February 14, 2019

The Industrial Cutaways of Frank Soltesz: Amazing Cross Sections of Modern Life From the Mid-20th Century

Born in Pennsylvania in 1912 and active from the 1930s to the 1960s, Frank Soltesz was a versatile commercial illustrator who had a love for large cutaways. He spent part of his career working for the BBD&O advertising company.

Among his best work is a series of 29 advertising cross-sections published between 1947 and 1951 to show how the Armstrong Cork Co. company’s products were utilized. These illustrations appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and show lavishly detailed images of buildings and factories with their walls partially removed. The more you look at the scenes and the tiny human figures as they move about, the more engaging they become. Each illustration has an inset with the key. They had a drawn frame and title and readers could request 21 by 22 inch copy suitable for framing or even a free booklet with some of the illustrations.

Soltesz was a member of the American Watercolor Society as late as 1981. In addition to his commercial work for Armstrong Cork Co., Soltesz worked with accounts of other companies such as TWA (an example below), General Electric, General Motors, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, etc. Apart from the Saturday Evening Post, his work appeared in many of the great periodicals of his time like Life, Colliers, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Fortune, Time, Business Week, U.S. News and World Report.

Below are some of amazing vintage cutaways by Frank Soltesz.






















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