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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.

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New Shoe: 1942

New Shoe: 1942

December 1942. "A landing wheel, with its huge rubber 'shoe,' is trundled out in a service tractor to a new B-17F (Flying Fortress) bomber awaiting completion at Boeing's Seattle plant. The tractor operator, like half of the plant's workers, is a woman." Photo by Andreas Feininger, Office of War Information. View full size.

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Today's Top 5


I'm wondering why the tire is wet?

Great Info

Thanks everyone for the tech info and Youtube vid. My Grandpa was an inflight engineer in the European theater and ditched three shot up 17's in the English channel. Funny that he never knew how to swim yet went on to own a fishing resort and guided on the water in Minnesota for 30 years. Never heard many stories because Grandpas and Grandsons have so much else to talk about.

B-17 Turbo-supercharger Training

An excellent AAF/Boeing training film and description of the B-17 engine induction system. The link is to part one, parts two and three are found from there.

Drum Brakes

Here is a photo of a B-29 brake I was working on a few months ago. It's called an expander tube brake. Note the sections of "brake linings" around the circumference of the brake. These sections are called "pucks". The "pucks" are forced against the brake drum by a bladder, located under the pucks, filled with hydraulic fluid.

There are two of these brakes mounted in each wheel. Note the second brake laying on the bench.

B-17 Supercharged

Amazing bit on youtube pertaining to the charged system.

What an amazing plane. Thanks for highlighting the super-charging system.

Drum brakes and turbos

You can see the brake drum that was integral with the wheel very well in that shot. Also notice that directly above the tire you get a good look at one of the turbo-superchargers that were mounted behind each of the four engines.

Take a break

It almost looks like the wheel assembly has a drum brake, like a large truck! Anyone out there know?

Clark Forklifts

Still around, in fact we use one at work that's just about the size of this one.

The Boeing workers in 1942 would probably be horrified to know that they now use Toyota engines!

Yep, when there's a war to be won

There's no sense reinventing the wheel.

Interchangeable wheels and tires

Our aircraft manufacturers were very wise during WWII. This same B-17 wheel and tire can be used on the B-24 and B-29 as well.

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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