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Airport Transport: 1963

Airport Transport: 1963

      Our third look at the Dulles Airport "mobile lounges" that moved passengers from terminal to plane. Consisting of a body made the Budd Co. of Philadelphia mated to a Chrysler chassis powered by two 172-hp engines, each 37-ton, 90-passenger unit cost $232,733; an engineering prototype constructed in 1961 cost $1.6 million.

"Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, Virginia, 1958-63. Eero Saarinen, architect. Mobile lounges." Photo by Balthazar Korab. View full size.


RE: Mobile Lounge Lizard

As Dave noted, they are still in use between terminals. However, on at least one occasion as recently as 2006, one did drive up to a plane so passengers could scuttle on and be transported to the main terminal (we had just arrived on a flight very early in the morning).

Since Dulles is one of my local airports, I am forced to deal with them on a fairly regular basis. I hate the damn things.


I suppose I have to admit that I'm old. When you rode in a vehicle you see on a vintage photo site.

Mobile Lounge Lizard

"Wonder if they are still in use?" - yes they seem to be in use. Take a look at an aerial view of Dulles from your favorite map app to see them in action, looking like little critters.

[The ones in use today shuttle between terminal buildings, and don't meet the aircraft. - Dave]

Still there, still confusing.

We rode one of these a few weeks ago between concourses when we flew through IAD. Mrs. A didn't know what to make of the contraption... Is it a room? Is it a bus? The kids enjoyed it, anyway.

Good old Helvetica

As a graphic designer I can tell you that Helvetica has been around since about 1960, and a few years before that under a different name, so its use here is no surprise. A great typeface, but sometimes overused.


Not sure this usage is surprising: both Helvetica and Univers (a close match) were released in 1957, and most architects are notorious font junkies. Many believe themselves good graphic designers, a woeful misconception.

Wonder if they are still in use.

Rode them from 87-92 whenever traveling through Dulles.

Numbers on the wall

Either this was a surprisingly early use of Helvetica Bold, or this photo was taken several years after the airport opened.

[These photos were taken when the airport opened, during the winter of 1962-63. - Dave]

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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