models are judged for their placement suitability, on an ongoing basis. There can be some variation regionally, and by market tier, subject to current prevailing trends at any point, in any era, by agents, agencies and end-clients.

 

Formerly, the required measurements for models were 35"-23.5"-35" in (90-60-90 cm), the alleged measurements of Marilyn Monroe. Today's fashion models tend to have measurements closer to the AMA-recommended shape, but some - such as Afghan model Zohre Esmaeli - still have 35"-23.5"-35" measurements. Although in some fashion centers, a size 00 is more ideal than a size 0.

 

Plus-size models

 

Plus-size models are models who generally have larger measurements than editorial fashion models. The primary use of plus-size models is to appear in advertising and runway shows for plus-size labels. Plus-size models are also engaged in work that is not strictly related to selling large-sized clothing, e.g., stock photography and advertising photography for cosmetics, household and pharmaceutical products and sunglasses, footwear and watches. Therefore, plus-size models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines. Some plus-size models have appeared in runway shows and campaigns for mainstream retailers and designers such as Gucci, Guess, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Levi's and Versace Jeans.

 

Fit models

 

A fit model works as a sort of live mannequin to give designers and pattern makers feedback on the fit, feel, movement, and drape of a garment to be produced in a given size.

 

Glamour models

 

Glamour modelling focuses on sexuality and thus general requirements are often unclear, being dependent more on each individual case. Glamour models can be any size or shape. There is no industry standard for glamour modelling and it varies greatly by country. For the most part, glamour models are limited to modelling in calendars, men's magazines, such as Playboy, bikini modelling, lingerie modelling, fetish modelling, music videos, and extra work in films. However, some extremely popular glamour models transition into commercial print modelling, appearing in swimwear, bikini and lingerie campaigns.

 

It is widely considered that England created the market for glamour modelling when The Sun established Page 3 in 1969, a section in their newspaper which now features topless models. In the beginning, the newspaper featured sexually suggestive images of Penthouse and Playboy models. It was not until 1970 that models appeared topless. In the 1980's, The Sun's competitors followed suit and produced their own Page 3 sections. It was during this time that glamour models first came to prominence with the likes of Samantha Fox. As a result, the United Kingdom has a very large glamour market and has numerous glamour modelling agencies to this day.

 

It was not until the 1990's that modern glamour modelling was established. During this time, the fashion industry was promoting models with waif bodies and androgynous looking women, which left a void. Several fashion models, who were deemed too commercial, and too curvaceous, were frustrated with industry standards, and took a different approach. Models such as Victoria Silvstedt left the fashion world and began modelling for men's magazines. In the previous decades, posing nude for Playboy resulted in models losing their agencies and endorsements. Playboy was a stepping stone which catapulted the careers of Victoria Silvstedt, Pamela Anderson, and Anna Nicole Smith. Pamela Anderson became so popular from her Playboy spreads that she was able to land roles on Home Improvement and Baywatch.

 

In the mid-1990's, a series of men's magazines were established such as Maxim, FHM, and Stuff. At the same time, magazines including Sweden's Slitz re-branded themselves as men's magazines. Pre-internet, these magazines were popular among men in their late teens and early twenties because they were considered to be more tasteful than their predecessors. With the glamour market growing, fashion moved away from the waifs and onto Brazilian bombshells. The glamour market, which consisted mostly of commercial fashion models and commercial print models, became its own genre due to its popularity. Even in a large market like the United Kingdom, however, glamour models are not usually signed exclusively to one agency as they can not rely financially on one agency to provide them with enough work. It was, and still is, a common practice for glamour models to partake in kiss-and-tell interviews about their dalliances with famous men. The notoriety of their alleged bed-hopping often propels their popularity and they are often promoted by their current or former fling. With Page 3 models becoming fixtures in the British tabloids, glamour models such as Jordan, now known as Katie Price, became household names. By 2004, Page 3 regulars earned anywhere from £30,000 to 40,000, where the average salary of a non-Page 3 model, as of 2011, was between £10,000 and 20,000. In the early 2000's, glamour models, and aspiring glamour models, appeared on reality television shows such as Big Brother to gain fame. Several Big Brother alumni parlayed their fifteen minutes of fame into successful glamour modelling careers. However, the glamour market became saturated by the mid-2000's, and numerous men's magazines including Arena, Stuff and FHM in the United States went under. During this time, there was a growing trend of glamour models, including Kellie Acreman and Lauren Pope, becoming DJs to supplement their income. In a 2012 interview, Keeley Hazell said that going topless is not the best way to achieve success and that "[she] was lucky to be in that 1% of people that get that, and become really successful."

 

Alternative models

 

An alternative model is any model who does not fit into the conventional model types and may include punk, goth, fetish, and tattooed models or models with distinctive attributes. This type of modeling is usually a cross between glamour modeling and art modeling. Publishers such as Goliath Books in Germany introduced alternative models and punk photography to larger audiences. Billi Gordon, then known as Wilbert Anthony Gordon, was the top greeting card model in the world and inspired a cottage industry including greeting cards, T-shirts, fans, stationery, gift bags, etc.

 

Parts models

 

Some models are employed for their body parts. For example, hand models may be used to promote products held in the hand and nail-related products. (e.g. rings, other jewelry or nail polish). They are frequently part of television commercials. Many parts models have exceptionally attractive body parts, but there is also demand for unattractive or unusual looking body parts for particular campaigns.

 

Hands are the most in-demand body parts. Feet models are also in high demand, particularly those who fit sample size shoes. Models are also successful modelling other specific parts including abs, arms, back, bust or chest, legs, and lips. Some petite models (females who are under 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) and do not qualify as fashion models) have found success in women's body part modelling.

 

Parts model divisions can be found at agencies worldwide. Several agencies solely represent parts models, including Hired Hands in London, Body Parts Models in Los Angeles, Carmen Hand Model Management in New York and Parts Models in New York. Parts Models is the largest parts agency, representing over 300 parts models.

 

Fitness models

 

Fitness modelling focuses on displaying a healthy, toned physique. Fitness models usually have defined muscle groups. The model's body weight is heavier due to muscle weighing more than fat; however, they have a lower body fat percentage because the muscles are toned and sculpted. Fitness models are often used in magazine advertising. Sometimes they are certified personal fitness trainers. However, other fitness models are also athletes and compete as professionals in fitness and figure competitions. There are several agencies in large markets such as New York, London, Germany that have fitness modelling agencies. While there is a large market for these models, most of these agencies are a secondary agency promoting models who typically earn their primary income as commercial models. Plus there are also magazines that gear towards specifically fitness modeling or getting fit and in shape. Fitness Models showcase their fitter side of their bodies on the covers gearing towards specific competitions in fitness and figure competitions.

 

Gravure idols

 

A gravure idol, often abbreviated to gradol, is a Japanese female model who primarily models on magazines, especially men's magazines, photobooks or DVDs.

 

"Gravure" (グラビア) is a Wasei-eigo term derived from "rotogravure", which is a type of intaglio printing process that was once a staple of newspaper photo features. The rotogravure process is still used for commercial printing of magazines, postcards, and cardboard product packaging.

 

Gravure idols appear in a wide range of photography styles and genres. Their photos are largely aimed at male audiences with poses or activities intended to be provocative or suggestive, generally accentuated by an air of playfulness and innocence rather than aggressive sexuality. Although gravure models may sometimes wear clothing that exposes most of their body, they seldom appear fully nude. Gravure models may be as young as pre-teen age up to early thirties. In addition to appearing in mainstream magazines, gravure idols often release their own professional photobooks and DVDs for their fans. Many popular female idols in Japan launched their careers by starting out as gravure idols.

 

Commercial print and on-camera models

 

Commercial print models generally appear in print ads for non-fashion products, and in television commercials. Commercial print models can earn up to $250 an hour. Commercial print models are usually non-exclusive, and primarily work in one location.

 

There are several large fashion agencies that have commercial print divisions, including Ford Models in the United States.

 

Promotional models

 

A promotional model is a model hired to drive consumer demand for a product, service, brand, or concept by directly interacting with potential consumers. The vast majority of promotional models tend to be attractive in physical appearance. They serve to provide information about the product or service and make it appealing to consumers. While the length of interaction may be short, the promotional model delivers a live experience that reflects on the product or service he or she is representing. This form of marketing touches fewer consumers for the cost than traditional advertising media (such as print, radio, and television); however, the consumer's perception of a brand, product, service, or company is often more profoundly affected by a live person-to-person experience.

 

Marketing campaigns that make use of promotional models may take place in stores or shopping malls, at tradeshows, special promotional events, clubs, or even at outdoor public spaces. They are often held at high traffic locations to reach as many consumers as possible, or at venues at which a particular type of target consumer is expected to be present.

 

Spokesmodels

 

"Spokesmodel" is a term used for a model who is employed to be associated with a specific brand in advertisements. A spokesmodel may be a celebrity used only in advertisements (in contrast to a brand ambassador who is also expected to represent the company at various events), but more often the term refers to a model who is not a celebrity in their own right. A classic example of the spokesmodel are the models hired to be the Marlboro Man between 1954 and 1999.

 

Trade show models

 

Trade show models work a trade show floor-space or booth, and represent a company to attendees. Trade show models are typically not regular employees of the company, but are freelancers hired by the company renting the booth space. They are hired for several reasons: trade show models can make a company's booth more visibly distinguishable from the hundreds of other booths with which it competes for attendee attention. They are articulate and quickly learn and explain or disseminate information on the company and its product(s) and service(s). And they can assist a company in handling a large number of attendees which the company might otherwise not have enough employees to accommodate, possibly increasing the number of sales or leads resulting from participation in the show.

 

Atmosphere models

 

Atmosphere models are hired by the producers of themed events to enhance the atmosphere or ambience of their event. They are usually dressed in costumes exemplifying the theme of the event and are often placed strategically in various locations around the venue. It is common for event guests to have their picture taken with atmosphere models. For example, if someone is throwing a "Brazilian Day" celebration, they would hire models dressed in samba costumes and headdresses to stand or walk around the party.

