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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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Ubiquitous Banana: 1920

The Ubiquitous Banana: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "National Fruit Co. banana truck." 8x10 inch glass negative, National Photo Company Collection. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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He's Got A Lovely Bunch Of Bananas

"Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head."

The photo location is in front of the National Fruit Company, Inc. building (921 Louisiana Ave.). If you wanted fruit, produce, meat, fish, butter, soft drinks, or poultry this was the block of the city to go. Almost nothing else was there except for two restaurants and a guy selling birds (another poultry dealer?).

The Mack Truck is a Model AB with either worm drive (note the lack of chains) made between 1916-1919 or double reduction drive 1920-1937. Chain drive remained an option. The International Motor Co. (IMC) name on the side of the truck refers to the holding company that owned Mack at that time (previously also selling Hewitt and Saurer trucks). In 1922 IMC changed their name to Mack Truck, Incorporated to avoid confusion with International Harvester.

Big Mike

If I am not mistaken those are Gros Michele bananas, "the bananas your grandfather enjoyed".

Sadly they have gone almost extinct and are almost impossible to find now a days.

We have have currently what is called the Cavendish banana which is also on the way out.

The Cavendish banana is virtually tasteless compared to the Big Mike which was a lot sweeter and more creamier, tasted more like candy according to people who were fortunate enough to try one.


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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