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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 • BRIDGE AT ARGENTEUIL, 1874

VicPenn: 1943

VicPenn: 1943

March 1943. "New Orleans oil truck." Note the wings atop the tank. Medium format negative by John Vachon, Office of War Information. View full size.

 

Static Electricity

Dragging chains, and spring loaded wires sticking up from the pavement at toll booths, are no longer necessary. Modern-day tires aren't such good electrical insulators as their older versions were. Tires are now built to dissipate static electricity and keep it from building up on the vehicle.

Wasn't that a punk band?

The Inflammables, I mean. I've never seen it used in the plural like that, although when I was a kid in the '60's they seemed to be transitioning from that to "flammable." Nowadays they just run with the Hazmat placard. It reminds me of R.E. Lee's soldiers, calling themselves "Lee's Miserables."

Purpose of the smaller cans?

Would the driver be using those smaller cans to trade full for empty cans from smaller users?

I'd guess they are five-gallon capacity, and they are probably all painted red, although some are pretty beaten up.

Looks as though the rail holding them in is permanent, so maybe they were a fixture of the relatively young delivery system which was still evolving.

[See these two forum posts. -tterrace]

Safety chain

Note the anti-static grounding chain dangling under the rear of the trailer. This was common practice well into the 1950's. When a tank truck passed you could hear the chain jingling as its end dragged and bounced along the road.

Mirror? What Mirror?

Many times I have seen pictures of assorted trucks on Shorpy that sported very small outside mirrors or, more commonly, none at all. Considering the volatile nature of this truck's contents it must have not been a safety consideration during this era to have some kind of mirror on the passenger side.

 
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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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