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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Heavy Duty: 1928

Heavy Duty: 1928

Washington, D.C., circa 1928. "Witt-Will Co. truck." The most contemporary manifestation yet of the Washington-assembled motor truck glimpsed earlier here and here. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

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Looks like the McMillan Reservoir.

Heavy Duty, indeed

The double back wheels indicate that it was destined for a very heavy work load during its lifetime. Does anyone know who might have absorbed W-W in the future?

One of these things is not like the others......

The sipes on the outer right rear tire are pointing the opposite direction of the sipes on the other visible tires. Is it deliberate?


Employees of companies that bought this truck would have appreciated the all-weather cab and pneumatic tires. Driver comfort was just starting to be considered. Today, of course, it is well-known that a comfortable driver is a safer driver. I think I even see a brake drum in the front, although I find the lack of windshield wipers a bit odd. I love looking at photos of the primitive trucks that preceded this one, but shudder at their safety record.

Witt-Will was in business in Washington, D.C. from 1916 to 1932, according to American Truck Spotter's Guide by Tad Burness.

Premium equipment

Once again I'm impressed with the amount of detail captured by these large-aspect cameras. Little things like the push-on grease fitting on the steering link and the front tire valve stem, details of the multi-piece split rims and the front spring shackles.

The little evenly-spaced holes in that radiator give away that it's a honeycomb type -- every one of those holes is a long copper tube with specially flared ends painstakingly soldered to its neighbors, expensive to build and pricey to fix even then, astronomical now.

A fine-looking truck

Now that's a nice looking truck. Pneumatic tires!

Note the silvery lever coming out of the steering column. That's probably the throttle, or possibly the spark advance. These were separate controls back then.

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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