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Jet Set Coffee Shop: 1962

Jet Set Coffee Shop: 1962

August 29, 1962. "TWA terminal, Idlewild, New York. Union News restaurants. Coffee shop II. Raymond Loewy, client." Flight monitors by General Precision Laboratory Inc. Large-format negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.


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Text on flight monitors

I noticed one difference in the airport flight monitors from today's versions: On today's monitors, you get the scheduled departure time, and a message that either says ON TIME, DELAYED, or CANCELLED. These monitors show the flight number and the estimated departure time, but what is in the 3rd column? Does it say "Actual Depart"? I'm also curious about the purpose and title of the 4th column, and am wondering if the original had any more detail in it.

["Scheduled to depart," "Will depart" and "Gate." - tterrace]

Thanks for the update. I knew someone would have the answers I was seeking.

TWA Terminal

As a kid in the 60s I recall hanging out a few times with my family either to see someone depart or arrive. I used to love running down the ramp holding on to the railing to gather enough static electricity, and then to give passberbys a big shock by touching them. Eventually my mom got wind of what I was doing and banished me from the ramp. Fun times.


I wonder why they say "Raymond Loewy, client" when Loewy designed the space. Noticed they had the same format with that recent Dodge showroom picture. Could it be that his office requested the photo? Only logical conclusion.

[Gottscho was a professional commercial photographer specializing in architectural subjects; architects and design firms such as Loewy's were among the clients who hired him to photograph their work. - tterrace]

Thanks, tterrace. Appreciated.

Rebuilding Picture Tubes

I knew a picture tube (CRT) rebuilder located near Chicago's O'Hare Airport. He landed a contract with O'Hare for the rebuilding of the 27" tubes used in that Airport's flight monitors. Only the tube's glass envelope was reused, everything else was new. The contract sustained his business.


Look at all the ashtrays!

Submitted for your approval

I'm almost waiting for Rod Serling to step into the image. Looks like a stage set for a late '50s episode of a Twilight Zone set in the far, far future ... say 2013.

Date Night

In the 1950s, and I guess the 1960s, if you were cash strapped and and were looking to entertain your current crush, Idlewild or Laguardia Airports were the venues of choice. Those coffee shops became a haven of sorts. There always were a feeling of excitement just being at an Airport. A spot like this designed by Raymond Loewy (although we wouldn't have known it) was always impressive, the downside, they didn't have dancing.

Advanced tech?

re: nixiebunny's comment below, those monitors look to me like they're merely showing feeds from TV cameras aimed at ordinary arrival/departure boards.

[Note the whitish rectangles -- CRT burn-in. - Dave]

I Miss These Places

Man, I miss coffee shops and diners. I'm not exactly sure what the difference was between a coffee shop and a diner but they were different and you always knew which type you were sitting in. My mom worked in a "Pewter Pot" coffee shop wen I was a kid. The waitresses wore an old timey milk maid uniform that you would probably get sued for forcing on employees these days. I spent many an hour there drinking hot chocolate and reading comic books.

Sign of the Times

It's kind of funny in retrospect, how back then we thought the future would look like an episode of the Jetsons. Previous poster is right, this modern furniture was pretty uncomfortable and non-functional, but it sure looked "cool".

Space Age theme

was all the rage in design back then, love it!

I would like to enjoy a nice chat with a friend over a meal at the counter. Coffee and pie for dessert please!

Precision (or lack) shows

Given the sharp and precise architecture of this lounge, the somewhat careless table settings are, as it were, out of place. Restaurateurs take note.

Killing time in Swinging 60s style

I love the House of Loewy designs! I can picture the Brat Pack hanging out her while Dean Martin picks up stewardesses and jazz-pop music fills the air! Outside a Studebaker Avanti waits on the tarmac near an airplane gangway.

Advanced technology

Those video flight monitors, while considered rather ho-hum these days, were ahead of their time. The display of upper/lowercase text with variable kerning is something I am surprised to see from 1962.

General Precision, Librascope and Royal McBee merged in some confusing way to produce desk (as opposed to desktop) computers in that era. Their LGP-30 and the later LGP-21 were capable and affordable, if rather slow and difficult to use.

Airport Lounge

Where the wild would idle between flights.

Uncomfy chairs

I sure hope most patrons didn't have a long layover. Though sleek and stylish, those chairs, particularly the ones at the bar, do not look comfortable for sitting in for long periods.

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