Sunday, April 12, 2020

Camouflage artists turn Velie automobile into a fig tree

WWI military vehicle (not a Velie automobile)
ARTIST TURNS AUTO INTO A FIG TREE: Camouflage to save American lives, in The Los Angeles Times, September 2, 1917—

When the American boys get on the firing line in France they will be able, with the assistance of artists, to show the French and British soldiers that they have been studying the war game from many angles. For instance, they have lately taken up the subject of camouflage, and artists employed by Edwin H. Flagg Scenic Company have become so expert at disguising various kinds of equipment, including automobiles, that at a hundred yards or so it is impossible to distinguish a machine from a fig tree. [A] Velie [brand automobile was recently] “transformed into a fig tree,” and the work was done so well that at a short distance, if placed in a fig orchard, it could not be told from the trees. “Camouflage is the simplest sort of work, and stories of its use on the battlefronts show that it has already been the means of saving thousands of human lives,” said Arthur Hurtt, a local artist, yesterday. “The experiments conducted in Los Angeles have proved beyond a doubt that almost any object may be so completely hidden behind a coat of paint that it cannot be discerned from a distance of 100 or 200 yards, and an enemy might pass much closer than that without noticing it. It was shown in a most graphic way how an officers’ touring car, for instance, could be ‘erased’ by this process when the Velie was driven to a point on Long Beach Boulevard and in less than one hour so completely ‘camouflaged’ that it could not easily be discerned at a short distance, and was completely invisible at a distance equalling the width of ‘no man’s land.’”