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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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Outta My Way, Tree: 1921

Outta My Way, Tree: 1921

Washington, D.C., 1921. "Accident at 12th and K." (The Franklin Market: "Your cigar and school supply headquarters!") National Photo Co. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Model T Again

The only Ford Model T in this picture is the one parked on the street edge at the extreme right of the photograph.

The Model T transmission brake wasn't actuated on the drive shaft, but rather was a lined band, running in oil and unaffected by water or snow or dirt like other external service brakes. Contracting on one of the three transmission drums in the planetary transmission, this Ford foot brake was very effective. The 20's Ford could panic stop in 71 feet from a speed of 30 mph, with 50 ft/lbs of pedal pressure; a stopping performance similar to light cars decades later.

The accident vehicle is a much larger and more powerful brand of auto, most likely with selective multiple gear shift and foot clutch, those cars are harder to operate in urban conditions than the easy to drive non-clutch 2 speed Ford T planetary transmission.

Model T

I question the statement that this car is a Model T Ford. The rear window is too large. The differential is not Ford. I believe I see a gas tank in the rear, Model T's were up front. Maybe a Buick??

"Unsafe at any speed"

Another "Model T vs tree" case here. Those cars were definitely hard to drive on smooth, paved roads. The standard brake systems were not good for panic stops - the so-called "service brakes" actuated on the transmission shaft applying pressure with a band on the driveshaft. Only the rear wheels had internal expanding brakes, operated by the big lever on the left of the front seat, which also controlled the clutch. When you drove on rural or suburban settings this arrangement was fine, but when you tried to drive a Flivver in more congested streets... well, the choice was to ram the other car or smash an innocent (and softer!) tree on the sidewalk.

Judging by the number of photos with this theme in this site, that must have been quite a common choice back then.

The kid with the bundle

The kid with the bundle under his arm, is he standing with his foot on something or does he have on one roller skate?


I didn't know my wife had a licence back then.

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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