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King George VI is introduced to two of the British naval heroes who have been called "human torpedoes", 1940-1945
Vintage ferrotyped gelatin silver print on paper

Creation Place: Europe
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted gift of Michael Mattis, Judy Hochberg, Fernando Barnuevo and Gloria Ybarra
Accession Number: P2020.6.54

Provenance
Purchased by the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College on August 12, 2020 from Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York.

Commentary
King Meets Men Who Ride Torpedoes: King George VI is introduced to two of the British naval heroes who have been called "human torpedoes". Actually, the men ride the underwater version of a motorcycle carrying a torpedo. Their strange outfit is a lightweight diving costume. Oxygen and air tanks are strapped to their backs. When the men ride their submarine to its goal, they detach the torpedo portion, fix it to the target, and ride away after setting a timing device.

Human torpedoes or manned torpedoes are a type of diver propulsion vehicle on which the diver rides, generally in a seated position behind a fairing. They were used as secret naval weapons in World War II. The basic concept is still in use. The name was commonly used to refer to the weapons that Italy, and later (with a larger version) Britain, deployed in the Mediterranean and used to attack ships in enemy harbors. The human torpedo concept has occasionally been used by recreational divers.

Technique
Ferrotyped prints are processed in such a way that they are shiny. The print has a sensitive surface, usually thinner, because it was put through a press while still wet.

Marks
On recto: Label in bottom right corner, "DISPATCH / PHOTO NEWS / SERVICE / INC. / NEW YORK".

On verso: Typewritten label attached in center, "KING MEETS MEN WHO RIDE TORPEDOES / King George is introduced to two of the British naval heroes who have been called 'human torpedoes.' / Actually the men ride the underwater version of the motorcycle carrying a torpedo. Their strange out- / fit is a lightweight diving costume. Oxygen and air tanks are strapped to their backs. When the men / ride their submarine to its goal, they detach the torpedo portion, fix it to the target and ride away after / setting a timing device. Produced Exclusively by Dispatch Photo News Service, New York City". Handwritten in graphite in top left corner, "DP-WW2-054".

Materials
Ferrotyped prints have a sensitive surface, usually shiny and thinner, because they are put through a press while still wet. Ferrotyping makes the surface of the photograph smoother. Light does not scatter as much on a smoother surface, so this increases contrast. That makes ferrotyped images better for press photography.

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