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Nash Flier: 1919

Nash Flier: 1919

October 1919. "Nash Flier -- California Highway Motor Train in San Francisco." A publicity stunt showcasing the nascent field of long-distance trucking as facilitated by the "giant pneumatic tire." The cargo here being Sperry's Drifted Snow Flour. 6½ x 8½ glass negative from the Wyland Stanley collection. View full size.


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"Ship by Truck Week"

The California Highway Motor Train event took place during the first "Ship by Truck Week" which took place during the last week of September and first two weeks of September in 1919. Yes, it was more than one week long. The slogan originated with Harvey S. Firestone, president of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio. The governors of 32 states issued official proclamations in honor of the week in their states. There were also truck parades in over 100 cities. The largest of these parades was the one in Brooklyn, New York where 3,051 trucks participated. The slogan was adopted in 1920 by the National Association of Motor Truck Sales Managers.

Part of the reason for having such a week was that the railroad industry was giving the trucking industry a hard time about using the public roads - despite the fact that individuals and companies that owned trucks were already paying higher road taxes. A trade ad in the Oakland Tribune on October 12, 1919 (Section O, Page 13) stated the following.

"When America went to war the motor truck gave the element of speed so vitally needed. By the thousands these land transports saved time, money, and lives and figured conspicuously in destroying the enemy of humanity.

"When the rail systems of America were over-burdened and sought assistance in the expeditious movement of foodstuffs and freight, it was the motor truck that quickly and efficiently answered the call.

"Yet a most bitter fight, sponsored by powerful railway interests, is being waged against the existence and growth of transportation of freight and passengers by automobile and motor truck in California. They would deny this superior transportation service the use of the public highway. Railroad attorneys have made it a point to attend Railroad Commission and [San Francisco] Board of Supervisor hearings wherein franchise matters were being discussed to prevent an increase in this means of [truck] transportation.

"The public must be awakened to a full realization of the dangerous tactics of the railroads in stifling the greatest advance in transportation methods that recent generations have known."

The article below from page 88 of the January 1920 issue of the magazine "Power Wagon" gives further details of the California Highway Motor Train.

Nash place

We're at the Civic Auditorium at Polk and Grove Sts., kitty-corner from City Hall. Though not on the fair grounds, it was built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition and afterward given to the city. It was renamed the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in 1991.

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