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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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Witt-Will: 1915

Witt-Will: 1915

Washington, D.C., circa 1915. "Witt-Will motor truck plant, 52 N Street N.E." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Chain drive

The truck in the background has a chain drive on the rear wheels. I didn't know that chain drives were used on road vehicles, I have only seen them used on heavy equipment (tractors, etc.) of the era.

[Many if not most early automobiles and trucks used chain or belt drives. - Dave]


Looks like a considerable horn mounted there just aft the driver's seat. Electric? Air-powered? Is that a little lever on top for the driver to pump?

B Street

I'm struck by the truck for G.M. Woolf's "Agricultural Implements and Seeds" located at 1005 B St. NW. I believe the Department of Justice now stands there, on the street long since renamed Constitution Avenue.

Giving Good Service

Washington Post, Apr 5, 1914

Making Trucks Here

Witt-Will Company Takes Over Business
Started by W.W. Griffith.

The newly formed Witt-Will company, with large facilities for building motor trucks and maintaining motor-truck service, is the outgrowth of the automobile truck manufacturing business begun here by W.W. Griffith in 1911. The company has taken over the manufacturing plant at 52 N street northeast, and is proceeding on a schedule which calls for five completed motor trucks each month. The company is maintaining a service department and a complete repair shop, together with a body building and paint shop.

The Witt-Will trucks are designed for 1-ton capacity and upward, many heavy trucks being in commission at the present time and giving good service. W.W. Griffith, who is well known as a large coal and ice dealer, is president of the company. William F. Legg, the vice president and factory manager of the company, is a Cornell graduate in mechanical engineering, and has been successively head designer for the Thomas B. Jeffery Company; factory manager and head designer for the St. Louis Motor Car Company; superintendent for the E.R. Thomas Motor Company, and factory manager and head designer for the Carter Motor Car Corporation.

John L. Bowles, who is the secretary and auditor for the company, has had a long business career, and for the past year has been an auditor for Mr. Griffith's motor truck building business. John M. Dugan has resigned as superintendent of the Washington office of the Bradstreet company to accept the position of treasurer and sales manager of the Witt-Will company.


Witt-Will trucks were manufactured in Washington, D.C., at 52 N Street N.E., "in the shadow of the White House." The company was an outgrowth of the W.W. Griffith Company, which started as an automobile manufacturer in 1911. In March 1914 Griffith founded the Witt-Will Truck Company, which folded in 1933.

Photobucket has a few photos of Witt-Will coal trucks.

[One of them taken from Shorpy! - Dave]

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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