 

Podium models

 

Podium models differ from runway models in that they don't walk down a runway, but rather just stand on an elevated platform during fashion presentation. They are kind of like live mannequins placed in various places throughout an event. Attendees can walk up to the models and inspect and even feel the clothing. Podium Modeling is a practical alternative way of presenting fashion when space is too limited to have a full runway fashion show.

 

Art models

 

Art models pose for any visual artist as part of the creative process. Art models are often paid professionals who provide a reference or inspiration for a work of art that includes the human figure. The most common types of art created using models are figure drawing, figure painting, sculpture and photography, but almost any medium may be used. Although commercial motives dominate over aesthetics in illustration, its artwork commonly employs models. Models are most frequently employed for art classes or by informal groups of experienced artists that gather to share the expense of a model.

 

Instagram models

 

Instagram models are a recent phenomenon due to the rise of social media. These models gain their popularity due to how many followers they have on social media. Some Instagram models gain high-profile modeling gigs and become household names. High-profile model, Jen Selter, kicked off the Instagram model craze. Recently, Anna Faith and Caitlin O'Connor among many others, have had great success as Instagram Models.

Asia N. posing with restomod American Classic during New York International Auto Show

 

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photo by: Roman Kajzer @FotoManiacNYC

 

To see the entire album from the event click below:

NYC Auto SHow - Models & Product Specialists

 

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The Evolution of Auto Show ‘Booth Babes’

 

VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH INDUSTRY INSIDERS (3:03)

 

Once called ‘booth babes,’ product specialists at auto shows have evolved into trained spokespeople for car brands.

 

The rebirth of the U.S. auto industry has been accompanied by a trend that the millions of people who visit car shows each year are bound to notice: The auto-show model has made a roaring comeback.

 

After several lean years, some car companies have doubled their use of so-called product specialists, These aspiring fashion models or actors earn as much as $1,000 a day for staffing the companies’ displays and answering questions about their vehicles while looking better than almost anyone else around. For a single show, their services can cost an auto maker hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

In recent years, the job, which has long required a detailed knowledge of vehicle specs and pricing, has expanded to include market research. Hedy Popson, a onetime show model who runs a talent agency, said auto companies are interested in their models extracting as much information from show visitors as they give out.

 

“What are consumers saying?” said Ms. Popson, referring to one of the many questions car makers ask her company, Productions Plus. “Are they interested in the economy anymore? Do they want brighter colors? What do they think of the aesthetics, the style, the design?”

 

“The minute the consumer leaves, the product specialist is downloading all that [information], either on an iPad, an iPhone, by text, because that is their job,” said Ms. Popson, who oversees 300 or more models at a big show like the North American International Auto Show.

 

Some product specialists write daily briefs. Others compile a comprehensive report at the end of a show, which can run as long as two weeks.

 

The renewed demand for models stems from several factors. Auto makers are willing to dress the predominantly female hires more provocatively than was customary during the industry’s downturn and bankruptcies, said Ms. Popson. This year, with auto sales at near-decade highs and a glow overhanging Detroit, car companies see value in sex appeal. They are “saying ‘it’s time to have fun again,’ ” Ms. Popson added.

 

Not only can attractive people sell cars, they can squeeze a lot out of conversations, said Joe Gallant, Nissan Motor Co.’s auto-show and exhibits head. “Young women representing a brand at an auto show are much more approachable—I use the word accessible,” he said.

 

Men also play a part. Ken Paul Smith, a Nissan product specialist for 19 years, says he remembers getting a lot of negative feedback several years ago on a feature in the trunk of the Infiniti sedan. Show models, including Mr. Smith, scrambled to get the comments to Nissan executives, and the auto maker ordered a design change.

 

Productions Plus model, got her marching orders. Wearing an off-brand gray-leather jacket and hound’s-tooth patterned cropped pants, she gathered feedback on General Motors Co.’s redesigned Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid vehicle unveiled this week.

 

Before the show ends she will see hundreds of thousands of visitors come by the Chevy display area. And she plans to use her iPad to jot down loads of comments about the Volt. “I’m very curious to hear what they’re going to tell us now,” she said.

 

Ms. Fotiu has a lot riding on the Volt’s success. While not an engineer or car designer, she has been appearing alongside the Volt since 2011 at shows all over the country. Over two years, she collected comments on its seating, radio controls and climate systems. Those comments played a role in GM’s redesign efforts.

 

“We got a lot of feedback because this was when the technology was brand new,” she recalled. “And [consumers] really picked it apart for us. We sent all that information back to GM, and that’s why when this next generation [of the Volt] came out, it changed a lot, based on what they said.”

 

While Detroit, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles host the nation’s biggest auto shows, they are among a handful of the hundreds held across the globe each year. Even small venues can provide important insights.

 

On New Year’s Eve, Chicago-based model and actress Cathleen Hennon was working the Indy Auto Show in Indianapolis, hoping to glean useful information from the clutch of visitors braving 16-degree temperatures to attend. Ms. Hennon, in a formfitting black jumpsuit designed by La Petite Robe and necklace and earrings by Givenchy, hit pay dirt within minutes of starting her shift.

 

Nearby, Michelle Loya, wearing a red Armani jersey faux wrap dress, worked on an iPad screen jammed with remarks she had heard about Toyota cars. The Prius hybrid needed a power lift gate, according to one visitor. Another urged Toyota to make heated cloth seats an option on all vehicles.

 

“The Camry XSE rims are just plain ugly,” one visitor told her. Another suggested that Toyota should come up with a better option to its current wheels, which were “a deal breaker.”

 

Based on her several years of experience, Ms. Loya said, she believes the Japanese auto maker will take action. A few years ago, when a new version of the best-selling Camry sedan came out, it didn’t have the HomeLink garage-opening system standard on some competing makes. After getting negative feedback, including complaints from the show floor, Toyota added the system.

 

Above writen by John D. Stoll for WSJ (john.stoll@wsj.com)

LINK TO ARTICLE ON WSJ WEBSITE.

  

MODEL

 

A model (from Middle French modelle) is a person with a role either to promote, display, or advertise commercial products (notably fashion clothing) or to serve as a visual aide for people who are creating works of art or to pose for photography.

 

Modelling ("modeling" in American English) is considered to be different from other types of public performance, such as acting or dancing. Although the difference between modelling and performing is not always clear, appearing in a film or a play is not generally considered to be "modelling".

 

Types of modelling include: fashion, glamour, fitness, bikini, fine art, body-part, promotional and commercial print models. Models are featured in a variety of media formats including: books, magazines, films, newspapers, internet and TV. Fashion models are sometimes featured in films: (Looker), reality TV shows (America's Next Top Model, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency), and music videos: ("Freedom! '90", "Wicked Game", "Daughters", and "Blurred Lines").

 

Celebrities, including actors, singers, sports personalities and reality TV stars, frequently take modelling contracts in addition to their regular work.

 

HISTORY OF MODELING

 

Early years

 

Modelling as a profession was first established in 1853 by Charles Frederick Worth, the "father of haute couture", when he asked his wife, Marie Vernet Worth, to model the clothes he designed. The term "house model" was coined to describe this type of work. Eventually, this became common practice for Parisian fashion houses. There were no standard physical measurement requirements for a model, and most designers would use women of varying sizes to demonstrate variety in their designs.

 

With the development of fashion photography, the modelling profession expanded to photo modelling. Models remained fairly anonymous, and relatively poorly paid, until the late 1950's. One of the first well-known models was Lisa Fonssagrives, who was very popular in the 1930's. Fonssagrives appeared on over 200 Vogue covers, and her name recognition led to the importance of Vogue in shaping the careers of fashion models. In 1946, Ford Models was established by Eileen and Gerard Ford in New York; it is one of the oldest model agencies in the world. One of the most popular models during the 1940's was Jinx Falkenburg who was paid $25 per hour, a large sum at the time. During the 1940's and 1950's, Wilhelmina Cooper, Jean Patchett, Dovima, Dorian Leigh, Suzy Parker, Evelyn Tripp, Carmen Dell'Orefice, and Lisa Fonssagrives dominated fashion. Dorothea Church was among the first black models in the industry to gain notoriety in Paris. However, these models were unknown outside the fashion community. Compared to today's models, the models of the 1950's were more voluptuous. Wilhelmina Cooper's measurements were 38"-24"-36" whereas Chanel Iman's measurements are 32"-23"-33".

 

The 1960s and the beginning of the industry

 

In the 1960's, the modelling world began to establish modelling agencies. Throughout Europe, secretarial services acted as models' agents charging them weekly rates for their messages and bookings. For the most part, models were responsible for their own billing. In Germany, agents were not allowed to work for a percentage of a person's earnings, so referred to themselves as secretaries. With the exception of a few models travelling to Paris or New York, travelling was relatively unheard of for a model. Most models only worked in one market due to different labor laws governing modelling in various countries. In the 1960's, Italy had many fashion houses and fashion magazines but was in dire need of models. Italian agencies would often coerce models to return to Italy without work visas by withholding their pay. They would also pay their models in cash, which models would have to hide from customs agents. It was not uncommon for models staying in hotels such as La Louisiana in Paris or the Arena in Milan to have their hotel rooms raided by the police looking for their work visas. It was rumored that competing agencies were behind the raids. This led many agencies to form worldwide chains; for example, the Marilyn Agency has branches in Paris and New York.

 

By the late 1960's, London was considered the best market in Europe due to its more organised and innovative approach to modelling. It was during this period that models began to become household names. Models like: Jean Shrimpton, Joanna Lumley, Tania Mallet, Celia Hammond, Twiggy, Penelope Tree, and Pauline Stone dominated the London fashion scene and were well paid, unlike their predecessors. Twiggy became The Face of '66 at the age of 16. At this time, model agencies were not as restrictive about the models they represented, although it was uncommon for them to sign shorter models. Twiggy, who stood at 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm) with a 32" bust and had a boy's haircut, is credited with changing model ideals. At that time, she earned £80 an hour, while the average wage was £15 a week.

