×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!
  • Students Click Here

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Jobs

Early 20th Century Drafting

Early 20th Century Drafting

Early 20th Century Drafting

(OP)
I'm referring to this:







I remember seeing these kinds of photos in my Abbott Physics book in high school not too long ago, and they looked *almost* perfectly drawn, to someone who grew up with computers, yet not really *real*. To me, they can't have been rendered by computer, because the specific book I'm reading (Handbook of Cane Sugar Engineering, Hugot, E.) was published in 1964, and CAD then was basically just this.

My questions are:
1. What did people do to get realistic views before rendering became what it is today? Was the engineer also an artist?
2. In the snipping below, why does it look like some regions were sketched while others are from a photograph (specifically where the two men are)?



Thanks for all your kind answers.

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Was the engineer an artist? Maybe, maybe not. But the draftsman certainly was! Those functions were not necessarily the same. Drafting was a technical profession, but was not engineering. Engineering school always included drafting coursework, but the actual drafting, and ESPECIALLY the rendering for advertising and publications, was considered too tedious for the more highly paid engineers.


"You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals" -- Booker T. Washington

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Around 1970, my then employer rented a huge Xerox wide-format copier that could shrink or stretch a drawing quite a bit in one pass, while retaining not awful image quality.

The machine was primitive enough that a little adjustment should have allowed it to make oblique-ish views by using different magnifications in each direction.

I had a ball with it. Of course, it was rented for one specific project other than mine, so I also got in trouble for wasting resources trying to save time.

It made such nice images that I thought it would be swell to help out our publications department by providing them copies of drawings and layouts.

They were having none of it. When it came time to start making user manuals, which eventually contained illustrations similar to those above (but _much_ simpler), I asked the pubs boss which drawings they would like to have nice copies of.

None, was the answer. They sent over a guy with a sketchpad, a pencil, and a ruler.
He dressed like an accountant, and claimed to be an artist.

The pubs came out all right, but I was not allowed to see any of the process.


Much later, at yet another outfit, I was peripherally involved in making some drawings that were basically drawings spliced around an image of a photograph. It was done outside. My participation involved selecting which part of which image to use, providing a drawing with a blank center, and writing a requisition.



Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

You are looking at the products of skilled but low-paid labour, a thing of the past. The draughtsmen would be given photographs or make their own sketches of the equipment, and then spend days making drawing such as those. The rigour in drawing the technical parts (particular the 3rd image) is impressive, especially compared to the humans inserted for scale, which seem to be afterthoughts!

My guess is the 3rd image was started from a photographic slide, projected onto the draghtsman's paper. Once the basic lines of perspective and component edges were captured, the draughtsman would no longer need the projection to maintain the realistic appearance as he finished the rendering.

STF

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

At a big car company we used to have technical illustrators, who did things like the workshop manuals and anything we needed for work instructions on the assembly line. The only two I knew were actually ex draughtsmen, but it was a distinct skill in itself.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

(OP)
Thank you all for your informative answers. I know much more about drafting now.

Mike, it sounds like you worked at a really wonderful place, eh?

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Before "cut and paste" was a computer term it literally meant to cut something out of one piece of paper (using a knife or scissors) and paste it onto another (with actual paste).

Before Photoshop there were actual Photo shops, i.e. dark rooms where people worked with negatives and photo paper and chemicals to manipulate images.

Before ray tracing there was tracing paper.

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

I recall my father saying draftsmen at his company (probably U.S. Steel or American Bridge) were required to turn in a drawing per day. They'd often hold a few back so they had something to turn in when they had a complex drawing that would take more than one day to do.

I also remember my mom bleaching old linen blue prints and making napkins and other stuff out of the fabric.

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Keep in mind that maybe the draftsmen weren't artists but the artists were. No guarantee that the regular drafting and the pictorial-type illustration were done by the same people,
Evidently, there was a time when it was impractical or impossible to print actual photographs, so you'll see a lot of printed artwork back in the day that was obviously made from a photograph, but wasn't a photograph.

One thing I've wondered: In places, like Houston, Texas, prior to air conditioning, how did draftsmen ever manage to get anything done without dripping sweat on the paper?

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Technical illustration was a real art. Looking back at books published before photography was ubiquitous those photo-realistic pictures weren't drawn from photos, but from looking at the real equipment. I always loved the detailed cutaway drawings of locomotives, ships, or buildings.
I am (well, at least was) a very good draftsman, but an artist I am not.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

"why does it look like some regions were sketched while others are from a photograph (specifically where the two men are)?"

Photography at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries required some level of brute force touch up. It would not be unusual to find brushwork on negatives from that era

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

My father (now, in retirement, keeping himself busy as a jobbing portrait/landscape/wildlife artist) spent a working life as a Graphics Artist - doing illustrations for books, brochures and technical manuals.

For some years in the middle of all this, he ran the graphics office at a big training establishment where their function was to turn out visual aids for the lectures - the equivalent of today's Powerpoint. Many of the slides in these packs were handpainted watercolour illustrations which were then photographed onto 35mm Ektachrome for projection. Some of those slides used to occupy him for a week (including the weekend on our kitchen table).

