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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VINTAGE ALASKA, c. 1920s

The Torch of Liberty: 1942

The Torch of Liberty: 1942

September 1942. "Automobile salvage. Automobile bodies are usually cut into four pieces so they can be readily loaded into a press for baling. The acetylene torch separates the lightweight body from the heavyweight steel frame of the car. Note: the auto has already been burned to remove all wooden parts, upholstery, oil, grease and other unusable and inflammable material." 4x5 nitrate negative by William Perlitch for the Office of War Information. View full size.

 

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Good Luck...

identifying the make, model and year of that car, Shorpy fans.

Not exactly clean

Burning cars for ease of scrapping them went out of favor with the Clean Air Act. My brother did this work in the 1970s. They removed the seats and gas tank and motor, then crushed the cars using a large drop-weight machine that was brought to the salvage yard for a few days at a time.

Wearing his sentiment on his cap

The torch man here is wearing a button on his cap that reads "TO HELL WITH JAPAN". I wonder what's on that other button?

Lots of interesting details in this photo, like the generator, the steering gear, and the striker for the torch hanging from what looks like a giant safety pin. I imagine he pulls the torch and down and lights it without having to unhook the pin. Very handy.

Scrap metal to help win the War

My dad was born in 1931, so he was 10 when America entered World War 2. He told me stories of how the town would occasionally have a metal scrap drive during those years. He and his friends would scrounge for scrap metal to help.

I'm sure that old truck or car pictured became something to help win the war.

The price of history

Vintage "To Hell with Japan" buttons are available on eBay, and the going price seems to be around $60.

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