SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Social Shorpy

Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:


Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

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]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

REO Speed Wagon: 1922

REO Speed Wagon: 1922

January 1922. "Three REO 'speed wagons' delivered by Trew Motor Co. to the D.C. Police Department for patrols." National Photo glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

guy with single row of buttons

may have been a non-officer PD dept chauffeur (see gloves w/ gauntlets).

Also very musical

If you grew up in the '80s like me you'd also know about REO Speedwagon, the band, which was extremely successful in that decade. The band took the name after one of its founding members studied these trucks in transportation history class at the University of Illinois. However, the band pronounced it R-E-O, pronouncing each individual letter, but supposedly the motor company pronounced it as a word, as in Rio de Janiero.

[The letters are the initials of company founder Ransom Eli Olds, who also lent his name to the Oldsmobile. - Dave]

Tire technology

It's interesting to note how tire technology has changed - especially in terms of durability. While most people today have never had a flat tire it appears that at least one of these virtually new trucks has already had to have a tire replaced. The front truck has a mis-matched right front tire and no spare in the brackets, so my guess is a flat on the way to the station.

Car 594 Where Are You??

"Fixin' a flat, Sarge."

Only three months old, and already #594 is running on the spare. They didn't make 'em like they used to, even in 1921-1922. Or else, that was the tire used to get dogs to run after the vehicle, what with the doggie-bone pattern and all.

Like a Rock

With those solid front axles and leaf springs I'll bet those Speed Wagons rode like a truck.

RE: Braces - or "odd socks"

It looks like the "missing" spare tire is already in use. #594 is sporting odd socks in that the form of two front tires that don't match.

Non-Copycat Cop

Not sure what the fellow next to wagon 595 does that is different from his three other colleagues, but they get two rows of buttons while he gets one. He also gets a different insignia on his hat.

Numbers Game

If anyone can Guess the number on the license plate of the third REO, he or she may choose any prize from the lower shelf.

Tank Onboard

One of the interesting features of the REO truck was the gas tank mounted in front of the driver inside the cab. The round tank can be seen in the second and third trucks.

The Trew Motor Company started out as Smith-Trew in 1913, by 1920 the name had changed and was incorporated with this name in 1927. President was Joseph Billingsly Trew (1888 - 1965), VP was Wilmont Washington Trew (1880 - 1936), and James Thomas Trew (1890 - 1922) was secretary. The company became a REO distributor in 1913, and it also sold Oakland and Peerless cars.

The company started erecting the building behind the trucks in 1919 at 14th and P Streets NW, and it cost $150,000 to build. Completed in 1920, it is now occupied by The Studio Theatre on the first floor and offices and classrooms on the other two floors. The building is part of the Greater 14th Street Historical District.

Re: Trew Motors

The city accepted the higher bid. That's unheard of today.


Wonder what the braces on the side of the car were for.

[Tire holder. -Dave]

Trew Motors

Trew Motors was located at 14th and P Sts. NW in a building erected in 1919/1920. The building remains and is now part of The Studio Theater.

Washington Post, November 4, 1921.

Three New Patrol Wagons

Bids Received and Purchase Will Be Made by City Soon.

Three new patrol wagons for the police department will be bought by the city government within a few days. Marion Hargrove, purchasing officer for the District, yesterday received bids from the Commercial Garage and the Trew Motor Company. The Commercial Garage bid was $4,747.50 for three wagons of Republic make, and the Trew Motor Company’s bid was $4,998 for three REOs.

Sign of The Cross

Did the Trew Motor Co. order a cross over their doorway or did they occupy a building originally built for a Christian organization?

[That's a T, not a cross. -Dave]


Car 594 looks to have had a blowout on the front right tire. Tread pattern is different from all the others we can see in photo.

It also looks much cleaner on sidewalls so it must have been very recent considering driving conditions.

The other tread patterns looks better for street use in my opinion.

I am a retired LEO and my last question is how in the world did these officers EVER get their weapons out with a button down jacket to have to "unbutton" first.

And one more question please, wonder why the badge difference and button difference in the coats/hats of these fine officers ?

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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2018 Shorpy Inc.