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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Safety First: 1925

Safety First: 1925

Washington, D.C., circa 1925. "C & P Tel. Co." The Chesapeake & Potomac telephone company garage, and a fleet of White trucks with solid rubber tires. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

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This is a classic Bell System garage layout, used for decades all over the country. Every morning the foremen would come down and meet with their respective crews in front of their trucks, where the day's orders were handed out and other matters covered. The "cages" at the far end were for supplies. One contained revenue equipment - phones and accessories. The other contained the tools and supplies. There was only one supplier: Western Electric. Everything from screws, climbing gear, telephones, wooden phone booths, batteries in distinctive gray color ... all of it came from Western Electric.

Muddy Roads

Narrow tires and muddy dirt roads were the norm. Having a place to attach a chain or rope to pull the vehicle free from a mud hole was a necessity.

Hey Abbott!

If Safety is First, why is it second?


It looks like every truck has a hook in front so it can be towed home. Could that be?


It heartens me to see that the problem of management (who ordered the sign) and labor (who painted the sign) misunderstanding the difference between adjectives and adverbs existed even when our schools did not teach "whole language". The sign should read: Drive Slowly

p.s. No flat tires!

[Grammmar, as opposed to spellling. -Dave]


The somethings that used up axles were Model T Fords. You can see the single arched, transverse springs and the wishbones (radius rods) that held everything straight. The White trucks have longitudinal, semi-elliptic springs and the axles are way heavier than the Fords.

Rack of Axles

Looks like they had to replace the front axles with some regularity judging by the rack of replacements against the back wall!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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