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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

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.

 

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.

 
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.

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