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A Tight Spot: 1939

A Tight Spot: 1939

June 1939. "Migrant steeplejack removing the crankcase from his automobile while his father blocks up the front wheel near Prague, Oklahoma. When he secures a job, the entire family, consisting of his father and mother, wife and sister, all help with the painting." Acetate negative by Russell Lee. View full size.


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The original Chrysler emblem

Dean Clark about the original Chrysler emblem:

  • The seal form represented a wax seal of approval, with a ribbon, for this car. This represented quality (symbolizing state fair awards) and “emphasized the integrity of the car's makers.”
  • The rope represents the strength of this car.
  • Lightning bolts, looking like overgrown Zs, depict the power of the car.

Source: Warren C. Steele

A Jack in the Grass=

A car on your A&&.

This is one of those, "Here, hold my Beer" kind of scenarios.

Not worth the risk

My wife's grandfather died that way. People's idea of risk was different back then.


Definitely a Chrysler, mid-20's, maybe 1925. So it was really an 'old" car in 1939.

Wheel Seal

That dark spot at the hub of the wheel generally indicates the inner wheel seal is or has failed. They'll probably be stopped along the road replacing wheel bearings pretty soon.

Two of Each

"I got two lungs, might as well smoke two ciggies."

[He's smoking one cigarette and one match, which might be his flashlight once he gets the oil pan off. - Dave]

Frightening picture

That is an accident waiting to happen, with that jack and no additional support under the car.

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