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Window Dressing: 1941

Window Dressing: 1941

October 1941. "Dressing window in Amsterdam, New York." The art of auto parts and accessories. Photo by John Collier. View full size.


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Rubber fan blades

My 1947 KB-1 pickup had one of those fans mounted on the dash. It had rubber blades but no cage around them.

Air Conditioning

In my 1931 Cadillac. Didn't really help much on the track at Bristol. Mostly just blocked the view of those tight turns. Maybe if I'd had the good four-bladed one from Monkey Ward's.

Changing fashions

By 1942 plaid was out and olive drab was in.

Lewis Wickes Hine

According to Wikipedia Hine died Nov. 1940 - so I wonder if this picture was taken earlier or by someone else.

Airy on the left and right

Those rubber blade fans to clear (maybe) moisture from the windshield. One kind had a clamp to attach around the steering post, or if you wanted real "action" drill a couple holes on the dashboard (steel) and fasten it closer to the windshield.
RE: heaters. In 1947, my Grand Father bought a new Chevy pick-up, the first sold in our town after WW2. He paid extra for a heater to be installed, since it was not standard equipment. We've come a far piece in our quest for comfort.

This was modern technology

Looking at those huge spark plugs, I wonder how much they sold for. When I tune a vehicle, the correct spark plugs (platinum or iridium) sell for $20.00 each. HEMI engines take 16 spark plugs, and they need to be replaced every 30000 miles. These are copper core plugs, must cheaper, but 16 times $4.00 is still a lot. These monster plugs were probably cleaned and gapped every 10000 miles, extending their life several times. This was in the day when you accepted that old Bessie won't start on the first try. You might have to wedge a stick in the choke to correct a flooded engine. Valve jobs every 20000 miles were the norm. Service work on vehicles today is more expensive, but telling these two gentlemen that they will be able to buy a car that will last over 200000 miles without a valve job or major engine rebuild would have them laughing you out the door.

A different world, indeed.

Tire repair kits? Little fans? Huge 6-volt batteries? Whoa!

Speaker-shaped items

What are the two items flanking the guy in the window? They look like some sort of turntable but they're on their sides.

[After-market heaters. See earlier comment. -tterrace]

You Want

Me to put what where!?

Better buy those tires

while you can get them. Rationing is on the way.
I wish I had a set with those "pie-crust" sidewalls for my '48 pickup.

Good ol' Monkey-Ward

Sears' chief rival for many years, Montgomery Ward competed in both catalogue and brick-and-mortar retailing, though insofar as I know, they never sold cars -- Sears sold a Henry J badged as an Allstate in the early '50s, and buggy cars in the early years of the 20th Century. Alas, now reposing in that commercial Valhalla wherein Grant's, Woolworth's and many others must abide.

Tire Rationing

A couple of months hence, and I doubt this window display would have featured tires on sale, as tires began to be rationed on December 30, 1941.


Like the gentlemen here my dad always wore wingtips and I still wear them today. Yes most of the stores still sell them and I have never had a problem getting them even at Wal-Mart.


nixiebunny, you are correct. Another popular brand was HaDees with a long a sound. Great name for a heater I think! The model I found isn't exact, but it's close.

Not just for old men

I take it wingtips were the rage in 1941. Both guys are wearing them, despite their difference in age.

Dresser's dressing

There's an old stereotype of window dressers as swells and dandies, but somehow I don't think the plaid-shirt-and-tweed-slacks combination qualifies.

Montgomery Ward

My hometown Wards was on East Main St., downtown Amsterdam. A one time successful department store and at its height, was one of the largest retailers in the United States. Now just an online retailer with no physical stores. Here is a photo of the large bygone Wards in Menands near Albany, NY (just 30 miles east of Amsterdam) which is now office space.


I wonder if the two objects with the semicircle doors are aftermarket heaters. It's hard to imagine a car that doesn't come with a heater, but those were different times.

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