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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Telephone Girls: 1916

Telephone Girls: 1916

Washington, 1916. "Telephone girls ride during car strike. Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

More on chain drives

By 1916 universal joints had been around for a while. Model T Fords had them from the start. It was a cheap way to get to get gear reduction, a heavy duty axle, and not use a weak universal joint.

12th Street NW, just south of H Street

Call it 718 12th Street NW. The columned and quoined building is still there, but now there's a cool Art Deco building next to it.

Where's my time machine?

That Mona Lisa smile on the lady sitting over the rear wheel intrigues me, unfortunately I'm 93 years or so late....

Trucks and Chains

As recently as 10 or 15 years ago my father had a chain-drive GMC, got it in Mexico. Worked like a charm although the chain would rattle a bit when you really stepped on the gas (or diesel -- cannot actually remember that part).


I actually own a muff with collar to match but for me it was a fashion statement since it meant you couldn't use your hands for normal activities such as driving a car, scratching your ear, whatever. Mine doubles as a purse with a small pocket inside and probably these do too.

As an aside, there are more truly beautiful women in this picture than so many shown previously. A great photo!


If you don't need your hands to be free, a muff would be a lot warmer than gloves, because your hands have each other's body heat to keep them warm.

I love the variety in the ladies' hats. Broad brims, narrow brims, no brims, high crowns, low crowns, flower trim, ribbon trim, no trim, and just for fun (and warmth) the floppy, bepomponned number at the far right.


Both wheels were chain driven. There was a differential assembly right behind or attached to the transmission. Using chain drive eliminated the need for a drive shaft and universal joints which probably hadn't been perfected yet. At the speed these trucks operated, the chain drive would work ok.

Chain drive

I'm interested in the chain drive on the truck.
How common was that? Were both rear wheels driven?
Was there a differential to allow for turning corners?


Most of these women have giant muffs (not the British sense of the word). Were fur-lined gloves not available at that time? And in the catagory of "What was she thinking?" why is the woman in front wearing a flattened jester hat?

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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