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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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Hubcap Heaven: 1939

Hubcap Heaven: 1939

February 1939. "Auto parts store in Corpus Christi, Texas." Welcome to Dad's. Medium-format nitrate negative by Russell Lee. View full size.


Grille talk

That sidewalk grille reminded me of the time many years ago that I was scouting for parts for the 1933 Ford three-window coupe I had just bought for (drumroll) $200. In the dusty storage space above a small Bedford, Pennsylvania, Ford dealer's showroom (some showroom, I think it held two cars) I found a new still-in-the-brown-paper-factory-wrapping '33 grille, for which I paid all of $25.

By any other name

You can call it a parts store, or you can call it an automotive recycling facility, or you can call it what it is--a junkyard.


Great selection, no two match !


And every one dilligently policed up from the side of the highway. The combination of cheap, pressed-steel wheels and high-pressure, bias-ply tires meant that hub caps were easily shed through excessive wheel deformation on encountering significant perturbations in the paving surface at speed -- short version, hit a pothole at 40 mph, lose a hubcap. "Re-purposers" frequently picked them up for sale to places like this, where people who belatedly discovered they'd lost a hubcap might go to get a cheap replacement. It's not unlikely that many people purchased the very hubcaps they'd lost a short time before.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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