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About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Less Filling: 1939

Less Filling: 1939

April 1939. "Service station. San Augustine, Texas." Medium format acetate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

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Now That's How You Splice Wires

Gotta love the wiring for the overhead light and pumps. Perhaps a little bit of electrical larceny going on there?

Different kind of hot patching

The brand of hot patch being referred to here is Shaler, which was a self-vulcanizing type of patch similar to the ubiquitous "Monkey Grip sizzle patches" of bygone days. They used a rubber patch attached to the back side of a thin metal clamp-on tray of combustible chemicals to melt/vulcanize the rubber patch to the tube or tire, unlike the modern hot patches that just rely on burning off solvent to heat up and soften a rubber surface to promote adhesion.

Although not sold directly in the US any more, real self-vulcanizing patches are still made in and available from China and India.

Shorted wiring?

At the end of the pump shed is a cross tree with two wires on it. It looks like the wire on the right has been shorted and the insulation is starting to melt off. Not surprising when you see an indoor socket hanging out in the open just to the right of the roof.

Bicycle Tube Vulcanisers

In Australia in the 1950s and 60s we patched our bicycle inner tubes with a Dunlop Vulcaniser. A patch was placed on the hole in the tube, and held in place with a clamp device. A small circular disc with a layer of a catalyst was placed in the clamp, and this was ignited. The heat, with attendant smoke, welded the patch to the tube. In a few minutes it cooled, and you were on your way again. No waiting for glue to dry. You can see a sample here.

Gotta Love Hot Patching

My dad taught me how to do this sort of patching a punctured tire, though it may differ from what's being sold here. To patch the inside or a tire or outside of a tube you first roughed up the rubber with a coarse perforated file, much like a cheese grater. Then you applied a coat of tire patch cement, which contains considerable volatile solvents. Then you lit the solvent and allowed it to burn for about 15-20 seconds... this had the effect of making the cement far more sticky and also slightly melting the top layer of the rubber tube/tire. Then you removed the backing from the patch, applied it to the puncture, and used a roller, or the edge of the can of patches, to press down the patch into the repair. It worked amazingly well and I don't recall ever having to re-do one.

Drink **** ****

is there anywhere in the United States where there isn't a Coca-Cola sign?

Pump it up

There was a time that motorists or station attendants had to grab hold of a lever and literally pump up the fuel before filling the gas tank. However, despite changes at service stations with modern gasoline dispensers that don't use the old levers they are still referred to today as "gas pumps."

[Because that's still what they do -- pump gas up out of an underground tank. - Dave]

12 Cents Sounds Good

...until you put it in an inflation calculator. It winds up being $2.11--about what we would pay now! At least we don't have to worry about patching our tubes any more, though.

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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