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Working Dad: 1955

Working Dad: 1955

March 1955. "Men participating in family life. Includes women and children standing by window waving to men as they leave for work." Photo by Bob Lerner for the Look magazine assignment "Male Behavior." View full size.

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Today’s Top 5

Milk carton

My dad was a home-delivery milkman from the early 50's to the early 1960's and when milk started coming in cartons, the smaller ones opened the way the one in the photo does - you would peel up the tinfoil at the corner and then peel back the corners of the top. I don't think he ever delivered gallons or half gallons in cartons, when he was in the business it was always glass.


I will eschew the obvious point about the lady's anatomy, and mention the fact that that milk carton would probably still be made of heavy waxed paper, or cardboard. Thick gobs of wax sometimes. The plastic coated cartons were a great step forward.


The side trim on a base Plaza wasn't standard—of course, neither were full wheel covers, but factory literature didn't show the smaller hubcaps.


Agreed, Plymouth & Levittown NY

That the hubcap matches Plymouth seals the deal, even though that car does not have the stainless strip. Obviously Dave and Fanhead are correct.

And dang the collective brain is good when it comes to figuring out geographic locations.
Forget the CIA. The Shorpy collective can solve anything.


Call it what you will, but the buggy has 1955 Plymouth hubcaps on it. At least one anyway.

Levitt Ranch

The home in the background, over the roof of the car, is definitely a Levitt Ranch. I owned one for 4 years in the late 80's, in Levittown, NY. The main clue is the chimney in the center of the house. The homes had the furnace in the kitchen, under a removable cover. Adjacent to the furnace was a 2 sided fireplace facing the kitchen and the living room. These homes were built with car ports most of which were converted to garages. Here's a street view of the one I owned, 26 years after I sold it. It was a wreck when I sold it, and doesn't look a bit different.

Milk Cartons Into Toys

Those boxy milk cartons must have been very common in those days. In Northern California (East Bay) where I grew up, one of the dairies had the cartons printed up like railroad cars and one a diesel locomotive. The "wheels" were printed flat on the bottom -- you were supposed to cut them out and fold them down to finish the car or locomotive. Neat stuff for a poor kid.

Looking For Clues

I am questioning if the car is a Borgward.

My clue is the point where the roof meets the door and edge of windshield. That rules out Plymouth, Hudson Jet, Crosley, US Ford, Ford Anglia or Prefect. All those cars have a rounded corner. How much curve is in the edge of that windshield is a clue too. It wraps pretty far for its era.

The left edge of the door's window makes me wonder if this car has something other than roll up and down windows. That is why I am wondering if it is an import, not a US car.

But I can not really tell if that is a slide mechanism on that window or just some reflection.

[Looks like a '55 Plymouth to me. - Dave]

I am also questioning if this location is a Levittown.

Levittown houses had kitchens at the front, and some models had that floor to ceiling window with this same 2 by 4 framing, and the slider on the top row. Sure looks like a Levitt kitchen window.

Box 'O Milk

That's a carton of milk from the Grandview Dairy. The cartons had one corner that would lift to pour out the contents. Even the small half-pints of milk in school had these flat tops.

Milk carton?

I was also intrigued by the package on the table, and looked up old milk cartons. I think this is the type shown, and the carton has a dairy name on it; something like Grandview.

News you can use

Just FYI, anybody who still has any of those old tins of spices, they can be sold for much more than their original prices if you have the time and patience to put them in a yard sale or sell them on eBay. When my mom died after 54 years in the same house, we found dozens of old spices in her kitchen cabinet in all sorts of old containers and tins, even some wrapped in parchment in more ancient little cardboard boxes. Some she would buy for one recipe and never use again. Anyway, my sister bagged them up in a large, clear plastic bag with a note saying they were old and probably not usable, and sold the whole lot (about 30 kinds) priced at $20. To my surprise they were one of the first things to be sold at the estate sale. I also see they often appear on eBay for a tidy sum, which baffles me since I don't know what they do with them, but if you are a seller of things, don't just throw them away as I was going to do. Maybe they use them for props in films to create authentic kitchen settings, I just don't know.

The Car

Not much to go by, but it's a low-end Chrysler product, probably a '55 Plymouth Plaza or such.

Neighbor's house both TV channels on that antenna.

Precursor to cable TV up on the roof. And you had to get up and walk to the set to change the channel. The horror.

Charming scene

I love the swing away can opener on the wall. Most likely it was yellow. They seemed to be in every home in my community. Ours was red. Lovely shelves for the tins of spices. An altogether charming scene.

You forgot the paper!

Dad left what appears to be his New York Times on the kitchen table, yet he's appears to be on his way to the train station. There's a car parked outside, but is it his? This is a well-educated East Coast family. Of course, he could have left the paper behind for his wife to read, which would be very nice male behavior.

Homburgs Away!

One of my favorite memories from my youth is this motif set in the future, as it often was in the pages of Popular Science and Mechanix Illustrated. I was soooo looking forward to the day when I grew up and had my own flying saucer. Older and more jaded now, it strikes me that, given our inability to drive safely in 2 dimensions, the potential for mayhem in a 3-d traffic jam over Manhattan during rush hour is mind-boggling.

Bye Dad!

I was five when this came out. Only difference is my father left before daylight for his army "pencil-pushing" job. He was gone when I got up, and my mother slept until after my sister and I went to school. I'd say we had a typical lack of quality parenting. This is America!


The Missus is lookin' nice and perky today.

Restrain yourselves

Members of the community are asked to please not make the obvious comment about the contents of this pleasant and innocent photo of times gone by.

Thank you.

Bye Susie! Susie?

Um, yeah, have a great day Dad. Boy, do I love Cheerios!

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