Yesterday I found a November 1943 National Geographic at the flea market. The country was at war and the advertisers were on board. Corporations were often pulled into production for the war with few of their products available to the general public. Were people making blood money from the war? Sure they were, but it wasn't as blatant as what we have today. I'll say no more.

The illustration in this ad is stunning. What an interesting way to sell something as mundane as tires. A glamourous girl and, might I say, a truly stunning looking tire! Sadly there is no signature by the illustrator. I'd love to know who did this. If anyone has information about the illustrator please let me know so I can credit them.

National Geo_Nov_1943_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

UPDATE: Leif Peng, from Today's Inspiration, a wonderful site about 20th century illustrators, has sent me some links and verified the artist to be Dal Holcomb. To see more General Tire ads by Dan Holcomb click here, here, and here. And click here to go to Leif Peng's Flickr account to see thousands of wonderful vintage illustrations.

As to who was Dal Holcomb? I found the following biographical information at wilnitsky.com.


  1. They had to sell those tires some way! I guess she was impressed by his choice of tire. Love those old National Geographics.

  2. And isn't it funny that he is so proud of his tire as such a glamour girl walks by? Now we won't get into the part where this guy is sitting on his front porch on his glider with a tire. Not going there.

  3. I'm pretty sure it was done by Pete Hawley.

  4. I think it pin points how pathetic must have been the artist's perception - i.e. a glamourous girl can sell a man anything. Ooer!!

  5. It's the art director who makes this decision. The artist simply completes the job as assigned. Complaints about using 'pretty girl' images to sell just about anything (including an infamous ad for coffins) showed up in the press as early as the 1920s, if not before.