SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Coal Wagon: 1928

Coal Wagon: 1928

Washington, D.C., circa 1928. "Semmes Motor Co. -- Consumers Co. coal truck." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

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40 Years Later

Although greatly diminished, the home coal delivery business was still around. I drove a coal truck part-time to make ends meet while serving in the Air Force at Niagara Falls International Airport in 1968. My truck bed was partitioned and I could load different types of coal (lump, stoker, run-of-mine, etc) for up to four different houses on one load. After leaving the coal yard, I would pick up a casual laborer to spread the dumped coal in the customer's cellar. Usually one trip was enough for any cellar man, that job being extremely hard and dirty. After a while, I could see the laborers scatter as I approached the corner where they hung out waiting for jobs.

Our local coal company

was "The Burngood Coal Company". The owners name was Goodburn.

The Coal Racket

I remember the coal trucks of my youth while growing up in the Bronx. They were humongous chain driven electric behemoths. The coal would be dispensed by raising the dump mechanism and sliding the coal down a ramp into the tenement's coal chute. I think it took about a half hour or so to complete the delivery. The noise was deafening. Ironically the supplier was the Gassman Coal Company.

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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