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In the Shop: 1928

In the Shop: 1928

Takoma Park, Maryland, circa 1928. "Hendrick Motor Co. garage." Our third look at this establishment. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.


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Cold, hard work

It's sort of romantic to others who have not worked on cars, however, you might consider what it might be like for you to pick up cold spanners on a winter's morning, graze your knuckles, bend your back to lift a cast iron cylinder head off a block and after a few years perhaps suffer a prolapsed disc in your back from all the bending over car engines and then have to find other work.

Hard slog in a place like this.

What a neat garage!

The first row of cars on the left show a Model T two-door, about 1923, then about a 1923 coupe, then another two-door, 1926 or 1927, and a roadster pickup at the end.

On the right is the best part of the photo. A 1927 roadster, and a 1927 Ford coach or tudor. They could be still-new cars for sale.

The closest car on the right is the "New" 1928 Ford. This is a commercial chassis, probably a ton by the size of the springs, with no body attached. On the commercial cars the radiator and headlamps were painted black. Passenger cars had nickel plating. You can see the spare rim mounted in the middle.

In front is the wash bay, for excellent service.

Service, please!

As a veteran mechanic, I remember the days when a valve grind was necessary every 60,000 miles. Now if you don't get at least 200K on an engine before it requires major work, you haven't maintained it correctly. The demise of carburetors and the improvement in the quality of gas and oil has reduced the amount of carbon produced in the combustion chamber, which held the valves open slightly, causing them to burn. It was not uncommon to do a valve grind and re-ring at 30,000 miles back when these cars had a few years on them.

Sultry winches

I was rather surprised to see metal roof trusses in that era. I was even more surprised to see a stout wooden beam spanning two of them with a travelling block and tackle hoist running along it. That seems like a recipe for disaster - especially when the load shifts to either side and onto a single truss.

The vise squad.

There's an old saying in the trade that when building a repair shop you start with a good vise and build the shop around it.The humble vise hasn't changed in hundreds of years and in this high tech age the modern shop still can't fuction without it.

Hold the grease, please

I love the details. I see what look like protective covers over the steering wheels and seats of the cars that are in for service. I guess greasy handprints have always been a hazard of taking your car to the mechanic.

Slow design development

It's interesting that in 1928 they were still more or less using the old horse carriage design.

Early Signs of Safety

There are two encouraging safety developments apparent in this photo (versus many other early machine shops). The M-G set at the back of the shop has its belt guarded. And the oxyacetylene torch rig next to it appears to have the cylinders secured to the cart.

Hendrick gives a darn about his employees!

High Point

Great picture, great angle.

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