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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SPANGLES: THE CONTINENTAL CIRCUS

Happy Campers: 1920

Happy Campers: 1920

From circa 1920 comes this uncaptioned view of an early motor home taking on water at the Federal Truck agency in San Francisco. 8x10 inch nitrate negative formerly of the Marilyn Blaisdell and Wyland Stanley collections. View full size.

 

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Awfully dapper gent

to be driving that monster. Granted, life was more formal in the early 20th Century, but even then that homburg and four-in-hand might have looked a little out of place at Muir Woods or Yosemite.

Hit the brakes!

Can you imagine driving that behemoth down a hill in San Francisco when it only has drum brakes on the rear and no brakes up front? No thanks!

Howard Street

The building is still there at 1350 Howard St. So is the domed building down at Howard and Ninth.

Dumping Ground?

I had no idea there were motorhomes as long ago as 1920. Seems like inventions in those days spawned applications very fast.

Note the cylindrical tanks ranged along the side below the body -- perhaps potable water, stove fuel, and holding? The louvers in the side and no window in that area suggest that could be the bathroom.

Today's motorhomes usually have the utilities, including the dump valves, on the driver's side. I don't see anything I recognize as that in the photo. And at that time, surely there were few places with dump stations, so I wonder how you got rid of the holding tank contents? Maybe just into a ditch when no one was looking?

[If there are sanitary facilities in this rig, I suspect they are more along the lines of a chamberpot and do not involve tanks or plumbing. - Dave]

Door placement

If he sits there to drive, the steering wheel must be right in front of him. Does that mean you go around the front of the steering wheel to go out the door?

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