Monday 2 October 2017

City Buses on Postcards

The development of motor vehicles happened in the era of the vintage picture postcard. Horse-drawn omnibuses gave way to petrol powered vehicles and major cities rapidly built up extensive networks of routes. Each of these portraits from Europe and North America seem to reflect the national characteristics of their homelands. Parisian buses came furnished with a fussy Gallic scalloped fringe to the protective roof canopy as well as some fashionably fancy coachwork. At the other extreme is the utilitarian no-frills Detroit bus where the passengers are exposed to the elements via the unglazed windows. The sole grace note being the provision of highly polished brass light fittings. The Berlin bus has the feel and solidity of well-made furniture while the London bus is conceived as a mobile display of public information. Appropriately for a city famous for criminality, the Chicago bus is built like a military vehicle – it’s easy to imagine armed guards on every other seat. In comparison the Manhattan bus appears slender and restrained.

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