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Sign of the Cross: 1940

Sign of the Cross: 1940

July 1940. "Negroes from Florida and Georgia who travel by car and truck, following the potato crop northward. Migratory agricultural worker has his supper (a nickel pie and a glass of milk) at the railroad crossing at Camden, North Carolina." Medium format acetate negative by Jack Delano for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Pie the way

The young fellow in the foreground looks as if he's posing for an advertisement. His pose, his face, the pie and the milk - - they combine to look as if they are tempting the viewer to indulge, although I'm unsure if the ad would be for milk or pie. By the way, that's a generous slice of pie for a nickel.

[A "nickel pie" is an entire small pie, not a slice. - Dave]

Locomotive Tire

That heavy ring protecting the crossing signal is a worn out steam locomotive tire.

Locomotive tires were heated with a circular gas burner to expand them, then shrunk onto the cast driver center. They tended to wear to a hollow tread contour rather than the correct slightly conical surface, which should have a specific fillet radius to the flange. Every time a locomotive spun its wheels, the tires were wearing out of contour.

The tires could be turned a couple times, like brake disks or brake drums, but then were discarded to be melted down. This one escaped the furnace, and makes a nice seat, although usually too hot or too cold.

Also interesting how little grade crossing signals have changed in 81 years.

Model railroaders, take note!

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