The Shorpy Archive
 
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
 
Join and Share

 
Social Shorpy

To love him is to like him. Our goal: 100k "likes":

 
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:

 
 
 
 
Member Photos


Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

 
Colorized Photos


Colorized photos submitted by members.

 
About the Photos

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.

 
 
JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600
VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

Bob's Log: 1943

Bob's Log: 1943

March 1943. Washington, D.C. "Bob Daugherty filling out his log book after lunch. The Interstate Commerce Commission requires all truck drivers to keep time records." Photo by John Vachon, Office of War Information. View full size.

 

Pull your Johnson

The trailer brake valve is called a Johnson bar or johnny. The term might come from railroading, where a 'Johnson rod' was a mythical part greenhorns were sent to find, or was a catch-all phrase for unexplainable problems with the engine.
Until Spring brakes became mandatory in the '70's, trailer parking brakes depended on having air in the trailer tanks. When the air leaked out over time, a driver trying to hook a trailer could end up chasing it all over the yard as it would roll away on contact with the tractor. He would thus back up to the trailer, hook up the airlines (with 'gladhands', another term borrowed from railroaders),charge the trailer tanks, pull his johnny to lock trailer brakes, and hook her up. They are still required on tractors, although seldom used. Using it to get out of a jacknife would only worsen things, like using the handbrake in your car during a snowfall.

Make, year and model of the tractor?

I'm thinking it's a late 30s or early 40's Autocar, before the comfort cab.

Trailer Brake Lever

That trailer brake lever is very useful. It can be used to apply only the trailer brakes if the tractor starts to jackknife. Applying the trailer brakes helps to straighten out the rig whereas if you use the brake pedal to apply all brakes you might increase the chance of a jackknife.

Spotlight

That spotlight is an Appleton, long gone from the stores but a highly coveted find now.
Spotlights (now almost all the generally similar Unity) remain common; you will see at least one on every police car and emergency vehicle out there, and on many taxis and big trucks. Civilian spotlight geeks remain out here, too! I note from my own post that we are at least as obsessed with bizarre obsolescent details as the train geeks.

Trailer Brake Lever

Modern tractors still have the separate trailer brake lever, but it's usually on the dashboard somewhere, not on the steering column as pictured here. It really doesn't serve any purpose!

That lever on the steering column

The lever on the steering column is clearly not a shifter nor a turn signal. It has a little pipe coming out of it.

I'd guess it's for a trailer brake or a compression brake, but someone with more practice driving 1940s big rigs would know better.

Natty Attire

The gizmo just to the left of the steering wheel is the handle for the spotlight.
They disappeared long ago, along with uniformed truck drivers.

Book of lies

Another term for the logbooks was "Book of Lies".

Funny book?

The truck drivers name for the log book is 'funny book'. It probably got that name from the fake entries made in it to conform with the letter of the law.

I am trying to picture

a modern teamster wearing a tie to work.

Bob's brother, Ralph.

Bob had a younger, look-a-like half-brother, named Ralph who also worked as a driver. The last time they met, Ralph was on his honeymoon.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | 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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2014 Shorpy Inc.