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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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Good Humor Boys: 1941

Good Humor Boys: 1941

March 1941. "The Good Humor man comes to trailer camp on Saturday afternoon. These children are sons of torpedo plant workers in Alexandria, Virginia." Medium format negative by Martha McMillan Roberts. View full size.

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Alexandria's Old Torpedo Factory

The Architect of the Capital's author Elliot Carter reports:

The station's main weapon system was the Mark-14, a submarine launched anti-ship torpedo. Unfortunately the Mark-14 was a dud, and repeated and well documented failures produced what the press dubbed a "Great Torpedo Scandal."

According to Theodore Roscoe's history of WWII submarine warfare, "the only reliable feature of the torpedo was its unreliability."

The Mark XIV green torpedo, currently displayed in the main hall of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, was produced there in 1945. It was painted bright green so that the Navy could find it in the water when it was tested.

Maybe they couldn't find it after all after the test?

Play Ball!

But if the Good Humor Man drives off with the catcher's mitt still on his running board, they'll have to cancel the game!

Still Around

We still have of couple of these trucks rambling around my area in Connecticut. I assume they are new trucks, but fitted out the same ( and with the bells!) and with 2018 prices. I get goosebumps when I see them -- they were such a welcome sight on hot summer nights when I was a kid.

Most coveted item

The thing I remember most and always wanted was the coin holder on the ice cream man's belt. Our bus driver also had one, and for some reason it was something I always wanted. That is, until I actually got one, at a yard sale many decades ago.

Since I never had to make change for a crowd, it seemed silly to wear one and I was already 50 by then and would have looked like a moron, so now it sits in my "storage closet" as a constant reminder that most of us really think we desire some material item until we actually get it and then wonder why we wanted it so much.

If the kid on the extreme left threw his popsicle wrapper on the ground, as it appears, since he is the only one eating both sides of his treat all at once while the others have all saved their other half in the wrapper for later, we would have called him a litterbug.

We had to buy our ice cream from an independent, local peddler because they were always a few cents cheaper than the official Good Humor man and with four kids, my mom could save 4 nickels by using the generic ice cream man and we were just as happy. This photo sure brings back some good summer memories.

Little fella forlorn

My favorite thing about this photo is the wistful gaze of the poor tyke who missed out.

[I had to look to find him! - Dave]

Summer Ritual

The only difference between these folks and me was that my Alexandria was in Louisiana, but all else brings back those memories.

Thanks, Dave!

Hot Time, Summer in the City

was when we most appreciated Earl, the Good Humor man who patrolled the crowded streets of northeast Baltimore in the early and mid-1950s. I couldn't afford the Good Humor Bar, ice cream sandwich, fudgesicle (pronounced fudge-a-cul locally), creamsicle, or dreamsicle, but for a nickel the popsicle, which was frozen sherbet (sherbert, locally), hit the spot.

Ice cream memories

This picture takes me back to my own childhood in Alexandria, though nearly 20 years later than these young guys. We heard the bells ringing, ran inside to get money from our moms, and gathered around the Good Humor man in his white uniform. I was always fascinated by the way the cold air spilled out of the truck's compartments as he reached in for our frozen goodies.

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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