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Tire, Iron: 1942

Tire, Iron: 1942

May 1942. "Kearney, Buffalo County, Nebraska. Farm boy with flat tire, which happened while he was bringing a load of scrap iron to town." (Does that include the car?) Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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A Lost Art

A year or two back, a younger (under 40) friend posted an ordinary stuck-in-traffic photo to Facebook, vaguely hinting that there was something unusual about it. Someone asked what the big deal was, and they had been surprised by the novelty of someone making a wrecked pickup into a cargo trailer. I replied that maybe I'm showing my age by saying that that used to be the most common thing in the world. It wasn't merely a relic of the Depression, either. People were still doing those conversions well into the 1980s, and now almost no one does it, they just buy manufactured trailers on credit.

I can see clearly now ...

Stalwart Chevy has been wisely modified/updated in its night-time illumination abilities. Installing a pair of recently introduced "sealed-beam" headlight bulbs would have vastly improved the driver's vision. The other noticeable modifications are the larger, replacement cowl lamps, possibly from a later model Chevy. The original, smaller cowl-lamp units have been relocated to function as fender-top clearance lights. I have a feeling the car was the young man's very precious friend, an emotion I can genuinely identify with!

First Lessons

The first lesson my two younger sisters learned when they arrived in this country in the early '70s was how to change a tire. They didn't even know how to drive, but they knew how to change a tire.

Lucky for them, it was a much more modern car.

1928 Chevrolet

Assuming that's just spattered mud on his car, a wash job would help it's its looks considerably. And how fortunate he is to have a running car (or access to one) at his tender age. I had a car at sixteen and it broadened my horizons considerably.

That car ain't scrap!

It's my workin' hoss! And you can pass me when I get this gol durn tire fixed.


The wagon itself looks like a box riding on the running gear of a Model T.

Always parked indoors

... in the barn under where the pigeons roost.

Time honored trade

We have a scrappy young friend (in his early 20s now) who for years -- ever since he could drive -- has had a local scrap metal recycling business. He operates out of a beat-up truck and faithfully collects and hauls the scrap to wherever it is that they buy it from him. He's no farmer's son, though; his daddy is a lawyer.

1942's scrap.

would be 2022's collectibles.

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