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Old 08-01-2005, 02:17 PM   #1
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Atomic Airstream

To all,

I am hoping to find the Airstream used in the A-Bomb test conducted in May of 1955. The test Airstream appears to be an early 1954 California built 22' Safari. The year and model can be identified by the photos of it that show it with bee-hive marker lights mounted on the sides of the end panels (discontinued in early 1954), a 9 panel rear end cap (called a Dutchman or Whale Tail) used exclusively on California built Airstreams from 1954 to 1957, and three adjacent street side windows (used only on the Safari). After the test the Airstream was used for promotion purposes, and then, rumor has it, it was sold. If this Airstream still exists the current owner might not know if it is the one used in the bomb test, so if any of you know someone who owns a California built 1954 22' Safari could you give me their name and address?

Thank you,

Forrest McClure
VAC Librarian and Archive Historian
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Old 08-01-2005, 02:22 PM   #2
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Maybe you should head to a big VAC rally with a geiger counter in hand...

I was curious about this as well. I'll be interested to see if you can find it. It's strange to note that after being used in the test it was put back on the road and possibly sold to someone without any mention of it's history. Do you know anything about how close it was to the blast?

If you like, I'll put a note about your search into our next unit newsletter. PM me if you have any specific text you want me to use. We have some very long-time members in our unit, you never know what might turn up.
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Old 08-01-2005, 02:24 PM   #3
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Should be easy to find... look for the warm glow at night ;)

Hi - you might consider contacting the folks at the B Reactor Museum in Richland Washington. This little non-profit is trying to save the old reactor where the stuff for those tests and subsequent bombs was produced. Many of their volunteers were directly involved in the Manhattan project.
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Old 08-01-2005, 03:02 PM   #4
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You should also contact the Chrest Museum in Richland, WA. They have a 40's era trailer on display that has been partiall restored and several of their volunteers are Birch beauty fans. The Gov't purchased hundreds of trailers in the forties as permanent living quarters for "Camp Hanford" for nuclear workers and their familes. Many of them are still in the area.

Here are some pics of a forties vintage vagabond that they have on display.
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Old 08-01-2005, 03:41 PM   #5
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They say never put aluminum foil in a microwave - this test sounds like that scenario times a hundred!
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Old 08-01-2005, 04:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Maybe you should head to a big VAC rally with a geiger counter in hand...
It probably still IS radioactive. One way to verify it's authenticity
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Old 08-01-2005, 09:23 PM   #7
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Stephanie,

Thanks, please do copy my request to your Unit newsletter.

Forrest
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Old 08-01-2005, 09:30 PM   #8
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Oh, yes, I nearly forgot. It was placed 10,500 feet from ground zero.
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Old 08-02-2005, 06:24 AM   #9
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Plse

Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrest
Oh, yes, I nearly forgot. It was placed 10,500 feet from ground zero.
Did it need polishing after that test?? lmao
ciao
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Old 08-23-2005, 02:37 PM   #10
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Does anyone have a copy of the picture of that Airstream? I know I've seen it before, but I can't locate it. I want to use it in our newsletter along with Forrest's request for info.
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Old 08-23-2005, 04:02 PM   #11
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Photos of Atomic trailer

Here are some magazine photos.
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Old 08-23-2005, 04:05 PM   #12
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Also, there is a very nice, larger photo, in the just published book: Wanderlust - Airstream at 75.
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Old 08-23-2005, 04:29 PM   #13
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Those are just what I needed, thanks!
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Old 08-23-2005, 05:26 PM   #14
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I am curious what was tested on the Airstream during this test, does anyone know?
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Old 08-23-2005, 05:30 PM   #15
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This test was to test the prototype of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The test was conducted in Nevada.
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Old 08-23-2005, 05:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet
This test was to test the prototype of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The test was conducted in Nevada.
I meant to ask what about the Airstream was tested, I understand why they tested the bomb, but I am sure there were no Airstreams expected in Japan.

Why did they use an Airstream in the testing of the A-Bomb?
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Old 08-23-2005, 05:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardT
I am curious what was tested on the Airstream during this test, does anyone know?
According to Ready to Roll:

Quote:
With the advent of the Cold War, the government became one of the trailer industry's best customers. Close to bases full of missile silos, radar arrays, and concrete bunkers, you'd always find trailers. Capitalizing on this, manufacturers argued that the trailer was the perfect dwelling place for areas adjacent to nuclear test sites. According to one article, a trailer would roll with the shock wave from a blast rather than falling to pieces. Surprisingly, the author was sort of right: This Airstream was parked close to ground zero for the 1955 Operation Cue test. It survived with only a broken window.
Roger
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Old 08-23-2005, 06:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 53FlyingCloud
Did it need polishing after that test?? lmao
ciao
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Only on one side!
An alternative to using a geiger counter, is to check for a green-glowing Airstream whose owner has not recently partaken of burritos...
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Old 01-23-2009, 04:27 AM   #19
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Airstream, Atomic Bombs, Cold War and Neveda

Many Airstreamers are unaware of an Airstream used in a Civil Defense Atomic Bomb test. Here is a sketch of Airstream, and quotes, and pictures from those days gone by.

I have also included three colour pictures that I could not copy into my PDF file.

Enjoy this "radiant" part of history.

Pee Wee
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Old 01-23-2009, 05:59 AM   #20
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I had no idea that an Airstream was used during atomic bomb testing. Do you have any idea what happened to the test trailer? I wonder if it was buried somewhere in the Nevada desert? I looked like it was a Safari.

PeeWee - Thanks for this mornings lesson...
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