Grandpa had a horse. Father, a horseless carriage. Today —and tomorrow— you will have wings. — Print ad circa 1946 for Alcoa Aluminum via X-Ray Delta


Too bad many of those postwar dreams — from personal flying machines to miracle houses — weren’t delivered on.

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The late '40s was an amazing time. We had just won two huge wars at the same time (three if you count north Africa), and we alone had the A-Bomb; anything seemed possible. US industry was building nearly 100,000 airplanes a year by war's end, and many tens of thousands of trained pilots came home to unprecedented prosperity. It seemed only logical that they would all buy airplanes and fly off into the future. North American Aviation designed a civilian version of their P-51 Mustang fighter and marketed it as the Navion. The Engineering Research Corp. in Maryland marketed their pre-war Ercoupe as an everyman's plane; they were sold at Macy's. Sadly it was not to be. Costs rose, and the government actively discouraged mass airplane production, knowing that the airport and airway system couldn't support such large numbers. Today, even a small airplane costs a quarter-million dollars or more, limiting private flying to only the most affluent among us.

NB: the plane in the ad seems very like a Globe Swift.