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Esso in the Snow: 1940

Esso in the Snow: 1940

November 1940. "After a snowstorm in Norwich, Connecticut." Fill 'er up with Esso Extra! Medium format negative by Jack Delano. View full size.


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My dad went to MIT before joining the Navy in WWII. He used to tell stories about putting stuff on the windowsill of the dorm room during winter. Liked to keep his sloe gin out there; no need for ice!

Someone's Refrigerator

Above the "G" in "Going over swell" on the Esso billboard, a bucket hangs from a window -- someone's refrigerator. If you didn't have a fire escape, this is what you did.

Esso -- Every Sucker Stops Once. They still have them in Canada.

Count the Fords

I've got six. The car in front of the station is not a Model A Ford. I have a black '38 standard coupe just like the one on the corner of the station, so I always count Fords.

Valspar, since 1832

The hardware store sign behind the "Toys" billboard mentions Valspar, "Since 1832." Just amazing this brand of paint has lasted since before the Civil War.

Seven What for a Dollar?

The pump on the right has a sign stating "Gas Regular, 7 for $1.00, Cash". Seven what? Certainly not gallons. Even seven quarts for a buck would be a deal. Anyone?

[Seven gallons for a dollar is 14.3 cents a gallon -- a little cheaper than the Esso Extra at the next pump. - Dave]

Thank you, Dave. I was thinking gas was closer to 30¢ a gallon around that time.


I was in Macau recently and was surprised to see that Esso still operates under that name there. Guess they never re-branded overseas. Also, grew up in Connecticut, and this is certainly reminiscent the slush I used to shovel and drive through.

[Fun fact: "Esso" is an initialism for S.O., or Standard Oil. - Dave]

Vacuums Suck

I agree with Speechless. This is a great photo. Reminds me of vacuum wipers and how lousy they are in rain, hail, sleet or snow. Especially snow. I spent way too much time today repairing them on my 1951 Ford and I don't even drive it in the rain, hail, sleet or snow. Especially snow.

Antifreeze or coolant

Like motors and engines, the terms are relative. An engine is a motor, but not all motors are engines.

My dear departed father used to talk a story about when he was 15. He and a bunch of guys all chipped in and bought a V12 Lincoln for $50. Only one of the group was old enough to drive, so the rest just paid for gas.

With antifreeze being expensive, they filled the radiator with water, and at the end of each evening's joy ride, the driver would drop off all the others and then go home, drain the radiator, and refill it the next time they wanted to drive around. One winter's night they were almost at their curfew, so they all hurried home and the driver forgot to drain the radiator. The block cracked, and they sold it for $50.

Remember the old joke?

Five bees were flying along together and instead of nectar, they liked to sniff gasoline. As they passed over stations, one at a time would go down for a whiff. One to Sunoco, next to Amoco, then Atlantic and Sinclair gas stations. Then the last one went down to an Esso station. Meaning? One out of every five bees is an Esso bee. I hear the groans.

Tombstones in the snow

Being a hardcore taphophile, I'd love to go back and wander amongst the tombs on the hill behind the town. Oh wait! I still could. That may be Oak Street Cemetery.


I don't know where to begin, but this photo has it all.

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