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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 • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

Flatcar: 1923

Flatcar: 1923

Washington, D.C., 1923. "Asst. P.M.G. Bartlett's car." Assistant Postmaster General John Bartlett survived; his car, also seen here, did not. View full size.

 

Things we wouldn't get without photography

Yes, I know the history of seatbelts, airbags, and crumple zones since the '60s. I'm aware of the development of safety glass in the early '30s. I know that many cars as late as the '30s had wood-framed bodies, and there were "woody" station wagons into the '40s. It should also follow logically that in the decades before unit-body construction became the norm, bodies would have been more flimsy.

But until I started visiting Shorpy, I just didn't get how pre-1930 cars folded like a cheap suit in the slightest collision. And I know that most of them had to be going less than 40 miles per hour. Look at this mess. It looks like someone dumped some couches by the side of the road and left them to weather for a few years. You'd never guess that used to be a car. Some things just aren't real to us until we see the photographic evidence. But look at the crowd of rubberneckers. That's one thing that will never change.

Struck by a Streetcar


The Baltimore Sun, September 18, 1923.

John H. Bartlett Hurt in Automobile Crash

Washington, Sept. 17. — John H. Bartlett, First Assistant Postmaster-General and former Governor of New Hampshire, was taken to a hospital today because of injuries he received when his automobile was struck by a streetcar.

Although he received a cut on the head, physicians who examined him said his injuries did not appear serious. The automobile was wrecked and Mr. Bartlett's chauffeur was also slightly injured.

After receiving treatment at the hospital, Mr. Bartlett was taken to his residence, and plans for a trip to Richmond, Va., today to address a convention of postal supervisors were canceled. It was said no serious consequences from his injuries were expected, although he still was suffering from shock.

Mr. Bartlett was on his way to Union Station to take a train for Richmond when the accident occurred. His limousine was caught in a traffic pocket and was struck by a street car when it was crossing the tracks to escape from another.

Heck of a crumple zone

NHTSB and IIHS would be pleased.

They don't make 'em like they used to

OK, who can ID the make of this vehicle?

No problem!

That'll buff out!

Much Kindling

Easy recycling of them parts.

It's raining architecture

I wonder what building dropped on that sucker?

Lumber and roll up shades

Looks more like someone crashed a house instead of a car.

 
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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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