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Individual Dixies: 1930s

Individual Dixies: 1930s

UPDATE: The photo now has a caption.

January 10, 1930. Tea time in the air. Miss Wanda Wood, hostess for the Eastern Air Transport, serves tea for two -- Misses Charlotte Childress and Elizabeth Hume, aboard one of the line's passenger planes. The company provides bridge, tea and cigarettes, with hostesses to arrange the bridge games and serve the tea.

We seem to be aboard an aircraft in this unlabeled glass negative from the Harris & Ewing collection. Beverage service uses real china as well as "Individual Dixies." Who can identify these ladies' means of conveyance? View full size.


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Airline travel had devolved

Unlike almost every other technology or means of transportation, it seems airline travel is the only one that has actually devolved in the past 30 years. Any trip under 1000 miles is almost as efficient to drive rather than fly (which is a sad commentary on airline travel). But after seeing this photo, perhaps I should amend that to the past 70 years.

Inside a TriMotor today

Attached is a picture of me in a restored Ford Trimotor (1929, I believe). You can see that the interior is much too small for this picture.

Another Vote for the Condor

Note that the cabin lamps over the windows are identical in both the Shorpy and the Mramsey-provided photos. There's an off-chance they could be outsourced, I suppose.


I found this online searching for Curtis Condor Interior. Looks like y'all nailed it.

Okay, on second thought

I agree with mramsey. The window frames, especially the locations of the attachment screws and the roll-up shades, say it's a Condor.

Agree with the others

It indeed looks too early for the DC-3. My first impulse was to say this was taken aboard a dirigible because of the shape and spaciousness of the interior, but mramsey may have nailed it with the Condor.

Today, those ladies would be wearing T-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops.

Ford Tri-Motor

I think Greycat is correct. Notice the windows are rectangular shaped and fairly long. That fits with the Tri-motor, as opposed to the DC-2. As far as the cabin being level, this photo was almost certainly taken in flight. The only other possibility is they jacked up the tail to simulate in-flight refreshment service. I'm going with in flight based on looking out the window over the lady's shoulder. I don't see tarmac and it has that hazy appearance you get when airborne.

Curtiss Condor?

There's an interesting 1930s promotional film about a flight on a Condor at

Another Vote for the Ford Trimotor

The wings appear to load high on the fuselage, given the appearance of struts through the passenger window. Speaking of windows, the Douglas DC-2 would not have square windows like these. On a different note, the stewardess looks like a Faye Dunaway.

Pardon me boys,

Is that the Chattanooga choo choo? Looks more like a train to me.

Tri again

Probably not a Ford Tri-motor unless they made a wide body. All the pictures on the internet show only one seat eiether side of the aisle. For the level orientation it could be a float plane or in flight. But either of those scenarios would be bumpy I would think. It also has sharp angled windows which agrees with the Tri-motor and the DC-3 pics I've seen. Although the DC also had round windows.

It's obviously an upper winged plane, you can see the struts outside the window for the upper wing and also a landing gear strut. So that rules out a DC-2 or DC-3.

I don't know what it is. The clothing looks to be early '40s or late '30s to me. I like the coffee service in the stewardess area.

Let's rule some planes out

Greycat is right that it's not a Douglas. Too big inside to be a Ford or Fokker trimotor.

At first I thought a Boeing 80, but the windows are the wrong shape, and I found an interior picture of a Fokker F-32 which appears to have a much bigger cabin cross section.

The compartmentalization of the cabin and the level attitude (assuming this is not an inflight photo) argues for a flying boat. But again, the window shapes seem to rule out any of the early Sikorsky or Consolidated models.

Only possibility I can still think of is one of the early inline-engined Curtiss Condors. Have not been able to find another interior photo to confirm or deny.

Two-way seats

I don't understand why the seats behind our flying ladies are facing the other way. Maybe this is a training room on the ground, not really a flying machine in the air?

Plus, that's a lot of headroom for any plane in that era, or for the next 25 years.

[Passenger plane cabins of the era were quite tall. - Dave]



Looks may be deceiving.

Yes, by known standards it looks like a plane. But by the standards of the 1930s I'm guessing this photo was taken on a train.

Flying machine, but

Definitiely an aeroplane.

But it looks way too big for a Tin Goose. My wager would be on one of the flying boats of the time.

Note the sleeper compartment arrangement - the Tri also didn't have the legs to make that worthwhile.

Not a Boeing 314, either. The ladies' headgear looks too early for that, and I can see wing struts through the window.

Maybe some Sikrosky?

[Or Sikorsky. - Dave]

A different train of thought

If you look in the background there is a sofa and seats facing away from the camera. Unless there were early commercial aircraft with rearward facing seats, then this might actually be the interior of a passenger train. Possibly a Brill or EMC motorcar or an early streamliner unit train.

Dixie Cups

Introduced in the early 1900s to replace the unsanitary common water dipper, the Dixie Cup was a standard railroad coach appurtenance by the time this photo was taken. It appears that aircraft cabins got 'em too.

Curtiss Condor II AT-32

Looks like a Curtiss Condor II biplane airliner, as flown by American and Eastern airlines during the early 30s. Another interior shot here.

From their clothes

It looks like it is too early for the DC 3 to be flying so I'm going to take a wild guess and say one of the lovely old Ford Tri-Motors of the late '20s or early '30s. They were stylish aircraft with seating of two on one side of aisle and single seats on the other side. It could also be a DC-2. The one thing that throws me off is that both aircraft were tail draggers -- the rear end sat much lower then the main wheels, while this aircraft appears to be level. The stewardess would have to walk uphill if the aircraft was on the tarmac.

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