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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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Proto Zamboni: 1917

Proto Zamboni: 1917

New York, 1917. "Dorothy Klewer." ("The noted California beauty who is the rage of New York," in case you were wondering.) Bain News Service. View full size.

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These Farkish Things

Studded tires

Looking closer at the photo it appears that the studded tires are skins with studs fitted over the smooth pneumatic rim mounted tires.... Almost like a hand in glove!

Love the tires

I agree, battery powered electric motor. The box to right of driver appears to have cables in conduit coming out the bottom: probably the battery. Are those terminals for the charger? (You wouldn't want to run a gasoline engine indoors due to exhaust and noise.)

Tires: two studded in the back for drive, one studded in front to enable steering, one smooth in front. Because studded tires cost far more and one is sufficient to steer?

Least essential equipment: the horn - how fast could this thing go?

Trademark Alert

If it's not a Zamboni, it's only an ice resurfacer.


I agree it looks electric. Note the electric conduit under the black box.

He looks scared,

probably afraid she'll put it in reverse instead of forward.

OK Agnes

Honk the horn and try and push the clutch down with your skates on.

Electric power

Most likely an electrically powered tow motor, I see no radiator!

SHORPY OLD 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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