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Shampoo: 1937

Shampoo: 1937

Washington, D.C., or vicinity circa 1937. "Potomac Electric Power Co. -- Pole setting." Safety negative by Theodor Horydczak. View full size.


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A-Frame crew truck

My first job as an apprentice lineman for a large New York Electric Utility, was working on one of these rigs. Our truck was set up exactly like this one in the picture except we had a 3 man crew cab behind the front cab (where the Driver/Groundman and the Foreman rode). It was called a "Bull Crew" or a Seven Man Line Gang (two senior linemen rode in a separate Dodge Power Wagon). The winch was operated from inside the driver's compartment as stated in another post. The Bed Winch was located in the back end of the truck, up front, on the floor of the truck. The poles being held by the linemen are called Pike Poles made of wood back then with steel points to jab into the poles and as stated, are used to straighten the pole into a plumb position usually sighted in by the Foreman using a string with a weight on the end of it held out to arm's length. "Put the top over the bottom Ed!" Poles which weren't set as straight as possible were a little harder to climb but also were much harder to "land" a transformer on with block and tackle if the pole wasn't straight.

My father would also have loved this photo

My late father, a 55-year IBEW man, worked for an electrical contractor in Mount Vernon NY in the very late 1950's and early 1960's. They had trucks with the same A-frame "Shear Legs". The trucks were know as "Pole Setters", for obvious reasons. Obviously, those truck's chassis were much more recent than this 1930's model, but the body and the hoist were similar.

I was then about five years old. I can remember those trucks as if it was yesterday......also the green 1950's "panel trucks" that accompanied them.

The hoist might seem crude to today's eyes, but there was very little to get out of order In those days, the winch was driven from the truck's transmission via a "power take-off". The truck's clutch became the winch clutch. No pesky hydraulics to leak ! However, lowering a load gently might have been a challenge.

Pa McG would have loved this photo

My dad started working for Con Edison in 1948 and described how they had to raise poles mostly by hand. Those long poles the two men on the right are holding would be used to push the utility pole into plumb.

Line of sight

One can only hope that those utility poles will not impair passing motorists' view of the Breck Girl!

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