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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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Living Large: 1916

Living Large: 1916

New York circa 1916. "Anna Fitziu." The Metropolitan Opera soprano and small entourage. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.

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Fresh rubber

Below, a brand-new natural rubber tire in 1919 compared to a used one. The outside edges of the outermost diamonds curve away from the plane of the tread and don't come into contact with the road, therefore remain white.

Wheel of Fortune

As the owner and former owner of several brass era cars I can tell you that the tires shown here are natural (white) vulcanized rubber. The treads turn black after just a few miles of driving and the sidewalls will go black after a few hundred miles unless you really are conscientious about keeping them clean. Most people don't scrub the inner sidewalls and will put on brand new "show" tires for something like a concours. Goodyear started adding carbon-black filler to tires sometime around 1912. First just in the tread area and later for the whole tire.

Not white sidewall but black tread

Though natural rubber is white, consequently early tires were white, carbon black was added to some early tires on the tread portions only. People believed that adding carbon black to natural rubber gave the tires more traction.
Since adding carbon black to tires was more expensive than adding nothing, black tread tires were the premium priced deluxe offerings and all white tires were the lower grade. So these are not white sidewall tires. These are black tread tires--top of the line in 1916.

The first true white sidewall tires do not appear until the 1920's after the entire tire began to be molded with the carbon black additive.

Natural latex

Yep that's just what nat-latex tires look like after they've been driven around awhile. btw there *was* something called 'tire paint' but it was sealer for the inside of the tire. and lastly those crome rims are really rusty.

Sloppy Whites

By 1916 many tire companies were adding lampblack to the tire latex to deter UV deterioration. You can see the inside of the driver's front tire- very black. Painting on white sides was common practice as tires transitioned from their natural beige color to black. Many tire paints were available at auto supply houses. This application is quite sloppy, there is also paint on the edge of the rim. Hopefully this chauffeur drives better than he paints. "White walls", made by molding latex compounded with white lead into the side of blacked tire compounds, was a fashion trend soon to follow.

An interesting feature of this car is the radiator behind, not in front of the engine. You can see a Mesco or Boyce temperature gauge on the radiator cap on the cowl. The cap behind it was for the gravity feed cowl gas tank, a gas location later to be copied by Henry Ford for his 28-31 Model 'A's.

Take a look

At those acetylene headlights.

Odd placement

Seems odd that the radiator is placed behind the engine. The location would provide better protection from rock damage but cooling in the summer may have been a problem.

Quite a feet

The first one-legged star of the Metropolitan Opera.

The Fashion-Forward Miss Fitziu

It's possible that Miss Fitziu's beaded shift dress is as early as 1916, but its cut and silhouette would not really come into fashion until about 1920 or even later. There was a flurry of publicity for the media-savvy Miss Fitziu in the New York papers in 1920, when she announced her engagement to another former Metropolitan star, Andrés de Segurola, and more when that engagement was broken off in 1922. And, there were articles announcing her appearance in various popular concert series in New York in the early 1920s, after a few seasons of opera "out west" in Chicago.

Tires again

With all due respect to the previous commenter, the 'natural rubber' on the front tire sure looks like it was painted on.

[Most tires of this era were whitish, the color of natural rubber. The treads could be black from dirt. Did Goodyear offer two-tone tires in 1916? - Dave]

The poodle

certainly has no potential as a guide dog.

The tyres

Goodyear. They're natural rubber, which is white.

Le Car

Hypothetical Caption

"Miss Anna Fitziu, star of the Metropolitan Opera, has returned to her home in this city to inspect repairs. While giving a home recital to friends and patrons, she impressed them with her sustained high c-sharp. The ringing tones shattered the glass in the entrance doors and drawing room windows, necessitating they be covered with boards until such time as workmen may make the required repairs."

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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