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Scavenger Truck: 1933

Scavenger Truck: 1933

October 1933. "Kleiber motor truck -- Bay Shore Scavenger Co." An ominous-looking conveyance made all the more foreboding by that toxic telephone exchange. 8x10 acetate negative by Christopher Helin. View full size.


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Well equipped

Six state-of-the-art cadaver hooks at the back of this conveyance. Ready for anything, but rarely did they need all six unless the Barbary Coast got particularly rambunctious.

HEmlock et. al.

In San Francisco there were several different Central Exchanges that each had their own set of local exchange prefixes. Many of these survive in phone numbers today if the users have had them for a long time.

My own is KLondike-2 (552), which I've had since the 1970s. Originally there were seven central exchanges but by 1958 there were these four:

In SF the downtown exchange on McCoppin Street had HEmlock, KLondike, MArket and UNderhill.

The Mission exchange on 25th Street had ATwater, MIssion and VAlencia.

The Onondaga Street exchange near Balboa Park had DElaware, JUniper and RAndolph.

And the one at 21 Folsom Street near the Embarcadero (which connected SF with Oakland and points east) had ROchester, EXbrook and WEather.

Early stair stepper

It appears that the trash collector would climb up he running board and go up two more steps to load the truck. Note the cutout behind the fender and the hand holds on the windshield.


I am very impressed by the sharpness of this photo.

Does anybody know the origin of the choice of Hemlock as an exchange name? If it was a locality why was it so named?

I wonder why the windscreen on this truck (that looks new) appears to be grilled. I would have thought overhead protection of the cab might have been desirable rather than grilles here.

[I suspect they are grab bars, for holding onto while riding standing up. -Dave]

One man's trash ...

When I attended college in San Francisco, I learned that scavenger companies were called garbage collectors or waste management elsewhere.

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