Although various versions of tunnels and bridges have been with us for many centuries, the ones, we in graphic-land know, are of quite recent vintage. We can and will delight here, in the heart, dazzle and beauty of such projects. But why not, we say, when we’re at it, disclose that such functionality has a special magic streaming back to times when know-it-alls and their phones were not in the way (though they found, no doubt, other impediments).

With the Industrial Revolution, there began to take over within such precincts, a preparation of academic study by which to systematically facilitate better safety, speed and volume. All to the good, of course; but, with such complications, the early craftspeople would have somewhat handed over their muscular wizardry, the full stake of their activity as carnal creators. We seldom reflect upon such a capitulation. But perhaps we should, because developments like these are too important to be left by brain stations.

Therefore, as we ooh and  aah about vintage posters showing attractions of one type of poetry, it may be very useful to keep in mind that such heavy lifting in the past could have harbored a culture we still need, though by way of other avenues.

Our first instance, with its modernist ambience, within a context of departing the old, in order to be mysteriously, troublingly, matter-of fact,  all-but becomes a phantom, a production of much mathematics and flimsy physicality.


Here we have the smallest train in vintage poster history, but a tunnel being a marvel of neat functionality. That green grass and clover looking for the beauties of travel, not the dark side of heavy lifting.




And here we have a temporary bridge, devoted to French tourists recovering their past glories. A flimsy programme. But, when you think about it, a re-run of the prehistoric tree-trunks, navigating a gorge.




No question about it, this bridge is not only a geometric triumph but a thing of beauty! “The Spirit of Progress.” Its huge mass, though, tends to preclude a manageable grasp of invention by way of carnal magic.




With a gigantic bridge being framed as a sort of spider’s web, this vignette partakes of the gigantism of modernity being both awesome, beautiful and vaguely crushing–bringing the viewer to a worshipful embrace of science and its technology.




The networks of urban subways are the most remarkable transformations of prehistoric tunnels. Here we have little Toronto having a go. But the worldwide dramas of this device range from the fabulous to the horrific!




Would these twentieth century primitives count themselves part of a paradox where brawn could trump brains?




Bridges of Paris, many of them ancient, attending to a rich patrimony.




I love how this beautiful structure, being drawn as a marvel, like one of the wonders of the world, catches the sunlight looking like part of an ancient Greek monument. The towering accomplishment takes care to remind us of a time when carnal power and its inventions meant a lot.

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