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Cakes to Go: 1938

Cakes to Go: 1938

October 4, 1938. "Cakes for sky riders. Air travelers leaving Washington Airport during National Air Travel Week, Oct. 2 through 9, are being given a special treat. Cakes baked from their favorite recipes are being put aboard each plane by chefs of the leading hotels in the Capital. Marjorie McKinnon, Eastern Airline hostess, is pictured receiving the delicacies from (left to right) Theophile Homberger, Hotel Hamilton; Eddie Weber, Shoreham Hotel; Joseph Cattaneo, Hotel Washington; Fritz Meissner, Hay-Adams; Abraham Grob, Wardman Park; Joseph Tucci, Raleigh; Jacques Haerringer, Shoreham; Otto Merz, Willard." View full size.


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DC-3 me thinks

Hey ProfATSF, I'm going to challenge your conclusion this is a DC-2.

I goosed the contrast of the original photo and am pretty sure I see a fillet extending to almost the passenger door. (Circled on the attached.) It's an easy detail to miss since the fillet blends into the background on the original print.

[Your graphic wasn't attached, so I made one. -tterrace]

Thanks tterrace. Seems I flubbed the select-attach procedure.


It’s a DC-2 in the picture, and not a DC-3. Eastern Airlines owned both types. Seen from the side, the most apparent difference is the lack of a fillet between the top of the fuselage and the vertical stabilizer. DC-3s had these, but DC-2s didn’t. Less apparent was the width of the fuselage, which in DC-2s was 5’6” inside (about the width of a car) and allowed for only 14 passengers: one seat on either side of the aisle. The fuselage was widened to 8’0” and deepened on DC-3s, giving more passenger capacity. There were still 7 rows of seats (count the windows) but 2+1 or 2+2, giving 21 standard-width or 28 very narrow bus-like (and scarcely first class) seats. Anyone interested in why the tail fillet was added to the DC-3 should read Ernest K. Gann’s Fate is the Hunter. The DC-2 had some potentially (and actually) lethal vices, and was not as forgiving of mishandling by the pilot as the DC-3. Here is a better view of the filletless tail of a DC-2.

North Central DC-3 diagram

This web page describes the DC-3s used by North Central Airline in the early 1960s. The diagram shows the baggage door and the arrangement of 27 seats.

Looks like a DC-3

The fin atop the fuselage suggests it's a DC-3. Looks like some DC-3s had a hatch aft of the passenger door

DC-3s always? had 21 seats in the US in the 1930s. All first class-- coach class hadn't been invented.

Second Second

Actually TPAT, they (at least some of them) did, as seen in this photo.

Just a Second

I believe that's a DC-2, not a DC-3. I don't think the access panel just behind the EAL logo was on the DC-3.

Square Windows OK on the DC-3...

Square windows are OK on the venerable DC-3 since it is not pressurized. They have logged many hours of "Square Window Time" in the air. However, square windows are taboo on pressurized aircraft due to the stresses from many pressurization cycles. You can read about it here on this De Havilland Comet link.

Enough Cake For All

Forget today's cellophane package with six peanuts in it. DC3's had 28 passenger seats. Divide all those cakes by 28 and ...


4 out of 8 pastry chefs preferred pencil moustaches in 1938

Where do I get tickets for that airline???

Or is that maybe just for first class? And coach has to put up with wrapped industrialized oversweet cupcakes?

On the fondant vs. buttercream theme (I particularly second the ganache motion), it might just be that the fondant may actually be worse for your health than the buttercream. And calories don't vary all that much anyway. The dose makes the poison.

Those windows

Square turned out to be a bad shape for airplane windows. Cracks in the fuselage tend to start in the corners.


Best in flight catering ever although some of the passengers may have put on a bit too much weight on this trip.

Cakes On A Plane!

Somebody had to say it. Showing myself out now.

No room for passengers?

DC3's aren't big enough to carry passengers, their baggage and all those cakes. Never mind the chefs.

Hard to believe

It took less that 80 years to turn air travellers from welcomed guests to annoying baggage.

Today's Fondant vs. Buttercream frosting

Give me classic buttercream frosting every time! Today bakers like the smooth and architectural look of fondant over a thin layer of buttercream or ganache. These highly decorated cakes look scrumptious! Royal icing or the Crisco type icing is used in supermarkets and is cheaper nowadays. I noticed that highly decorated buttercream cakes from real bakeries disappeared around the early 1970's...any baking historians out there?

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