 

In 1967, seven of the top model agents in London formed the Association of London Model Agents. The formation of this association helped legitimize modelling and changed the fashion industry. Even with a more professional attitude towards modelling, models were still expected to have their hair and makeup done before they arrived at a shoot. Meanwhile, agencies took responsibility for a model's promotional materials and branding. That same year, former top fashion model Wilhelmina Cooper opened up her own fashion agency with her husband called Wilhelmina Models. By 1968, FM Agency and Models 1 were established and represented models in a similar way that agencies do today. By the late 1960's, models were treated better and were making better wages. One of the innovators, Ford Models, was the first agency to advance models money they were owed and would often allow teen models, who did not live locally, to reside in their house, a precursor to model housing.

 

The 1970's and 1980's

 

The innovations of the 1960's flowed into the 1970's fashion scene. As a result of model industry associations and standards, model agencies became more business minded, and more thought went into a model's promotional materials. By this time, agencies were starting to pay for a model's publicity. In the early 1970's, Scandinavia had many tall, leggy, blonde-haired, blue-eyed models and not enough clients. It was during this time that Ford Models pioneered scouting. They would spend time working with agencies holding modelling contests. This was the precursor to the Ford Models Supermodel of the World competition which was established in 1980. Ford also focused their attentions on Brazil which had a wide array of seemingly "exotic" models, which eventually led to establishment of Ford Models Brazil. It was also during this time that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue debuted. The magazine set a trend by photographing "bigger and healthier" California models, and printing their names by their photos, thus turning many of them into household names and establishing the issue as a hallmark of supermodel status.

 

The 1970's marked numerous milestones in fashion. Beverly Johnson was the first African American to appear on the cover of U.S. Vogue in 1974. Models, including Grace Jones, Donyale Luna, Minah Bird, Naomi Sims, and Toukie Smith were some of the top black fashion models who paved the way for black women in fashion. In 1975, Margaux Hemingway landed a then-unprecedented million-dollar contract as the face of Fabergé's Babe perfume and the same year appeared on the cover of Time magazine, labelled one of the "New Beauties," giving further name recognition to fashion models.

 

Many of the world's most prominent modelling agencies were established in the 1970's and early 1980's. These agencies created the standard by which agencies now run. In 1974, Nevs Models was established in London with only a men's board, the first of its kind. Elite Models was founded in Paris in 1975 as well as Friday's Models in Japan. The next year Cal-Carries was established in Singapore, the first of a chain of agencies in Asia. In 1977, Select Model Management opened its doors as well as Why Not Models in Milan. By the 1980's, agencies such as Premier Model Management, Storm Models, Mikas, Marilyn, and Metropolitan Models had been established.

 

By the 1980's, most models were able to make modelling a full-time career. It was common for models to travel abroad and work throughout Europe. As modelling became global, numerous agencies began to think globally. In 1980, Ford Models, the innovator of scouting, introduced the Ford Models Supermodel of the World contest. That same year, John Casablancas opened Elite Models in New York. In 1981, cosmetics companies began contracting top models to lucrative endorsement deals. By 1983, Elite developed its own contest titled the Elite Model Look competition. In New York during the 1980's there were so-called "model wars" in which the Ford and Elite agencies fought over models and campaigns. Models were jumping back and forth between agencies such Elite, Wilhelmina, and Ford. In New York, the late 1980's trend was the boyish look in which models had short cropped hair and looked androgynous. In Europe, the trend was the exact opposite. During this time, a lot of American models who were considered more feminine looking moved abroad. By the mid-1980's, big hair was made popular by some musical groups, and the boyish look was out. The curvaceous models who had been popular in the 1950's and early 1970's were in style again. Models like Patti Hansen earned $200 an hour for print and $2,000 for television plus residuals. It was estimated that Hansen earned about $300,000 a year during the 1980's.

 

The 1990's to present

 

The early 1990's were dominated by the high fashion models of the late 1980's. In 1990, Linda Evangelista famously said to Vogue, "we don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day". Evangelista and her contemporaries, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz and Stephanie Seymour, became arguably the most recognizable models in the world, earning the moniker of "supermodel", and were boosted to global recognition and new heights of wealth for the industry. In 1991, Turlington signed a contract with Maybelline that paid her $800,000 for twelve days' work each year.

 

By the mid‑1990's, the new "heroin chic" movement became popular amongst New York and London editorial clients. While the heroin chic movement was inspired by model Jaime King, who suffered from a heroin addiction, it was Kate Moss who became its poster child through her ads for Calvin Klein. In spite of the heroin chic movement, model Claudia Schiffer earned $12 million. With the popularity of lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret, and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, there was a need for healthier-looking supermodels such as Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum to meet commercial modelling demand. The mid‑1990's also saw many Asian countries establishing modelling agencies.

 

By the late 1990's, the heroin chic era had run its course. Teen-inspired clothing infiltrated mainstream fashion, teen pop music was on the rise, and artists such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera popularized pleather and bare midriffs. As fashion changed to a more youthful demographic, the models who rose to fame had to be sexier for the digital age. Following Gisele Bundchen's breakthrough, a wave of Brazilian models including Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Ana Beatriz Barros rose to fame on runways and became popular in commercial modelling throughout the 2000's. Some attribute this to decisions by magazines to replace models with celebrities their covers.

 

In the late 2000's, the Brazilians fell out of favor on the runways. Editorial clients were favoring models with a china-doll or alien look to them, such as Gemma Ward and Lily Cole. During the 2000's, Ford Models and NEXT Model Management were engaged in a legal battle, with each agency alleging that the other was stealing its models.

 

However, the biggest controversy of the 2000's was the health of high-fashion models participating in fashion week. While the health of models had been a concern since the 1970's, there were several high-profile news stories surrounding the deaths of young fashion models due to eating disorders and drug abuse. The British Fashion Council subsequently asked designers to sign a contract stating they would not use models under the age of sixteen. On March 3, 2012, Vogue banned models under the age of sixteen as well as models who appeared to have an eating disorder. Similarly, other countries placed bans on unhealthy, and underage models, including Spain, Italy, and Israel, which all enacted a minimum body mass index (BMI) requirement.

 

The often thin shape of many fashion models has been criticized for warping girls' body image and encouraging eating disorders. Organizers of a fashion show in Madrid in September 2006 turned away models who were judged to be underweight by medical personnel who were on hand. In February 2007, six months after her sister, Luisel Ramos, also a model, died, Uruguayan model Eliana Ramos became the third fashion model to die of malnutrition in six months. The second victim was Ana Carolina Reston. Luisel Ramos died of heart failure caused by anorexia nervosa just after stepping off the catwalk. In 2015, France passed a law requiring models to be declared healthy by a doctor in order to participate in fashion shows. The law also requires re-touched images to be marked as such in magazines.

 

In 2013, New York toughened its child labor law protections for models under the age of eighteen by passing New York Senate Bill No. 5486, which gives underage models the same labor protections afforded to child actors. Key new protections included the following: underage models are not to work before 5:00 pm or after 10:00 pm on school nights, nor were they to work later than 12:30 am on non-school nights; the models may not return to work less than twelve hours after they leave; a pediatric nurse must be on site; models under sixteen must be accompanied by an adult chaperone; parents or guardians of underage models must create a trust fund account into which employers will transfer a minimum of 15% of the child model's gross earnings; and employers must set aside time and a dedicated space for educational instruction.

 

TYPES OF MODELING

 

Runway modelling

 

Runway models showcase clothes from fashion designers, fashion media, and consumers. They are also called "live models" and are self-employed. They are wanted to be over the height of 5'8" for men and 5'6" for women. Runway models work in different locations, constantly travelling between those cities where fashion is well known—London, Milan, New York City, and Paris. Second-tier international fashion center cities include: Rome, Florence, Venice, Brescia, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Moscow. Cities where catalog work comprises the bulk of fashion packaging, merchandising and marketing work are: Miami, San Francisco, Sydney, Chicago, Toronto, Mexico City, Tokyo, Hamburg, London, and Beijing.

 

The criteria for runway models include certain height and weight requirements. During runway shows, models have to constantly change clothes and makeup. Models walk, turn, and stand in order to demonstrate a garment's key features. Models also go to interviews (called "go and sees") to present their portfolios. The more experience a model has, the more likely she/he is to be hired for a fashion show. A runway model can also work in other areas, such as department store fashion shows, and the most successful models sometimes create their own product lines or go into acting.

 

The British Association of Model Agents (AMA) says that female models should be around 34"-24"-34" and between 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) and 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) tall. The average model is very slender. Those who do not meet the size requirement may try to become a plus-size model. According to the New York Better Business Career Services website, the preferred dimensions for a male model are a height of 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) to 6 ft 2 in (189 cm), a waist of 29–32 in (73.66–81.28 cm) and a chest measurement of 39–40 in (99.06–101.60 cm). Male runway models are notably skinny and well toned.

 

Male and female models must also possess clear skin, healthy hair, and attractive facial features. Stringent weight and body proportion guidelines form the selection criteria by which established, and would‑be, models are judged for their placement suitability, on an ongoing basis. There can be some variation regionally, and by market tier, subject to current prevailing trends at any point, in any era, by agents, agencies and end-clients.

 

Formerly, the required measurements for models were 35"-23.5"-35" in (90-60-90 cm), the alleged measurements of Marilyn Monroe. Today's fashion models tend to have measurements closer to the AMA-recommended shape, but some - such as Afghan model Zohre Esmaeli - still have 35"-23.5"-35" measurements. Although in some fashion centers, a size 00 is more ideal than a size 0.

