JF Ptak Science Books Post 2687
When i was a kid I watched a marionette-action show called Supercar--it had a high creep factor to it what with the marionette eyes and mouths and all, but I watched it anyway, I guess, because that was probably the only cartoon being broadcast at that hour. (It was filmed in "Supermarionation", which utilized electric moving parts in the marionettes in addition to string controls. It was the brainchild of Gerry Anderson, who also brought you Fireball XL5 for which I can still sing the theme song.) And that is what struck me seeing the reasoning for this "atomic bomb car"--it really is just a car with a high creep factor that is outfitted for camping, but it is being sold in the patent as a ways for urban dwellers to survive the coming nuclear holocaust (" our greater areas of human congestion have slowly begun to face the threat of eventual atomic destruction"). Since we find the cost of reallocating everyone and all business everywhere in the US so that there is no real profile for nuclear attack because everything is spread out (or underground), it means that people in targetable cities are more or less doomed because they won't be able to get out of town when the bombs come.
[Image source: Google Patents, https://patents.google.com/patent/US2638374A/en]
The author writes: "It is commonly acknowledged that the physical structures of congested areas are doomed once atomically attacked, The real problem is: how sensibly to save the lives of the inhabitants of cities thus marked for destruction and temporarily house them so that" the business of resistance may go. on in spite of the chaos engendered?" And since U.S. citizens at the time owned 30 million cars, there was a potential to have 30 million bomb shelters (or whatever) on wheels. (This is also the first time I have seen the phrase "atomically attacked".)
And then this, in classic patentese: "The primary object of this invention is a practical means of implementing and temporarily maintaining mass diffusion from congested areas threatened with atomic attack, and in a manner related to proved public preferences, to mass production techniques and to prevailing trends".
"Yet, once some practical: i. e., simple and economically possible, means is found for making the average car quickly convertible to housekeeping use, then the threat of the atom bomb to our cities loses some of its menace. Once swift mass diffusion is properly implemented, it becomes susceptible to military organization. The city might be bombed, but its population could be saved.
Anyway, the car is basically a camper, though it is still just a car. I've got to give the guy his credit because there are some interesting ways in which seats fold and are made into beds and tables and such.
There's enough in this patent to suggest that what we are dealing with is more than a simple salve me fons pietatis, that it is more than just a car with convertible beds that is renamed something like "High Speed Survival Encapsulator and Escape Vehicle". And the vast dependent clause for the utility of this vehicle to save U.S. civilization is for (1) millions of people to evacuate a high-density location in an orderly fashion and given the time to do that in, and (2) there was no "2". So, once you get fair warning and make your way out of the city in your bubblecar to the fresh countryside, loaded down with family and water and food and toilet paper for a few weeks and 10 cartons of cigges per person, you'd be on your way to surviving in Tomorrowland.
It is a Supercar--it just doesn't fly, or doing anything particularly special. Probably though you couldn't fit much else in there because it is already filled to the brim with audacity and hope, and a certain stink.