Link - article by Simon Rose and Avi Abrams

...These Knobs Were Made for Twisting...

When Part 1 appeared here at Dark Roasted Blend last year, we just knew we’d have to do a follow up article at some point. So here’s a look at some more weird and wonderful dashboards and instrument panels, complete with masses of levers, dials, buttons and switches.

(American LaFrance fire engine pumper controls; top photo by Todd Lapin)

Here is a cryptic gray control panel from a vintage flight simulator (complete with a steep learning curve):

(images via)

A faked picture, claiming to be from the early fifties, this model was supposed to have been created to show what a home computer might look like in the year 2004, although the phony caption does state how the machine would not be feasible for the average home. A manufactured picture perhaps, but fascinating nonetheless.

(image via)

Direct from the Cold War, here we see a set of controls from a Titan missile silo monitoring station near Tucson, Arizona:

(images credit: Rich Luhr)

Many of us have seen these airport gate control panels, as we’re about to board a flight:

(images credit: Ted Power)

These old rusty controls operate a car ferry (seen in Croatia):

(image credit: Stjefan Tafra)

Here we have the dashboard of a snow-grooming vehicle (chamonix, France):

(image credit: Pete)

This set of instruments has a very important purpose, taking care of beer at a Brooklyn brewery:

(image credit: David Gilford)

Here is the wonderfully complex and shiny beer-bottling machine from the same brewery:

(image credit: David Gilford)

These are the 2006 American LaFrance fire engine pumper controls:

(image credit: Todd Lapin)

A somewhat simple panel, if you know what you’re doing, of course, from a crane - at the UK's only oil power station:

(image via, see more here)

More dials from the control room of this oil-fired power station at Inverkip, Scotland (decommissioned in 2006):

(images via)

Here is how this control room looked in the 1980s, and now - slated for demolition in 2011:

This is a railroad engineer’s control station inside the GE Evolution series locomotive:

(images credit: Paul Sidorsky)

In Nagasaki, Japan, the older streetcars still have these types of control panels.

(images via)

This is the control panel for the Pike’s Peak cog train in Manitou Springs, Colorado:

(image credit: Brad Kaplan)

This great set of panels (it even includes the cryptic button "Matrix Enable") seems to be a test device for aircraft navigation equipment... it certainly looks very complicated:

(image credit: Sameli)

"This looks like airport tower equipment. Top panel is the radio control to talk to pilots or ground personnel (but they took of the mike). The rest are control panels for radar and antenna azimuth. Most of it could be from late 1960s" (left image):

(images via)

On the left: LAUNCH! (a model rocket control panel). On the right: An old potato warehouse air conditioning controls, found in Finland:

(images via 1, )

Typical Music studio environment provides plenty of opportunities to handle knobs and switches: on the left are racks of audio equipment, on the right are mixing consoles -

(image via)

Vintage audio mixers are beautiful... Radio Studio Gear, Six channels mixer, from Suomi, Finland -

(image via)

"Data Entry"... "Test Points"... The new vintage knob esthetic is here:

(images via)

With the potential perils of nuclear power very much back in the news after the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we see here the incredible amount of technology required to run a nuclear power plant:

(image via)

This is an older model "Kurchatovski" Russian reactor control panel (also shown are the reactor chamber with graphite blocks, and the early 1950s computing unit):

(images via)

This periscope (!) was used to monitor the reactor chamber (war-time model from 1943):

(image via)

This is one of the control rooms at Chernobyl in Ukraine. This is for the first reactor, not the one that exploded back in 1986:

(image credit: Mark Nelson)

We looked at a few space travel vehicle panels in the first article, including the Space Shuttle and some of the early capsules, but here’s a shot of the interior of Skylab, the first space station, launched back in the seventies:

(image via NASA)

After viewing the complex panels and sets of controls for so many devices and vehicles, it’s comforting to know that in the future things will become more simplified. Here’s the bridge of the Enterprise from the original Star Trek series:

(image via)

And here’s the equally uncomplicated panel which operates the transporter on a starship:

(image via)

And finally, here’s the dashboard from the DeLorean in Back to the Future:

(image credit: PopCultureGeek.com)

Article by Simon Rose and Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.





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Blogger Luca said...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to get a good set of pictures of control panels (preferably from direct on) to use as backgrounds on my computer. I think the more knobs and switches the better. I have always enjoyed looking at analog synthesizers too.

Anonymous John Ashmead said...


Blogger Fritriac said...

#4 is from a photoshop contest on fark.com back in 2004: Photoshop this mock-up of a submarine's maneuvering Room., photoshop by lukket.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I rather like this damage control console from USS Abraham Lincoln.

Anonymous Robert Q. Benedict said...

a modest set of jetway controls from my flickr account

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you guys for great comments and suggestions - will be including some on DRB!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

SAGE / AN/FSQ-7 could easily serve content for an entire article.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot this link:

Anonymous François Guay said...

Fantastic collection of instrument panels! However, I can assure you that your Vostok spacecraft panel is actually a Voskhod spacecraft panel. The difference is visible in the black, blue and yellow longitude-latitude displays visible above the globe. Find out more at Voskhod Spacecraft "Globus" IMP navigation instrument

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you François - I adjusted the text of the first part article - nice catch!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be very surprised if that's the proper DeLorean cockpit from BTTF. I don't think Pioneer made an in-dash CD player in 1985.


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