 

Plus-size models

 

Plus-size models are models who generally have larger measurements than editorial fashion models. The primary use of plus-size models is to appear in advertising and runway shows for plus-size labels. Plus-size models are also engaged in work that is not strictly related to selling large-sized clothing, e.g., stock photography and advertising photography for cosmetics, household and pharmaceutical products and sunglasses, footwear and watches. Therefore, plus-size models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines. Some plus-size models have appeared in runway shows and campaigns for mainstream retailers and designers such as Gucci, Guess, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Levi's and Versace Jeans.

 

Fit models

 

A fit model works as a sort of live mannequin to give designers and pattern makers feedback on the fit, feel, movement, and drape of a garment to be produced in a given size.

 

Glamour models

 

Glamour modelling focuses on sexuality and thus general requirements are often unclear, being dependent more on each individual case. Glamour models can be any size or shape. There is no industry standard for glamour modelling and it varies greatly by country. For the most part, glamour models are limited to modelling in calendars, men's magazines, such as Playboy, bikini modelling, lingerie modelling, fetish modelling, music videos, and extra work in films. However, some extremely popular glamour models transition into commercial print modelling, appearing in swimwear, bikini and lingerie campaigns.

 

It is widely considered that England created the market for glamour modelling when The Sun established Page 3 in 1969, a section in their newspaper which now features topless models. In the beginning, the newspaper featured sexually suggestive images of Penthouse and Playboy models. It was not until 1970 that models appeared topless. In the 1980's, The Sun's competitors followed suit and produced their own Page 3 sections. It was during this time that glamour models first came to prominence with the likes of Samantha Fox. As a result, the United Kingdom has a very large glamour market and has numerous glamour modelling agencies to this day.

 

It was not until the 1990's that modern glamour modelling was established. During this time, the fashion industry was promoting models with waif bodies and androgynous looking women, which left a void. Several fashion models, who were deemed too commercial, and too curvaceous, were frustrated with industry standards, and took a different approach. Models such as Victoria Silvstedt left the fashion world and began modelling for men's magazines. In the previous decades, posing nude for Playboy resulted in models losing their agencies and endorsements. Playboy was a stepping stone which catapulted the careers of Victoria Silvstedt, Pamela Anderson, and Anna Nicole Smith. Pamela Anderson became so popular from her Playboy spreads that she was able to land roles on Home Improvement and Baywatch.

 

In the mid-1990's, a series of men's magazines were established such as Maxim, FHM, and Stuff. At the same time, magazines including Sweden's Slitz re-branded themselves as men's magazines. Pre-internet, these magazines were popular among men in their late teens and early twenties because they were considered to be more tasteful than their predecessors. With the glamour market growing, fashion moved away from the waifs and onto Brazilian bombshells. The glamour market, which consisted mostly of commercial fashion models and commercial print models, became its own genre due to its popularity. Even in a large market like the United Kingdom, however, glamour models are not usually signed exclusively to one agency as they can not rely financially on one agency to provide them with enough work. It was, and still is, a common practice for glamour models to partake in kiss-and-tell interviews about their dalliances with famous men. The notoriety of their alleged bed-hopping often propels their popularity and they are often promoted by their current or former fling. With Page 3 models becoming fixtures in the British tabloids, glamour models such as Jordan, now known as Katie Price, became household names. By 2004, Page 3 regulars earned anywhere from £30,000 to 40,000, where the average salary of a non-Page 3 model, as of 2011, was between £10,000 and 20,000. In the early 2000's, glamour models, and aspiring glamour models, appeared on reality television shows such as Big Brother to gain fame. Several Big Brother alumni parlayed their fifteen minutes of fame into successful glamour modelling careers. However, the glamour market became saturated by the mid-2000's, and numerous men's magazines including Arena, Stuff and FHM in the United States went under. During this time, there was a growing trend of glamour models, including Kellie Acreman and Lauren Pope, becoming DJs to supplement their income. In a 2012 interview, Keeley Hazell said that going topless is not the best way to achieve success and that "[she] was lucky to be in that 1% of people that get that, and become really successful."

 

Alternative models

 

An alternative model is any model who does not fit into the conventional model types and may include punk, goth, fetish, and tattooed models or models with distinctive attributes. This type of modeling is usually a cross between glamour modeling and art modeling. Publishers such as Goliath Books in Germany introduced alternative models and punk photography to larger audiences. Billi Gordon, then known as Wilbert Anthony Gordon, was the top greeting card model in the world and inspired a cottage industry including greeting cards, T-shirts, fans, stationery, gift bags, etc.

 

Parts models

 

Some models are employed for their body parts. For example, hand models may be used to promote products held in the hand and nail-related products. (e.g. rings, other jewelry or nail polish). They are frequently part of television commercials. Many parts models have exceptionally attractive body parts, but there is also demand for unattractive or unusual looking body parts for particular campaigns.

 

Hands are the most in-demand body parts. Feet models are also in high demand, particularly those who fit sample size shoes. Models are also successful modelling other specific parts including abs, arms, back, bust or chest, legs, and lips. Some petite models (females who are under 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) and do not qualify as fashion models) have found success in women's body part modelling.

 

Parts model divisions can be found at agencies worldwide. Several agencies solely represent parts models, including Hired Hands in London, Body Parts Models in Los Angeles, Carmen Hand Model Management in New York and Parts Models in New York. Parts Models is the largest parts agency, representing over 300 parts models.

 

Fitness models

 

Fitness modelling focuses on displaying a healthy, toned physique. Fitness models usually have defined muscle groups. The model's body weight is heavier due to muscle weighing more than fat; however, they have a lower body fat percentage because the muscles are toned and sculpted. Fitness models are often used in magazine advertising. Sometimes they are certified personal fitness trainers. However, other fitness models are also athletes and compete as professionals in fitness and figure competitions. There are several agencies in large markets such as New York, London, Germany that have fitness modelling agencies. While there is a large market for these models, most of these agencies are a secondary agency promoting models who typically earn their primary income as commercial models. Plus there are also magazines that gear towards specifically fitness modeling or getting fit and in shape. Fitness Models showcase their fitter side of their bodies on the covers gearing towards specific competitions in fitness and figure competitions.

 

Gravure idols

 

A gravure idol, often abbreviated to gradol, is a Japanese female model who primarily models on magazines, especially men's magazines, photobooks or DVDs.

 

"Gravure" (グラビア) is a Wasei-eigo term derived from "rotogravure", which is a type of intaglio printing process that was once a staple of newspaper photo features. The rotogravure process is still used for commercial printing of magazines, postcards, and cardboard product packaging.

 

Gravure idols appear in a wide range of photography styles and genres. Their photos are largely aimed at male audiences with poses or activities intended to be provocative or suggestive, generally accentuated by an air of playfulness and innocence rather than aggressive sexuality. Although gravure models may sometimes wear clothing that exposes most of their body, they seldom appear fully nude. Gravure models may be as young as pre-teen age up to early thirties. In addition to appearing in mainstream magazines, gravure idols often release their own professional photobooks and DVDs for their fans. Many popular female idols in Japan launched their careers by starting out as gravure idols.

 

Commercial print and on-camera models

 

Commercial print models generally appear in print ads for non-fashion products, and in television commercials. Commercial print models can earn up to $250 an hour. Commercial print models are usually non-exclusive, and primarily work in one location.

 

There are several large fashion agencies that have commercial print divisions, including Ford Models in the United States.

 

Promotional models

 

A promotional model is a model hired to drive consumer demand for a product, service, brand, or concept by directly interacting with potential consumers. The vast majority of promotional models tend to be attractive in physical appearance. They serve to provide information about the product or service and make it appealing to consumers. While the length of interaction may be short, the promotional model delivers a live experience that reflects on the product or service he or she is representing. This form of marketing touches fewer consumers for the cost than traditional advertising media (such as print, radio, and television); however, the consumer's perception of a brand, product, service, or company is often more profoundly affected by a live person-to-person experience.

 

Marketing campaigns that make use of promotional models may take place in stores or shopping malls, at tradeshows, special promotional events, clubs, or even at outdoor public spaces. They are often held at high traffic locations to reach as many consumers as possible, or at venues at which a particular type of target consumer is expected to be present.

 

Spokesmodels

 

"Spokesmodel" is a term used for a model who is employed to be associated with a specific brand in advertisements. A spokesmodel may be a celebrity used only in advertisements (in contrast to a brand ambassador who is also expected to represent the company at various events), but more often the term refers to a model who is not a celebrity in their own right. A classic example of the spokesmodel are the models hired to be the Marlboro Man between 1954 and 1999.

 

Trade show models

 

Trade show models work a trade show floor-space or booth, and represent a company to attendees. Trade show models are typically not regular employees of the company, but are freelancers hired by the company renting the booth space. They are hired for several reasons: trade show models can make a company's booth more visibly distinguishable from the hundreds of other booths with which it competes for attendee attention. They are articulate and quickly learn and explain or disseminate information on the company and its product(s) and service(s). And they can assist a company in handling a large number of attendees which the company might otherwise not have enough employees to accommodate, possibly increasing the number of sales or leads resulting from participation in the show.

 

Atmosphere models

 

Atmosphere models are hired by the producers of themed events to enhance the atmosphere or ambience of their event. They are usually dressed in costumes exemplifying the theme of the event and are often placed strategically in various locations around the venue. It is common for event guests to have their picture taken with atmosphere models. For example, if someone is throwing a "Brazilian Day" celebration, they would hire models dressed in samba costumes and headdresses to stand or walk around the party.

 

Podium models

 

Podium models differ from runway models in that they don't walk down a runway, but rather just stand on an elevated platform during fashion presentation. They are kind of like live mannequins placed in various places throughout an event. Attendees can walk up to the models and inspect and even feel the clothing. Podium Modeling is a practical alternative way of presenting fashion when space is too limited to have a full runway fashion show.

 

Art models

 

Art models pose for any visual artist as part of the creative process. Art models are often paid professionals who provide a reference or inspiration for a work of art that includes the human figure. The most common types of art created using models are figure drawing, figure painting, sculpture and photography, but almost any medium may be used. Although commercial motives dominate over aesthetics in illustration, its artwork commonly employs models. Models are most frequently employed for art classes or by informal groups of experienced artists that gather to share the expense of a model.

