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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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Western Mattress: 1939

Western Mattress: 1939

November 1939. "Trucks loaded with mattresses at San Angelo, Texas. These mattress factories use much local cotton." 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Good old/bad days

Not only are the mattresses completely exposed to dirt, weather and everything else but how about the guy SITTING on one in the truck? Like someone said, rarely did people go out to buy a new mattress but if I did I certainly wouldn't want one from THIS company. While I think the good old days may have been great in some ways, I am happy to be living today when it comes to stuff like this.

How odd

They're not having a sale on mattresses!

San Angelo is a great town.

Lived there for a number of years. Great place. Great people. Great place to raise a family.

Western Mattress Store

I was just in front of their former store in San Angelo this past Saturday. It's being renovated into a restaurant/bar type establishment. San Angelo has a very historic old downtown and is somewhat of a heaven for lovers of old buildings.

Classic Americana!

Great Photo, other than the mattresses it reminds me of a scene from The Last Picture Show.

Truck IDs

From front to back: 2 Internationals(fleet #7 & 2), Ford ca.1937, Chevrolet 1934/1935 type, Ford, Dodge etc. (too fuzzy). The lone truck on the right with the right hand spare is a Dodge (note the ram). The 2 door sedan is a 1933/34 Ford and the black 2 dr waiting for a wash is a Model A Ford.


Seems as though the new mattresses would travel better is they were packaged a bit better; just a thought from the perspective of the distant future.

Old Mattresses from 1939

Growing up and living in my parents' house for over 20 years, I cannot remember ever having a brand new mattress delivered. Just seems everyone had mattresses they were not using and when one was needed, it was offered to us by a relative or friend. These days we are told that after 8 years, it is full of dust mites and horrible, dangerous, potentially fatal vermin, germs, etc. Sometimes it is hard to understand how we survived those risks. My current new mattress has "pillowtops" on both sides,special back support sectioning, carrying handles and is almost 20" thick and it takes two strong men to move it, not to mention the mind-boggling cost. Life was so simple then.


These look like Studebakers but I haven't been able to figure exactly what model.

Hometown mattresses

I don't know about other states, but as late as the 1960s, many small towns in Texas had local companies that made mattresses. The town in East Texas where my mother grew up had a mattress company, a storefront operation much smaller than this one in San Angelo. The mattresses (like ones my grandparents had) were simple affairs stuffed with cotton, used with an open spring foundation. As a kid, I thought they were the best mattresses made.

The "S.H.D." on the trailers stands for "State Highway Department", which is now known as TxDOT.

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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