Sunday, September 12, 2021

William T Larkin.....the guy that took many of the pics of WWII aircraft graveyards. is here in the top photo with the Flying Seal, which was made too late for WW2, so it was sold as scrap and bought by the National Motor Bearing Company for board members transportation. Thanks Scott K!

Civil Registration: NL66548 

 Model(s): B-25J Mitchell, The Flying Seal

History: Built for U.S. Army Air Force as 45-8829, August 1945. - 

Not accepted by air force. - Delivered new to Reconstruction Finance Corp, Walnut Ridge, AR, October 31, 1945. 

Registered as NL66548. - Converted to executive transport for the National Motor Bearing Company. - Flown as The Flying Seal.

San Francisco in 1948

the National Motor Bearing Co was originally founded in 1920 in San Francisco, by Lloyd A. Johnson,  who had built his company from scratch, and went on to invent and patent in 1936 the process of making laminated shims.

the National Motor Bearing Co produced "shims and oil seals", for transportation - trains, planes, automobiles, ships, subs - you name it. It was a key defense industry during WWII and one of, if not, the major employer of the city at that time. It also had 2 subsidiaries: the Arrowhead Rubber Co., and National Seal Co. 

the National Motor Bearing Co hired Arthur Radebaugh for the Marketing & Advertizing Dept., and was greatly rewarded by his amazing art style:

You might not recall the name, but you'll probably remember the futuristic art on the cover of MoToR Magazine in the 1930s from my post in 2016

His creative talent and futurist imagination had been well honed by his stint in the army when in 1942 he went to work for the Pentagon's Ordnance Office, heading up an R&D department of Design and Visualization, designing weapons of the future, and other useful things.

 He worked with fellow artists and industrial designers (notably, Will Eisner was working in the same office!), designing weapons of the future.

 In 1956, the company merged with Federal-Mogul Bower of Detroit which propelled NMB as one of the top 300 companies of the country.

but the tractor he designed is till my favorite


  1. That's a pict of Willian T Larkin.....the guy that took many of the picts of WWII aircraft graveyards.

  2. I was curious about National Motor Bearing Company. They were bought by Federal-Mogul (who bought Champion when I was there) back in the 1950s. They had some great advertising by Arthur Radebaugh, who you have featured on JACG in the past.

    I'd like to see the inside of this converted B-25. I was just inside a B-25 not very long ago, and they aren't very roomy.

    1. HA! I was too! But YOU are faster than I am and I just did the rest of the post just now, during lunch at work... take another look at the newer version of the post!

  3. I wonder where that deuce coupe ended up?