Kay W. sent me an email forward with photos of efforts to camouflage the Lockheed Burbank Aircraft Plant during WWII. The plant was essentially covered in netting made to appear, from the air, like a residential neighborhood. The aim was to keep it from being found by pilots and bombed.

Before:

After:

Close ups:

From under the camouflage:

Camouflage was a nation-wide effort, with schools even offering courses in “industrial camouflage.”  The Library of Congress World War II Companion explains:

A year before the United States entered the war, Kansas City’s Art Institute offered the country’s first classes in industrial camouflage, and other schools soon followed suit. In a short-lived blackout measure, steel mills in Gary, Indiana, were shrouded in thick smoke to hide their location from enemy places. The gold dome of the Massachusetts state house in Boston was painted gray, so it would not stand out, and elsewhere other important secular structures were topped with church steeples… The most ambitious deceptions, which fooled even local pilots, were the fake suburban neighborhoods and small towns built of plywood and chicken wire atop aircraft factories one the West Coast… Small plywood houses, rubber cars, clotheslines, and artificial plants dotted the three-dimensional landscape (p. 179).

In doing some research, I also discovered some pictures of two of the other projects.

Boeing Plant in Seattle, Washington. after:

The Burbank Airport, under the camouflage:

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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