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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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Flushing New York: 1943

Flushing New York: 1943

March 1943. "New York, New York. Department of Sanitation street flushing sprinkler truck." One in a series of photos taken by John Vachon for the Office of War Information documenting trucks in the Northeast. View full size.


A good design lasts forever

The interesting thing is that the design of those street flushing trucks has barely changed since the 1940's. They are still a heavy truck frame with a large water tank in the back and a second smaller motor that runs a pump behind the rear axle (the reason for those large "barn doors" on the back of the tank). The nozzles that spray the water are identical to the ones you would find on a brand new street flusher today.

re: 1933 Autocar

It's amazing how little trucks have changed over the years compared to cars. This 80-year-old vehicle would not look completely out of place if you'd see it performing similar duties in a big city today.

Three S's

Snow plow, Suicide door and Semaphore signal. The monster front bumper is typical for snow plow mounting and is used by many city works trucks to this day. The suicide door in this case was an easy answer to deal with cab access. The semaphore turn signal, to the rear of the drivers door window mimicked arm signals and had a lever mounted in the cab most likely connected with a cable.

1933 Autocar Model UT

450 1933 Autocar Model UTs were delivered to NYC. See here.

It says


Olde Buck's other half

____ TO FUND.
_____ __ COMING!

The Other Half

I wonder what the words are on the right rear door?

OUR ---

I can only guess that the last word is CLEAN.

Double Flushing

It would be even better if the truck were in Flushing, as the headline could be Flushing Flushing New York.

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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