 

Instagram models

 

Instagram models are a recent phenomenon due to the rise of social media. These models gain their popularity due to how many followers they have on social media. Some Instagram models gain high-profile modeling gigs and become household names. High-profile model, Jen Selter, kicked off the Instagram model craze. Recently, Anna Faith and Caitlin O'Connor among many others, have had great success as Instagram Models.

Model posing during New York International Auto Show

 

FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / FLICKR / TWITTER

photo by: Roman Kajzer @FotoManiacNYC

 

To see the entire album from the event click below:

NYC Auto SHow - Models & Product Specialists

 

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The Evolution of Auto Show ‘Booth Babes’

 

VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH INDUSTRY INSIDERS (3:03)

 

Once called ‘booth babes,’ product specialists at auto shows have evolved into trained spokespeople for car brands.

 

The rebirth of the U.S. auto industry has been accompanied by a trend that the millions of people who visit car shows each year are bound to notice: The auto-show model has made a roaring comeback.

 

After several lean years, some car companies have doubled their use of so-called product specialists, These aspiring fashion models or actors earn as much as $1,000 a day for staffing the companies’ displays and answering questions about their vehicles while looking better than almost anyone else around. For a single show, their services can cost an auto maker hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

In recent years, the job, which has long required a detailed knowledge of vehicle specs and pricing, has expanded to include market research. Hedy Popson, a onetime show model who runs a talent agency, said auto companies are interested in their models extracting as much information from show visitors as they give out.

 

“What are consumers saying?” said Ms. Popson, referring to one of the many questions car makers ask her company, Productions Plus. “Are they interested in the economy anymore? Do they want brighter colors? What do they think of the aesthetics, the style, the design?”

 

“The minute the consumer leaves, the product specialist is downloading all that [information], either on an iPad, an iPhone, by text, because that is their job,” said Ms. Popson, who oversees 300 or more models at a big show like the North American International Auto Show.

 

Some product specialists write daily briefs. Others compile a comprehensive report at the end of a show, which can run as long as two weeks.

 

The renewed demand for models stems from several factors. Auto makers are willing to dress the predominantly female hires more provocatively than was customary during the industry’s downturn and bankruptcies, said Ms. Popson. This year, with auto sales at near-decade highs and a glow overhanging Detroit, car companies see value in sex appeal. They are “saying ‘it’s time to have fun again,’ ” Ms. Popson added.

 

Not only can attractive people sell cars, they can squeeze a lot out of conversations, said Joe Gallant, Nissan Motor Co.’s auto-show and exhibits head. “Young women representing a brand at an auto show are much more approachable—I use the word accessible,” he said.

 

Men also play a part. Ken Paul Smith, a Nissan product specialist for 19 years, says he remembers getting a lot of negative feedback several years ago on a feature in the trunk of the Infiniti sedan. Show models, including Mr. Smith, scrambled to get the comments to Nissan executives, and the auto maker ordered a design change.

 

Productions Plus model, got her marching orders. Wearing an off-brand gray-leather jacket and hound’s-tooth patterned cropped pants, she gathered feedback on General Motors Co.’s redesigned Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid vehicle unveiled this week.

 

Before the show ends she will see hundreds of thousands of visitors come by the Chevy display area. And she plans to use her iPad to jot down loads of comments about the Volt. “I’m very curious to hear what they’re going to tell us now,” she said.

 

Ms. Fotiu has a lot riding on the Volt’s success. While not an engineer or car designer, she has been appearing alongside the Volt since 2011 at shows all over the country. Over two years, she collected comments on its seating, radio controls and climate systems. Those comments played a role in GM’s redesign efforts.

 

“We got a lot of feedback because this was when the technology was brand new,” she recalled. “And [consumers] really picked it apart for us. We sent all that information back to GM, and that’s why when this next generation [of the Volt] came out, it changed a lot, based on what they said.”

 

While Detroit, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles host the nation’s biggest auto shows, they are among a handful of the hundreds held across the globe each year. Even small venues can provide important insights.

 

On New Year’s Eve, Chicago-based model and actress Cathleen Hennon was working the Indy Auto Show in Indianapolis, hoping to glean useful information from the clutch of visitors braving 16-degree temperatures to attend. Ms. Hennon, in a formfitting black jumpsuit designed by La Petite Robe and necklace and earrings by Givenchy, hit pay dirt within minutes of starting her shift.

 

Nearby, Michelle Loya, wearing a red Armani jersey faux wrap dress, worked on an iPad screen jammed with remarks she had heard about Toyota cars. The Prius hybrid needed a power lift gate, according to one visitor. Another urged Toyota to make heated cloth seats an option on all vehicles.

 

“The Camry XSE rims are just plain ugly,” one visitor told her. Another suggested that Toyota should come up with a better option to its current wheels, which were “a deal breaker.”

 

Based on her several years of experience, Ms. Loya said, she believes the Japanese auto maker will take action. A few years ago, when a new version of the best-selling Camry sedan came out, it didn’t have the HomeLink garage-opening system standard on some competing makes. After getting negative feedback, including complaints from the show floor, Toyota added the system.

 

Above writen by John D. Stoll for WSJ (john.stoll@wsj.com)

LINK TO ARTICLE ON WSJ WEBSITE.

  

MODEL

 

A model (from Middle French modelle) is a person with a role either to promote, display, or advertise commercial products (notably fashion clothing) or to serve as a visual aide for people who are creating works of art or to pose for photography.

 

Modelling ("modeling" in American English) is considered to be different from other types of public performance, such as acting or dancing. Although the difference between modelling and performing is not always clear, appearing in a film or a play is not generally considered to be "modelling".

 

Types of modelling include: fashion, glamour, fitness, bikini, fine art, body-part, promotional and commercial print models. Models are featured in a variety of media formats including: books, magazines, films, newspapers, internet and TV. Fashion models are sometimes featured in films: (Looker), reality TV shows (America's Next Top Model, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency), and music videos: ("Freedom! '90", "Wicked Game", "Daughters", and "Blurred Lines").

 

Celebrities, including actors, singers, sports personalities and reality TV stars, frequently take modelling contracts in addition to their regular work.

 

HISTORY OF MODELING

 

Early years

 

Modelling as a profession was first established in 1853 by Charles Frederick Worth, the "father of haute couture", when he asked his wife, Marie Vernet Worth, to model the clothes he designed. The term "house model" was coined to describe this type of work. Eventually, this became common practice for Parisian fashion houses. There were no standard physical measurement requirements for a model, and most designers would use women of varying sizes to demonstrate variety in their designs.

 

With the development of fashion photography, the modelling profession expanded to photo modelling. Models remained fairly anonymous, and relatively poorly paid, until the late 1950's. One of the first well-known models was Lisa Fonssagrives, who was very popular in the 1930's. Fonssagrives appeared on over 200 Vogue covers, and her name recognition led to the importance of Vogue in shaping the careers of fashion models. In 1946, Ford Models was established by Eileen and Gerard Ford in New York; it is one of the oldest model agencies in the world. One of the most popular models during the 1940's was Jinx Falkenburg who was paid $25 per hour, a large sum at the time. During the 1940's and 1950's, Wilhelmina Cooper, Jean Patchett, Dovima, Dorian Leigh, Suzy Parker, Evelyn Tripp, Carmen Dell'Orefice, and Lisa Fonssagrives dominated fashion. Dorothea Church was among the first black models in the industry to gain notoriety in Paris. However, these models were unknown outside the fashion community. Compared to today's models, the models of the 1950's were more voluptuous. Wilhelmina Cooper's measurements were 38"-24"-36" whereas Chanel Iman's measurements are 32"-23"-33".

 

The 1960s and the beginning of the industry

 

In the 1960's, the modelling world began to establish modelling agencies. Throughout Europe, secretarial services acted as models' agents charging them weekly rates for their messages and bookings. For the most part, models were responsible for their own billing. In Germany, agents were not allowed to work for a percentage of a person's earnings, so referred to themselves as secretaries. With the exception of a few models travelling to Paris or New York, travelling was relatively unheard of for a model. Most models only worked in one market due to different labor laws governing modelling in various countries. In the 1960's, Italy had many fashion houses and fashion magazines but was in dire need of models. Italian agencies would often coerce models to return to Italy without work visas by withholding their pay. They would also pay their models in cash, which models would have to hide from customs agents. It was not uncommon for models staying in hotels such as La Louisiana in Paris or the Arena in Milan to have their hotel rooms raided by the police looking for their work visas. It was rumored that competing agencies were behind the raids. This led many agencies to form worldwide chains; for example, the Marilyn Agency has branches in Paris and New York.

 

By the late 1960's, London was considered the best market in Europe due to its more organised and innovative approach to modelling. It was during this period that models began to become household names. Models like: Jean Shrimpton, Joanna Lumley, Tania Mallet, Celia Hammond, Twiggy, Penelope Tree, and Pauline Stone dominated the London fashion scene and were well paid, unlike their predecessors. Twiggy became The Face of '66 at the age of 16. At this time, model agencies were not as restrictive about the models they represented, although it was uncommon for them to sign shorter models. Twiggy, who stood at 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm) with a 32" bust and had a boy's haircut, is credited with changing model ideals. At that time, she earned £80 an hour, while the average wage was £15 a week.

 

In 1967, seven of the top model agents in London formed the Association of London Model Agents. The formation of this association helped legitimize modelling and changed the fashion industry. Even with a more professional attitude towards modelling, models were still expected to have their hair and makeup done before they arrived at a shoot. Meanwhile, agencies took responsibility for a model's promotional materials and branding. That same year, former top fashion model Wilhelmina Cooper opened up her own fashion agency with her husband called Wilhelmina Models. By 1968, FM Agency and Models 1 were established and represented models in a similar way that agencies do today. By the late 1960's, models were treated better and were making better wages. One of the innovators, Ford Models, was the first agency to advance models money they were owed and would often allow teen models, who did not live locally, to reside in their house, a precursor to model housing.

