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Two Plus Two: 1920

Two Plus Two: 1920

San Francisco circa 1920. "Grant touring car." Latest specimen in the Shorpy Bestiary of Bygone Buggies. 5x7 glass plate by Christopher Helin. View full size.


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Seating Arrangements

Years ago I remember reading an article circa late 50's which said one could determine social status of couples by their seating arrangements.

1. Working Class ... Husband and wives side by side.
2. Middle Class .... Husbands in front and wives in rear.
3. Upper Class ..... Husband A & wife B in front and husband B and wife A in rear.

Since I was and still am in Class 1 I can vouch for the Working Class statement since my lady was always near.

In the rear

The thing I notice is that the men are sitting in the front and the women in the rear. When my grandparents drove with their contemporaries in the 1950s, it was the same way, although open cars had long disappeared.

Never get there at all!

At some point in the series one realizes that every shot is posed and they are not moving at all! Thus the frozen expressions, and the artificial stiff positions, making one wonder just how long an exposure they needed to get these "action" shots?

[Photographic exposures by daylight had been instantaneous for many decades at this point; a fraction of a second. -tterrace]

We'll never make it on time.

The Mertz brothers eventually agreed to disagree about the best way to get to Sebastopol. Their wives didn't care, and thought it was a foolish thing to argue about.

Oh boy - what a group.

Can't resist - the stuffed shirt in the passenger seat is a professor who is a genius at amassing fortunes but a dunce about women. The woman in the back seat with glasses is posing as an intellectual by the name of Miss Magill, and she calls herself Lil, but everyone knows her as Nancy. She is actually an old fashioned gold digger after the professor. Looking closely at the driver, we can see the face of a wise-cracking shyster who has agreed to help Nancy woo the professor into marriage for ten grand and a job as the family chauffeur. The confused looking woman (brought along to make things look on the up-and-up) is thinking; "I thought I was being hired as a nanny, and who are these strange people anyway?'

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