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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Truck Museum: 1941

Truck Museum: 1941

Chicago, July 1941. "Produce market where commission merchants sell to retailers." Photo by John Vachon, Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 

Ahhh Lackawana 9868

Before there was Caller I.D., there was the telephone exchange.

This is a term that must baffle those who know only touch tone, area code, star and pound.

Back in the day in Baltimore the names which still reside in my memory are Calvert, Eastern, Broadway, Saratoga, Belmont and Orleans.

Those were telephone exchanges -- actual neighborhood buildings where operators toiled to hand-connect wires on a switchboard.

You knew if a girl gave you an Orleans number she lived around Belair Road or if it was Broadway than maybe she was a Fells Point girl (present Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski had that one) and Eastern ordinarily made her a Highlandtown girl.

The present day strings of number have no romance or adventure but a number preceded by Plaza, Chesapeake or Belmont could only lead to fantastic fantasy.

Like my SSN and USN service number my first phone number Orleans 5-1418 remains firmly in my databank.

Comment for Glocke380

The last company I drove for back in the '90s before disability claimed me offered us as drivers when our trucks needed replacing the choice of either power steering or air conditioning. I drove the night shift from 6PM to 6AM in a tanker carrying 80000 pounds when full and weighing about 27000 empty. The day driver with whom I shared the tractor wanted power steering so that is what we ended up with.

The units without power steering had a steering wheel over 2.5 feet in diameter. The new fangled power steering made keeping the shiny side up very easy and you didn't have to be Charles Atlas to drive it. Six months after we got our new tractor, the company changed the replacement program to all new units had power steering and air conditioning. Because of my day driver's seniority (he had been driving for them since 1971 when he came home from the Army.

We thought we had died and gone to heaven!

As for that kind of tractor in the picture, cab overs are very hard on you ride wise but steer quickly. I drove a cab over with a sleeper when I drove over the road before the gas tanker job. You have to pay very close attention because they tend to oversteer and can go into the ditch very easily if you get distracted.

Driving big trucks - the best job I ever had till I couldn't do it anymore. Too old and wore out now but it was great while it lasted.

Suicide Doors

I don't know the make, but unit #110 of Green Bay Chicago Lines has suicide doors. I've never seen those on a truck tractor before.

Safety First

No right side mirrors, tiny left side mirrors make lane changes a crapshoot, but reinforce the back to the left rule.

As a former truck driver

In a truck with power steering, modern air brakes, 500 horsepower and a/c, I wonder what it was like to drive one of these, especially the semi on the right.

The Trucks Are Long Gone

I drive past these buildings on the way to work. They have been converted to condos. This area is known as University Village, just south of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Cab Overs

In the center of the photo there are a trio of cab-overs. Could these be Autocars from the later 20's/early 30's?

Hey buddy!

I'm taking a picture here!

Bald tires!

The Wulfstat Brothers better get some new tires soon, the cords are showing on that rear tire!

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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