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Filling Station: 1924

Filling Station: 1924

Washington, D.C., 1924. "Flat spare tires are numerous around Washington these days due to the youthful football players who have found an easier way to inflate the pigskin than using their lungs. 'Billy' Friel shown inflating his football." 4x5 inch glass negative. View full size.


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Spare Air

The windshield washer on my wife's 1963 Volkswagen was powered by the air in the spare tire. We were married a while before I discovered that. I drove the bug to work, so I had to make sure the pressure was up in the spare.

15 Years Later --

The thing that caught my attention is how very well dressed this 1924 boy was. He could simply be a resident of a wealthy neighborhood whose parents could afford to buy him nice clothes, and later send him to a prestigious college, and eventually make him a vice president in Daddy's company.

However, I can't help but think of the many Shorpy pictures that photographers took fifteen years later in which the children were barefoot, their clothes were torn and threadbare, and often needed a bath. On one hand, this photos represented the difference between wealthy urban people and poor rural people, and a 1924 picture of a rural boy might be indistinguishable from a 1939 picture of one.

But there were many cases in people who had at least been comfortable lost everything. For two years during the Great Depression, my mother and her family lived in a chicken coop. My paternal grandfather lost his urban house three times, and, at age 16, my grandmother had to ask my father to leave home because he was the oldest male and she could no longer afford to feed four children.

How complacently we live during the boom times, not suspecting that they may end tomorrow!


Photo shows a young Tom Brady actually putting a little air back INTO the spare tire.

Car ID

Model T Ford. That's F-O-R-D as in Football Oxygen Reserve Device

The good old days?

I seem to remember those devices in a catalog as a kid in the early '70s. And the illustration showed filling a ball from one of the tires ON THE CAR. Talk about no fun for the driver.

A Bit Bare

"My old man's spare tires were only actually tires in the academic sense. They were round and had once been made of rubber." -- Ralphie, "A Christmas Story"

Liberating air

That’s hugely clever. First time I’ve seen such a thing. (No fun for the driver, though: You kids get off my car!) What’s next? – siphoning gas?

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