 

The 1970's and 1980's

 

The innovations of the 1960's flowed into the 1970's fashion scene. As a result of model industry associations and standards, model agencies became more business minded, and more thought went into a model's promotional materials. By this time, agencies were starting to pay for a model's publicity. In the early 1970's, Scandinavia had many tall, leggy, blonde-haired, blue-eyed models and not enough clients. It was during this time that Ford Models pioneered scouting. They would spend time working with agencies holding modelling contests. This was the precursor to the Ford Models Supermodel of the World competition which was established in 1980. Ford also focused their attentions on Brazil which had a wide array of seemingly "exotic" models, which eventually led to establishment of Ford Models Brazil. It was also during this time that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue debuted. The magazine set a trend by photographing "bigger and healthier" California models, and printing their names by their photos, thus turning many of them into household names and establishing the issue as a hallmark of supermodel status.

 

The 1970's marked numerous milestones in fashion. Beverly Johnson was the first African American to appear on the cover of U.S. Vogue in 1974. Models, including Grace Jones, Donyale Luna, Minah Bird, Naomi Sims, and Toukie Smith were some of the top black fashion models who paved the way for black women in fashion. In 1975, Margaux Hemingway landed a then-unprecedented million-dollar contract as the face of Fabergé's Babe perfume and the same year appeared on the cover of Time magazine, labelled one of the "New Beauties," giving further name recognition to fashion models.

 

Many of the world's most prominent modelling agencies were established in the 1970's and early 1980's. These agencies created the standard by which agencies now run. In 1974, Nevs Models was established in London with only a men's board, the first of its kind. Elite Models was founded in Paris in 1975 as well as Friday's Models in Japan. The next year Cal-Carries was established in Singapore, the first of a chain of agencies in Asia. In 1977, Select Model Management opened its doors as well as Why Not Models in Milan. By the 1980's, agencies such as Premier Model Management, Storm Models, Mikas, Marilyn, and Metropolitan Models had been established.

 

By the 1980's, most models were able to make modelling a full-time career. It was common for models to travel abroad and work throughout Europe. As modelling became global, numerous agencies began to think globally. In 1980, Ford Models, the innovator of scouting, introduced the Ford Models Supermodel of the World contest. That same year, John Casablancas opened Elite Models in New York. In 1981, cosmetics companies began contracting top models to lucrative endorsement deals. By 1983, Elite developed its own contest titled the Elite Model Look competition. In New York during the 1980's there were so-called "model wars" in which the Ford and Elite agencies fought over models and campaigns. Models were jumping back and forth between agencies such Elite, Wilhelmina, and Ford. In New York, the late 1980's trend was the boyish look in which models had short cropped hair and looked androgynous. In Europe, the trend was the exact opposite. During this time, a lot of American models who were considered more feminine looking moved abroad. By the mid-1980's, big hair was made popular by some musical groups, and the boyish look was out. The curvaceous models who had been popular in the 1950's and early 1970's were in style again. Models like Patti Hansen earned $200 an hour for print and $2,000 for television plus residuals. It was estimated that Hansen earned about $300,000 a year during the 1980's.

 

The 1990's to present

 

The early 1990's were dominated by the high fashion models of the late 1980's. In 1990, Linda Evangelista famously said to Vogue, "we don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day". Evangelista and her contemporaries, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz and Stephanie Seymour, became arguably the most recognizable models in the world, earning the moniker of "supermodel", and were boosted to global recognition and new heights of wealth for the industry. In 1991, Turlington signed a contract with Maybelline that paid her $800,000 for twelve days' work each year.

 

By the mid‑1990's, the new "heroin chic" movement became popular amongst New York and London editorial clients. While the heroin chic movement was inspired by model Jaime King, who suffered from a heroin addiction, it was Kate Moss who became its poster child through her ads for Calvin Klein. In spite of the heroin chic movement, model Claudia Schiffer earned $12 million. With the popularity of lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret, and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, there was a need for healthier-looking supermodels such as Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum to meet commercial modelling demand. The mid‑1990's also saw many Asian countries establishing modelling agencies.

 

By the late 1990's, the heroin chic era had run its course. Teen-inspired clothing infiltrated mainstream fashion, teen pop music was on the rise, and artists such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera popularized pleather and bare midriffs. As fashion changed to a more youthful demographic, the models who rose to fame had to be sexier for the digital age. Following Gisele Bundchen's breakthrough, a wave of Brazilian models including Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Ana Beatriz Barros rose to fame on runways and became popular in commercial modelling throughout the 2000's. Some attribute this to decisions by magazines to replace models with celebrities their covers.

 

In the late 2000's, the Brazilians fell out of favor on the runways. Editorial clients were favoring models with a china-doll or alien look to them, such as Gemma Ward and Lily Cole. During the 2000's, Ford Models and NEXT Model Management were engaged in a legal battle, with each agency alleging that the other was stealing its models.

 

However, the biggest controversy of the 2000's was the health of high-fashion models participating in fashion week. While the health of models had been a concern since the 1970's, there were several high-profile news stories surrounding the deaths of young fashion models due to eating disorders and drug abuse. The British Fashion Council subsequently asked designers to sign a contract stating they would not use models under the age of sixteen. On March 3, 2012, Vogue banned models under the age of sixteen as well as models who appeared to have an eating disorder. Similarly, other countries placed bans on unhealthy, and underage models, including Spain, Italy, and Israel, which all enacted a minimum body mass index (BMI) requirement.

 

The often thin shape of many fashion models has been criticized for warping girls' body image and encouraging eating disorders. Organizers of a fashion show in Madrid in September 2006 turned away models who were judged to be underweight by medical personnel who were on hand. In February 2007, six months after her sister, Luisel Ramos, also a model, died, Uruguayan model Eliana Ramos became the third fashion model to die of malnutrition in six months. The second victim was Ana Carolina Reston. Luisel Ramos died of heart failure caused by anorexia nervosa just after stepping off the catwalk. In 2015, France passed a law requiring models to be declared healthy by a doctor in order to participate in fashion shows. The law also requires re-touched images to be marked as such in magazines.

 

In 2013, New York toughened its child labor law protections for models under the age of eighteen by passing New York Senate Bill No. 5486, which gives underage models the same labor protections afforded to child actors. Key new protections included the following: underage models are not to work before 5:00 pm or after 10:00 pm on school nights, nor were they to work later than 12:30 am on non-school nights; the models may not return to work less than twelve hours after they leave; a pediatric nurse must be on site; models under sixteen must be accompanied by an adult chaperone; parents or guardians of underage models must create a trust fund account into which employers will transfer a minimum of 15% of the child model's gross earnings; and employers must set aside time and a dedicated space for educational instruction.

 

TYPES OF MODELING

 

Runway modelling

 

Runway models showcase clothes from fashion designers, fashion media, and consumers. They are also called "live models" and are self-employed. They are wanted to be over the height of 5'8" for men and 5'6" for women. Runway models work in different locations, constantly travelling between those cities where fashion is well known—London, Milan, New York City, and Paris. Second-tier international fashion center cities include: Rome, Florence, Venice, Brescia, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Moscow. Cities where catalog work comprises the bulk of fashion packaging, merchandising and marketing work are: Miami, San Francisco, Sydney, Chicago, Toronto, Mexico City, Tokyo, Hamburg, London, and Beijing.

 

The criteria for runway models include certain height and weight requirements. During runway shows, models have to constantly change clothes and makeup. Models walk, turn, and stand in order to demonstrate a garment's key features. Models also go to interviews (called "go and sees") to present their portfolios. The more experience a model has, the more likely she/he is to be hired for a fashion show. A runway model can also work in other areas, such as department store fashion shows, and the most successful models sometimes create their own product lines or go into acting.

 

The British Association of Model Agents (AMA) says that female models should be around 34"-24"-34" and between 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) and 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) tall. The average model is very slender. Those who do not meet the size requirement may try to become a plus-size model. According to the New York Better Business Career Services website, the preferred dimensions for a male model are a height of 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) to 6 ft 2 in (189 cm), a waist of 29–32 in (73.66–81.28 cm) and a chest measurement of 39–40 in (99.06–101.60 cm). Male runway models are notably skinny and well toned.

 

Male and female models must also possess clear skin, healthy hair, and attractive facial features. Stringent weight and body proportion guidelines form the selection criteria by which established, and would‑be, models are judged for their placement suitability, on an ongoing basis. There can be some variation regionally, and by market tier, subject to current prevailing trends at any point, in any era, by agents, agencies and end-clients.

 

Formerly, the required measurements for models were 35"-23.5"-35" in (90-60-90 cm), the alleged measurements of Marilyn Monroe. Today's fashion models tend to have measurements closer to the AMA-recommended shape, but some - such as Afghan model Zohre Esmaeli - still have 35"-23.5"-35" measurements. Although in some fashion centers, a size 00 is more ideal than a size 0.

 

Plus-size models

 

Plus-size models are models who generally have larger measurements than editorial fashion models. The primary use of plus-size models is to appear in advertising and runway shows for plus-size labels. Plus-size models are also engaged in work that is not strictly related to selling large-sized clothing, e.g., stock photography and advertising photography for cosmetics, household and pharmaceutical products and sunglasses, footwear and watches. Therefore, plus-size models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines. Some plus-size models have appeared in runway shows and campaigns for mainstream retailers and designers such as Gucci, Guess, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Levi's and Versace Jeans.

 

Fit models

 

A fit model works as a sort of live mannequin to give designers and pattern makers feedback on the fit, feel, movement, and drape of a garment to be produced in a given size.

