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Buck in a Truck: 1940

Buck in a Truck: 1940

From around 1940 comes this snapshot of a young man in a truck with West Virginia plates -- one of thousands of 35mm negatives in the FSA/OWI archive at the Library of Congress with no caption or photographer information. Why so glum, chum? View full size.


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A restoration group I belong to has one of these hand cranked dump bodies on a White chassis. We tried it out last night. It isn't hard to crank with no load in the bed, but don't know how it would be when loaded. Keeping it well greased would be key. Next to the truck is the next step, a very primitive hydraulic dump, using cables to lift the bed.

Here are 2 photos. The overhead view was shot by a friend.

I know his name isn't Margaret

But his sorrowful expression and some of the comments remind of the poem 'Spring and Fall' by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

A hard working Ford

It looks to be a 1930 Ford AA dump truck.

Been There

I recognize the look and the mood. It is a malady I suffered a few times when I was that age, caused by a pretty young lady.

How many turns?

He's wiped out from hand cranking that dump body all day. How many turns on the big wheel? How many loads today? The large diameter is supposed to provide leverage to make it easier for a big guy to crank, but maybe tough for a kid.

Wake up, Buck!

Sure does look like he's napping.

[He's looking at a picture in his wallet -- on his lap in the main photo. - Dave]


Perhaps of more interest than the man -- they've changed little in the past century -- is the (Model A?) door, which almost looks like it has been disassembled for display purposes (though it probably was delivered that way):

- The centered door handle, linked by tie-rod to a - very tentative!- latch
- The window crank (sans actual crank)
- The sound deadening material sprayed inside the panel.

All very familiar to anyone who's ever seen one.

Passing the Buck

Dave's suggestion of a glum Buck is something of an oxymoron, since the name is said to refer to a "robust or spirited young man."

"Buck" is of Old English origin, originally a male goat or deer. It got attached to cowboys, which may be a reason why its popularity as a baby name rose around the turn of the 20th century. It declined through the century, despite Buck Rogers and Buck Owens (or Buck Barrow, Clyde's brother), but seems to be making a modest comeback. (N.B. Manager of the Year Buck Showalter was born William Nathaniel Showalter III.)

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