General Dynamics Collection Part II

May 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

Vintage European Posters recently acquired General Dynamics’s Nautilus poster, one of the most thought-provoking and captivating lithographs created by the company. General Dynamics created the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, known as the Nautilus. The General Dynamics company is still in business today, and their products are related to aerospace, combat systems, information systems and technology, and marine systems. After launching the business in 1952, they have since acquired 60 companies.

During the company’s early years, the creation of the Nautilus submarine marked General Dynamics as a powerful innovator. The nuclear-powered submarine was finished in 1954, and it accomplished what many had thought to be impossible – traveling to the North Pole. For more on the history of the USS Nautilus, check out the Submarine Force Library and Museum website.

The light purple color of the nautilus shell is subtle and understated, contrasting with the emanating emerald green hue in the crest of the shell. A spider web at the center of the shell offsets the simple design of the rest of the poster, and a submarine entering the opening of the shell creates a surreal effect. The text below the nautilus shell reads “hydrodynamics.”

The symbol of the nautilus is simple, yet bold, and immediately recognizable. At the time the work of General Dynamics was innovative, and this poster both captivates the viewer and captures the essence of this historic moment in time.

Today, the original Nautilus can be viewed at the Navy’s Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Connecticut. It is a piece of history that serves as the most famous innovation by General Dynamics.


The “Nuclear Fusion” Atoms for Peace poster in French depicts some striated lines in different colors, and then shows a symbol that expresses the physics of nuclear fusion. The simple design and gradation in color draws the viewer’s eye to the center of the poster and creates an easily distinguishable image.


The General Dynamics “Exploring the Universe” original poster depicts the concept of “weather control.” A glass chemistry beaker is filled with clouds, showing a cloud mass in an inescapable silo. Arrows indicate the direction the way the clouds would move in the atmosphere – General Dynamics gives a glimpse of the scientific research at which it excels.


Depending on the subject of the poster, General Dynamics either created a simpler design or a more complex design on the poster. For example, the “Artificial Intelligence” poster has a multitude of shapes with variations of coloration that embody an idea of intelligence and brain power.

Much could be said about both the design of the lithographs and the interpretation of each poster’s subject. Without a doubt, the posters are still effective at catching the viewer’s attention and curiosity.

General Dynamics’s posters are rare and we are excited to showcase this collection of post-war history. All of the posters are linen-backed and available for sale. Please check out website’s science and technology category for availability.


This post was written by Karlie Drutz, Vintage European Posters special projects coordinator, and edited by Elizabeth Norris, owner of Vintage European Posters.

You can visit our showroom at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley on Tuesdays and by appointment.

Call us at 510 843 2201 to schedule an appointment.

Our next pop up open weekend is June 8-9 2013. You can see our collection at

You can also see us in Los Angeles at Dwell on Design June 21-23


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