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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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Gutter Ball: 1916

Gutter Ball: 1916

February 4, 1916. Washington, D.C. "Auto wreck at 14th & T," under a light dusting of snow and mold. Continuing the thread of vehicular mayhem we started earlier today. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

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The Good News...

They didn't have to go very far to hire a new car!

Front Tire Chain Explanation

Its easy to see why the tire chain is only on the left front tire - the tire is bald! The rear tires still have tread, but trying to steer with a smooth front tire would be nearly impossible. Its also on the wheel which is attached directly to the steering gear.

On the Upside

It probably got good mileage.

At least

Those beautiful side lamps can be salvaged. Amazing to read that clipping and realize that no one in either car was seriously injured.

The Chauffeur was Fined $20

From the Washington Evening Star, February 4, 1916:

The Building

Seems to be pretty much intact under the ugly red paint. The decorative facade is still visible. I'm not sure about the 3 stacked bowling balls and pin. I think I see them when I move in front of the building but it's hard to get a good view through the tree and shadows.

View Larger Map


The tree huggers are going to raise Hell.


He did have on tire chains.

Glass and chains

Auto safety glass was a *huge* advance - considering no seat belts, either.

Interesting that the chains are on the front wheels. In my early driving years, before snow tires, the chains on passenger cars went on the rear wheels, for propulsion. I do remember fire trucks and police cars with chains front and rear....


Weren't those cars rear wheel drive? Why put chains only on the front tires?


Two features about this wreck as well as the earlier one that scare me witless: the body torn right off the chassis (which, if wooden, disintegrates), and the shards of windshield glass.

How fortunate for the driver

there was a car rental place just a few steps away.

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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