Strange and Wonderful Illustrations from Vintage Science Books

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Revolution in Electricity : The Story of the Wonder Crystals: Transistors, Solar Cells, Supermagnets, and Electronic Lights (1962)

Look through about any school science textbook today and they are absolutely brimming with glossy illustrations. But, for some reason, older science books seemed to have a bit more “flair” than today.  Unlike the illustrations of today’s science textbooks which are all-too-perfect, but also all-too-dull, the 1950s-1970s delivered some impressively creative and often odd visuals.

So, let’s thumb through some pages of science book art from the 1950s-1980s and see what wondrous finds we uncover.  Enjoy.

Atoms, Energy and Machines (1957)

McCormick, Jack |New York, NY: Creative Educational Society, Inc.

Atoms Energy and Machines 1957

Lasers: Tools of Modern Technology (1968)

Brown, Ronald | Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc.

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Future World (1979)

Goodwin, Peter | New York, NY: Crescent Books

future world 1979

Los Ordenadores (1973)

Translation: The Computers. Berenguer, X., Corominas, A., Garriga, J. | Barcelona: Salvat Editores, S.A.

Los Ordenadores

Physics: A Basic Science (1954)

Elmer, E., Verwiebe, F., Hazel, H., Van Hooft, G. | New York, NY: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc.

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Matter (1974)

Lapp, Ralph E. | New York, NY: Time, Inc.

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Robots: Machines in Man’s Image (1985)

Asimov, I., Frenkel, K. | New York, NY: Harmony Books

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Bionic Parts for People (1978)

Skurzynski, Gloria | New York, NY: Four Winds Press

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Supersonic Cruise Technology (1985)

McLean, Edward | Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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The Engineer (1975)

Furnas, C.C., McCarthy, J. | New York, NY: Time-Life Books

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The Engineer ab2017-03-19 19_53_57

Why Chimps Can Read (1976)

Premack, Ann J. | New York, NY: Harper & Row, Publishers

Why Chimps Can Read 1976

Why Chimps Can Read 1976 c

Sound: From Communication to Noise Pollution (1970)

Chedd, Graham | Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc.

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Modern Science: Man, Matter and Energy (1967)

Blanc, S., Fischler, A., Gardner, O. | New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.

Modern Science

The Mind (1964)

Wilson, John Rowan | New York, NY: Time Incorporated

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So, if you still have your old science books, it may be worthwhile to page through them – you never know what gem of an illustration you may find.  Also check out the Reanimation Library online – where old textbooks get new life, and is the source for many of the illustrations in this article.

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