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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 New Olds: 1919

The New Olds: 1919

Washington, D.C. "Oldsmobile Sales Co. interior, 1919 or 1920." National Photo Company Collection glass negative, Library of Congress. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Anyone wanna bet that is a mirror?

I have an Olds of that age and it doesn't leak much oil. Olds had one of the first slanted windshields to prevent glare from headlights from behind. If you think the office furniture is nice, you should see the interior of that car! Pure class! I say that is a mirror to show off the undercarriage.

[Below: A decidedly non-reflective drip pan. - Dave]

There is the start...

The customer's chairs...the salesmen's desks...and the dreaded windows "I'll just pass this by the Sales never know"


English motorcycles and cars don't really leak oil....they just 'mark their territory'!

English motorcycles

I had a couple of old Nortons, a Commando and an Atlas, and the comment "Old British bikes had the endearing habit of leaving puddles of oil" reminds me of the old joke:

Q: What does it mean if your English motorcycle isn't leaking oil?

A: It's out of oil.

Drip Lubrication

Many vehicles would drip oil as a normal and intended part of their operation. Metered oil feeds slowly drip oil on various parts that need lubrication. One very renowned comment aimed at Harley Davidson motorcycles was the misconception that they always leaked oil. I guess you could call these drippings "leaks". Intentional ones. Another photo on Shorpy shows a block of oil sight glasses accessible to the driver of an automobile with little thumbscrews on top to adjust the drip rate on each one.


I didn't immediately realise how early this is as far as cars go and how quickly they were developing. Just looking at the front of this front brakes, big scrub radius because the kingpins aren't inclined to bring the contact patch into line with them, no carbon black in the tyres etc. I bet that's ordinary plate glass in the windows as well, not tempered. Also, I can't see any front dampers...were they tucked up under the chassis rails or was it simply undamped? Must have been a bouncy thing if so!

Floor wax, folks!

Must be my hausfrau heart, but it seems like floors in the era needed a good waxing.

Drip, drip, drip

This reminds me of the time I let a friend roll his 1975 Norton Commando into my living room to escape a rainstorm. The first thing I did was slide a cookie sheet under it to catch the oil drips. Old British bikes had the endearing habit of leaving puddles of oil wherever they were parked.

Your Great-Grandfather's Oldsmobile

Looks like a 1920 Model 37A


Things really haven't changed all the much have they? The desks are crammed up real close in the showroom. And instead of PCs on the desks, they have inkwells. They even have the glass offices to run to to get a manager to "approve" a deal.

Catch Pan

I guess leaks came with buying a new car in the early 1900s. Can you imagine going into a showroom today and seeing a catch pan underneath it?


Wow! Look at that classic office furniture! Oh, yeah; nice car, too.

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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