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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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Capital Service: 1940

Capital Service: 1940

June 1940. Washington, D.C. "Attendant at truck service station on U.S. 1 (New York Avenue)." 35mm nitrate negative by Jack Delano. View full size.

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It's a 1939 Ford truck

The attendant has opened the hood of a 1939 Ford truck. The 38 had a different grill. Even though this truck is near new, someone has left out a bolt.

"Contains Lead"

Interesting that even in 1940 the pumps had a sign that says "Contains Lead". Wonder if it a supposed good feature of the gasoline or if it was a warning sign?

[See this comment for an earlier photo. - tterrace]


The vehicle he's working on is a 1938/39 Ford truck.

Anybody remember when?

You'd pull into a 'Service Station': Four guys would run-out to pump gas and clean windows/mirrors...all with a smile & and thank you!

[I remember TV commercials like that. Real life didn't seem to feature the running, the smiling and three of those four guys so much. - tterrace]

Grease Monkey

I have been a mechanic for over 35 years, and always have a rag in my right rear pocket. When your hands get dirty, the rag is right there to wipe off some of the grime. My first auto-related job was at a full service gas station. In the winter, we couldn't wait to get the hood open and enjoy the warmth of the engine bay. If you checked the tire pressures when it was 20F or below, there was a chance that the outrush of the air in the tire when the valve stem was depressed would cause ice to form, holding the velve open just enough so the tire would be flat in the morning.

Inflation isn't only for tires

I think the pump is showing 24.9 cents a gallon for gasoline, which works out to about $3.85 in today's dollars.

[Which is what it costs now. Funny how that works out. - Dave]

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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