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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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The Paddy Wagon: 1919

The Paddy Wagon: 1919

Washington, D.C., 1919. "Franklin Motor Car Co. police van." The latest in law enforcement. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


Something missing

I wondered what the large circle on the front of the truck was. It looks like something was missing or removed. A quick Google revealed this:

"Paddy", he sez

A term used to describe either the occupants or the operators.

This old Irish cop preferred the term "prisoner transport', but the difference was lost on the young constables.

Worra, worra.


I always thought Franklin only made idiosyncratic luxury cars with air-cooled engines and wood-reinforced frames, so this truck was a surprise. Doing a little research, I found a 1915 ad for the Franklin Commercial Car Company showing what looks like this truck minus the 'police' bodywork and mentioning its air-cooled engine, which leads me to believe it was in fact a product of the Franklin Motor Car Company (as stated). But I'm blowed if I can find any mention of trucks in the FMCC's history on line. Can one of Shorpy's resident experts relieve my confusion?

[Trucks were produced by Franklin's Commercial Division. -tterrace]

A common question amongst passengers

Anybuddy gat a knife?

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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