The Autumn Garden dramaturgy: 1949 transportation

Table of Contents


An Air Force XB-47 jet bomber sets a new U.S. transcontinental speed record February 8, crossing the country in 3 hours, 46 minutes at an average speed of 607 miles per hour. Air Force pilots flying the B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II complete the first nonstop round-the-world flight March 2. They have refueled in midair and arrive at Fort Worth, Tex., after a 23,452-mile flight of 94 hours, 1 minute.

Chicago’s O’Hare Airport receives that name November 8 to honor the late Lieut. Commander Edward H. “Butch” O’Hare, U.S. Navy, who earned a Congressional Medal of Honor in 1942 for shooting down five Japanese bombers and crippling a sixth to save the carrier Lexington but died in 1943 at age 29. Originally called Orchard Place, O’Hare will surpass Chicago’s Midway Airport by 1961 to become the world’s busiest air travel facility; by 1972 it will be handling 2,000 flights per day and a decade later will have to expand once again.

Pacific Southwest Airlines is founded to provide intra-state service in California. It will grow by 1978 to be the nation’s largest commuter airline, serving Burbank, Fresno, Hollywood, Lake Tahoe, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Monterey, Oakland, Ontario, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Stockton with more than 200 flights per day at competitive fares.

A rocket testing ground is established at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The Comet, the first jet airliner, designed by Geoffrey deHavilland [b. Surrey, England, July 27, 1882, d. London, May 21, 1965], makes its first flight on July 27. Comets will enter service in May 1952 but are withdrawn two years later after two crashes caused by material fatigue; they are returned to service in 1958, becoming the first passenger jets to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy’s California Zephyr begins service March 20 on the 50-hour run between Chicago and San Fransisco. Using tracks of the Burlington, the Rio Grande, and the Western Pacific railroads, it has sleeping cars, a dining car, hostesses (“Zephyrettes”), and five glass-canopied “Vista-Dome” coaches for sightseeing on every train.

A federal court convicts General Motors, Standard Oil of California, Firestone Tire, and other companies of criminal conspiracy to supplant electric transit lines with gasoline or diesel buses. GM has replaced more than 100 electric transit systems in 45 cities with GM buses and will continue this program despite the court action (the company is fined $5,000, its treasurer $1).

U.S. auto production reaches 5.1 million and catches up after 20 years with the 1929 record.

Nash Motor Co. introduces front-seat lap belts bolted to its car frames as optional equipment.

Germany’s Volkswagen resumes large-scale commercial production and introduces its cars into the United States at $800 per vehicle, but only two of the odd-looking “beetles” are sold in America.

The Huffy Convertible bicycle introduced by Huffman Manufacturing Co. is the first bike to bear the name Huffy. Its rear training wheels with foot steps revolutionize the children’s market and will help make Huffy the world’s largest-selling brand of bicycle.


2 Responses

  1. There are some Pacific Southwest Airlines people have direct descendants of the American Revolution. They are Ray Frank Thomson, Paul Clifford Perry, Douglas Milan Arthur, and Allen Frederick Swanson.

  2. Jeanne Avis (Clark) Dealan, Gregg Nelson Lindamood, and Mary Shawn Addington are direct descendants of the American Revolution!

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