 

Glamour models

 

Glamour modelling focuses on sexuality and thus general requirements are often unclear, being dependent more on each individual case. Glamour models can be any size or shape. There is no industry standard for glamour modelling and it varies greatly by country. For the most part, glamour models are limited to modelling in calendars, men's magazines, such as Playboy, bikini modelling, lingerie modelling, fetish modelling, music videos, and extra work in films. However, some extremely popular glamour models transition into commercial print modelling, appearing in swimwear, bikini and lingerie campaigns.

 

It is widely considered that England created the market for glamour modelling when The Sun established Page 3 in 1969, a section in their newspaper which now features topless models. In the beginning, the newspaper featured sexually suggestive images of Penthouse and Playboy models. It was not until 1970 that models appeared topless. In the 1980's, The Sun's competitors followed suit and produced their own Page 3 sections. It was during this time that glamour models first came to prominence with the likes of Samantha Fox. As a result, the United Kingdom has a very large glamour market and has numerous glamour modelling agencies to this day.

 

It was not until the 1990's that modern glamour modelling was established. During this time, the fashion industry was promoting models with waif bodies and androgynous looking women, which left a void. Several fashion models, who were deemed too commercial, and too curvaceous, were frustrated with industry standards, and took a different approach. Models such as Victoria Silvstedt left the fashion world and began modelling for men's magazines. In the previous decades, posing nude for Playboy resulted in models losing their agencies and endorsements. Playboy was a stepping stone which catapulted the careers of Victoria Silvstedt, Pamela Anderson, and Anna Nicole Smith. Pamela Anderson became so popular from her Playboy spreads that she was able to land roles on Home Improvement and Baywatch.

 

In the mid-1990's, a series of men's magazines were established such as Maxim, FHM, and Stuff. At the same time, magazines including Sweden's Slitz re-branded themselves as men's magazines. Pre-internet, these magazines were popular among men in their late teens and early twenties because they were considered to be more tasteful than their predecessors. With the glamour market growing, fashion moved away from the waifs and onto Brazilian bombshells. The glamour market, which consisted mostly of commercial fashion models and commercial print models, became its own genre due to its popularity. Even in a large market like the United Kingdom, however, glamour models are not usually signed exclusively to one agency as they can not rely financially on one agency to provide them with enough work. It was, and still is, a common practice for glamour models to partake in kiss-and-tell interviews about their dalliances with famous men. The notoriety of their alleged bed-hopping often propels their popularity and they are often promoted by their current or former fling. With Page 3 models becoming fixtures in the British tabloids, glamour models such as Jordan, now known as Katie Price, became household names. By 2004, Page 3 regulars earned anywhere from £30,000 to 40,000, where the average salary of a non-Page 3 model, as of 2011, was between £10,000 and 20,000. In the early 2000's, glamour models, and aspiring glamour models, appeared on reality television shows such as Big Brother to gain fame. Several Big Brother alumni parlayed their fifteen minutes of fame into successful glamour modelling careers. However, the glamour market became saturated by the mid-2000's, and numerous men's magazines including Arena, Stuff and FHM in the United States went under. During this time, there was a growing trend of glamour models, including Kellie Acreman and Lauren Pope, becoming DJs to supplement their income. In a 2012 interview, Keeley Hazell said that going topless is not the best way to achieve success and that "[she] was lucky to be in that 1% of people that get that, and become really successful."

 

Alternative models

 

An alternative model is any model who does not fit into the conventional model types and may include punk, goth, fetish, and tattooed models or models with distinctive attributes. This type of modeling is usually a cross between glamour modeling and art modeling. Publishers such as Goliath Books in Germany introduced alternative models and punk photography to larger audiences. Billi Gordon, then known as Wilbert Anthony Gordon, was the top greeting card model in the world and inspired a cottage industry including greeting cards, T-shirts, fans, stationery, gift bags, etc.

 

Parts models

 

Some models are employed for their body parts. For example, hand models may be used to promote products held in the hand and nail-related products. (e.g. rings, other jewelry or nail polish). They are frequently part of television commercials. Many parts models have exceptionally attractive body parts, but there is also demand for unattractive or unusual looking body parts for particular campaigns.

 

Hands are the most in-demand body parts. Feet models are also in high demand, particularly those who fit sample size shoes. Models are also successful modelling other specific parts including abs, arms, back, bust or chest, legs, and lips. Some petite models (females who are under 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) and do not qualify as fashion models) have found success in women's body part modelling.

 

Parts model divisions can be found at agencies worldwide. Several agencies solely represent parts models, including Hired Hands in London, Body Parts Models in Los Angeles, Carmen Hand Model Management in New York and Parts Models in New York. Parts Models is the largest parts agency, representing over 300 parts models.

 

Fitness models

 

Fitness modelling focuses on displaying a healthy, toned physique. Fitness models usually have defined muscle groups. The model's body weight is heavier due to muscle weighing more than fat; however, they have a lower body fat percentage because the muscles are toned and sculpted. Fitness models are often used in magazine advertising. Sometimes they are certified personal fitness trainers. However, other fitness models are also athletes and compete as professionals in fitness and figure competitions. There are several agencies in large markets such as New York, London, Germany that have fitness modelling agencies. While there is a large market for these models, most of these agencies are a secondary agency promoting models who typically earn their primary income as commercial models. Plus there are also magazines that gear towards specifically fitness modeling or getting fit and in shape. Fitness Models showcase their fitter side of their bodies on the covers gearing towards specific competitions in fitness and figure competitions.

 

Gravure idols

 

A gravure idol, often abbreviated to gradol, is a Japanese female model who primarily models on magazines, especially men's magazines, photobooks or DVDs.

 

"Gravure" (グラビア) is a Wasei-eigo term derived from "rotogravure", which is a type of intaglio printing process that was once a staple of newspaper photo features. The rotogravure process is still used for commercial printing of magazines, postcards, and cardboard product packaging.

 

Gravure idols appear in a wide range of photography styles and genres. Their photos are largely aimed at male audiences with poses or activities intended to be provocative or suggestive, generally accentuated by an air of playfulness and innocence rather than aggressive sexuality. Although gravure models may sometimes wear clothing that exposes most of their body, they seldom appear fully nude. Gravure models may be as young as pre-teen age up to early thirties. In addition to appearing in mainstream magazines, gravure idols often release their own professional photobooks and DVDs for their fans. Many popular female idols in Japan launched their careers by starting out as gravure idols.

 

Commercial print and on-camera models

 

Commercial print models generally appear in print ads for non-fashion products, and in television commercials. Commercial print models can earn up to $250 an hour. Commercial print models are usually non-exclusive, and primarily work in one location.

 

There are several large fashion agencies that have commercial print divisions, including Ford Models in the United States.

 

Promotional models

 

A promotional model is a model hired to drive consumer demand for a product, service, brand, or concept by directly interacting with potential consumers. The vast majority of promotional models tend to be attractive in physical appearance. They serve to provide information about the product or service and make it appealing to consumers. While the length of interaction may be short, the promotional model delivers a live experience that reflects on the product or service he or she is representing. This form of marketing touches fewer consumers for the cost than traditional advertising media (such as print, radio, and television); however, the consumer's perception of a brand, product, service, or company is often more profoundly affected by a live person-to-person experience.

 

Marketing campaigns that make use of promotional models may take place in stores or shopping malls, at tradeshows, special promotional events, clubs, or even at outdoor public spaces. They are often held at high traffic locations to reach as many consumers as possible, or at venues at which a particular type of target consumer is expected to be present.

 

Spokesmodels

 

"Spokesmodel" is a term used for a model who is employed to be associated with a specific brand in advertisements. A spokesmodel may be a celebrity used only in advertisements (in contrast to a brand ambassador who is also expected to represent the company at various events), but more often the term refers to a model who is not a celebrity in their own right. A classic example of the spokesmodel are the models hired to be the Marlboro Man between 1954 and 1999.

 

Trade show models

 

Trade show models work a trade show floor-space or booth, and represent a company to attendees. Trade show models are typically not regular employees of the company, but are freelancers hired by the company renting the booth space. They are hired for several reasons: trade show models can make a company's booth more visibly distinguishable from the hundreds of other booths with which it competes for attendee attention. They are articulate and quickly learn and explain or disseminate information on the company and its product(s) and service(s). And they can assist a company in handling a large number of attendees which the company might otherwise not have enough employees to accommodate, possibly increasing the number of sales or leads resulting from participation in the show.

 

Atmosphere models

 

Atmosphere models are hired by the producers of themed events to enhance the atmosphere or ambience of their event. They are usually dressed in costumes exemplifying the theme of the event and are often placed strategically in various locations around the venue. It is common for event guests to have their picture taken with atmosphere models. For example, if someone is throwing a "Brazilian Day" celebration, they would hire models dressed in samba costumes and headdresses to stand or walk around the party.

 

Podium models

 

Podium models differ from runway models in that they don't walk down a runway, but rather just stand on an elevated platform during fashion presentation. They are kind of like live mannequins placed in various places throughout an event. Attendees can walk up to the models and inspect and even feel the clothing. Podium Modeling is a practical alternative way of presenting fashion when space is too limited to have a full runway fashion show.

 

Art models

 

Art models pose for any visual artist as part of the creative process. Art models are often paid professionals who provide a reference or inspiration for a work of art that includes the human figure. The most common types of art created using models are figure drawing, figure painting, sculpture and photography, but almost any medium may be used. Although commercial motives dominate over aesthetics in illustration, its artwork commonly employs models. Models are most frequently employed for art classes or by informal groups of experienced artists that gather to share the expense of a model.

 

Instagram models

 

Instagram models are a recent phenomenon due to the rise of social media. These models gain their popularity due to how many followers they have on social media. Some Instagram models gain high-profile modeling gigs and become household names. High-profile model, Jen Selter, kicked off the Instagram model craze. Recently, Anna Faith and Caitlin O'Connor among many others, have had great success as Instagram Models.

