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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Top-Down Motoring: 1920

Top-Down Motoring: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Garage elevator wreck." Coming back up will be trickier, if less spectacular. National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size.

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How about the driver?

No one else has mentioned it, and it isn't in the caption. What I want to know is what happened to whomever drove that car into that hole?

It seems to me that the person would have been seriously injured if not killed.


The strapped in box by the rear axle is the battery. The gas tank under the front seat held 10 gallons

"We'll have it fixed for you in two weeks"

That's what I heard when I had one of my several Jaguar fires towed to the shop. Doubtless, so had also the exiled Prince of Austria, whose leopard-skin upholstered Daimler was on the lift next to my car. One morning on about the 20th weekly visit to ask, "When?" I entered the shop to see the poor Prince's Daimler in just this position, in considerably worse repair than when it had arrived. The shop crew was gathered around, pondering how it could have fallen from the lift, which was still up. Gradually, it dawned on me--"Earthquake this morning"--the first I'd ever experienced and unheard of around there. Fortunately, it didn't fall on my car, which I took possession of, half-finished, 8 weeks later.

Missing Elevator Car

The car is clearly in the elevator pit as evidenced by the bumper springs in the foreground. Either the car was driven from an upper floor into the shaft with the elevator car above it, or the floor of the elevator car gave way with the car in it and the floor is hanging like a open barn door still attached to the elevator car. My money is on driving into an open shaft.

NOW... you see why bald tires are dangerous?

Gas Tank?

What's that strapped down box by the driveshaft?
How many gallons did the gas tank hold on those things?
I've heard stories (Shorpy and elsewhere) of driving Model-T's backwards up a hill to keep them from starving for gas.


---there's a Model T Ford in every 1920s Shorpy

Deluxe Garage Service

As a lubrication service we turn your car upside down for an oil change. That gets all the old oil out, not just most of it.

As an added premium we also empty the battery acid into the rear seating area. That gets those nasty kid stains out of the upholstery.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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