SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Glass Wrangler: 1920

Glass Wrangler: 1920

    Young Tom started out in Nails & Tacks and worked his way up.

San Francisco ca. 1920s. "Young man on Harley-Davidson motorcycle -- California State Automobile Association 'Broken Glass Department' patrol." 6.5x8.5 glass negative originally from the Wyland Stanley collection. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Mr. Cool

For his birthday he got some goggles and big leather gauntlets, and learned to wear his hat backwards.

Safety Glass

Even though most cars were still open at this time, a few had glass at least in the front and rear, but in almost all cases it was not safety glass, although the principle of making it had been discovered by accident in 1903 involving cellulose nitrate in a broken beaker. One can only imagine the horrible injuries that flying shards of glass could cause in those years. It wasn't until the late 30's that safety glass became pretty much standard all the way around.


I know this will not be posted, but all cars in 1925 had windows, They, at the least, had a windshield. Coupes and sedans were very popular and they had a full complement of windows.

[The majority of motor vehicles in the early 1920s were open cars without glass side windows. - Dave]

Multiple Choice Answer "B"

From the history section of the California AAA website:

1924 - California State Automobile Association

"Emergency Road Service is launched, and receives 429 calls for assistance in the first month of operation. In San Francisco, CSAA deploys a fleet of Harley Davidson motorcycles to assist motorists and sweep broken glass from the streets after accidents."

[The Harley glass patrol seems to date back at least to 1920, as per this interesting article in the January 1921 issue of Motor Land. - Dave]

Broken Glass Department

The other possibility is that he replaces broken windows. I thought replacing your broken car window in the parking lot was a relatively recent thing. Maybe not?

[Most cars at the time didn't have windows. -Dave]


This appears to be 1628 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco, headquarters of the CSAA from 1920 to late 1925. Here's a photo taken in the summer of 1920, showing a Locomobile on the same sidewalk.

It Could Be a Good Multiple Choice Question

Does this mean that:

A. He goes around breaking windshields;
B. He cleans up broken windshields;
C. He finds windshields that need replacing;
D. All of the above; or
E. None of the above?

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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.