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The Ubiquitous Banana: 1920

The Ubiquitous Banana: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "National Fruit Co. banana truck." 8x10 inch glass negative, National Photo Company Collection. View full size.


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He's Got A Lovely Bunch Of Bananas

"Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head."

The photo location is in front of the National Fruit Company, Inc. building (921 Louisiana Ave.). If you wanted fruit, produce, meat, fish, butter, soft drinks, or poultry this was the block of the city to go. Almost nothing else was there except for two restaurants and a guy selling birds (another poultry dealer?).

The Mack Truck is a Model AB with either worm drive (note the lack of chains) made between 1916-1919 or double reduction drive 1920-1937. Chain drive remained an option. The International Motor Co. (IMC) name on the side of the truck refers to the holding company that owned Mack at that time (previously also selling Hewitt and Saurer trucks). In 1922 IMC changed their name to Mack Truck, Incorporated to avoid confusion with International Harvester.

Big Mike

If I am not mistaken those are Gros Michele bananas, "the bananas your grandfather enjoyed".

Sadly they have gone almost extinct and are almost impossible to find now a days.

We have have currently what is called the Cavendish banana which is also on the way out.

The Cavendish banana is virtually tasteless compared to the Big Mike which was a lot sweeter and more creamier, tasted more like candy according to people who were fortunate enough to try one.


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