JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Dressed to Drive: 1922

Dressed to Drive: 1922

October 6, 1922. Washington, D.C. "Emily Dial, daughter of Senator Dial." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5


This car is a 1920 or 1921 Sheridan. Less than 1000 were made and it appears that only two exist.

You can learn more about them here.

Both Captain Eddie Rickenbacker and William Durant were involved with the manufacturer of these cars.

To the Farkmobile!

Keys, Please

I kept missing the references to the wind-up key, because I never thought twice about what I saw. That "Spam-can" key at the rear of the car is one of a pair of what are commonly called "Bair" brackets, and the metal or wood bows of the folding top bunch up and rest in them when retracted. On smaller cars the brackets were less prominent.

I haven't been able to identify this car from the limited visual clues , but it's a big 'un.

Spotlight sidelight

The spotlight doesn't just light up what's ahead. It can be adjusted to see a driveway or an address on the side of the road. And most roads had no lights at all in those days.

What of the eldest Dial daughter?

Close examination of Laura Emily Dial's 1924 wedding story in the Post reveals that there was a fourth Dial daughter - Rebecca, then married to M.G. Williams. In the Library of Congress archives is an awful 1922 photo of her (dressed up as a fairy). But by the 1970s, as Rebecca Dial again, she wrote a biography of her father ("True to his Colors") and an autobiography ("My Stream Without a Name").

Popeye Power

Yes, the fine cars of that era really are huge. Ole Henry Ford made his cheap ones tiny, which makes people today think cars of the era were small, but the high class and high priced cars were big on the outside.

The sitting area in them is small though. I was riding in a 1923 Studebaker the other day. It supposedly accommodated six, but you could barely fit four real people in it. Lots of leg room but no width.

A friend has a White touring car. He keeps it in a warehouse because it is too big to fit through a regular garage door. You feel like a mouse looking at an elephant when you walk up to climb in.

The big steering wheels were needed to get leverage because you were really turning the whole steering mechanism with your shoulders and arms.

Chow down on that spinach before you take one of these things for a spin because they really are steered by Popeye power.

The Dials

I wrote a story a while back on the Dial family, after seeing a picture of four other Dial children on Shorpy:

No problem

If this car runs out of gas or the battery goes dead. I see that convenient wind up key at the back to keep it going.

Love the hat ...

Why don't women wear hats like that anymore?

Not much out there on her; just this from The Nevada (MO) Daily Mail of Apr. 29, 1924:

"A notable wedding in Washington today will be that of Miss Laura Emily Dial, daughter of Senator and Mrs. Nathaniel B. Dial, and James Lawrence Brownlee of Birmingham, Ala."

Daddy served one term in the Senate and then failed to be renominated for a second term. The seat was the one held by Strom Thurmond for 44 years and which is now occupied by Lindsey Graham.


The shoes are spiffy and unworn. She obviously owned more than one pair. (Yes, I am ever the shoe hound). Any guesstimates on her age?

Confused about size

Is she a really small woman or is the car really that big? It doesn't look like she would have a good grip on the steering wheel. Were all steering wheels of the time that large? Does it have something to do with the lack of "power" steering?

Rush Rush

And no time to iron my dress.

Kinda Cute

Better looking than Fanny anyway.


Shoes! Hope she remembered to wind the car up before she got in; wonder how many miles per turn of the key she got?

That spotlight

Why did so many of these old cars have a big spotlight on the driver's side? Most of the headlights were HUGE and the roads seemed to be well lit. So was it just a "cool" feature like chromed wheels, or did it have a real purpose?


Wasn't there a floor lamp with that same shade in the radio display photo we saw few days ago?

Somebody has to say it

Don't touch that Dial!

Speed Dial

This photograph proves that they had a speed Dial way back in 1922.

We've seen some of Emily's younger siblings before on Shorpy:

As well as her sister Fanny:

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Site © 2023 Shorpy Inc.