Computer graphics came along late in his career. Fortunately for him, he was enthusiastic early adopter, sparing him the angst suffered by many of his colleagues.

How times change.

A.

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

" In places, like Houston, Texas, prior to air conditioning, how did draftsmen ever manage to get anything done without dripping sweat on the paper?"

They probably weren't drawing on paper. Linen (ink) (never saw it) and aluminium (scalpel), mylar (pencil), CAD was the order of progression in our office. I've never done a proper drawing on anything other than mylar, almost invariably pencil not technical pens.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Quote (JStephen)

In places, like Houston, Texas, prior to air conditioning, how did draftsmen ever manage to get anything done without dripping sweat on the paper?
They probably had their drafting boards set nearly vertical.

Bill
--------------------
"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Back before CAD (my company installed their first system in 1977) when I was still working on the board, one of our draftsman was an old guy from Germany who was trained in the art prior to WWII (he was wounded on the Eastern Front and was sent to Denmark to recuperate where he and hundreds of other Wehrmacht soldiers conveniently waited out the end of the war) and he would do all his detail drawings freehand, and while they were not strictly to scale, the dimensions were always correct and since most of the parts that we needed to fabricate for our machines were either sheet metal, weldments or simple flat-plate drilled or punched parts, this was all that was needed. But he also included a hand drawn 3D isometric view of all of his parts on the face the drawing. And he was very efficient and hardly any of his work ever came back from the shop due to errors or mistakes. When I first started there the boss (the Director of Engineering) had me work with several of the older designers and draftsmen to help me understand exactly the types of stuff they made and how our drawing office standards were applied. When I was assigned to Erwin for a week or so I was told that while I was expected to learn from him, I was to NEVER draw anything freehand and to NEVER waste my time including any sort of 'pictorial' in the drawing. Erwin could get away with it since that was how he was taught to do it and besides, no one wanted to try and change the habits of an old German who was still carrying around Russian shrapnel in his ass winky smile

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Every place is wonderful, in the Big Boss' opinion.
I have been known to voice my own opinion.
Hence, I have worked at a lot of interesting places.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

In the 70's I was working for a DOT and our plan room was being converted into office space. Some things were being sent to a basement store room but there were several bins of linens from the late 19th C and early 20th C that were thrown out. I still regret not keep some of them. These were works of art. The level of detail on things like railings and lamp posts was incredible and they were done to scale with a ruling pen!

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Quote (" In places, like Houston, Texas, prior to air conditioning, how did draftsmen ever manage to get anything done without dripping sweat on the paper?")


An old timer told me when they did the linens they would wear a visor and arm sleeves to keep everything clean.

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

I can remember on hot days having to wear protective sleeves to keep sweaty arms off the paper/ Mylar and generous use of the ponce bag to mop up sweat drips.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Quote (bridgebuster)


...but there were several bins of linens from the late 19th C and early 20th C that were thrown out. I still regret not keep some of them. These were works of art. The level of detail on things like railings and lamp posts was incredible and they were done to scale with a ruling pen!

Back where I worked in Michigan in the late 60's and the 70's, our company had taken several large linen drawings and had them framed and put on display in the main lobby and the board room. They were as good as any commercial pieces of art that they could have purchased.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

The office I worked in had a tracer, a gal who did nothing but trace Drawings from vellum or Mylar , she used a light table and traced over the drawing from the pencil lines. She also had an embarrassing habit of catching minor mistakes, that you, and the checkers had both missed.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

In the 70's my boss did some structural work for an architect ?(because they were friends, he normally only did commercial work).
The prints that they sent over were so clean and crisp, the notes were all perfect. (unlike most architects that think that odd hard to read notes are a sign of creativity)
Turns out that they had an IBM Selectric typewriter that had a 36" wide platen.
Never saw anything like it.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

JStephen,

Galveston was actually bigger than Houston up until I think the early 1900s. Galveston got hit by a storm and air conditioning started becoming popular. If you asked me what Houstonians did without air conditioning, I would say absolutely nothing during August and July. Houston really didn't start taking off until air conditioning came along.

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

HH and JS,
That also applies to every city in Fl, TX, OK, LA, and so on.
All of those cities would still just be backwaters without cheap large scale AC.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Quote (MintJulep)


Before "cut and paste" was a computer term it literally meant to cut something out of one piece of paper (using a knife or scissors) and paste it onto another (with actual paste).

I worked on a drafting board in an office that had a light table. I could splice drawings together neatly enough that I got absolutely clean whiteprints out of it. All I needed as an Xacto knife, a steel rule, and Scotch tape.

--
JHG

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Quote (berkshire)


I can remember on hot days having to wear protective sleeves to keep sweaty arms off the paper/ Mylar and generous use of the ponce bag to mop up sweat drips.

I remember working one summer on a drafting board in a trailer. It was air conditioned. The thing I remember was that it rocked any time someone when it or out the door. You notice stuff like this when you are hunched over a drafting board trying to print neatly.

--
JHG

RE: Early 20th Century Drafting

Quote (I would say absolutely nothing during August and July. )


A little off topic but some people say the country was run much better before AC was installed in the Capitol Building.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members!


Resources


Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close