Hidden In Plain Site

by Cyle
Categories: Cool Things
Tags: , , , , ,
Comments: Leave a Comment

Soon after December 7, 1941 Boeing and Lockheed aircraft factories along the west coast were camouflaged to try and hide them from Japanese aerial attacks. These two plants built aircraft for the United States during the Second World War. It would have been a devastating impact if they had been destroyed by the enemy. Boeing went all out hiding their plant. John Stewart Detlie, a Hollywood set designer at the time, was hired by Boeing to help hide the factory. Using chicken wire, netting, and plywood he created a neighborhood on top of the factory by building fake houses, trees, roads, etc. The Army Core of Engineers used similar tactics in hiding the Lockheed factory by building trees and putting cars on rooftops.

From the pictures it looks convincing, and probably would work given the lack of technology used back then. However, the camouflage was never put to the test because no Japanese aircraft ever made it to the factories. It’s a bummer they spent all that time and money making a very sophisticated illusion and it was never put to the test. I guess it’s better safe than sorry…

Lockheed Factory

The Lockheed Factory before.

The Lockheed Factory after.


People were hired to ride bicycles and walk around all day just to look even more realistic.


Trees and buildings constructed on top of the Lockheed Factory roof.


Netting above the parking lot.


The hidden parking lot at Lockheed.


No one had to worry about a hot car after work since it was all shaded.


Hiding the planes underneath the netting.


Boeing Factory

Boeing Factory under cover. You can see the dozens of B-29’s lined up on the tarmac.


Notice the B-29 taking off and B-17 on the other side, but the factory nowhere to be found.


Joyce Howe was a receptionist for Boeing’s engineering department and the woman behind her is her good friend who worked in another division at Boeing. They are walking on top of the factory roof. The path way has guard railing so you wouldn’t fall through the netting.


An aerial view of the factory. It is hard to tell where the big factory building is.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Today is Tuesday