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Grand Patent India-Rubber Air Line Railway to California.

Grand Patent India-Rubber Air Line to California
A hand-colored lithograph made in New York City by Nathaniel Currier. The cartoon image features eight persons and a dog astride a giant rubber band attached to a pole that rises from a domed building. It mocks several trends of the day (Gold Rush fever, new latex technology, railroad aspirations, industrial competitiveness, and Irish xenophobia) and places the image in a fashionable Hudson River valley landscape. Under the title, a subcaption reads: "Competition Defied." The caption reads: "From the Atlantic to the Pacific, Through in no Time, the principle of this Railway is such that if the Passengers are nicely balanced both in mind and body, all that is necessary to land them at the 'gold diggens' is to cut the line on the Atlantic side, then by one jerk, they reach in safety their place of destination. Reverse the above and they are back agin (sic).--N B What is claimed in this patent is having discovered the immense expresion (sic) and contraction of India Rubber--" Balloon captions appear above each of the passengers and the worker with the implement to severe the rubber band, but not above the man riding an express "balloon" in the upper left corner. Several captions mock Irish immigrants, using dialect words like "OCH! Teddy Darlint Dont Ye Feel Quare to be Sthraddlin a sthring?" The conductor at the front of the rubber rope wears an "Indian Rubber" slicker. The passengers carry picks and shovels; one has an umbrella and another a rifle and dog. The Irish smoke clay pipes, the Englishman smokes a meerschaum pipe. Americans' affection for self-mockery is evident in this print. The texts capture the themes of Gold Rush fever, Western expansion, railway and technological mania, and uneasiness over immigration. The art captures Americans' interest in their expansive landscapes. Currier usually is associated with sentimental, historical and "quintessential" American prints, not with cartoon images. The cariciarturized figures, who exemplify varied social classes and classifications, contrast with the serious Hudson-river-style-landscape and cityscape below the travelers. The image is timely, funny, and beautiful all at once.
Source Oakland Museum of California
Coverage Spatial, somewhere on the East coast; temporal, 1849
Rights Oakland Museum of California
Date Created 1849
Resource Type
Extent 14 in. x 21 in.
Image Type Cartoon
Creator Description Nathaniel Currier began lithographic business in New York in 1835, and rose to fame quickly with a print of the fire that destroyed the Merchant's Exchange. It was an early example of illustrated journalism. James Ives began work as a bookkeeper for Currier in 1850, then was made a partner in 1857, creating the famed "Curier and Ives" name. The firm published about 7,500 prints.
Collection Founders Fund
Image ID A68.90.2
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