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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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Atlantic Ethyl: 1941

Atlantic Ethyl: 1941

October 1941. "Trucks on highway en route to Utica, New York." Decisions, decisions. Atlantic Ethyl or Esso Extra? Photo by John Collier. View full size.

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Crank hole

Automobiles had crank holes long after people stopped cranking them by hand. Look at Google Images for any common late thirties car, and you'll see the crank hole in the grille.


I suspect the pole, with the lights, is a signal for a truck scale. Probably red for wait, yellow to drive onto scale, green to drive off of scale.

Ford Time

The truck is a 1941 Ford highway tractor with what looks like a 134" wheelbase. The 1941 Ford trucks are easily identified by the Ford emblems on the side of the hood and the wider molding on the front of the hood.

This truck appears to be from early in 1941 as it does not appear to have painted hood and grille mouldings. As America ramped up for World War II the necessary ingredients for chrome plating became scarce and painted trim became common on the majority of vehicles.

The car in the left foreground is a 1941 Plymouth.

Note the unusual back to the Trailmobile Trailer at the right of the photo: two sideways opening doors and a drop down panel.

Pole with Triangle ...

The pole with the triangle at the top and with what looks like three light bulbs below it--anybody know what this is?

Bulk products trailer

Probably hauling feed to your local dairy.

Times Have Changed

I've driven a semi and currently drive a school bus. It still amazes me when I see these old semis with only a single (and very small) mirror. You are virtually blind to the rear. I have seven mirrors on the bus and use all of them. Also note the condition of the outside drive wheel. The DOT would nail him now! I did drive a truck with several tires in that condition several years ago and was a nervous wreck.

Still, I love these old trucks and honestly wish they were still that size. I remember when I was a kid we always pumped our arms up and down to get the drivers to blow their horns. When I'm taking grade schoolers on field trips they often do this and sometimes when the drivers blow, I jump, because they do it while still behind where I'm sitting.

Better get some new tires

while you still can!

SHORPY OLD 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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