IX. Graphic Arts Go to Sea

As ships grew in size and complexity, so too did the problems associated with displaying their various attributes in two dimensions. The problem was solved by the invention of a patented folder intended specifically for “vividly illustrating to prospective passengers the general layout of a particular ship.” Items 102-106 show the drawings for Walter Jones’s patent application together with four folders at various degrees of opening. The last folder shows the Olympic (1911-33), older sister-ship of the Titanic (1912) [132-39].

Jones’s folder was an improvement over those like that for the Ile de France [86]. Simply add-ing ever more folds showed the detail of a single deck no matter its length, but putting it all in relation to the rest of the ship was cumbersome, and it was this problem that Jones resolved.

The modernist sensibility evident in the ocean liner style/art deco [79], the development of the Isodeck plan [86], and Jones’s patented folder [102-106] found its highest expression in a series of individual booklets published in the 1930s [104-109]. Ornate and expensive to produce, in word and image these publications evoked all the worldly sophistication and modernist sensibility we now associate with the heyday of the ocean liner.