Diana P. posing with restomod American Classic during New York International Auto Show

 

FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / FLICKR / TWITTER

photo by: Roman Kajzer @FotoManiacNYC

 

To see the entire album from the event click below:

NYC Auto SHow - Models & Product Specialists

 

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The Evolution of Auto Show ‘Booth Babes’

 

VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH INDUSTRY INSIDERS (3:03)

 

Once called ‘booth babes,’ product specialists at auto shows have evolved into trained spokespeople for car brands.

 

The rebirth of the U.S. auto industry has been accompanied by a trend that the millions of people who visit car shows each year are bound to notice: The auto-show model has made a roaring comeback.

 

After several lean years, some car companies have doubled their use of so-called product specialists, These aspiring fashion models or actors earn as much as $1,000 a day for staffing the companies’ displays and answering questions about their vehicles while looking better than almost anyone else around. For a single show, their services can cost an auto maker hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

In recent years, the job, which has long required a detailed knowledge of vehicle specs and pricing, has expanded to include market research. Hedy Popson, a onetime show model who runs a talent agency, said auto companies are interested in their models extracting as much information from show visitors as they give out.

 

“What are consumers saying?” said Ms. Popson, referring to one of the many questions car makers ask her company, Productions Plus. “Are they interested in the economy anymore? Do they want brighter colors? What do they think of the aesthetics, the style, the design?”

 

“The minute the consumer leaves, the product specialist is downloading all that [information], either on an iPad, an iPhone, by text, because that is their job,” said Ms. Popson, who oversees 300 or more models at a big show like the North American International Auto Show.

 

Some product specialists write daily briefs. Others compile a comprehensive report at the end of a show, which can run as long as two weeks.

 

The renewed demand for models stems from several factors. Auto makers are willing to dress the predominantly female hires more provocatively than was customary during the industry’s downturn and bankruptcies, said Ms. Popson. This year, with auto sales at near-decade highs and a glow overhanging Detroit, car companies see value in sex appeal. They are “saying ‘it’s time to have fun again,’ ” Ms. Popson added.

 

Not only can attractive people sell cars, they can squeeze a lot out of conversations, said Joe Gallant, Nissan Motor Co.’s auto-show and exhibits head. “Young women representing a brand at an auto show are much more approachable—I use the word accessible,” he said.

 

Men also play a part. Ken Paul Smith, a Nissan product specialist for 19 years, says he remembers getting a lot of negative feedback several years ago on a feature in the trunk of the Infiniti sedan. Show models, including Mr. Smith, scrambled to get the comments to Nissan executives, and the auto maker ordered a design change.

 

Productions Plus model, got her marching orders. Wearing an off-brand gray-leather jacket and hound’s-tooth patterned cropped pants, she gathered feedback on General Motors Co.’s redesigned Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid vehicle unveiled this week.

 

Before the show ends she will see hundreds of thousands of visitors come by the Chevy display area. And she plans to use her iPad to jot down loads of comments about the Volt. “I’m very curious to hear what they’re going to tell us now,” she said.

 

Ms. Fotiu has a lot riding on the Volt’s success. While not an engineer or car designer, she has been appearing alongside the Volt since 2011 at shows all over the country. Over two years, she collected comments on its seating, radio controls and climate systems. Those comments played a role in GM’s redesign efforts.

 

“We got a lot of feedback because this was when the technology was brand new,” she recalled. “And [consumers] really picked it apart for us. We sent all that information back to GM, and that’s why when this next generation [of the Volt] came out, it changed a lot, based on what they said.”

 

While Detroit, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles host the nation’s biggest auto shows, they are among a handful of the hundreds held across the globe each year. Even small venues can provide important insights.

 

On New Year’s Eve, Chicago-based model and actress Cathleen Hennon was working the Indy Auto Show in Indianapolis, hoping to glean useful information from the clutch of visitors braving 16-degree temperatures to attend. Ms. Hennon, in a formfitting black jumpsuit designed by La Petite Robe and necklace and earrings by Givenchy, hit pay dirt within minutes of starting her shift.

 

Nearby, Michelle Loya, wearing a red Armani jersey faux wrap dress, worked on an iPad screen jammed with remarks she had heard about Toyota cars. The Prius hybrid needed a power lift gate, according to one visitor. Another urged Toyota to make heated cloth seats an option on all vehicles.

 

“The Camry XSE rims are just plain ugly,” one visitor told her. Another suggested that Toyota should come up with a better option to its current wheels, which were “a deal breaker.”

 

Based on her several years of experience, Ms. Loya said, she believes the Japanese auto maker will take action. A few years ago, when a new version of the best-selling Camry sedan came out, it didn’t have the HomeLink garage-opening system standard on some competing makes. After getting negative feedback, including complaints from the show floor, Toyota added the system.

 

Above writen by John D. Stoll for WSJ (john.stoll@wsj.com)

LINK TO ARTICLE ON WSJ WEBSITE.

  

MODEL

 

A model (from Middle French modelle) is a person with a role either to promote, display, or advertise commercial products (notably fashion clothing) or to serve as a visual aide for people who are creating works of art or to pose for photography.

 

Modelling ("modeling" in American English) is considered to be different from other types of public performance, such as acting or dancing. Although the difference between modelling and performing is not always clear, appearing in a film or a play is not generally considered to be "modelling".

 

Types of modelling include: fashion, glamour, fitness, bikini, fine art, body-part, promotional and commercial print models. Models are featured in a variety of media formats including: books, magazines, films, newspapers, internet and TV. Fashion models are sometimes featured in films: (Looker), reality TV shows (America's Next Top Model, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency), and music videos: ("Freedom! '90", "Wicked Game", "Daughters", and "Blurred Lines").

 

Celebrities, including actors, singers, sports personalities and reality TV stars, frequently take modelling contracts in addition to their regular work.

 

HISTORY OF MODELING

 

Early years

 

Modelling as a profession was first established in 1853 by Charles Frederick Worth, the "father of haute couture", when he asked his wife, Marie Vernet Worth, to model the clothes he designed. The term "house model" was coined to describe this type of work. Eventually, this became common practice for Parisian fashion houses. There were no standard physical measurement requirements for a model, and most designers would use women of varying sizes to demonstrate variety in their designs.

 

With the development of fashion photography, the modelling profession expanded to photo modelling. Models remained fairly anonymous, and relatively poorly paid, until the late 1950's. One of the first well-known models was Lisa Fonssagrives, who was very popular in the 1930's. Fonssagrives appeared on over 200 Vogue covers, and her name recognition led to the importance of Vogue in shaping the careers of fashion models. In 1946, Ford Models was established by Eileen and Gerard Ford in New York; it is one of the oldest model agencies in the world. One of the most popular models during the 1940's was Jinx Falkenburg who was paid $25 per hour, a large sum at the time. During the 1940's and 1950's, Wilhelmina Cooper, Jean Patchett, Dovima, Dorian Leigh, Suzy Parker, Evelyn Tripp, Carmen Dell'Orefice, and Lisa Fonssagrives dominated fashion. Dorothea Church was among the first black models in the industry to gain notoriety in Paris. However, these models were unknown outside the fashion community. Compared to today's models, the models of the 1950's were more voluptuous. Wilhelmina Cooper's measurements were 38"-24"-36" whereas Chanel Iman's measurements are 32"-23"-33".

 

The 1960s and the beginning of the industry

 

In the 1960's, the modelling world began to establish modelling agencies. Throughout Europe, secretarial services acted as models' agents charging them weekly rates for their messages and bookings. For the most part, models were responsible for their own billing. In Germany, agents were not allowed to work for a percentage of a person's earnings, so referred to themselves as secretaries. With the exception of a few models travelling to Paris or New York, travelling was relatively unheard of for a model. Most models only worked in one market due to different labor laws governing modelling in various countries. In the 1960's, Italy had many fashion houses and fashion magazines but was in dire need of models. Italian agencies would often coerce models to return to Italy without work visas by withholding their pay. They would also pay their models in cash, which models would have to hide from customs agents. It was not uncommon for models staying in hotels such as La Louisiana in Paris or the Arena in Milan to have their hotel rooms raided by the police looking for their work visas. It was rumored that competing agencies were behind the raids. This led many agencies to form worldwide chains; for example, the Marilyn Agency has branches in Paris and New York.

 

By the late 1960's, London was considered the best market in Europe due to its more organised and innovative approach to modelling. It was during this period that models began to become household names. Models like: Jean Shrimpton, Joanna Lumley, Tania Mallet, Celia Hammond, Twiggy, Penelope Tree, and Pauline Stone dominated the London fashion scene and were well paid, unlike their predecessors. Twiggy became The Face of '66 at the age of 16. At this time, model agencies were not as restrictive about the models they represented, although it was uncommon for them to sign shorter models. Twiggy, who stood at 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm) with a 32" bust and had a boy's haircut, is credited with changing model ideals. At that time, she earned £80 an hour, while the average wage was £15 a week.

 

In 1967, seven of the top model agents in London formed the Association of London Model Agents. The formation of this association helped legitimize modelling and changed the fashion industry. Even with a more professional attitude towards modelling, models were still expected to have their hair and makeup done before they arrived at a shoot. Meanwhile, agencies took responsibility for a model's promotional materials and branding. That same year, former top fashion model Wilhelmina Cooper opened up her own fashion agency with her husband called Wilhelmina Models. By 1968, FM Agency and Models 1 were established and represented models in a similar way that agencies do today. By the late 1960's, models were treated better and were making better wages. One of the innovators, Ford Models, was the first agency to advance models money they were owed and would often allow teen models, who did not live locally, to reside in their house, a precursor to model housing.

 

The 1970's and 1980's

 

The innovations of the 1960's flowed into the 1970's fashion scene. As a result of model industry associations and standards, model agencies became more business minded, and more thought went into a model's promotional materials. By this time, agencies were starting to pay for a model's publicity. In the early 1970's, Scandinavia had many tall, leggy, blonde-haired, blue-eyed models and not enough clients. It was during this time that Ford Models pioneered scouting. They would spend time working with agencies holding modelling contests. This was the precursor to the Ford Mo