Typical food automats used up through 1991 at Horn and Hardart in New York City. (Image from Wikipedia.)

In Painting 27 (above), Jacobe illustrated food items stored in a modern food dispenser, strongly resembling a 1960’s-style automat (right).  The background is only rudimentary angles and shadows meant to evoke the cabin interior.

Later space programs maintained shelf-stable foods in lockers. Only Skylab provided both a freezer to preserve food and a warmer to "cook" it.

In handwritten notes (below) on the painting's cover sheet, an unknown company reviewer of this artwork noted (not very helpfully) that the restraint was wrong, presumably referring to the red bar: in fact, as depicted, it might have been helpful in keeping the man in place, had he been holding on to it. But its squared-off ends would be dangerous to passing pilots.

The reviewer also criticized the pilot’s unnatural crouch. In this as in many of the other paintings, the man's posture betrays a contemporary unawareness of the "neutral body posture" in weightlessness that was thoroughly documented on Skylab in 1973-1974 but already familiar to anyone who has floated relaxed in a swimming pool: head slightly forward, shoulders slightly hunched, arms in front of the torso, and waist, knees and ankles slightly flexed. Modern spacecraft layouts accommodate this relaxed posture. The postures Jacobe depicted would have required continuous muscular tension, and the absence of useful restraint from handholds or footholds would have ensured that the man drifted away from his desired location.

Photo of me next to one of the last full-scale artifacts of the MOL program, a prototype MOL food dispenser on display at National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton, Ohio. (Photo credit: James Rosencrans, Octber 23, 2015)

Detail of clips apparently intended to hold food and beverage bags until needed. (Photo credit: J.B. Charles, October 23, 2015).

Unlike other paintings in this collection that can be related to documented artifacts, this painting has no surviving manifestation. The Air Force Museum notes openly that its food dispenser is a rare surviving artifact of MOL, but it has no resemblance to the device in the painting or to any similar device used in spaceflight. It appears to be a metal plate with clips along both side edges, perhaps to hold food and beverage bags. There are about thirty clips, suggesting it would hold one pilot's meals for each day of the mission; if so, presumably another plate was to be provisioned for the other pilot.