Passenger Air Travel in the 1920s As Told Through Cigarette Cards

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Passenger air travel in the 1920s and 30s was a uniquely exhilarating experience — provided you could afford it. But for those of us stuck in a world where flying has become a mundane and sometimes excruciating ordeal, we can at least live vicariously through the past. A website called The Passion of Former Days has collected some promotional cards which give us a peek into the world of flight in the 1920s.

Twenty-five cards produced by the Arents Cigarette company are now in the New York Public Library's collection. It wasn't uncommon for companies of the early 20th century to include promotional cards in their foodstuffs and tobacco products. Futurism and the latest technological advances were common themes for the cards.


These cards are undated but the Argosy aeroplane was introduced in 1926. So the fact that the postcards mention the aircraft as new means that they're probably from the mid to late 1920s.


Of particular interest to paleofuturists might be the land lighthouses that would guide Imperial Airways planes approaching London at night. We looked at the rough American equivalent (our Highway of Light system) last year.


Check out the website The Passion of Former Days for more cards from this collection and special thanks to Slate Vault for the heads up.

Images: NY Public Library via The Passion of Former Days