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Prove It: 1925

Prove It: 1925

Washington, D.C. September 11, 1925. "Demonstration of auto safety fender." 4x5 inch glass negative, National Photo Company Collection. View full size.


        "How to pick up a girl" will be practically illustrated tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock on Third street between Maryland and Pennsylvania avenues northwest.
        Using a human being in their demonstration, the manufacturers, under the supervision of the traffic director's office, will show a recently devised scoop, which is designed so that when attached to the front of an automobile striking a person, injury is averted.
-- Washington Times, 9/10/25


On Shorpy:
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Scoop to Hospital

Getting hit by a metal object moving any faster than walking pace would certainly involve injury, possibly broken or fractured leg bones, and when you were felled, any number of additional injuries would prevail.

This contraption's possible only saving grace is that you would be unlikely to be run over by the vehicle. I'd like to see how this was promoted -- a litigation lawyer's dream in the making, one would presume.


That car had an electric starter. Would be tough to crank with that contraption on the front. A bad angle to be reaching in there.

Faces in the Crowd

There are a few famous faces in this photo. Let me point them out.

First, on the far left of the crowd wearing his world-famous fedora, I see old Sam Whatzisface, character actor who specialized in playing cops, crooks and crazy uncles in movies of the 1920s, '30s and '40s. Here he is demonstrating his famous side-eye glance and holding his ever-present unfinished stogie. Actually, he didn't smoke.

Then, if you look between the inventor's head and that of the bowtie wearing guy next to him, way in the back, you see the first ever recorded photo of Hitler's American nephew. Obviously, he never learned the family way of trimming his mustache.

A little farther to the right, just to our left of the tall, uniformed, straight out of central casting gentleman, is a face few can forget. Seen in many post offices coast to coast, I give you "Ugly Boy" Floyd Bootlegger.

And last, but hardly least, again just to our left of the (hopefully) off duty motorcycle cop at the right is a rare picture of Sean Penn's grandfather.
I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

I thank you.

It's a Packard, all right

Specifically a 1918-1920 model year, as evidenced by the shape of the windshield, the tiny cowl lights, the shape of the headlights and more specifically, the shape of the grille.

Spectators also interesting

The well-dressed gent with fedora and crossed arms has that "I'll believe it when I see it," skeptical look. The young man in shirtsleeves next to him appears to be thinking, "I wonder if I could catch me a girl with one of them things."


Many of the men in the audience look skeptical - as I am. I doubt if that device preformed as advertised.


Is relative!

Good Idea Until It's Put Into Use

All I see is two snapped ankles and a metal grate that would drive over you and do more damage than being bumped by a car that's probably travelling at 10mph.

It's ready for a comeback

I previously commented one issue with electric vehicles is they run silently, and people are getting hit by cars they never heard coming. Dave pointed out EVs are required to make a noise at speeds under 30 mph. But we don't need a bunch of EVs running around making a bunch of fake noise ... the answer is right here. Thanks Dave!

Sure, I'll ask

What could possibly go wrong?

The Baltimore

Earlier, Notcom wondered about the "Baltimore" on the car grille. I had wondered about the similar fancy script "San Francisco" I'd seen on the grille in photos of my father's 1929/30 Chrysler. Turns out getting those items to celebrate/ballyhoo your home town was a thing, like in this previous Shorpy example.

The scoop

Cow catchers, okay. People catchers? As Goliath would say, I dunno Davey.

Cuthbert J. Twillie in the white suit

AKA W. C. Fields

The lowdown on fenders

These were relatively common on streetcars, where the massiveness of the car allowed a much larger surface - supposedly you were scooped up to safety; I've never seen one on an auto (likely because they were useless).

Of more interest than what's attached to the car, perhaps, is the car itself: Baltimore ?? I've never heard of, nor can I find mention of, a make by that name (it seems to have the disinctive radiator outline of a Packard). The company that manufactured these contraptions was HQed there, could that be the reason?

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