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High Rollers: 1927

High Rollers: 1927

Washington, D.C., circa 1927. "Four Wheel Drive Auto Co." Our second look at FWD's big lugs. National Photo Co. Collection glass negative. View full size.


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I noted the sign for Menominee Trucks and Buses, which were manufactured in Menominee, Michigan (the Upper Peninsula), just over the border from Marinette, Wisconsin. Oshkosh Truck now owns FWD and its Seagrave fire truck division.

Old vs New

Publicity shot? Older model on left. New one on right. Solid vs pneumatic tires. Kerosene (?) headlamps on left. Electric on right.

[Those are acetylene lamps on the right. Note the vent holes and the tank. - Dave]

Sea Bees

We had FWD dump trucks in the Sea Bees (MCB#7) during the 1960s. They looked very much like Internationals. I have never seen them since.

Power steering

Can you imagine the arm strength it must have taken to turn those steering wheels? No Bowflex in the basement needed when those drivers got home!


The truck of Tim the Toolman's ancestors.

Fifty Cents today

Here are 6 ways of comparing the 1927 half buck to the 2008 version, from

$6.20 using the Consumer Price Index
$5.17 using the GDP deflator
$13.02 using the value of consumer bundle
$20.47 using the unskilled wage
$29.54 using the nominal GDP per capita
$75.57 using the relative share of GDP

Fifty Cents

There is a sign inside the garage that reads "Minimum Labor Charge 50¢." I wonder what 50 cents would have gotten the customer? The only thing I could think of is perhaps inflating tires.

Doubled my pleasure.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any cooler than the last dump truck shot, here are two of them. The youngster driving the one on the left looks real happy to be there. The guy on the right, not so much.

Same Day

I wonder if that kid is still sitting on the steps at No. 14 watching the goings-on?

Easy rider

The guy riding on the solid rubber tires seems happier than the guy riding on the nice pneumatic tires.Maybe because he's too young to know better.

You lookin at me?

I got a laugh out of the completely different facial expressions on the two drivers.

Simonize me

It looks like one was just simonized and the other wasn't.

Just what this country needs

... an "auto laundry." None of this pansy "brushless" stuff, we'll introduce good ole car Martinizing. I'll have an IPO up next week.

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